Volume XII, Issue 30: February 13, 2015

On The Calendar

February 20 – We are dark (no Friday morning meeting)
February 21 – Arcata Chamber of Commerce Dinner – 5:30 pm – Arcata Community Center
March 14 – Please join us in a journey “Down The Rabbit Hole” – it’s our Spring Fundraiser … in Wonderland!! 
March 21 – District Training Assembly in Ukiah 

The Spring Fundraiser is fast approaching, and we are promised a “dynamite bar”, including cocktails from Wonderland (or they’ll send you there): “The Tea Party”, “The Mad Hat”, and “The Caterpillar”. Be sure to get your auction and raffle prizes, and sell those tickets. 

Rotarian of the Month
He’s our Club Treasurer, he’s on our World Community Service Commitee, he serves on the Youth Activities Committee, and he has a fantastic sense of humor. Those are among the reasons President Barbara named Bryan Reeser the Rotarian of the Month for January. 

“Any of you who have ever run an organization,” President Barbara said, “know how valuable a good treasurer is. And Bryan is the best of the best.” A big, well-deserved round of applause to a great Sunriser – thank you, Bryan!

Rising Star
President Barbara’s Rising Star for January was Jeff Stebbins. Since Jeff became a Sunriser in 2013, he has been very active. He co-chairs the Vocational Service Committee, and he is also on the Scholarship Committee. Most importantly, he stepped up in a big way to organize the AHS College and Career Center Pancake Breakfast, in a transitional year for the event. He entered students’ names into each of the Dictionaries for Third Graders this year, and delivered them to the schools. Plus, Jeff is working on the Dutch Raffle for the Spring Fundraiser. And … “Jeff works up at HSU,” Barbara noted, “and he’s my colleague, and he keeps my financial data clean and up-to-date.”

Last Friday, Dustin Littlefield told us that Ian Schatz was born in Los Angeles. However, his parents were seeking a “back to the land” experience, so they brought the family to Maple Creek. Their first home was a tent, “where they were neighboring with the porcupines, skunks, bears, and mountain lions,” according to Dustin. Following a torrential storm, the family moved into a trailer. 

Ian was the sole member of his graduating class when he completed 8th grade at Maple Creek School. The total enrollment at the time was 12 students, Kindergarten through 8th grade. Ian continued his education at Arcata High School, then Humboldt State, where he earned his degree in Physical Education. 

“We all know Ian today,” Dustin said, “as the Manager of Operations at Advanced Security Systems.” He also worked in several capacities for Sound Advice. As an HSU student, he worked an early morning shift at Don’s Donut Bar.

Ian with his Daughters

He met his wife Elizabeth at HSU. Ian was sitting on the floor in a hallway when Elizabeth walked by. He got up and followed her. When she reached her class, he walked in, sat down next to her, and asked her out. Although she had a boyfriend at the time, they still became friends. Eventually, he replaced the boyfriend, and they married in 1993. They have two daughters – Jasmine, who was born in 1994, and Brianna, who was born three years later. 

Ian’s parents still live in Maple Creek, and his brother is a brewmaster at Mad River Brewery. The Schatz Energy Lab and Schatz Tree Farm were donated to Humboldt State by Ian’s grandfather. 

Ian discovered Rotary when Jasmine was selected as an Outbound Exchange Student by the Rotary Club of Old Town Eureka. She spent her Exchange Year in Sicily. His interest led him to one of our meetings, and he quickly became a Sunriser. He is very involved in the Youth Exchange program, both at the Club level and at the District level. He is currently the Outbound Exchange Coordinator for the District. 

Dustin shared other interesting information about Ian:

  • As a youth, Ian planted trees in a tree farm in Maple Creek, which paid for his first year of college. 
  • He is capable of “wailing lead vocals from Led Zeppelin”
  • He loves to travel with his family, and they have been all over the US, and they have also visited Mexico and Italy.
  • Elizabeth pointed out that Ian is a very dedicated father, and is very involved in his daughters’ lives. 

President Barbara added, “Ian – you are a really interesting guy.” She also asked Ian about Jasmine’s latest adventure. She was selected to serve as a Student Ambassador at the USA Pavilion at the World’s Fair in Italy for three months this summer and fall. She will meet with political leaders and “well-to-dos”, giving tours of the event.

Project La Trinidad 
Susan Diehl-McCarthy is the President of the Rotary Club of Arcata (the Noon Club), and last week she was our Featured Speaker. She discussed the project in Costa Rica that her Club is leading, with the participation of other Rotary Clubs, including ours. 

Project La Trinidad is an economic development project intended to help women in the Cerro de la Muerte (“Mountain of Death”) region in the highlands of Costa Rica. The families who live in this remote area are known as “The Forgotten”. These people have not shared in the economic success often found elsewhere in Costa Rica, as a small group from Arcata Rotary discovered when they visited the area in Fall 2013 with members of the Club Rotario San

José Noreste (which will serve as the project’s co-sponsor).

Susan Diehl-McCarthy

What they found was an area where many homes are headed by a single parent, and most of the children lack educational opportunities beyond primary school. However, they did find that the residents of the village of La Trinidad and the surrounding area want to work, and they identified a number of small business opportunities. Susan noted that, while the villagers may not have a lot of wealth, they do have a lot of pride in their area and their homes. 

The project’s goals include helping families remain in the Central Highlands by creating or growing family businesses, facilitating improved educational opportunities, and developing long-term relationships with supporting businesses and organizations. 

The first phases of the project includes providing microcredit financing to help support La Trinidad’s family businesses. These businesses grow mushrooms, sewing clothing, and making and packaging cheese and jams. They will also need training in business operations – how to market their product, filling orders, and other important details.

The project will enlist the aid of the Fundación Mujer (Women’s Foundation). Both the Fundación and the San Josè Noreste Rotary have a lot of experience with microloan financing. 

When the groups looked at the barriers to sustained economic development, they found that the remote location led to a lack of connectivity. “It’s very difficult,” Susan told us, “to get a strong cell signal up there in the highlands. It’s very difficult to have reliable internet connectivity.” Locally, Carlson Wireless was contacted, and a plan was developed to purchase equipment to bridge the connectivity gaps.

Establishing reliable internet coverage opens a range of opportunities beyond the ability of local businesses offering their products to a wider market. It would also permit distance learning within Costa Rica and beyond. Susan said that the Interact Club at Arcata High School is excited at the possibility of video calls between their school and the young people of La Trinidad. 

With $22,250 slated for microcredit loans, and another $25,000 to be used to purchase equipment, the total project budget is $47,250. In addition to the Arcata Noon Rotary and the San Josè Noreste Rotary, our Club is helping with funds, as is the North Bay Rotaract. The fundraising continues, and the groups have applied for Global Grants from the Rotary Foundation and District Matching Grants.

In addition, the “Taylor Trek for Costa Rica” raised both funds and publicity for the project. Alberto Taylor is a member of the Arcata Rotary, and was part of the group that visited Costa Rica in 2013. He and his son Ricardo turned a journey to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania into a fundraiser, accepting pledges in recognition of their climb, which they completed in June 2014.

Susan promised that there is more to come. The area has additional needs that will be addressed in the near future, and we will continue to be informed and involved.