Volume XIII, Issue 10: September 11, 2015

Coming Soon …
Sept 26 – Adopt-A-Highway Cleanup – 9:30 – 11:30 am – Meet at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center
Sept 26 – District 5130 Rotary Foundation Workshop in Fortuna – 10 am to 2 pm
Sept 27 – District 5130 New Focus Membership Meeting in Fortuna – 10 am to 2 pm
Oct 3RISE EVENT  – CASA Kids Walk (Support the North Bay Rotaract Club’s team)
Oct 10RISE EVENT – HSU Homecoming Tailgate Party!
Oct TBARISE EVENT –  Lost Coast Rotaract’s “Spirits & Spirits” in Old Town
Nov 14RISE EVENT – Foundation Dinner North in Ferndale – “An Evening in the Enchanted Forest”
Nov 19A Taste of the Holidays at the Arcata Community Center 
Dec 5RISE EVENT – Christmas Caroling for Arts Alive in Old Town Eureka

Rotarian News 

  • We had special visitors at last Friday’s meeting – Ramon and Iberto from Camoapa, Nicaragua were in town to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Sister City relationship between their home and Arcata. We were also joined by Antonio Llanos of Engineers Without Borders. Past President Barbara Browning was part of the Sister City process from the beginning (along with President Howard). She told us that the connection came at a time during the war in Nicaragua. Camoapa also has a second sister city in Spain, and the employees of at least one company there donate a portion of their wages to Camoapa, which has funded some significant projects. Barbara noted that there is movement toward establishing a Rotary Club in Camoapa, which is very exciting. President Howard promises a program this spring which will discuss the history of the relationship between Arcata and Camoapa (including “the famous Yellow Bus Incident”).
  • President Howard announced that Dustin Littlefield has been appointed to our Board of Directors, replacing Angelo Bacigaluppi, who has moved to Portland. Dustin will be the Director of the New Generations Avenue of Service.
  • Exchange Student Sophia Waern-Bugge spent the long weekend at Trinity Lake with Claire Ajina and family. They were on a houseboat, and Sophia got to water ski and she did some tubing, as well. She said that the lake is really low, due to the drought. Then she was back at school, and  … “I don’t know how it happened, but I joined the French Club.” Sophia will also be competing for the AHS Cross-Country team this fall. Her first meet was scheduled for the following day.
  • President Howard is a Burning Man veteran, and he told us that we have a “closet Burner” in our Club – former  President Bob Goodman. “I’ve been a couple of times,” Bob said. “During my [Presidential] year, I only missed one meeting. It just happened to be that weekend.” Howard showed photos of other Rotary and Rotary-relations who attended this year. These included Patty Hoyt, President of the Rotary Club of Dougherty Valley, San Ramon (which is the Club that Sunrisers Chris and Lisa Hemphill belonged to before joining our Club). Chris and Lisa had another connection – their niece and nephew Sara and Alex Crosby also attended, as did Howard’s daughter Sarah. Sarah called her dad to report that a dust storm with 50-mile per hour winds was threatening to blow down her tent. Which of course was followed by, “I’m having a wonderful time!”
  • Scott Heller headed up a group that discussed the catering situation with Abruzzi’s. Although food prices have increased, we have been paying the same amount ($10 per regular meeting,  $15 for Final Fridays) for quite a while. Scott noted that our regular meetings were intended to be relatively simple, Continental Breakfast-style meals. To maintain the current pricing, we have agreed to return to that model, at least for a two-month trial. Please give Scott or Howard your feedback during that time, and we will determine if a change is needed.
  • Backpacks for Kids is scheduled to return in early October. The program needs individual sponsors this year (in addition to the amount donated by our Club) to serve 43 students at Arcata Elementary and Trillium Schools. Supporting one student for the entire school year requires a commitment of $265. Please contact John Gullam for information about making a donation.

Committee Report: Membership
Tomas Chavez told us that the Membership Commitee, which includes Co-Chair Nick Torres, Ray Noggle, Brandi Easter, Karen Burgesser, and Tom Tellez, is acting on the information that President Howard gained in his pre-Presidency interviews with each of us. The consensus was that we would like our Club to have about 65 to 70 members. This means that we should look to add about 8 new members this year. “We’ve already lost three or four,” he said. “You know, attrition happens.” 

