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Minutes: First Five (August 26, 2015)

August 26, 2015

Invocation: Bill Boyd
Pledge: Scott Burns
Raffle: Connard Hogan brought a handmade teapot and tea.

Visiting Rotarians: Rainer Zumbach

Guests: Scott Johnson, Andres Fairbain, Ben Romo


  • President Bill Ringer presented Eric Ryan with a Paul Harris Fellow +5.
  • Dark days for this year will be Oct. 14, Nov. 25, Dec. 16 (holiday party night), Dec. 23, Dec. 30 maybe, May 11
  • Janet Napier invited members to join the Ralphs community contribution program. If you have a Ralphs card, you can associate your card with the club’s foundation. It is free to you. If you shop at Ralph’s grocery store — even now and then — please contact Janet for instructions of how to have a small portion of your purchase go toward othe foundation.
    Janet will also email out the information.
    Please sign up before Sept. 1.
  • Diana Washburn  invited members to some upcoming social events. Sundowner wine tasting event will be Wednesday, Sept. 2 from 5 PM to sunset. Bring your favorite SB County wine and an appetizer (if you can). We’ll meet at our Rotary picnic park area at Elings Park South. You can bring friends. There will not be a Tuesday evening happy hour next week.
  • Scott Burns has offered a couple of bottles of Windrun wine that will be raffled to help with social expenses.
    The following Tuesday, the happy hours will resume at Endless Summer.
  • Club BBQ will be in early October. It’s a great time to bring people you’d like to spend more time with — at Rotary. Invite guests.
  • Save the date for the holiday party on Dec. 16.
  • Steve Kally won the raffle.
  • The Group 8 social is Sept. 13 at the polo fields.
  • Pay and tell with Sgt at Arms Darren Doi.

Program: David Velarde introduced Ben Romo, to present “It’s All About That Brain: Building a Community of Support for the Healthy Development of Children in the First Five Years.”

  • Ben is the executive director of First 5.
  • At age 8, Ben attended his first Rotary meeting in Iowa at a club that one of his relatives formed in 1917.
  • First 5 spends cigarette tax in each county to benefit child development. They fund outside agencies to support families in need. They provide $1.7 million in grants. They also spend about $1.2 million on preschool and child care — improving quality and creating new spaces.
  • The first 5 years are citical to the success of children. First 5 works to help parents know what they need ot do to help their children develop. They also provide health, social service, and family support programs.
  • When we talk about brain development, we’re not talking about brain cells: we’re talking about the wiring, the synaptic connections.
  • 80% of the brain is developed in the first 3 years of life. 90% is developed by age 5.
  • Fathers and mothers build different parts of the brain.
  • “Half the achievement gap in 4th grade exists when students walk in the door in kindergarten.”
  • They created a kindergarten student entry profile. They can see how early experiences ready a child for kindergarten. And they can follow those cohorts through school.
  • In our county, there are about 30,000 children age 0-5. We need more than 13,000 pre-school spaces, and we only have about 8,250 quality pre-school places.
    Pre-school can cost $800 to $1,200 per month.

Minutes: SEE International (August 12, 2015)

August 12, 2015

Invocation: Tara Stoker
Pledge: Diana Cecala
Raffle: David Velarde brought a bluetooth speaker

Visiting Rotarians: Kathy Scroggs, Dr. Harry Brown, Rainer Zumbach, Tom Sheehan

Guests: George Dovos, Kathleen Barrato, Randal Avolio, Summer Soto, Sophia Pearson, Melia Ruskin, Hunter, Mark Ruskin


