Volume XIII, Issue 15: October 16, 2015

Coming Soon …
Oct 22/23
– District Governor Erin Dunn visits our Club (officially!). Thursday
night Board Meeting and Social, Friday Morning Club Meeting.
Oct 23 – World Polio Day! For more information, please click here
Oct 30 – Pumpkin Carving Contest (at our regular spooky meeting). Bring your creepily carved creation!
Oct 30 – Arcata Sunrise K-8 Cross-Country Championships at the Arcata Community Center 
Oct 30/31RISE EVENT – 
Lost Coast Rotaract’s 5th Annual “Spirits & Spirits” in Old Town –
Three tours each night!! (The RCAS group will take the 7 pm tour on
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
Dec 10-12 – The Jerry Paul Arcata Invitational Basketball Tournament (AIBT) at Arcata High School 

Rotarian News 

  • There’s been a lot of Sunriser Sightings recently –  There was a good turnout for the RCAS HSU Homecoming Tailgate Party, for example. In addition to the hot dogs and burgers on the grill, there was a lot going on in the parking lot. We gave a well-deserved round of applause to Romi Hitchcock Tinseth for organizing our RISE (Rotary Involvement Strengthens Everyone) Events.
  •  Last Thursday, our Club had strong representation at the dedication of the remodeled Arcata Firehouse. Karen Burgesser told us that the event was very inspiring. As you can see from the dedication plaque below, our contribution to the project was much appreciated. 
  • Barbara Browning reported that the most recent session of our Transitional Youth Meetings went well. She said there was a great turnout, but she wasn’t privy to the content, as she was babysitting for one of the participants. Jessica McKnight noted that the panels set up by Jim Ritter and Humboldt Live! are very interesting – the young people get to talk with various professionals, who share how they got where they are.
  • President Howard reminded us that we will be hosting District Governor Erin Dunn next week. Thursday evening, she will meet with our Board and Committee Chairs; the following morning, she will be our Featured Speaker. Our official 2015-2016 Club Portrait will follow, out on the Plaza (accompanied by unofficial Sunriser Bill McKinley). There is a rumor that there may be a live musical performance on tap, as well … we’ll see (or hear).
  • A Taste of the Holidays is fast approaching. Please sell those tickets and gather them thar raffle prizes. Co-chairs Ron Sharp and Ray Noggle said that the cleanup situation seems to be in hand, and you can find a letter to potential prize donors and participants on the Resource Page of the RCAS website. Barbara Browning sent an email showing the makeup of the prize teams for the year. (lease note that this will be your team through the Spring Fundraiser, as well.) For TOTH, each team is expected to come up with at least two raffle prizes, valued at $50 or more each. We need to have the prizes secured by November 6th.
  • Please continue to check your email for Signup Genius notices for our Backpacks for Kids program. The biggest need, according to John Gullam, is in transporting the packages to Arcata Elementary and Trillium Schools following our meetings. That takes about 30 minutes, so please help if you can.
  • Let Scott Heller know how you feel about the recent changes to the breakfast offerings at our meetings. The menu adjustments will help keep our per-meeting price at the current $10. Your feedback is appreciated.
  • We were anticipating a visit by graduates of the Cambodia Academy in November, but that has been postponed. The visa applications for the students who planned to visit were unexpectedly rejected. They plan to re-apply, but their visit will be delayed until at least March or April.

Sophia’s Week  
Sophia Waern-Bugge said that she’s been in Arcata for two months already. The time has gone by “really fast” for our Exchange Student from Sweden. 

She said that she participated in the HSU Tailgate Party, but noted that “I’ve never been to a party like that”, but she had fun. Another new experience was visiting a pumpkin patch. “We don’t have those at all,” she told us. She learned how to pick out a pumpkin, and she said that selecting one at the patch was a lot more fun than buying one at the store. 

Later in the day, she was headed for San Francisco, and she was very excited about that. I’m sure we’ll hear her report soon!

Costa Rica Microcredit Project Update 
Pablo Elizondo, better known as “Chespi”, is the Executive Director of Costa Rica Bird Observatory. He is also a member of the Club Rotario San Jose Noreste in Costa Rica – the host Club for the La Trinidad Microcredit/Infrastructure Improvement project that our Clubs are co-sponsoring along with the Rotary Club of Arcata Noon and the North Bay Rotaract Club.  

Chespi provided an update on the project, which he said is “definitely changing the lives of the people up in the highlands of Costa Rica”, and he thanked our Club for our participation. He said that this project allows us all to “do good while having fun”, a theme that carried through his presentation.

Pablo is a native of the area, so he is very familiar with the challenges faced by the local families. He is pleased that this project will establish real connections between the villages of the highlands and the Rotarians and Rotaractors in San Jose and Humboldt County. 

The village of La Trinidad has a school, a community center, and access into the area. Pablo told us that there are limited economic opportunities there, however, and many families are limited to subsisting on small farms. The highlands are rich in biodiversity, with many species that are endemic to the area. 

“Chespi” Elizondo

The project will establish a microcredit lending program, to provide seed capital for family businesses. Our Clubs are raising a total of $30,000 for this phase. The loans will be managed by credit committees, a model that has proven successful in other locations. Oversight for the project will be provided by Rotary in conjunction with FIDERPAC, a Costa Rican NGO with 30 years of expertise in this type of program.

