Volume XIII, Issue 8: August 28, 2015 – Foundation Final Friday

Coming Soon … 
Sept 13RISE EVENT – “Out of the Darkness” – Arcata Community Walk Against Suicide. Begins at 10 am at the Arcata Plaza 
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 

  • Exchange Student Sophia Waern-Bugge was unable to attend last Friday’s meeting. She and Exchanger Mia (hosted by the Old Town Eureka Rotary) were with Julie Vaissade-Elcock, enjoying a country music concert in Sacramento.
  • Outbound Exchanger Trula Rael put in a final appearance before leaving for Italy this week. She said that it will take her about 24 hours to reach her host city of Trieste, but she’s ready. She has set up a blog – “Trula in Italy” – to document her experience. There is a link in the sidebar to your right. President Howard said, “I am envious.”
  • Howard told us that two more wheelchairs have been delivered to needy young people, thanks to our contributions to the Wheelchair Foundation!
  • Don’t forget two things … First, after you’ve participated in a RISE EVENT, attended another Club’s meetings, or completed any of the other qualifying actions, be sure to put your name in a square on the Participation Grid. (And don’t forget that it’s hanging on the display cabinet as you come in for our meetings. Second, send your selfies to Dustin Littlefield. When the number of photos reaches Critical Mass, we’ll see an onslaught of them flood President Howard’s screen!

Craft Talk
Last Friday, we learned about Steve McHaney, who transferred to our Club earlier this year. But first, a musical interlude – “The Red-Haired Boy” …

Steve’s mandolin was crafted by an engineer he worked with in Walnut Creek, Bob Schneider. Bob was also a long-time bluegrass musician and a fine woodworker to boot. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he quit his day job to focus on making instruments. “He probably made about 50 or 75 of these before he passed away,” Steve told us. He said that he doesn’t play as often as he should, but “it’s so much fun”.

“Not much happened before college”, according to the slide that opened Steve’s Craft Talk, but he explained that most of his early photos are at his father’s home, in non-digital form. 

Steve said his life was not a “Series of Unfortunate Events, it was more like a Series of Unlikely Events.” He said that, given his family history, “I probably shouldn’t even be standing here.” He told us of his grandfather, who served in France during World War I as part of an engineering battalion. He was a driver, and when different parts of various vehicles were blown up or off, he and his associates would cobble the remainders together. From an official point of view, each of the trucks had been destroyed, but Steve’s grandfather and his colleagues were able to make some extra money selling the reconditioned vehicles to local farmers. He also helped various shady characters move goods through military checkpoints. 

He took the money made during the war, returned to Michigan, and purchased a barge and tugboat, which he operated on the Great Lakes. The grandfather never learned to swim, and during a particularly intense storm, the barge and tug got tangled in the cable that joined them. The crew had to abandon ship, but they made it to shore safely. He survived that, then nearly drowned again in a fishing accident. Fortunately, he once again survived, otherwise there would have been no Craft Talk last Friday!

Steve was born in Michigan, and grew up in the Bay Area. He says that he was shy growing up, “but I was saved, because I came up here to go to school at Humboldt State University!” Steve ticked off the pluses: “It was a long way from home and  it was in the Redwoods.” He can’t recall how he heard about HSU in the pre-internet days. He arrived not knowing much about the area.

Once ensconced at HSU, Steve joined the Marching Lumberjacks, “and this is probably what really saved me”. He said, “What it really taught me was about being a performer. Getting up in front of people and doing.” The group has reunions every five years, with its fiftieth anniversary fast approaching. 

Steve graduated from HSU in 1986 with an engineering degree. He returned to the Bay Area to work, and that is where he met his wife Patty. Although both are musicians, they met after Steve’s brother became her roommate. Like many Sunriser couples, Steve and Patty enjoy Halloween, and Steve showed a few photos of them in costume.

For their nuptials, the couple rented an RV park north of Redding. The decorations included a tiki bar and palm fronds. Steve said that he was the only person with a tie – everyone else was in shorts and t-shirts, since the temperature was about 105 degrees. Even Patty was wearing a mermaid outfit in the photo we saw. Fellow Sunriser and Marching Lumberjack John Gullam was one of the attendees.

