Volume XII, Issue 46: June 12, 2015

On The Calendar
June 20:  Oyster Festival Beer Booth
June 26: We are dark (no Friday Meeting)
July 3: We are dark (no Friday Meeting)
July 4RISE EVENT! – Arcata Plaza Fourth of July Celebration
July 10: Howard takes over!

Last Friday, George Cavinta thanked all the Sunrisers who helped make the 2015 edition of Kids, Crabs, and Rotary a great success. And Barbara thanked him for organizing the event once again.

President Barbara also thanked Bob Johnson and Steve McHaney for hosting members of the first Rotary Friendship Exchange Team to visit our District. The Team hailed from India, which our own representatives visited earlier this year.

Many years ago, our Club providing funding for equipment and software for the “RUOK” Program. Seniors and those with limited mobility receive an automated phone call each day to check in. If the phone is answered, as it usually is, the system resets for that individual. If no one answers, the police are alerted, and they call the person’s contact. If the situation cannot be resolved, the Fire Department is called. As part of the program, they have access to a lockbox at the home, and they enter to assess the situation, and provide help if needed. We received a thank-you letter from a senior who recently signed up for the program. He said that he has no relatives or close friends living in the area, and he appreciates that the RUOK program brings him “such peace of mind, and [may] perhaps save my life (and those of my pets, who are my family).”

Mozara Abdalla, our Exchange Student from Brazil, bid us “despedida” last Friday. She was a little tired from celebrating her graduation from Arcata High School the previous day (and night). Mozara planned to travel to New York with Julie Vaissade-Elcock and then she will join other Rotary Exchangers on the Western Safari Trip. She will be returning to Brazil after that. “Thank you so much for having me,” she told us. “It was awesome.”

Craft Talk
Last Friday, Claire Ajina took another step toward Blue Badge status by giving her Craft Talk. She started by telling us that she is the “fifth Cunningham child” – born in Eureka and raised in Arcata. Her parents divorced prior to her birth, and her mom was a single parent. “It was a big deal in our neighborhood,” Claire said, “but I had no idea. It was kind of our normal.”

Claire’s father was the director of the testing center at Humboldt State, and he later was involved in IT at the school.

Claire Ajina

Her mother taught for thirty years, which led to a minor crisis when Claire reached kindergarten. “This is so confusing”, read the caption on the class picture she showed. “Do I call her Mom, Teacher, or Mrs. Cunningham?”

Claire attended all local schools until college. Although she started and completed her Bachelor’s Degree (in Child Development) and Master’s Degree (in School Psychology) at Humboldt State, her college career included a stint at Fresno State. And although she grew up in Humboldt, she also lived in London for a while. Claire lost two of her sisters – Cynthia and Laura – when they were relatively young.

“Haider had hair when we first met,” Claire noted, and she showed a photo to prove it. The caption asked, “Is there love at first sight? Why yes! There is!” They married in 1985, and they have three sons, Nyle, Zaid, and Hadi, who were born within four years between 1986 and 1990. In 1997, their daughter Alia was born. Claire said that her kids “played hard and grew up fast”. Her family hosted an Exchange Student from Chile, and Alia is currently winding down a Rotary Exchange to Sweden. The family is has been hosting Mari Myllyniemi, who is on Exchange from Finland.

Claire has worked at St. Bernard High School and at Arcata High. She was also a Lecturer at HSU before she became the School Psychologist for the McKinleyville Union School District. She has also volunteered for various parent teacher organizations and as a Den Leader for the Cub Scouts. 

She has presented papers and given presentations on “Understanding Lyme Disease in School Age Children”, and her thesis was based on her interest in “infusing mindfulness” in classrooms and throughout school populations. She said that she is pleased that her work allows her to put this concept into practice. She also appreciates being able to support the academic and socio-emotional development of the students in her district, while also supporting the teachers, staff, and parents at the schools. She feels that she practices “from a trauma-informed lens”.

Flappy Birds??
President Barbara’s time for giving out awards is coming to a close, but she wanted to acknowledge the support she has received from two former Club Presidents, so she created the “Wingman Award” for Bob Johnson and Scott Heller. Thanks from us, too!

Vocational Service Award 
Our Vocational Service Committee is making up for lost time! Last week, Jessica McKnight presented our second Vocational Service Award of the year to Elaine David, who will soon retire as the Director of Finance for the Area 1 Agency on Aging. Elaine was nominated by Sunriser Maggie Kraft. You may remember that Maggie returned early from her Peace Corps assignment in Botswana to serve as the A1AA’s Executive Director. Friday, Maggie said that one of the reasons she was willing to head up the agency is that their books were “completely clean”. That is directly attributable to Elaine’s work.

As part of the award, our Club made Elaine a Paul Harris Fellow. In addition, donations were made in her name to the College and Career Center at Arcata High School and to the Area 1 Agency on Aging, to support her agency’s work helping seniors in our community.

Jessica McKnight, Elaine David, Maggie Kraft, and President Barbara

“I’m so, so touched,” Elaine said in accepting the award. “I’ve been on the perimeter of Rotary for many years, with people I’ve worked with … so I’m aware of the good work that you do. It’s pretty special to be recognized by a group that you admire.” Well, it’s a mutual admiration society for sure, Elaine – congratulations on a well-deserved recognition!

Dangers of BHO Processing
Sunriser Chris Jelinek was our Featured Speaker last Friday, and he taught us how to make hash oil. That wasn’t his main goal, and the Sunrise Spirit will not be repeating his instructions, for obvious reasons. Chris’s intent was to show how devastatingly dangerous processing hash oil can be.

Chris Jelinek (with Ron Sharp) 

Hash oil is concentrated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana. It is a resinous extract made by processing parts of marijuana plants. Chris made it clear that he wanted to avoid the politics of marijuana other than to say that he thinks that legalization for recreational use is likely, if not inevitable.

Although there are several methods for extracting hash oil, firefighters like Chris are most concerned about using butane as a solvent. Making butane hash oil (BHO) is dangerous because during the process, a single spark may ignite the volatile solvent, leading to a deadly explosion. Butane is popular because it is cheap and accessible.

Chris showed several slides demonstrating his point quite graphically. He also noted that it is all too easy for a firefighter who is inside a building fighting a blaze caused by a BHO explosion to get his or her gear caught in wires that remain after flexible venting has burned away.

Depending on its consistency, hash oil is known as honey, shatter, or wax, and its THC content ranges from about 65% up to 95%. This compares with a 15-25% THC content for local “bud”. The product can be smoked, vaporized, or ingested.

As part of his “Ganja Roadshow”, Chris brought with him the equipment needed to process BHO. The main portion consisted of several lengths of steel pipe. Portions of the marijuana plant are placed in the pipe and screened off from the output area. Butane is “blasted” through the pipe and it carries the concentrated THC to a separate container. When the butane evaporates, only hash oil remains. The free-floating butane is highly combustible, and when a large amount of BHO is processed, there is a lot of it in the air. Butane is heavier than air, and it can travel a long way to find an ignition source. This could be a water heater, a stove, or even the motor on a refrigerator. Chris said that the result is a flash fire that comes back to the source. These fires are intense, and often butane canisters that had not yet been used explode periodically during the fire, further endangering fire fighters.