Volume XIII, Issue 20: December 4, 2015

Coming Distractions …
Dec 10-12 – The Jerry Paul Arcata Invitational Basketball Tournament (AIBT) at Arcata High School  
Dec 18RISE EVENT – Enjoy the music of the Living Rooms (with Sunriser Bob Johnson on bass) at Chapala Cafe.

Sunriser Shorts  

  • Over 20 Sunrisers attended last month’s Rotary Foundation Dinner North in Ferndale. President Howard said that the dinner was fun and inspiring.
  • Also fun and inspiring was this year’s edition of A Taste of the Holidays. Howard showed several photos from the event, many taken by Matt Filar. He noted that Tim Randles and his band provided the entertainment for the evening. North Bay Rotaract President Rachel Damme told us that her group and the Lost Coast Rotaract enjoyed working at the event. They helped greet guests, and they sold wine and raffle tickets. They also had a “Pinkies for Polio” table, at which they offered to paint the nail on guests little fingers purple. This represents the way volunteers track which children have been immunized – their pinkies are marked with purple dye. The Rotaractors raised $230, which will be donated to the polio eradiacation fund. 
  • Our annual dinner for Foster Families was held the night before last Friday’s meeting. Ed Christians said that it was a great night, and there were a lot of volunteers. The crowd of at least 300 people was made up of of foster children, parents, and other who provide support for the foster family system. They were appreciative of our efforts (and we definitely appreciate theirs).
  •  Carol Vander Meer reported that progress is being made on upgrading the Manila Family Resource Center. The roof is now off Schoolhouse A, and once that has been replaced and a few other structural tweaks have been applied, we will be ready to head in with a SWOT (Serving With Our Talents) team. Carol promises that there will be a lot of hands-on work needed, so please be prepared to roll up your sleeves! Project dates and times will be announced soon.
  •  We were saddened by the news that former Sunriser Marylee Bytheriver passed away on November 29th. Our hearts go out to her husband, Allen Katz, and her children. 
  • Jessica Ayala-Pimintel of the North Bay Rotaract Club talked with us about their support of Humboldt County Special Olympics. She said that it is a year-round program, featuring many different sports for children with disabilities. The annual fundraiser for the local Special Olympics organization will be “80’s At The Ingomar”, featuring dinner, live and silent auctions, and dancing. The event will take place on Friday, January 29th at 6 pm, at the Ingomar Club.

Welcome, John!
Last Friday, we welcomed our first new member of President Howard’s year – John Richmond. John is the General Manager of Lost Coast Communications, and he has worked for nearly 15 years in advertising sales. 

John Richmond and Tomas Chavez

John’s father is Rotarian Rollin Richmond, who served as the President of Humboldt State University from 2002 to 2014. But John told us that he grew up in Washington, D.C., and he worked for the Washington Post from 1997 to 2009. “I took a hilarious old-guy buyout,” he said, “when I was 35.” He then worked for a small digital company, which was not a good fit for him. (He was ethical, they were not so much.) Leila suggested that he quit and take some time to write. She had saved his bonuses for ten years, so they moved to a cabin in Vermont.

After John finished a few books, they moved to San Francisco, where they lived for three years. John worked as the Director of Sales Training for Hearst Media. At a meeting of nonprofit organizations, Leila met Patrick Cleary, who is the Executive Director for the Humboldt Area Foundation. Patrick also owns Lost Coast Communications, and he mentioned to Leila that he needed someone “who knows how to sell advertising.” She said, “I’ve got a guy.” So about three months ago, they moved to Humboldt County. Welcome John and Leila – we’re happy to have you here!

Hot Knots
Our Featured Speakers last Friday were sisters Andrea and Gayle Shackleton, who co-founded Hot Knots, a local store specializing in women’s clothing. 

Andrea and Gayle Shackleton

Gayle told us that she and Andrea “have been making stuff together our whole lives.” They grew up in New Jersey and New York, and even as kids, they were making and selling things. After they moved to the area, Andrea taught Gayle to knit, and they started making sweaters. They collaborated on fiber art projects, which led them to create “art to wear, which became our first business”. They sold to collectors, among others.

As they gained recognition for their work, they were approached by Claire Brett Smith to help her organization, Aid to Artisans. Andrea described the group as “kind of like a Peace Corps for artisans”. It sends American artists to developing areas to foster crafters and help them become established. 

Andrea and Gayle traveled to Nepal to help a group of about 100 knitters that had been trained in their craft by a Chinese company. That company moved its production China after a short time, and the knitters needed another productive outlet. A UNESCO grant helped Gayle and Andrea train the group to develop their own women-owned businesses and to market their products. The cooperative effort morphed into a wholesale business, with buyers from all over the United States, which led to an association with Sundance, with which the sisters continue to work.

Over time, the travel became difficult to manage as their families grew. So they began to focus locally, and opened their store in the Jacoby Storehouse. Later, they were offered the opportunity to purchase a building on the Arcata Plaza (on rather favorable terms), where their store is currently located. In addition to their own items, they sell works from other local artisans.  They are very pleased to be so involved with the community.