  • Malia Ruskin leaves in 10 days for France as our outbound YES. She’s been studying French, and is looking forward to the next 10 months.
  • Summer Soto and Sophia Pearson, seniors at Bishop Diego High School, spoke about what a great experience they had at RYLA. They were inspired and made new friends.
  • Brooke Sawyer: Sandy Grasso-Boyd reminded members that they’re invited to go visit longtime Rotarian Brooke Sawyer. If you have signed up, please email Sandy and let her know when you can visit. Pro tip: He likes chocolate chip cookies. Bring in moderation.
  • Group 8 social: The deadline to reserve your space at the Group 8 social is August 21. On Sept. 13, $45 will get you lunch, a wine tasting, a drink, and two polo matches (spectators, not participants). If you have questions, contact Diana Washburn.
  • Weekly duties: When you are assigned a duty, please respond to Diana to confirm. If you are not able to confirm, please find a replacement and let Diana Washburn know who it is.
  • Steve Kally won the raffle.
  • Liz Alves won the bonus raffle of Washington wine from Tom Sheehan.
  • Pay and Tell with Sgt at Arms David Vo.

Program: Sandra O’Meara introduced Randal Avolio, president and CEO of Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE). SEE has been headquartered in Goleta for 41 years.

  • In 1992, E. Russell Smith and Luz Maria Ortiz-Smith met on a SEE International trip.
  • Randal credits Harry Brown with the vision to see the world needed SEE.
  • Already, 440,000 people have had their sight restored by SEE in 40 countries.
  • He also thanked George Dovos and Sandra O’Meara.
  • Their overhead is 2%. The team is 10-12 people.
  • They went to Congo with 7’2″ NBA center Dikembe Mutombo from there. They estimate 800,000 blind people in Congo.
  • SEE restores sight regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.
  • Dr. Helena Ndume, the first ever UN Nelson Mandela Prize winner, met her husband on a SEE trip. She has done more than 30,000 sight-restoring surgeries in Namibia herself — many of them in partnership with SEE.
  • Randal told a series of inspiring stories about SEE’s activity around the world.
  • Their activity includes the Santa Barbara Vision Care Program. It takes care of the vision needs of SB County regardless of their ability to pay. They help about 1,500 patients locally each year. They partner with the Eyeglass Factory and several Santa Barbara-based foundations.
  • In honor of the speaker, the club will donate 15 dictionaries to local third graders in his name.

Minutes: Greg Gorga returns (August 5, 2015)

August 5, 2015

Invocation: Janet Napier
Pledge: Sandra O’Meara
Raffle: Joanne Orenstein

Visiting Rotarians: Tom Sheehan, Kathy Scruggs, Greg Gorga


  • Dodger Game: Join local Rotarians and bus down to the baseball game on August 30. Contact Bill Ringer if you’re interested.
  • Visit Brooke: Tom Putnam reminded members that they can go visit Brooke Sawyer.
  • Fiesta float: David Velarde reported. Steve Kally suggested we should have a couple get married on the float. Liz Alves asked how we could make that happen. We sent out the news, got on the news, and now have couples interested in getting married on the float! Officiant wanted. You can still volunteer to help build the float. Thursday night, starting at 5 PM, show up at the carriage museum to help decorate the float with flowers.
  • Fiesta spectating: If you want to watch the parade with fellow Rotarians, join Diana Washburn across the street from Sambos. Parking WILL be bad. Plan to walk.
  • District Conference registration is now open for the weekend of October 2 in Bakersfield.
  • Golf tournament: Co-chairs Joe Weiland and Bob McPhillips thanked and congratulated everyone who helped with the tournament. It turns out that the event does not run itself. We had great participation from our club members. Darren Doi estimates that we made about $10k. The silent auction made about $2,500. Special thanks to Karen Kawaguchi (PR and a bit of everything), Diana Cecala (committee and gift bags), Diana Washburn (gift bags), Bill Boyd (silent auction), Sandy Grasso-Boyd (silent auction), Darren Doi (cashier and treasurer), Dana Goba (committee), Bill Abel (on-site support), Gary Jensen (on-site support), Richard Redmond (tee signs), Janet Napier (registration), Luz Maria Ortiz-Smith (registration), Liz Alves and Citrix volunteers (registration), Scott Burns (Fiesta connection), David Vo (raffle sales) and all the other golfers, sponsors, and people who helped spread the word.
  • Pay and Tell with Sgt at Arms E. Russell Smith.
  • Tom Putnam won the raffle.

