President Elect
Past President
Community Services Director
Vocational Service Director
Club Service Director
International Service Director
RI Foundation Director
Membership Director
Public Relations Director
Fundraising Director
Program Chair


Club Information

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 Alan Galbraith
Speaker of the Day:
Polly Keegan introduced Julie Spencer, Executive Director of Rianda House. Julie came to Rianda House in 2008 after ten years with an outdoor education and excursion company in Santa Barbara.  As noted by Polly, Julie’s background included a six-year sailing circumnavigation of the globe.  Julie began by noting that Rianda House opened its doors seven years ago, on May 16, 2008.  Rotarians Gene Armstead and Joice Beatty were initial Board members, and instrumental in arranging the financing that underwrote the renovation of Rianda House from a five room residence into a two room, ADA-compliant facility able to serve seniors. Today, Rianda House runs approximately 100 programs, coordinates with about 25 agencies, and in the last year served nearly 900 distinct participants.   Most (80%) of the participants live alone, most (80%) are female, and almost all come from UpValley communities.
The overall mission of Rianda House is physical, mental, and social wellness.  Julie singled out certain programs for special mention, including its acclaimed Great Decisions course, a Parkinson’s disease support group (with the St. Helena Hospital as partner), and recreational programs at the Carnegie Building, made possible in cooperation with the City of St. Helena’s Parks and Recreation Department.  Julie then reviewed the corporation’s organization structure, with special mention of Tony Allegra (program committee chair), Adrian Hayne (grant writer and columnist), and Al Pepin, a new Board member who described his special satisfaction from being a greeter on Fridays.  Julie stressed the diversity of financial support for Rianda House, with its many separate sources of support (e.g., the Casino Royale annual fundraiser, holiday plant sale, bottle recycling proceeds, community contributions, foundation grants, the Napa Valley Vintners, and small dinners).  Julie finished up by stressing that the everyday goal was to brighten the lives of seniors.
Thought of the Day:   Rob Andreae read from presidential candidate Dwight Eisenhower, written in respond to a letter that he had sent (at eight years of age) shorty before the 1952 election: “My staff and I deeply desire that our efforts will succeed in making the world a better place for young people.”
  • Tony Allegra, wife and guest of Donn Black
  • Al Pepin (see above), guest of Polly Keegan
  • Adrian Hayne (see above),
  • Anne Girvin (see below), guest of Norm Mitroff
Visiting Rotarians:
  • Kathi Polachek,, Donora Club, PA
  • Phil Toohey, Bainbridge Club, Idaho
Reporter: Cindy Warren
Speaker: Father Mac  " Stick a fork in him, he's done!"
Father William McLimoyl  and his family arrived at Grace Episcopal Church in 1993. At the time, the church was struggling with low membership and limited funds. Through the dedication of Father Mac and a group of parishoners, Grace Church made an astounding comeback. They raised $4 million dollars to build Bourne Hall and raised almost as much to retrofit the Sanctuary.
Father Mac has been a dynamic personality in our community He works tirelessly to enrich the lives of others.  His priorities have been the development of a leadership culture that sees the congregation as a "Priesthood of all Believers". 
It is no surprise that Father Mac was honored as " 2015 Citizen of the Year".
Sadly, Father mac will be retiring in 2016. Though retired, he will not be idle. His energy will move into his woodworking shop where he has created wooden masterpieces. He shared many of those items with the group.
Thanks Mac, for all you continue to do.

