Volume XIII, Issue 2: July 17, 2015 –

Coming Soon …
July 25RISE EVENT – Sand Sculpture Festival Team – (Benefit for Friends of the Dunes)
August 6RISE EVENT – Arcata Chamber Mixer at Coast Central Credit Union on Giuntoli Lane
Sept 13: “Out of the Darkness” – Arcata Community Walk Against Suicide. 

Rotarian News
  • President Howard reminded us to fill in squares on the Activities Chart to qualify for the drawing for a $100 credit to your Paul Harris account. Basically, any Rotary activity other than a regular Friday meeting qualifies. The sooner we fill it up, the sooner we will have a drawing!
  • Howard also reminded us that the RCAS Website has some valuable treasures hidden in the Members Only area. (The link is found at the bottom of the Home Page.) You can view the Committee Chart, a list of our projects and fundraisers, monthly agendas for both boards (which include Committee updates), financial reports, and schedules for programs and recognitions. Thanks to Scott Heller for maintaining the site and all its gems, both hidden and public!

Returning Scholar Update

River Sween received the renewable Arcata Sunrise Memorial Scholarship last year. He attended last Friday’s meeting to provide an update on how things went in his first year at

River told us that he “took part in a lot of the sports they have to offer”, attending many events. He was occasionally able to meet up with friends from Arcata High School who were in the area. 

He became a writer for the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student newspaper. In that role, he covered a Congressional election

River Sween

and protests.

“I also met an amazing girl,” he told us, “who ended up becoming my girlfriend.” With her and friends, River had many fun adventures, including visiting tourist areas such as the Hollywood sign and taking hikes. He took a seminar taught by the Chancellor, which dealt with solving the “grand challenges” of our time, such as climate change and education issues.

He also took part in a dance marathon. Participants danced for 24 hours, to raise funds for research on Pediatric AIDS; “It was one of the best experiences and one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had,” he said. “You can’t sit down for the entire 24 hours, but it’s for a good cause.”

River expressed his gratitude for the scholarship. “I was able to buy books. I was able to buy the first suit I’ve ever owned,” he said, “which I wore to interviews for research positions. I was able to do all these things in part because of the money I received from the Sunrise Rotary.” 

Committee Reports
Recognitions Committee
Joyce Hinrichs and Dustin Littlefield outlined their Committee’s plans for the year. They provided a schedule for recognitions (also on the Club website), and asked us to let them know as early as possible if we will not be available on the day scheduled for us. 

They need us to respond quickly to requests for information and contacts (family members, co-workers, and friends) who can provide real insight into each of us. Conversely, if you don’t want to be recognized, please let them know.

Joyce noted that the Committee still plans to deal with “timely” events – these will be forwarded to President Howard for the Rotarian News segments of our meetings.

Community Service Committee
Carol Vander Meer said that her Committee is in “brainstorming mode”, even though they have many projects on their (our) plate. She reminded us that we are all invited to their meetings, with the next one coming up on August 18th at the Golden Harvest Cafe. 

Ongoing/Proposed Projects:

  • Backpacks For Kids (BFK)
  • Supplemental nutrition assistance for HSU students
  • Support of the Tour of the Unknown Coast cycling event
  • Community Gardens Development
  • Senior Assistance – home maintenance & transportation care
  • Dental supplies for BFK families
  • Bookshelves for Babies
  • Adopt-a-Hisssssssssssssssghway events
  • Rotary Park work days
  • Pastels on the Plaza

Also in the wings are potential SWOT projects with the Manila Family Resource Center and the Humboldt Domestic Violence Services. Other new projects include participating in the “Arcata Community Walk” on September 13th, and creating a picnic area at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center.

Featured Program: 
Appropriate Technology Near and Far

Lonny Grafman is a man of many roles, but all relate to his passion for appropriate technology. He is a lecturer at HSU, he founded the Practivistas Dominicana appropriate technology program, he is the Executive Editor of the International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering, and he founded Appropedia – a wiki dedicated to “sharing

Lonny Grafman

knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives”.

Lonny defines appropriate technology (AT) as “any technology that meets current needs by leveraging available resources while bolstering local capacity and protecting the future”.

He said that appropriate technology, which he also calls “resilient community technology”, takes into consideration the following two questions:

  • Can it be maintained and adapted with local knowhow, money, and other resources?
  • What are the cultural, political, economic, and environmental (local and global) impacts?

“For me,” he said, “a great appropriate technology must be developed and built not just for, but by or with the local stakeholders.” 

In the past 20 years or so, Lonny has been involved in roughly 1,000 AT projects. One of these projects was Waterpod, which was a living structure constructed on a barge. In July 2009, the barge set sail in New York City’s East River, and visited all of the city’s five boroughs over the five months of the project. Waterpod was designed to be self-sustaining, and it housed 11 projects designed and built by students in HSU’s Introduction to [Engineering] Design class. These included composting toilets, rainwater catchments, and even a small scale version of the Arcata Marsh. Lonny said, “Pretty much, we built Arcata, and floated it through New York City.”

Lonny noted that all of the Waterpod projects, as well as the work performed by Practavistas, “are all shared on [Appropedia] in excruciating detail”. He said that the photos on the site may not be beautiful, but they show the details of each project, so they can be reconstructed and adapted by others. Appropedia has 40,000 pages of projects to date.

“I learned this morning,” Lonny said, “that Rotary Clubs like to get things done while having fun, and you do it through friends and connections. We’re going to work well together!” 

His method for working in a new area is to start with a meeting to assess the community’s needs and the resources available. Las Malvinas, in the Dominican Republic, has a lot of children, but there is a shortage of available schoolrooms. Since there are many used plastic bottles available, Lonny’s students looked at many ways to use that supply to make building materials. Eventually, they were able to construct a classroom from these materials. This means that 48 additional students can now attend the school.

Las Malvinas also has an abundance of rice husks, which are now being processed into construction blocks (with the addition of sand and naturally-occurring binding materials). These blocks are less than half the weight of traditional contruction blocks, with 60% of their strength, and with better thermal properties. “When they break, they don’t explode,” Lonny told us, “and when they fall on you, they don’t kill you.” The community built a pharmacy using the blocks.

In another community in the Dominican Republic, Arroyo Norte, most residents live in homes made from metal sheets reclaimed from 55-gallon drums that have been hammered flat. Here too, there is a lot of plastic waste. Last year, with Practavista assistance, members of the community shredded the waste, then melted and pressed it in a converted tortilla press. The resulting product was a block, somewhat smaller than a traditional brick. This summer, another process was developed, to extrude melted waste plastic into strands, which can then be woven into bags and other useful items.

In 2012, Lonny’s class worked closer to home, helping Friends of the Dunes on several projects, including the construction of an amphitheater built using waste concrete (urbanite), and a tool for baling beachgrass.

Another project in the Dominican Republic was taking an animal shelter off the grid, providing it with 100% solar power. Access to power through the grid was limited and random. “Where they are, they only receive energy three hours a day, but you don’t know which three hours.”

Practivista ran a series of solar workshops, and by the end, local community leaders were leading the classes. This allows the locals to continue the process after the Practivista workers have returned.

For a list of projects developed by Lonny’s classes, visit the E215 Introduction to Design page on Appropedia, and for more information on the use of Appropriate Technology, visit Appropedia’s main page, and browse through some amazing and creative ideas!