Volume XIII, Issue 5: August 8, 2014

It Happened Last Friday …
President Barbara asked Rotary Kids Mary and Max Crow to the front, where she presented each with one of our new Rotary Club of Arcata Sunrise pins. The pins are available to you as well, for only $5.

Brandi Easter, Julie Vaissade-Elcock, Lori Breyer, and Romi Hitchcock-Tinseth had a great time visiting the Ferndale Rotary Club last week. Romi said that there are more RISE (Rotary Involvement Strengthens Everyone) opportunities planned. Check “On The Calendar” below for the dates marked “RISE EVENT“. They returned with a ticket to the Ferndale Rotary’s Scholarship Barbecue, which was given to Gregg Foster in exchange for his promise to contribute a commensurate amount to the Rotary Foundation. President Barbara was committed to a business trip in the opposite direction, but she did a make-up with the Del Norte Sunrise Rotary.

For Your Calendar

  • Thursday, August 21 – RCAS Board of Directors and Committee Chairs meet with Kevin Eisenburg, Governor of Rotary District 5130.
  • Friday, August 22 – DG Kevin addresses our Club at our Friday meeting.
  • Friday, August 22 – RISE EVENT – Rotary Day at the Humboldt County Fair. Wear your Rotary pin, and get in for only $4! At noon, there will be a lunch barbecue for $20.
  • Sunday, August 24 – RISE EVENT – The Kevin Ebbert Memorial Trail Run will be held in the Arcata Community Forest. For information, CLICK HERE. Thanks to HealthSPORT for sponsoring this event as part of their anniversary celebration. All proceeds benefit Climb for the Fallen, which honors Servicemen and Servicewomen who lost their lives in combat operations.
  • Tuesday, August 26 – Ferndale Rotary Alexandre Scholarship Barbecue at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds.
  • Date TBA – RISE EVENT – Welcome barbecue for our Exchange Student Mozara Abdalla and the Noon Club’s Exchanger, Anais Bury.
  • Thursday, September 11 – RISE EVENT – Mad River Brewery Tour and Fellowship.
  • Saturday, September 20 – RISE EVENT – Redwood Curtain’s “Equivocation”. Tickets available at redwoodcurtain.com.

Special Daze
Kyle Visser’s birthday was July 29th, and he said that his wife Natalie asked what he wanted to do. He said that “I really love my job, so I worked.” But he added that the celebration actually took place the next day. His mother watched their son Damon for the whole day, while Kyle and Natalie took a day trip to Medford. It was their first opportunity to take a short trip as a couple since their son was born.

“Like Kyle,” said Terri Clark about her August 4th birthday, “I worked.” She added, “I love my job, but I’m just tired of going to work. Those really are two different things, I’ve discovered.” Her husband took her out for dinner that night, and they planned to go down to Benbow over the weekend, as she continues her birthmonth celebration.

Romi Hitchcock Tinseth also worked on her birthday. She was at a conference, but there was “a light at the end of the tunnel”, she said. Last Thursday was her last day in Admissions, but she’s not leaving Humboldt State – she will be teaching in the HSU Communications Department. She was hoping to quietly slip out at the end of her day, but when she opened the door to the lobby, there were about 100 students there. This was courtesy of a lockdown, due to a report of shots being fired in downtown Arcata. 

In recognition of their 25th anniversary, Bryan Plumley and Kim Floyd decided to celebrate for a whole month. They spent a week in the Southeast – spending time in Charleston and Savannah. They had a great time with their kids. On the night of their anniversary, they were back in town. “Our friends were gracious enough to have our kids over for a sleepover,” Bryan said. So he and Kim were able to “have a nice romantic dinner at home, and we pretended like we didn’t have kids.” And Kim’s gift to Bryan was a long weekend trip to Monterey, where he and his son were able to play golf at Pebble Beach and Spyglass. “It was a phenomenal month,” he said, “one of the best ever.”

Jessica McKnight and James Hitchcock celebrated 4 years of marriage (and 15 years together) on August 7th. They went to the office, where they spent the day, which was followed by a rehearsal for “Equivocation”. That all lasted until 9 pm, so they planned to do the real celebration on Saturday night. 

Ceva Courtemanche issued another call for Rotary Selfies, and she reminded us that there will be a drawing each Final Friday from those who submitted selfies, and the winner will receive $25 toward his/her Paul Harris Fellowship. Keep ’em coming!

