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Welcome to the Heart of the Napa Valley!

We meet Tuesdays at 12:15 PM
Native Sons' Hall
1313 Spring Street
St.Helena, CA  94574
United States
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Home Page Stories

Reported by Jonathan Hollister
Speaker of the Day:  Gerald Joseph, Magician. Gerald Joseph is a Professional Performer with over 20 years of experience on stage and in front of the camera. Gerald Joseph is available for Corporate Events and Private Parties.  His career as a magician has taken him around the globe from the Philippines, Brazil, Tahiti and New Zealand as well as numerous cities in the United States and Europe. Gerald has performed at the World's Famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, Ca.  Do you need a Magician for your Corporate Event and Private Parties?  Gerald keeps the laughs going from start till finish, Amazing sleight of hand magic and lots of audience participation that will make your event memorable and entertaining.
Special Recognition:  Father Mac gave special recognition to Helen Hendrik for leading the Grace Episcopal Church Children’s Ministry for the past 18 years.
Special Guests:  Jennifer Mulhner, wife of John Mulhner; Jake Scheidemann, guest of Norm Mitroff; JoAnn Bowen, guest of Heather Knight; Rob Watermayer, guest of Jordan Bentley; John Unger, guest of Roxann Schaubhut; Mechele Manno, Acting Associate Dean, Napa College Upper Valley Campus.
Special PresentationJim Smith, owner of the Wine Country Inn.  For over thirty years, three generations of the Smith family have been welcoming guests to their little slice of Heaven. Nestled amongst Napa Valley's vineyards, the Inn is a tranquil oasis in the heart of California's wine country.  Located in the heart on the Napa Valley on a shady lane, this contemporary board-and-batten chateau was built specifically as a place for couples to escape daily hassles.  With antique-filled rooms, relaxing spa services, sun-drenched pool, and star-canopied hot tub, some guests never make it to the surrounding wineries. For those who do, the Smiths and their staff are eager to help arrange truly memorable days of sampling the finest in the area. In the afternoon, guests gather with the innkeepers to compare experiences over more great wine and tables laden with homemade appetizers.  Contact Jim Smith by phone at 707.963.7077  or on the web at
Special Gifts:  Chef Israel donated three gift certificates to the St. Helena Bistro.  The lucky recipients were Jack Neal, Lester Hoel and Mechele Manno.
Bell RingerJudd Howell announced that his daughter was accepted to the Doctoral Program at Columbia (N.Y.)
FinemasterSuzanne Rada quizzed the club about some statistics on fatherhood in the United States.  Ted Bystrowski; Brad Bowles and Orville Hammer did their best to come up with the correct answers.

Meeting Report for June 9, 2015
Reported by Alan Galbraith
Speaker of the Day
Andy Bartlett and Cynthia Kee introduced our speaker, finishing up inbound student David Jen.  Both introducers commented on David’s exemplary character and aspects of the amazing year that he enjoyed in St. Helena.  In particular, Cynthia came to know David well, and stressed in her emotional introduction that David encouraged and indeed inspired others.  David presented his year through photographs, which he amusingly talked through in his understated way.  There was the photo of the basketball gym at PUC (no comparable facility in Taiwan) and the photo at an NBA game – David likes basketball.  He saw his first snow at Lake Tahoe; he made it to Yosemite.  David shared his commencement speech with us; his classmates were special and he was glad to meet all of them.  He found that they were friendly from the start, and he confirmed that he had an amazing time.  David concluded his presentation with slides from Taiwan.  He showed off some of the country’s beautiful seaside scenery.  He also dwelled on Taiwanese passion for food.  David clearly met his goal of serving as an ambassador for Taiwan.  For those who wish to keep in touch, David’s email is
Special Presentation
April Duge, recently hired as a concierge for SURFAIR, explained its membership-based service, including its current routes and planned future expansion.  At this time, the company has eight aircraft, serving 11 California cities (including Napa) with significant expansion plans.  April provides concierge services for those coming to Napa – such as arranging for hotels or visits to wineries.
Thought of the Day           
Kathleen Patterson recited a parable involving a teacher who fills a jar with rocks, pebbles, and sand, each time eliciting each time a response from students that the jar in now full.  The point was to take care of the rocks first -- set priorities, as the rest is sand.
Guests: Exchange Student Gabby, guest of Jordan Bentley.
  • President Norm Mitroff announced that next week’s luncheon (June 16) was special, that members were encouraged to bring guests, and the members should sign up or decline on ClubRunner so that there is a good count.
  • Joice Beatty asked that all members let her know by email whether they were or were not coming to the debunking on June 23.
Birthday: Kelly Crane
Finemaster:  Bryan Remer mostly stumped us as he asked that we correlate famous quotations from the movies (e.g., “Love never means having to say you are sorry”) with the film, the actor, and the part.
Bell Ringers:
  • David Moreland for productive bees and a son with a masters degree
  • Kelly Crane for a son graduating from Chapman College
  • Sharon Ebersole, sitting in for Steven, in honor of his ill mother.
  • Jordan Bentley, in honor of a her host father Rotarian
  • Bryan Remer for two weeks of a forthcoming Alaskan cruise.