Program: Joanne Orenstein introduced Greg Gorga of the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum to speak about “Tragedy at Honda, the U.S. Navy’s Biggest Disaster.”

  • Greg named some current local residents who are in some way linked to the tragedy.
  • On September 8, 1923, 7 naval ships of Destroyer Squadron 11 struck rocks within 5 minutes near Point Arguello off what is now Vandenburg Air Force Base.
  • They lost 23 people out of about 800 sailors.
  • On the same day, the SS Cuba had struck San Miguel Island.
  • There were a number of contributing factors to the wreck.
  • They were traveling at about 20 knots in heavy fog. The lead ship thought they hit San Miguel Island. It broke in half the next day.
  • The 4th ship hit the rock that now carries the ship’s name: Woodbury, or Destroyer, Rock.
  • The court martial findings named a several of the commanders guilty.
  • The survivors didn’t realize they were on the mainland, not San Miguel Island, until an hour or two later when they heard a train go by.
  • They spent weeks getting as much equipment off the ships as possible. The ships remain out there. Some people do dive there, but it’s very rough waters.
  • You can learn more about the tragedy and view a video about it at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.
  • Lessons learned: You’re responsible for your ship. Know where you are — don’t assume.
  • In gratitude to the speaker, we will donate 15 dictionaries to third graders.

Minutes: The Spirit of Golf and Fiesta

August 2, 2015

Invocation: Pat Hardy
Pledge: Judith McCaffrey
Raffle: Diana Washburn brought gifts from Lizzy’s Coffee and two tickets to the Kiwanis Fiesta pancake breakfast

Visiting Rotarians: Jonathan Broida, Angela Pesce, Tom Sheehan, Sig Wathne,

Guests: Spirit of Fiesta Alexandra Freres, Renee Fairbanks, Lisa Osborn,


  • Tom Putnam shared that Brooke Sawyer would like to keep up with news of the club and its members. Please contact Tom if you would like to arrange a visit with Brooke.
  • A PRLS class will be offered in Carpinteria on July 31. Find details on the Rotary District 5240 website.
  • The RCSBS Charitable Foundation: Janet Napier, outgoing president of the club’s foundation, shared information. Tom Putnam will continue on as treasurer. The new president is Jody Dolan Holehouse. The new secretary is Luz Maria Ortiz Smith.
  • Fiesta float: David Velarde said the FIesta float building started over the weekend. Starting tomorrow, it will be ready for more volunteers each evening. The float is the corner of the courthouse and the sunken gardens with a wedding in progress. Watch for a signup sheet.
  • Dodger Game: On August 30, Rotarians from Group 8 will head to the Dodgers game, and you can go. $65 gets you a bus ride and game tickets.
  • Group 8 social at the polo fields: Jonathan Broida invited members to the social on September 13 from 12:45 until the second match concludes. The $45 fee includes lunch, wine tasting, one drink ticket, and two polo games (1 PM and 3 PM). Dress up for polo.
  • Mini Golf Tournament: The Rotaract Club of Santa Barbara hoses a mini golf tournament at the Santa Barbara Courthouse to benefit the Courthouse Legacy Foundation on September 18 and 19 throughout the day. Friday is the sponsor day, and Saturday the public is invited to golf for a small fee. The club is still seeking sponsors.
  • Fiesta: Diana Washburn was once a Fiesta flower girl and has been in the parade. She invited members to join her at the parade this year. The parade is August 7, starting at noon. She likes to sit across from Sambo’s, where the horses are still fresh. Bring your own chair and sombrero, and be prepared to cheer for the Rotary float. Please RSVP so she knows how large of an area to reserve.
  • Golf Tournament: It’s July 30 (that’s tomorrow)! All members are strongly encouraged to come for the dinner, even if they’re not golfing, for the Fiesta buffet dinner. Show up at 5, pay $25 for all-you-can eat dinner. You can purchase tickets at the event. Two people are needed to sell dinner tickets. Hole-in-one watchers are no longer needed. Thanks to Diana Washburn for assembling the goody bags. WIth enough dinner and silent auction participation, we could make $10,000. We have nearly 40 items for the silent auction. Bid! Invite your friends to bid!
  • Jonathan Broida won the raffle.
  • Dana Goba invited people to the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital tour. Also, Dana is going to work for the Central Coast Medical Association
  • Pay and tell with Sgt at Arms Steve Kally.