The person selected for the Recognition of the Week was Matt Babich. Unfortunately, Matt was not at last Friday’s meeting, but Ceva had been in touch with Kevin, one of Matt’s good friends. He told her that most of the “dirt” he had on Matt couldn’t be divulged, citing the Guy Code, but he did say that Matt is the type of friend who, if you hadn’t spoken with him for months, he picks up right where you left off. Matt is loyal, and he is tough but with a sensitive side and a huge heart. He will help someone in need, but he never wants to take credit for it – he doesn’t feel the need to be validated by the good things he does for his community. He does those things because he genuinely wants to help. As an employer, he is very generous. If a colleague is having a slow month, he will often turn over his commission on a sale to him or her.

Ceva said that she has worked with Matt; his company manages four apartments that her company owns. Before Matt was involved, they had a string of difficult renters. Since Humboldt Property Management stepped in, their tenants have been great. 

Matt’s daughter Tasha wrote the following tribute to her Dad:

I think the most prominent traits I’ve gained from my Dad are generosity and being able to put myself in someone else’s shoes to see from their point of view. In today’s world, these are two of the most important things a person needs in order to understand another’s suffering and to offer healing. Monkey see, monkey do – growing up in Arcata and experiencing my Dad’s interactions with other showed me how important it is to wake up each day and put as much energy towards compassion and positive contribution as possible. I couldn’t ask for a more inspirational father and I am so thankful for his presence in my existence. Not to mention that he indulges my love for sushi and takes me to Tomo almost every other week. When I was little, on car trips we used to listen to the Dixie Chicks and sing “Wide Open Spaces” at the top of our lungs, a very happy memory. Basically, I feel like the luckiest kid in the world to have Matt Babich in my life.

Ceva then turned her attention to Gregg Foster, who purchased a two-minute shopping spree at Hensel’s Hardware at our Spring Fundraiser. The spree was limited to $1,000 and Gregg came in just over that amount, due to advance planning and a serious focus on items in the small appliance aisle. He outdid last year’s winner (Stan Elcock) without pulling a hamstring, and with 13 seconds to spare!

What’s New At The Zoo?

Our Featured Speakers last week were Gretchen Ziegler, the Manager of Sequoia Park Zoo, and Chuck Dominick, the President of the Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation. They were on hand to tell us about some exciting new things happening at the zoo.

Gretchen said that the Sequoia Park Zoo is the oldest continually operating zoo in California. It was founded in 1907 – nine years before the San Diego Zoo. It has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums since 1995. and it is operated by the City of Eureka in partnership with the Sequoia Park Zoo

Gretchen Ziegler


The zoo enjoyed record-breaking attendance in 2013 – over 75,000 people visited, and the number has been growing for several years. Tracking the number of visitors has been easier since the zoo began charging an admission fee in 2008. 

The zoo features several educational programs, including Zoofari Adventures, the Cub Club, and the Junior Zookeepers program. It also participates in captive breeding programs to help preserve endangered species. 

Gretchen gave us an update on “what’s new at the zoo”. She said that they now have bush dogs in the old bear exhibit. The bush dogs are from South America, and they are here as part of a cooperative breeding program that only a few zoos in the US are participating in. And the aviary now houses an African Gray Parrot who “retired” from his former life at a pet store. He seems happy to have moved from his small cage to a larger enclosure.

However, the biggest news is the new Watershed Heroes exhibit, which had its Grand Opening a few days after our meeting. Visitors will see river otters at play and get a close-up look at salmon habitat, and a bald eagle aviary is planned to open this fall. The exhibit includes a learning lab, which will provide an underwater view of the salmon pool. 

Chuck told us that the Zoo Foundation’s Gateway to the Redwoods Campaign continues to fund improvements at the facility. Phase One is completing the last of the funding for the Watershed Heroes project. He said that the zoo plans to take advantage of its natural surroundings and expand into the adjacent forest for additional exhibits featuring new species.

He also noted that the City of Eureka and the Zoo Foundation form a partnership that is a perfect example of how a public entity can work with an private organization to accomplish great things, The Foundation is able to raise money for capital improvements and to serve as the zoo’s marketing arm, and the city provides the operating funds. He also said that the Foundation advocates for zoo workers, who are employees of the city.

Chuck encouraged us to become members of the Zoo Foundation, and he said that he hopes that we will continue to support and visit the zoo. For more information, visit the Sequoia Park Zoo website.