Reported by Alan Galbraith

Speaker of the Day

Suzan Rada introduced Eric Chesky, managing partner at Health Spa Napa Valley since 1997.  Eric and his wife Cathy came to St. Helena 22 years ago to open and direct the spa at Meadowood.  Eric entitled his talk “It’s worth the Fight” which he took from a book by ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, “Everyday I fight.”  Eric began by noting that “we are all where we are at” but that should not preclude us from doing more and becoming better.  He recited numerous examples of mostly ordinary people largely in their later years with extraordinary athletic accomplishments -- including an 80-year old who summited Mt. Everest, a 70-year old male who ran a marathon in 2 hours and 54 minutes (6.40 minutes/mile) and a 70-year old female who did so in three hours and 45 minutes (8.35 minutes/mile).   Eric talked of his wife, the family’s triathlon champion – and described the stages of a triathlon (swimming, cycling, and a marathon), with maximum times at each stage required to avoid disqualification.  Eric then went over the cardiovascular benefits of exercise.  He stressed the importance of choosing the exercise that you like, but then sticking with it three or four times a week for a minimum of thirty minutes.  More is better.  Some stress is also beneficial; the body adapts.  Eric quoted famed basketball coach John Wooden:  “Don’t permit what you cannot do to interfere with what you can do.”  One needs to overcome one’s internal “interferences.”  You will feel better when you sweat.  Go for it!

Special Speakers:

Jenny Ocun of the Upvalley Valley Family Centers briefly summarized the work of the two centers (St. Helena and Calistoga).  She noted that their clients came from Lake County to Yountville.  They served 4,000 clients last years, from the youngest to the oldest.  The centers connect clients with resources.  Jenny noted that at this time of the years the centers are providing free tax services to low income residents through 25 trained volunteers.  They served 451 clients last year with refunds totaling $675,000

Suzan Rada briefly described the work of St. Helena Travel, a full service firm (sea, rail, private rail, “complicated air”, and more), which has been in business in the Napa Valley for 26 years.  They also arrange group travel in the Napa Valley. The agency consists of Suzan and four agents who work from home.  Their objective is to create a “seamless journey” for their clients.  Suzan is off to Cuba in June.

The Interact Club:  The leadership of the Interact Club, led by its president Aaron Cronin, reviewed its activities in the last year, aided by a slide show display.  The Club engaged in fundraising (e.g., sales of water bottles at Farmers Market, Tips for Treats (Halloween), in various activities (e.g., overseeing recycling at the Dia De Las Muertos Celebration, plantings at Wappo Park, Food Drives, and Project Hope (home building in Baja Mexico).

Thought of the Day :  Matt Endriss, recalling that Elvis Presley on this day 60 years ago became a private in the U.S. Army, fondly remembered a quotation of Jonny Carson: “If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead.”

Induction: Jordan Bentley, in a short ceremony led by John Muhlner, received her red badge, in the presence of her mother, Robyn Bentley, her brother Ross Bentley and his wife Erin Bentley.  Jordan recalled fondly that the Rotary Club sponsored her year abroad in Finland in 1998-99, and that she has been back many times in subsequent years.  As she noted, she is passionate about international exchange programs.  Jordan is in real estate marketing, and works with her mother.   Jordan also presented a bell with a lovely ring to the Club.


  • Vi Bottaro, photographer, guest of Christine Hayne
  • David Hollister, U-Minn. professor, guest of son Jon Hollister
  • Jenny Ocun, Executive Director, UpValley Family Centers, guest of Christine Hayne


  • Joice Beatty, based on her recent trip to Ukiah, advised that the new president was going to insist on more online involvement.
  • Christine Hayne (with the Rotary financial year drawing to a close) asked that members not taking the automatic monthly deduction be sure that they have made their annual contribution to the Rotary Foundation. 
  • Jim Smith noted that the Interact Club Food Drive had one more week to go.
  • Ted Bystrowski noted that the Club was growing, with more potential members in the pipeline.
  • Suzan Rada stressed the need for more participation in next Tuesday’s (March 31) special event at Wellnow Showcase.  She advised that Shannon Kuleto would talk briefly about the Vine Trail.
  • Andy Bartlett, past co-chair of the Interact Club, introduced its president Aaron Cronin (see above), with John Muhlner noting that the Club had 30-35 members

Bell Ringers: The Bell Ringers came on so quickly that your reporter was not able to keep up!  But at least the following rang the bell: Joel Toller, in honor of GIVE BIG (which benefits the Public Schools Foundation), Rob Andreae (in honor of Jordan Bentley’s induction), Bryan Remer (with the car loan paid off), April Duge (for the Interact Club), and Don Thomas (also in honor of Jordan Bentley’s induction).

Finemaster:  It was short: Alyssa Samrick assessed a $10 fine against all those who advised by show of hands that they had filed their income tax returns and $20 against those who had filed for extensions.



