Volume XI, Issue 10: September 9, 2011

Our Rotary Exchange Student from Switzerland, Noëmi Schönenberger, is learning about the glamour of California life – last week she made her first foray into the exciting field of yard work! Fortunately, she has also been able to break away from raking and weeding to work on her photography for school.

Kyle Visser has succeeded President Scott as our Club’s Adopt-a-Highway leader. He announced that the first sortie under his command will take place on Saturday, September 17th, aka California Coastal Cleanup Day.
We will officially welcome Exchange Student Noëmi to America on Thursday, September 22nd. The Club will host a beach party at Moonstone Beach that evening from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. It’s a pot luck, and the dish you bring is totally dependent upon your name: if your last name starts with a letter between A and E, please bring a salad; F – L folks should bring a side dish; and M – Z are tasked with providing dessert. The Club will provide grillables such as hot dogs and chicken, along with plates, cups, and utensils. Come and have a chat with our Club’s newest member!

Pastels on the Plaza is coming soon, and we’re hiring a team from the Arcata Arts Institute to design and draw our square. The event, a fundraiser for Northcoast Children’s Services, will take place on the first Saturday in October (the 1st). Watch for more details.

Several Sunrisers will be staying after our meeting on October 7th to begin a new “tradition” at least for this year. We’re rekindling our commitment to Backpacks for Kids – the program implemented by Food For People that helps families in need. Each Friday, we will be filling backpacks with nutritious kid-friendly food that students who qualify for the Free Lunch Program can take home for the weekend. Hope you’ll hang around!

The Eureka Rotary is also participating in the Backpacks for Kids program, and they are having a fundraiser devoted to it – Backpack Buddy Night. The event will take place Thursday, September 27th from 5:30 to 9:30 pm at Cher-Ae Heights Casino in Trinidad. Tickets are $30 per person, and can be purchased from members of the Eureka Rotary.

Another BIG DEAL is the Foundation Dinner North, on October 15th. The theme for the event is “Hearts On Fire”, and the dress is “Creative Black Tie”. Sunriser Barbara Browning is organizing the event, so if you have questions of a sartorial nature, you can address them to her. The fun begins at 6 pm with a no-host cocktail hour, followed by dinner at 7 pm. The keynote speaker will be former Rotary International President Rick King.

Coming up on Wednesday, October 26th is the 2nd Annual Cross Country Championships. We will once again sponsor the event, which will feature local student athletes in grades K through 8. We will be staffing the event, so be sure to save the date.

Speaking of saving the date, don’t forget that A Taste of the Holidays (aka TOTH) is not far off. November 17th is the Thursday before Thanksgiving, and we will need “all hands on deck”. As always, it will entail a lot of work and a lot of fun.

Due to time constraints, we did not have a Recognitions Session with Chief Recognizer Bob Johnson. President Scott had a slide to that effect in his presentation, and he thanked Bob for making the segment so entertaining. But Bob heaved a sigh of relief when Scott said that he’d be up again next meeting – “I actually thought that you fired me!” No chance – we’ll be ready next Friday.

We often receive cards, notes, and letters thanking our Club for the work we do and the funds we contribute. However, the folks from the Arcata Playhouse had a unique way of expressing their gratitude for their recent “Extreme Makeover”. Arcata Sunrise selected the nonprofit as the target for our 2nd SWOT Operation. SWOT stands for “Serving With Our Talents”. And so we did.

David Furney and Jackie Dardeneau provided an update last Friday. They initially met with Barbara Browning and President Scott, who said, “Tell us what you need – the Big List.” So we, along with many businesses and other volunteers tackled it.

The Makeover progressed in two phases over the summer. Phase One involved a major upgrade of the electrical system and a lot of other smaller construction projects. This took place during a 10-day shutdown in June. The Playhouse was closed again last month, this time for two weeks, as the kitchen was totally renovated. A new water fountain was also added. Many of the upgrades are not evident to the public, but they will make the Playhouse safer for all.
The thank you (and I wish I had brought my video camera for this) came in the form of a song. David played guitar as Jackie sang, “SWOT Is Everywhere”. The lyrics envision the SWOT concept sweeping the country and even the world.

The pair closed by presenting President Scott with the (symbolic) key to the Playhouse, and inviting all of us to an Open House, which will take place Saturday, September 24th from 11 am to 2 pm.

“The Arcata Sunrise Rotary saw the value of what we’re doing at the Playhouse,” said David. He also noted that the work has brought a lot of attention to the group.

Our Guest Speaker last week was Dr. Ellen Mahoney, of St. Joseph Health System. Dr. Mahoney is the medical director for St. Joseph Hospital’s new multidisciplinary cancer program, in addition to directing both the Perioperative Services and Oncology Departments. She also maintains a private practice and works with the Humboldt Community Breast Health Project.

Dr. Mahoney said that she has worked with cancer patients for over 20 years. Over that time, she has seen the devastation that a cancer diagnosis brings, but she has also found inspiration in the courage so many of her patients have shown.

She noted that there are national standards and best practices for caring for patients with cancer and other diseases, and these standards and practices are reviewed and revised continuously. Unfortunately, if you see a doctor who hasn’t studied the problem you have since he or she was a resident 25 years ago, your care will be out of date by that 25 years. Ensuring that doctors are kept up to date is critical.

Dr. Mahoney also said that many cancer patients in our area believe that they will receive better coordinated care at a university hospital, such as UCSF or Stanford. She believes that the best option is to provide that coordinated care locally. We have access to the latest information, and local practitioners can create guidelines for care that are tailored to each individual patient.

She praised St. Joseph’s CEO Joe Mark, saying that he asked how his organization could bring the best system for cancer care to this rural area. The answer is coming in three stages:

Stage One is to provide better coordination of care for each patient. Getting information from the Tumor Board and other segments of the system back to the patient’s doctor quickly and with a clear plan of action is critical.

Stage Two is providing a way to have a patient see her or his surgeon, oncologist, and chemotherapist on the same day, and to receive and review the treatment plan at that time.

Stage Three involves creating a facility that houses the activities involved in the first two stages.

Dr. Mahoney said that professionals are buying into the program because they realize that this program will serve as a national model for rural cancer care. And although they are running on a shoestring” right now, they are seeking grant funding for the program.