Chespi said that several hands-on projects are being developed, which will allow Rotarians who travel to the area to meet the locals, and provide assistance while having fun. Part of the overall project will be to invest in infrastructure, with the goal of providing high-speed internet to the area, which will help with both commerce and education.

Committee Report 
John Gullam gave an update from the World Community Service Committee, which turned out to be a bit of a cliffhanger – since so much is going on with the international side of our Club, we will hear more in the coming weeks. But for now, John reminded us that the Committee meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:30 am at the Golden Harvest Cafe, if you would like to participate or if you have a project idea to share. 

The first project John shared is one that we are working on in conjunction with Dr. Andrew Hooper. Dr. Hooper has been traveling to Haiti since the major earthquake that occurred there in 2010. He told the committee of the need for educational materials for children in that country, and our Club has pledged $3,500 to purchase textbooks and workbooks. Since Dr. Hooper will be working directly with the publisher, he will be able to maximize the impact of our contribution, providing materials to about 160 kids.

The other project that John talked about is the Shoe That Grows. This program was begun by Kenton Lee, a pastor in Nampa, Idaho who is also a Rotarian. While in Kenya, he noticed that a young girl was wearing shoes that were several sizes too small. They had been cut open to accommodate her growth, but her toes still extended beyond the soles. Pastor Lee developed the idea of making a shoe that could be adjusted as a child’s feet grew. The Shoe That Grows was the result. The shoes help protect children from diseases and parasites that can enter their systems through unprotected feet. Our Club donated $1,000, which was matched by District 5130. That $2,000 will provide shoes for 135 children. Brenda Bishop, who alerted the Committee to the program, brought two pairs in for us to look at. The shoes are very durable and functional.

Approaching Zero (Waste) 
Maggie Gainer has been working in economic development for most of her career. She is on the board of Zero Waste Humboldt, an organization that seeks to develop solutions for businesses and individuals in our region, to help them reduce the amount of waste they generate. 

Maggie said that there has been an over-emphasis on recycling since the first Earth Day in 1970. She argues that this has led us to feel that this step is sufficient. However, recycling can lead to a complacency that has led us to create more waste per person in our country. 

She told us that the solution can be found “upstream”, by making waste prevention our priority. if we can avoid creating waste products in the first place, we will not have to deal with them later. Many items are difficult or expensive to recycle, and if those can be avoided, the waste stream is reduced at the outset.

Maggie Gainer

Zero waste is based on a set of international principles. It is comprehensive, combining prevention, reuse of materials, portion sizing, composting, and food digestion. To the degree possible, recovered materials are reused locally, and the process should be monitored to ensure that the data support the efficiency of the entire effort. 

The three main services provided by Zero Waste Humboldt are public education, including providing demonstration models; advocacy and policy development; and providing training and technical assistance. Maggie said that the last aspect has become leadership training, as the participants gain confidence in their abilities to work collaboratively with various community members. 

The group is developing an online guide to help businesses and event organizers analyze potential purchases, to determine the environmental impact of each alternative. They are also partnering with the City of Eureka to reduce purchases of plastic water bottles by providing “Refill Not Landfill” refilling stations for reusable containers. 

Maggie said that the organization seeks to ask difficult questions about waste issues. She encourages people to establish baselines for their waste production. If you are recycling more, is it because you are generating more total waste? She wants us all to avoid products provided in single-use containers, and to emphasize prevention. And when we can’t avoid single-use containers, we should avoid plastics and seek out paper that can decompose (without coatings, chemical additives, or bleach). We should also purchase products made with recycled content.

On October 29th, from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, Zero Waste Humboldt will present “Food Waste Solutions” as part of its Zero Waste Solutions Series. The program will be held at the Humboldt Area Foundation, and more information can be found at the Zero Waste Humboldt website.

Dustin Littlefield recognized Nick Torres last Friday. Nick was born in Fresno in 1983. He has an older sister and a younger brother, three stepsisters and “a lot of nephews and nieces”. Nick remembers that his grandmother’s house often smelled of tortillas and menudo (the soup, not the boy band … I’m pretty sure).

When Nick’s mother remarried, the family moved to the foothills just outside the city, where he “learned a whole new way of life” – he learned to raise animals for food, he built buildings for animals and for storage, and he developed good mechanical skills. 

In 2001, following his high school graduation, Nick decided to join the Marine Corps. The choice was very meaningful for him. Following the events of 9/11 Nick began ground combat training, where he became an Amphibious Assault Vehicle Operator, running a vehicle the size of a tank. The job was difficult, with long hours of maintenance and repair, but Nick’s vehicle – “The Hog” – performed well. It’s top speed was 8 miles per hour. 

Nick thrived in the field training, since it allowed him to develop his leadership skills. He also had the opportunity to train military representatives from Spain and Thailand in amphibious vehicle operations. 

Nick’s sister, Angelica, said that Nick loves music, and his taste is eclectic. That made road trips a blast, she said, and he knows all the words. She said that Nick loves microbreweries, and he enjoys traveling. Wherever he goes, he embraces the local culture, and quickly becomes a local. “Nick is an awesome brother,” Angelica said. “He really is so easygoing, and he fits right in and makes quick friends. Anyone who knows Nick knows that he’s not an overly sentimental guy, but he’s extremely generous with his time, his resources, and his dedication. He’s had so many experiences that conversations are effortless, and he usually has some fine story that keeps everyone smiling and keeps the conversation going.”

Nick also loves Spanish cinema, which helped inspire his career as a translator. We are happy to have Nick as a fellow Sunriser!