One of Steve’s projects after he joined the local engineering firm of Winzler and Kelly was to design a wastewater facility in Palau. A delegation of representatives from that country came to Arcata for a visit, and Steve got to show them the sights.

As expectant parents, Patty and Steve built a house in Fieldbrook. Although they have since moved into Arcata, they still own and rent out that first house. The pregnancy led to their twin sons Westin and Carson, both of whom graduated from Arcata High School in June. The family grew by two when Steve and Patty traveled to Russia to adopt their daughters, Zhanna and Kristina.

Everyone in the family is a musician, and the family band played at Fieldbrook Market and the Humboldt County Fair, among many other venues. Steve said that the kids love busking, “because they were real cute, they could play and sing, and they were magnets for money”. The kids also played at weddings. 

Last summer, Steve and the boys hiked the Trinity Alps to Caribou Lake. Due to fires, the “easy” trail was closed, so they did it the hard way. But when they arrived, they were the only ones there, and Steve said that the view was spectacular, and there was a full moon that night as well. “It is a magical place,” he said. He encouraged us to hike the area, since it is so close and so beautiful. Steve also likes to ride his mountain bike, and he often does in the mornings with Westin.

Steve has been to Reggae on the River some twenty times, and he showed a picture of himself as part of the fire crew. They were called upon to extinguish couch fires in between spates of people-watching. 

Steve’s passion for building things led him to create an entry in this year’s Kinetic Sculpture Race – the Tri-Lo-Bike. The team won the award for best engineering, and they plan to retool and enter again next year.

Steve joined the Eureka Rotary 14 years ago, and he has served a board member for the Discovery Museum and he is on the board of the Arcata Chamber of Commerce. Patty plays in the Eureka Symphony, and Carson did as well, before he left this summer to be a Rotary Exchange Student in Switzerland. His family is hosting Alessandro, an Exchange Student sponsored by the Arcata Noon Rotary.

Final Friday!!
The focus turned to the Rotary Foundation as we expressed our appreciation to the three newest Arcata Sunrise Paul Harris Fellows – Mary Heller (Scott’s mother), Dave Breyer (Lori’s husband), and Sunriser Jeff Stebbins. Thank you all for your support of the Foundation!

Ray Noggle served as our auctioneer for our kinda-semi-regular Final Friday Foundation Auction, and it went purty doggone well …

  • The first item on the block was the “Big Blue Guy”, a stuffed animal (??? well, maybe) donated by Romi Hitchcock Tinseth. The winner was Terri Clark.
  • Lori Breyer brought a basket filled with home brewed beer and treats, including cheeses, salami, Jelly Bellys (in cocktail and beer flavors), and a big ol’ bottle of Humboldt Distillery Vodka. Who could pass that up? Not me – Your Editor made the winning bid.
  • Home-canned dill pickles and smoked salmon were the delicacies donated by Brandi Easter. Barbara Browning was high bidder. (She’ll probably share with Ron.)
  • Tami Camper was out of town, but that didn’t stop her from providing a photo package that included a Bluetooth Selfie Stick, a photo box, and a photo frame. Lori Breyer walked away with that one.
  • Tomas Chavez walked in with a package that included four dozen oysters, a cap, a six-pack, and an insulated bag to hold it all together. Visiting Rotarian and Rotary Club of Arcata Noon President C.J. Ralph walked out with it!
  • A “Smoke-Free” compliation was donated by Ed Christians. I won’t get it all, but I did see red wine, white wine, crackers, salami, and a ceramic knife. And there were filter masks to help you breathe while listening to “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”, and changing the batteries in the included smoke alarm. Did I say, “You”? Oops – I meant Terri Clark, who came up with the highest bid.
  • The last item offered was a Card-Making Party for up to five people. Guidance and supplies were and will be provided by Barbara Browning. She will soon meet up with the high bidder – Lori Breyer and her friends. 

As always, thank you to all the donors, bidders, and winners. This time, we made $685, and it all goes to support the vital programs funded by the Rotary Foundation!