Reporter: Cindy  Warren
Program: Rotary Scholarship Students, Interact and RYLA
Our Rotary Scholarship winner read their amazing essays about  " what inspired them". Recipients are:
Rotary Scholarship in honor of Roger Adams- Leidy Tovar. Leidy is headed to Gettysburg College. Rotary Scholarship in honor of Mark Terrell- Jack Presten. Jack is breaking a family tradition at USC and is headed to Tulane University. Rotary Scholarship- Tessa Kelly. Tessa was a Rotary exchange student in 2013/2014. She will be studying at SF State.
Andy Bartlett introduced last year's RYLA candidates and also the two students who will be attending the RYLA camp this summer.
John Muhlner gave a warm welcome and  "shout out" to Jason Kelperis, the Interact Coordinator.  This year's Interact slate was introduced by Aaron Cronin, along with the slate for next year. The group showed us slides highlighting the many Interact projects this year. Those  projects included: Wappo Park and Centennial Park clean-up, Fundraising for Project Hope, Tips for Treats, Limpets crab monitoring, Rianda House and Nimbus help, etc.
Visting rotarians: Kathy Polacheck
Guests: Ann Thomas, guest of Mike Thomas, SHHS Principal Ben Scinto, SHHS Counselor Terri Linder
Birthday: Natalie Klug
Announcements: Gaby Gomes, the Rotary Youth Exchange student for net year was introduced. She is headed to Switzerland
90 Second Promotion: Brad Bowles, manager-Bank of the West. Brad  filed us in on the exciting services being offered at Bank of the West. They provide  a complete banking relationship and very competitive rates. 
Raffle: Winners were Michelle Neumann, Ben Hill, Lester Hoel
Finemaster: Norm Mitroff quizzed us on Memorial Day

Reported by Jonathan Hollister
Speakers of the Day:  Dr. Ronald Kraft, Superintendent and President of Napa Valley College, and Mechele Manno, Acting Associate Dean of the Upper Valley Campus, hosted the Rotary Club at the Upper Valley Campus, complete with a full lunchtime culinary experience. Napa Valley College has established a reputation for excellence and we look forward to matching the community's continued growth. Education is the pathway to success in our society, and today learning has never been more vital.  The Napa Valley is one of the most dynamic and picturesque communities in the world. We serve, and we are proud of our role, as this community's college. As the valley continues to grow and adapt, the need for more academic programs and majors, as well as training initiatives and services of an increasingly complex nature, grows too. Think of us as "your college and your future," as you engage in what we hope will be a life changing experience attending NVC.  
Thought of the Day: It came from Father Mac.
Special Guests:  Barbara Nemko, Superintendent of the Napa County Office of Education; Marylou Wilson, Superintendent of the St. Helena Unified School District, Benjamin L. Scinto, Principal of the St. Helena High School, and Christopher O’Connor, St. Helena High School Teacher and 2015 California Teacher of the Year.
New Member Induction:  Ted Bystrowski inducted Dr. Heather Knight as the Club’s newest Red Badge Member.  Heather J. Knight is the twenty-first president of Pacific Union College, where she has brought great passion, energy and insight to her role as CEO of this distinctive Seventh-day Adventist college. Prior to arriving at PUC, Knight served for three years as provost of Andrews University, functioning as chief operating officer and chief academic officer. Before that, Dr. Knight served with distinction for 18 years at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. Knight is the first woman to serve as president of PUC, and is the first African-American woman to serve as president of an Adventist college or university in North America. She has been published in academic and popular venues, has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been the recipient of many awards, including “Woman of Achievement” by the San Joaquin Commission on the Status of Women.