Reporter: Cindy Warren

​"Happy St. Patrick's Day"​
Speaker: Jay Greene
​  "Last manStanding" or e pluribus unum
Jay Greene, a history and archaeology professional, gave us 6,000,000 million years in 30 minutes. Human/ape lineage separated 6 million years ago. 4 million years ago human bi-peds emerged, though as early as 10 million years ago there were some apes who were bi-pedal. 
In the last 50 years archaeologists have made major discoveries. In 1974 "Lucy" was discovered putting her remains at 3.2 million years ago. Other discoveries have produced foot prints and  a tibia confirming that Lucy was bi-pedal.​
Home erectus' started moving out of Africa 1.8 million years ago. Around 900,000 million years ago a larger brained species emerged- Neanderthals. 200,000 years ago homo sapiens emerged in E.Africa. As the homo sapiens  moved out of Africa, they encountered the Neanderthals. Neanderthals used cruder tools, lived further north and had short, robust skeletons. Their brow was extremely pronounced. Homo sapiens were leaner, didn't have the large brow and had a chin.
Jay Greene has been hosting a lecture series at the Library.
Guests:  Paul Slawson, guest of Jay greene. Vi Bottaro, guest of Christine Hayne. Bob Distad, guest of Joice Beatty
Birthday: Helen Hendrick
Club Anniversary: Cynthia Kee
  • Jim Smith announced Interact's food drive. Please​ bring non-perishable items to the next meeting.
  • President Norm Mitroff announced a thank you letter form Napa State Hospital.
  • Rotary is dark on Tuesday March 31 as we are having a Social that evening 5:30 -7:00 at the WellNow Center on Main Street. St. Helena Hospital will be providing appetizers. There will be lots of wine, food and fellowship. 
Raffle Winners: Joice Beatty, Tim Doran, Michelle Neuman, April Duge
Bell Ringers: 
  • Rob Andreae's daughter Caitin has been working on a film in England and and the opportunity to meet Kate Middleton when she visited the set.
  • John Muhlner said Jennifer and their son walked/ran the LA Marathon.Congrats!
Finemaster: Suzan Rada grilled us on St. Patrick's Day Trivia​


Reported by Jonathan Hollister

Speaker of the Day:  Larry D. Myers gave the St. Helena club an inside look at the war against polio from a survivor’s point of view.  Larry was stricken with polio at the age of 6 and hospitalized for one year.  He explained this terrifying experience to us but also showed us how he and our fellow Rotarians are combating this horrible disease worldwide.  Larry is a Charter Member of the South Ukiah Rotary Club, former president of the club, and earned Rotarian of the Year in 1980.  He has an impressive list of accomplishments as a Rotarian.  He is also a graduate of the University of Southern California College of Pharmacy and used his expertise in medicine to attack Polio at every opportunity.  His wife Jill Myers also came to our club meeting and she has also been a fierce warrior in combating polio worldwide.  Thank you Larry and Jill for sharing your knowledge and experiences with us and inspiring us to continue this important Rotary mission!

Thought of the Day: It came from Kelly Crane who reminded us “If you don’t like what you are getting back in life, take a look at what you are putting into it.”

Visiting Rotarians: Larry D. Myers our Speaker from South Ukiah Rotary Club, Jill Myers, his wife and John Prescott of the Napa Rotary Club.

Guests: Jordan Bentley (former Rotary Youth Exchange Student 1998-1999), guest of Don Thomas.  Gabby Gomez, selected for the outbound youth exchange to Switzerland, 

Birthdays / Anniversary:  Steve Yost and Orville Hammer each celebrated a birthday and Jonathan Hollister had a club anniversary.

Special Speakers:  John Prescott, Napa Rotary Club and two students from New Tech High School, Ethan Schuler, grade 12 and Lorory  Fitzgerald, grade 9, participated in a mission to Jinotega, Nicaragua last June to teach English to impoverished children.  They are planning to returning this summer and are conducting a fundraiser by selling coffee and olive oil.

Dr. Richard Hyde gave us a glimpse into his passion as a Movement Educator and Core Values Consultant.  On the physical side, he enjoys teaching others about the benefits of a yoga regimen.  He also helps others with soft tissue manipulation and massage.

