Volume XII, Issue 33: March 6, 2015

On The Calendar
March 13 – We won’t meet this morning, but please …
March 14 – … join us as we travel “Down The Rabbit Hole” – Arcata Community Center (aka Wonderland)
March 21 – District Training Assembly in Ukiah
March 21 – Spring Wine & Food Festival at HSU – Fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Arcata (the Nooners)
April 24-26 – District 5130 Conference at Yosemite!

We had a packed house for last week’s meeting – we’re all excited about Saturday’s Spring Fundraiser. President Barbara officially congratulated Ceva Courtemanche for being named Business Leader of the Year by the Arcata Chamber of Commerce, a well-deserved honor.

Colleen Toste of the Rising Stars Foundation was also on hand. Colleen and her organization will provide the models for the Live Auction portion of our Fundraiser. She gave an update on recent Rising Stars activity. She said that she recently learned that our local History Day is the second largest in the state, with about 500 students participating. Of those, 65 are now eligible to compete in the state competition, which will take place in early May in Rocklin. The annual All-County Music Festival was scheduled for Saturday. As always, it brought together the best local student musicians in bands, choirs, and orchestra. Colleen said that she (and her son) are “roping in models” for next week’s event. 

March 11th through the 17th is World Rotaract Week, and several members of the North Bay Rotaract Club visited us and told us that they planned to participate in Bowl For Kids’ Sake – North Coast Big Brothers Big Sisters annual fundraiser. They will also help us take our guests down the Rabbit Hole this weekend. Four Rotaractors will be attending the District Training Seminar the following weekend, and the same day, they will be helping the Arcata Noon Rotary with its Wine & Food Festival. They will hold their own fundraiser – “Run For A Cause” – on April 18th. The proceeds will support the La Trinidad Costa Rica Project. We learned that they just added three new members, bringing their total to twenty!

Rotarian of the Month and the Rotary Angel!!
President Barbara named Jessica McKnight as February’s Rotarian of the Month. It’s not hard to see why – Jessica co-chairs the Vocational Service Committee, and she was instrumental in reviving and reimagining the Vocational Service Award. She also helped head up the AHS College &

President Barbara and ROTM Jessica!

Career Center’s Pancake Breakfast, and she helped the North Bay Rotaract regain its charter. Jessica also serves on the Community Service Committee, and she is coordinating our efforts with the City of Arcata to rejuvenate Rotary Park. And (last, but not least), Barbara said, “She left this Club in great shape for me to step into my year as president”. 

President Barbara also likes creating new ways to recognize Sunrisers for the exceptional work they do – and there is no more deserving inaugural recipient of the Rotary Angel Award than Janice Newman. Janice has done about everything in our Club, and she currently serves as our Sergeant-at-Arms. She and her committee make sure that everything runs smoothly at each of our meetings. Janice is also on the Mentorship Committee, where she wields her vast store Arcata Sunrise history and of Rotary in general to help new (and long-time) Sunrisers. Barbara noted that Janice “understands our Club’s by-laws, and can answer any question about how things are designed to operate in our Club”. She went on to say that Janice provides “a perfect amount of help and support”. Janice also possesses a great sense of style and creates beauty around her, and she always greets President Barbara (and all of us) “with an warm smile every Friday morning”. 

Recognizing Romi!
Once he was able to temporarily distract his son Damon, Kyle Visser headed up last Friday’s recognition of Romi Hitchcock-Tinseth, with the help of a prop microphone. He noted that college was an important part of Romi’s life. She told us that she is very proud of her alma mater. “It’s true,” she said, “The choice to attend Humboldt State changed the rest of my life.” She cited HSU’s groundbreaking Graduation Pledge as a precept by which she and her husband Glenn

“Feelings … nothing more than feelings …”

(also an HSU grad) have lived by. Through grad school, they knew that they would pledge a year to international service. They chose to volunteer at Project Amigo, a Rotary Project in Colima, Mexico. They loaded their two girls and their dog into a Suburban (“because everyone in Mexico can fix a Suburban”), and headed south.

Kyle then noted that there was (1) something that Romi was the first at, (2) something that one of her brothers was the fastest at, and (3) there was something that Glenn was among the first at. Here they are: 

(1) Romi wanted to play soccer in high school, but there was no girls’ soccer team. When she first tried to join the boys’ team, she was told that she could play all the “girly sports”. When Romi’s mother noted that “she might consider football”, all resistance magically peeled away. (We later learned that Romi was also a cheerleader at her high school – with Rina Brodhag!)

(2) One of Romi’s two brothers (both HSU grads also) devoted himself to human-powered technology, and his team built a winning entry in the World Human Powered Speed Challenge.

(3) Glenn was one of the Rotary Club of Colima’s first two male Rotary spouses. 

Kyle asked how Romi’s daughters came into her life. She said that after she and Glenn had tried unsuccessfully to have children, they decided to adopt. They chose the name Skyler, because it meant “descended straight from heaven”. Romi said that Sky’s biological family “made our family that much bigger”. A successful pregnancy followed, bringing Zoë, whose name means “life” in Greek, “and we figured that was perfect,” Romi said. “They make our lives incredible.”

When she was a child, Romi’s family moved from LA to Weitchpec to live off the land. However, according to Romi, “they sucked at it”. So they moved into Arcata. Once in town, she met two life-long friends, who have been with her through good times and bad. One lives and works locally, while the other is in Bend, Oregon. But both are in Romi’s heart.