Meeting Report for May 12, 2015
Reported by Alan Galbraith
Speaker of the Day:
Donn Black introduced anthropologist and historian “extraordinaire” Jay Greene, who spoke on the causes of “The Great War”  -- or “The War to End All Wars” -- in its second year one hundred years ago.  Jay brilliantly condensed the complex history leading up to World War I in thirty minutes.  The three major causes, as identified by Jay, were the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 (a humiliating French defeat, with the loss of Alsace-Lorraine and the subsequent rise of the German State), the scramble for colonies in Africa and China, and the race for sea power (with the British introducing a powerful new class of war ships (“dreadnaughts”) in 1907).  Jay also reviewed psychological and cultural factors, including the influence of Herbert Spencer’s “Social Darwinism” (the fittest survive in a competitive world), along with its emphasis on  “national honor,” condescension toward neighbors, and the need for a threatening response to any national insult.Jay also reviewed the immediate run-up to World War I, starting with the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand (heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne) and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, with Austria one month later declaring war on Serbia, with Germany, Russia, and France then entering the fray in support of their alliance partners (Central Powers versus Entente Powers).  The British (a non-Entente Power) came in when the Germans invaded Belgium, as required under an 1839 Treaty guaranteeing the borders of Belgium.   And so, as Don observed in his introduction, the European powers “stumbled into a war that nearly destroyed them.” A highlight of the talk was Jay’s focus on German strategy (the Schlieffen Plan) to avoid a two front war (with France and Russia), including railroad lines aligned mostly east and west and fast mobilization at railroad stations, allowing for concentration with fast success of German forces in the west before hostile forces in the east could mobilize.  But the strategy failed when the German Army was impeded by the Belgium forts, tying up German troops, slowing their march into France, with trench warfare then resulting in northern France, and giving the Russians time to mobilize.Jay finished up with the consequences of the war – including that reaction to the blood letting was in substantial measure responsible for the policy of appeasement that then would enable Hitler to dominate the German military.  Jay briefly reviewed major histories of the conflict, making special note of The First World War by Lawrence Stallings, a compelling compendium of photographs. 
Special Presentation: Bryan Remer, an investment advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors, discussed his specialty in Technical Analysis, which provides insight into when to purchase and when to sell securities.  The approach seeks long-term capital appreciation but with a defensive posture in dead and down markets.  Bryan credited Charles Dow and Dorsey Wright & Associates as the authors of this investment philosophy. 
Thought of the Day: Alan Galbraith recited President Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms”  (message to Congress, January 6, 1941): “In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon for essential freedoms.  The first is freedom of expression – everywhere in the world.  The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way – everywhere in the world.  The third is freedom from want – everywhere in the world.  The fourth is freedom from fear – anywhere in the world.”
  • Paulina Greene (Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agency), guest of Donn Black.
  • Rebecca Yudice (interior design and development construction), guest of Doug Ernst.      
  • President Norm Mitroff announced that next week’s luncheon (May 19) would be at Napa Valley College (Upper Campus).
  • Charlotte Williamson sought (and obtained) volunteers for a cleanup at Rotary Centennial Park (in front of the High School) from 9:00 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 16.
  • Cindy Warren persuaded Rob Andreae to join the Scholarship Committee in its interviewing that then leads to the award of scholarships.
Birthdays and AnniversariesPolly Keegan, John Sales, Wendell Laidley (birthdays); and Jack Neal and Jim Smith (club anniversaries); Jim Smith (wedding anniversary).
Finemaster: David Brotemarkle, taking advantage of his daughter’s recent move to Maui, devised a series of obscure questions related to the island.  Example:  what is the island’s nickname (“The Valley Isle”); second example: what once dominant crop is no longer cultivated on Maui (pineapples – which your highly fined reporter answered correctly with a lucky guess).
Bell Ringer: Jack Neal, in appreciation for a most successful charity golf event.
Raffle: Jack Neal drew the black marble.  Bryan Remer and Lester Hoel were also lucky winners (with prizes coming from Olivier in downtown St. Helena, as noted by Suzan Rada)

" Happy Cinco de Mayo"  

Reporter:Cindy Warren
Craft Talks: 
  • Mary Sykes, Architect; Mary enthralled us with her story of growing u p on a homestead in Montana. Her parents built their home from trees they felled. The family was self-sustaining and lived on what they raised and grew. Early on, Mary learned to be self sufficient, taking any job that enabled her to save money for college. At age 3 was was pounding nails!  Mary started out as a music major and in her senior year of college decided that wasn't for her. She married and was a self proclaimed " Hippie Mom". She took art classes and when she took drafting  she found her passion. After working  under an architect for many year, she took the architect exam. You will find her identified with many wonderful works in the Napa Valley.
  • Wendell Laidley, E-learningBorn and raised in Montreal, Wendell eventually found himself at McGill majoring in engineering. After graduation he worked at IBM and eventually Booz Allen and Hamilton one of the premier companies for strategy and technology consulting.Wendell started several consulting businesses in Canada but the changing Canadian tax laws eventually put him out of business. He moved to New Jersey in 1985 and did management reviews.He started more businesses. Wendell specialized in sexual harassment training for businesses and e-learning. When his lovely wife Inger retired, they left VA in search of an idyllic place to live. Aren't we lucky they landed here!
Guests: Denise Armstead, guest of Gene Armstead. David Borman, guest of Doug Ernst, Sharon Ebersole guest of Steve Ebersole.
Visiting Rotarians: Kathy Polachek
  • Cindy Warren announced detail on the Scholarship interviews which will take place on May 19th.
  • Raffle: Winners were Rod Ellison, Paul Dean - in a gorgeous sombrero, Gene Armstead, Alyssa Samrick and Ben Hill.
  • Finemaster: Matt Endriss quizzed us on "The 60's" with some really groovy questions.
  • "Muchas Gracias" Suzan Rada for the wonderful Cinco de Mayo decor and libations.


Welcome Joice Beatty!

St. Helena Rotary Club is very pleased to announce that our new President for FY 2015-2016 is Joice Beatty.
Joice is a long-time Rotarian and leader in our St. Helena Community, and we are excited to have her leading the Club.
Stay tuned for a fun and productive year!
Congratulations Joice!