In the words of Dr. Hyde, “I am a movement educator, whether the movement be of the mind, the body, the spirit or the body politic.  We are in constant motion, physically and metaphysically.  Every atom and cell of our bodies pulses with motion and moves in harmony with uncountable others.  As we move about on the earth we are moved by various forces both internal and external.  It is the challenge of a lifetime to gain some comprehension and control of this constant sea-change sweeping within us and without us.  Thus, the goal of movement education, for individuals and for groups, is to move fluidly, harmoniously, and with purpose.”  “Core Values Consulting” is the name of my consulting practice. I help people to identify, celebrate and promote their core values. My basic instructional tool is a series of illustrated lectures on public monuments, the great objects of public art that have resulted from great crises in the lives of nations. Through these periods of crisis, the core values of a people come clear.

Announcements:  Suzanne Rada reminded the club that eggs are 5 dollars per dozen so please remember to pay for the eggs.

Raffle Winners:  Lester Hoel, Brad Bowles, and DeWitt Garlock

Bell Ringers: Donn Black had a paperwork dispute with the IRS that he won, inspiring him to donate 25 dollars to his Paul Harris, and Wendell Laidley decided not to return to his home country of Canada for a vacation, instead going a little more wild with a four week trip to the African Congo, and donated 20 dollars for this remarkable experience.

Finemaster:  Joice Beatty fined David Brotemarkle, Suzanne Rada, DeWitt Garlock, John Sales and Jim Smith with questions related to Rotary meeting history


Reporter: Cindy Warren
Speaker: Rev. Denise DeSimone, Author, Singer, Speaker and Ordained Minister. 
Denise shared her story of overcoming a diagnosis of Stage IV throat and neck cancer and a prognosis of 3 months to live and how she began her spiritual journey towards healing. 
Upon her diagnosis of cancer Denise knew she had to find unique solutions and think outside the box. That she had to "live for the moment". Instead of dwelling on what she did wrong, she made peace with her illness and put her energy into a loving place. She surrendered to cancer.
When confronting obstacles in life, she recommends the following:
1. Stop wasting your time beating yourself up. Challenges are opportunities to look inside and see what you are.
2. Bring more light in, so the challenges and baggage you carry have no more room.
3. Take a look in the mirror and see if you love yourself enough. 
4. Forgiveness is key.
5. At the end of the day, ask yourself:
  • Did I live?
  • Did I love?
  • Did I matter?
Just 22 months after being told she would never sing again, she sang the National Anthem to a sell-out crowd of 37,000 Red Sox Fans at Fenway Park. Her story is an inspiration to all. She is the author of the book  From  Stage IV to Center Stage.
Guests: Jordan Bentley, guest of Don Thomas. Dr. Bret Johnson, Susie Felder, Rose Ann Kronmark, Sara Hickman, Janice Berry- Griswold, guests of Cynthia Kee
Visiting Rotarians: Kathi Polachek
The Rotary Singers sang a rousing " For He's a Jolly good Fellow" to Dick Gourley for his amazing job of cleaning up the storage room. Thanks Dick.
Vocational Commercial: Rob Andreae -,Finance, Real Estate and Investment Consultant.
Rob is currently "retired" but has not stopped working for our financial community. He currently works for The Advisory Group, SF which helps non-profits in their investments. Rob's focus is on Napa Valley projects.
  • Joice Beatty announced the SHHS Ag Program Rib Feed on March 25 at Native Sons Hall. Tickets are $35. Visit for tickets an info. This is a great opportunity to support our local high school kids.
  • Warren Warner apologized for sending out so many February bills. The LAST bill you got from him is the correct one.
  • Suzan Rada has fresh eggs to sell $5 a dozen
  • Norm Mitroff encouraged members to sign up the the Rotary Social for March 31.

Raffle: Ben Hill, Rod Ellis and Natalie Klug were the big winners.

Finemaster: Justin Meyers quizzed us on SF Giants Trivia

Bell ringers: Steve Yost thanked Rotarians for their support for helping him since his health issues started. Steve, you're on the mend!



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