The Committee would like us to continue to add diversity to our membership. We plan to engage Rotaractors who will be transitioning to Rotary, as many are “aging out” this year. The goal is to keep our Club “diverse and vibrant”. 

They intend to maintain a close relationship with the Mentorship Committee, so new members will have support once they become Sunrisers. Brandi serves on both Committees, so she will serve as the liaison between the two groups. 

Finally, the Committee plans to incorporate the Youth Exchange vetting process into the New Member checklist. This will allow new members to be able to engage with Exchangers, which opens up more possibilities for both the new Sunrisers and for the students. 

Tomas said that they would like each Sunriser to contact at least five people whom they think may be interested in Rotary. And they want each of us to bring at least one guest (potential member) to a Friday meeting at least once during the year. 

Dustin Littlefield provided last Friday’s recognition of Praj White, noting that Praj was born in 1972, and he is a native of Garberville. His family lived “off the grid”, and his father was part of a commercial fleet that fished for salmon, albacore, and rockfish. Praj enjoyed working on the boat with his father, and they would often spend as long as two weeks at sea. He said that seeing the North Coast from the ocean was and amazing way to grow up here. It also engendered Praj’s appreciation for clean air and the beauty of the area. 

The family moved to Arcata in 1982, where he attended Jacoby Creek School followed by Arcata High. He liked to go to Tiffany’s, Blue Max Pizza, Tsunami’s, and Larry’s Market, among others. 

After graduating from AHS in 1990, Praj went to Humboldt State. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in May 1994, and he moved to Colorado in July. He had met his future wife Alisa by this time, and she lived in Texas. So after three trips to visit her during July, he moved to Texas in August. They were married August 14th. They relocated to Alaska, where Praj attended the University of Alaska, Anchorage and worked for Dowl Engineering. He graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering in June 2000. 

Their two children, Logan and Isabella, were born while they were in Alaska, and Alisa told Dustin that they survived on their love for each other and their children. Praj attended school and worked as much as he could. She said, “Praj has a big heart, and he is committed to our family.” 

Praj’s graduation, they sold their house and most of their belongings
to return to Arcata, to be closer to friends and family. He went to work for CalTrans, and later opened his own firm, White Engineering. He merged with Manhard Consulting, which is a Top 500 Engineering Firm. As the Northern California Area Manager for Manhard, Praj supervises 12 Specialists who provide engineering services, mostly in the private sector. He said that at any given time, their group could be working on as many as 100 active projects.

Logan is now 19, and he attends UC Merced, and 16-year old Isabella is attending Northcoast Preparatory and Performing Arts Academy. Praj’s father lives in McKinleyville, and his mother lives in Arcata. Praj is a 49ers fan, and he likes to golf, fish, and other outdoor activities. He also enjoys eating great food, doing community service, and being with his family.  (After Dustin was finished, Praj noted that “Alisa used to babysit Dustin”.)

How Do You Like Them Apples?
Last week’s Featured Speaker was Jamie Ashdon, one of the co-founders of the Humboldt Cider Company. Jamie has co-owned Humboldt Beer Works since 2011, selling supplies and equipment to local home brewers. That led to his association with his partners, Darren and Michelle Cartledge.

Jamie Ashdon

The three decided in early 2014 to begin producing hard cider for sale, and they began the process of setting up shop. Their cider debuted in November 2014, at a benefit for the Eureka Theater. In February of this year, they opened their Tasting Room at Redwood Acres, adjacent to their business incubator space. 

Their cider has already won awards at tasting competitions. In 2014, they won the “Das Boot” People’s Choice award at the Strange Brew event at Mad River Brewery. And this year, they won three medals at the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition.

Jamie said that making hard cider has more in common with winemaking than with brewing beer. In fact, the finished product is technically considered a type of wine, which limits the way Humboldt Cider Company can distribute its product. 

In addition to its Tasting Room, you can find Humboldt Cider Company’s product at Larrupin’s Cafe, Mad River Brewery, Six Rivers Brewery, Jambalaya, HumBrews, Richard’s Goat Tavern and Tea Room, Cafe Phoenix, T’s Cafe, Humboldt Bay Tourism Center, the Hop Grenade (in Concord), and the Local Beer Bar. (The last venue is owned by Jamie’s partners Darren and Michelle.)