Program: Scott Burns introduced the 2015 Spirit of Fiesta, Alexandra Freres, to talk about herself and Fiesta and to dance. What a treat! Learn more about Fiesta here. 

Want to Get Married in the Fiesta Parade? Apply now!

July 30, 2015

In the spirit of Fiesta Romantica, one organization will host a wedding on its parade float. The float, a replica of the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens – a truly lovely place to get married – could be the perfect venue for a couple who loves Fiesta, Santa Barbara, or lots of attention.

The eight Rotary clubs from Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpinteria, and Goleta have joined together to build a festive and floral float.

How to apply: Couples who are interested should email with the following information:

  1. Your names.
  2. Why do you want to get married (or renew your vows) in the Fiesta parade? Why should we choose you?
  3. If we make our decision Wednesday, August 5, can you be ready to get married on August 7?
  4. How can we best reach you? Please provide phone numbers and emails.

If you have questions, please contact David Velarde at (805) 680-6575.


Why should I get married in the Fiesta parade?

  • Fiesta is magical, and you deserve a magical wedding.
  • It will be easier for both of you to remember and celebrate your anniversary each year.
  • Flowers! Horses! Confetti! Romance!
  • Save yourself months of planning and expense, and just do it!

How many guests can attend the wedding on the float?
A couple, an officiant, and two witnesses can join the wedding on the float. A photographer or additional guests may be negotiable. A few thousand other guests can be accommodated all along the parade route.

What’s the dress code?
You are invited to wear traditional wedding or Fiesta attire. While we want to honor the couple’s desire to wear anything they want, we also want to provide a great show for the parade viewers. The float and its other attendants will likely be in 1920s dress, honoring the decade when the Courthouse was built.

Can we choose where along the parade route we exchange our vows?

Should we get married?
If you want to, yes. If you’re not sure, ask your mother.

What does the float look like?
Right now it looks like a lot of wood in the shape of the Courthouse. Next Friday it will look like a dream come true. You are welcome to assist in the construction and decoration of the float. Bring friends. Have a photo shoot.

Will you consider couples who want to renew their vows instead?
Yes. Use the application to tell us why we should pick you.

Do I need my own officiant?
You are encouraged to provide your own officiant. If you would prefer, a Rotarian can perform your service. We have some very charming Rotarians.

Who handles the marriage license and paperwork?
The couple. Visit the County Clerk website to learn more.

Can we have cake on the float?
We really hope so.

What’s the catch?
The Rotary clubs recommend a donation of $500 or more, which they will use to continue their charitable work.

What’s Rotary?
Rotary is an international leadership organization. It’s made up of local business, professional, and civic leaders. We meet regularly, get to know each other, form friendships, and through that, we’re able to get things done in the community. Rotary is a leader in the effort to eradicate polio worldwide, brings clean water and education to people in need, and promotes peace. (It’s on the Internet. It must be true.)



Minutes: Trains and Highways (07/23/2015)

July 22, 2015

Visiting Rotarians: Marilyn Berman, Barbara Muller, Sig Wathne

Guests: Lisa Osborn, Charlie Ebeling, Matt Maechler,


  • Golf Tournament: We still want sponsors, golfers, and auction items. Current sponsors include: Arlington Financial Advisors, Nasif, Hicks and Harris, Smith & Ortiz, American Riveria Bank, the Bank of Santa Barbara. Foursomes from Sandy O’Meara, the Rothchilds, the Burns, the Nortons, Gaeden. Please donate silent auction items to Bill Boyd. Thanks to all the golfers and sponsors!
  • Fiesta Float building begins on Saturday. The first round of building is for people with some basic carpentry skills. As the parade gets closer, less skilled volunteers will be useful for painting, flower application, and more. Contact David Velarde if you have questions.
  • Sig Wathne said it’s been a pleasure to host Charley. Charley shared a monthlong presentation about the monthlong Rotary Youth Exchange USA Train Tour. More than 47 students from 17 countries participated.
  • The Rotary Group 8 Social will be Sunday, September 13 at 12:45 PM at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. The cost is $45, which includes lunch, wine tasting, and one drink ticket. There will be matches at 1 and 3 PM.
  • Steve Kally won the raffle, which was 3 bottles of Zaca Mesa wine. Thanks to Tom Heath for the wine.

Program: Joanne Schoenfeld Orenstein introduced Charlie Ebeling, of the Department
of Public Works, who has been involved in the Highway 101 widening project.

  • The 101 widening project between Santa Barbara and Ventura has 4 phases. Phases 1 and 2 are complete. Phase 4 will likely have sub phases, take 10 years, and cost a half billion dollars.
  • Phase 3 is the Linden Avenue/Casitas Pass Road Interchanges Project and is estimated to take place between 2017 and 2020. It is in the permitting stage, which requires approval from at least eight agencies.
  • Flood plains, flood plans, and FEMA decisions matter.
  • Matt Maechler described some of the other projects within Carpinteria.
  • In honor of our speakers, the club will donate 15 dictionaries to third graders in Santa Barbara County.

Minutes: Behind the Scenes at Dos Pueblos Ranch (07/15/2015)

July 15, 2015

July 15, 2015

Invocation: Diana Washburn
Pledge: Fred Gaeden
Raffle: Darren Doi brought a gift certificate to Los Agaves and movie tickets

Guests: Kristin Taylor, Italian exchange student Tusa, Lulu Guess, Frank McGinity


  • The El Paseo rendezvous was great for everyone who attended, except Bill Ringer. Next Tuesday we’ll do it again — 5 PM ish at El Paseo.
  • Maurice Moreno resigned from the club.
  • Golf Tournament: It’s in 2 weeks! Joe Weiland passed around a clipboard to sign up to volunteer. We have space for more golfers, and more golfers = more money. Keep inviting people you know to golf. Bill Boyd requested additional silent auction items by next Wednesday, July 22. Bob McPhillips and Steve Kally have pitched it to other clubs. You do not need to know how to play golf. You can register as a single golfer — you do not need a foursome.
  • The Group 8 clubs will be building a Fiesta parade float. Contact Lucille Ramirez if you want to volunteer. It will have the Rotary wheel on it.
  • Darren Doi sent members their quarterly bills. Please pay those.
  • Pay and Tell with Sgt at Arms Fred Gaeden.
  • American Riviera Bank and Bank of Santa Barbara may be merging.

Program: Joe Weiland introduced Frank McGinity to present “Nicolas Den and the Dos Pueblos Ranch.”

  • He is the president of the American Irish Historical Society. It was formed to “keep the story straight about the Irish in New York and those areas,” Frank said.
    Nicolas Den came to the Santa Barbara area. He had medical training,but he had not completed his education.
  • He was the first mayor of Santa Barbara. He is credited for saving the Mission from secularization and for transitioning Santa Barbara from Mexican rule to U.S. rule in 1847.
  • The Irishman who became a don owned nearly 100,000 acres of land. Dos Pueblos was his first ranch.
  • The historical society put his story on film, which was shown at the San Luis Obispo Film Festival and has been submitted to the San Francisco Film Festival.
  • We watched the film.
  • In honor of our speaker, we will donate 15 dictionaries to third graders in Santa Barbara.