Thanks to his week's correspondent:
Molly Busacca
Invocation:  Jeff Gutierrez
Flag Salute:  Kristin Beall
Song:  Jim Baldwin


Molly Busacca
Molly Busacca owns and operates Secure Systems, a local alarm company,  along with her husband Bruce.   A Bakersfield native, she is proud Driller who went on to UCLA and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology with a Business Emphasis.  She enjoys the challenges and rewards of being an entrepreneur, although she does not recommend working with your spouse to most couples.  She has been involved in a variety of community service groups over the years and feels it is critical to give back to your community and country.  Her passions include travel, reading, a daily run or hike,  and eating whatever gourmet meal her husband cooks for her.  She loves making “to do lists” and has been told on occasion that she talks too fast.
National Park Highlight:  Cuyahoga Valley National Park, established October 11th, 2000.  The park is a short distance from Akron and Cleveland, Ohio.  It is a refuge for native plants and wildlife, and provides routes of discovery for visitors. The winding Cuyahoga River gives way to deep forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. You can walk or ride the Towpath Trail to follow the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.
Guests – No Guests

Board Member Spotlight – 2 Truths & A Lie

Ken Beurmann
  1. Youngest President in Downtown Bakersfield Rotary history
  2. Youngest Student Body President in CSUB history
  3. Youngest Graduate of the USC Master’s in Communication Management
And the lie is #2 – someone barely beat Ken out for this coveted title by a few months.
Joe Gregory & Traco Matthews were both media darlings this past week.  Joe had an outstanding commercial and Traco was featured in a splashy, multi-page layout of Seven Oaks Living.  Joe Gregory was “recognized” with a $50 contribution to Rotary for not wearing his pin and basically anticipating that on a facebook post featuring the commercial.
  • Good News
    Ashley Soedergren announced that she has accepted the position of Regional Director of Make a Wish Foundation and will be leaving the Alzheimer’s Association at the end of the month.
  • Garro Ellis – happy to report that Shirley Meadows ski resort is still intact and has not been damaged by the French Gulch fire due to the heroic efforts of the firefighters.
  • Pete Pankey – excited to announce he and his lovely wife Mona are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
  • John Schuler – elated to share that his oldest daughter just gave birth to her third child – another grandchild for the Schuler Clan!


Today’s meeting was off site at the Brundage Lane Navigation Center.
Traco Matthews introduced the speaker, Dr. Anna Laven
Dr. Laven is a Bakersfield native who received her Bachelor’s Degree from Scripps College, and her Doctorate in Education from UCLA.  She has worked as an adjunct professor at UCLA and Cal State Northridge.  She returned to Bakersfield and has worked as a lecturer at Bakersfield College and Cal State Bakersfield as well as the program manager for the Dual Enrollment program at Bakersfield College.  She accepted the position as the Executive Director of Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative in March of 2020. 
This organization is a collaboration of both the City of Bakersfield and the County of Kern.  They have partnered together with local homeless service providers to create a new nonprofit that will coordinate all efforts within the county.  They have broken down their overall goals and purpose by defining the following:
  • Strategic implementation and use of funds
  • Technician – providing the resources through shelter and personnel
  • Grant writing and management to provide continued funds for housing and services
Dr. Laven has a personal connection with homelessness in that her father-in-law, a Vietnam War Veteran, suffers from mental issues and has been intermittently homeless.  She knows that homelessness is complex and affects many different populations.  A few statistics that were shared:
  • Male and female homeless rate – about equal
  • Teenagers make up one-fifth of homeless population – many of them former foster youth
  • A large percentage of homeless suffer from mental issues or drug related problems
When faced with the potential of homelessness there are typically 3 solutions:
  • Diversion – use existing community connections such as family or friends to take in individuals or families
  • Rapid Rehousing – short term housing coupled with case management
  • Permanent Supported Housing – housing with “wrap around services” including job training, helping with child care and supplementing income.
Covid 19 has increased the demand for services and homelessness has seen a spike in newly homeless.  It has become extremely competitive to find housing options for people.  Permanent housing with services is the best option.  The statistics in Kern County show a 95% success rate for these clients to maintain their housing and employment when tracked over a 2-year period. 
There were many questions asked by the membership regarding the root of homelessness and the willingness of people to take advantage of the programs that are offered. Dr Laven pointed out that it is important to note some of the statistics that are not “seen” such as the 1500 families served this past year that did not end up homeless.  These individuals, and families were able to find housing and avoid being on the streets. In regards to the clientele that would use the Brundage Lane Navigation Center, or other shelters, it is still a “hard sell” for some clients to part with most of their possessions and enter a communal facility.  However, the center has proved to be instrumental in getting many people, and families off of the street and put in a position where they can re-establish themselves into society with job training and independent living.
There are many challenges to solving the homeless situation in Bakersfield and Kern County, but our community has proven to be attacking this issue aggressively with noticeable results.
Due to Covid 19 restrictions we were unable to tour the facility.   However, the following is an overview of what the center offers.  
The Brundage Lane Navigation Center (BLNC) was created to address the growing homeless crisis in Bakersfield. The BLNC is a referral-based, low-barrier shelter that offers wrap-around services in order to provide homeless adults a path back to housing and self-sufficiency.
The BLNC only serves homeless adults who are referred to the shelter by another agency such as the Bakersfield Police Department, or another homelessness service provider (ex: The Bakersfield Homeless Center, the Mission at Kern County, Flood Ministries, etc.). Homeless adults are ONLY brought to the facility and must be checked-in inside the facility’s campus. Walk-ups are not permitted.
Low-barrier has been used by many homeless shelters and navigation centers and can have a variety of meanings. For the BLNC, “low-barrier” means the facility will allow individuals to keep the three P’s: Partners, Possessions, and Pets. Clients/tenants of the BLNC will NOT be separated from their partners. They will also be given a place to keep a reasonable amount of property, kept in a safe and secure location; property that does not fit into the provided bin (such as shopping carts) will be surrendered upon entry. Kennel services will also be provided on-site for their pets.  This is an example of what a financially responsible government can do. This facility does not solve all the problems of homeless people in our area, but as a kind of funnel to attract homeless clients and route them to various resources available, including other non-profit services. It works.
Finally, Dr. Laven left us with a Business Resource Toolkit and cards outlining homeless services.  Some critical points for businesses:
  • Keep the area in front of your office or business clean and well maintained
  • Lock or turn off exterior power outlets
  • Call the police if people are loitering around your business and won’t leave
  • Offer food or money as it encourages panhandling.  Call 2-1-1 to find out about social services near your business to help and provide more comprehensive services beyond a meal
  • Allow anyone to camp on your property or store shopping carts or personal property
For more information on how to help to solve this problem go to:  https://bkrhc.org/get-involved/
Dr. Laven has a personal connection with homelessness in that her father-in-law, a Vietnam War Veteran, suffers from mental issues and has been intermittently homeless.
They had a nice meeting area. But due to COVID we couldn't look around.
Apparently, some are reluctant to give all this up.
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Russell Judd
August 3
Dave Turner
August 4
Bernie Barmann
August 5
Shawn Shambaugh
August 5
Ken Secor
August 6
Mike Chertok
August 6
Steve Illingworth
August 6
Patrick Paggi
August 8
Lyle Martin
August 9
Ashley Sodergren
August 10
Edward R. Paine
August 10
Louis Gill
August 12
David Morton
August 14
Harry "Doc" Ervin
August 18
Cathy Abernathy
August 20
Susan Benham
August 24
Morgan Clayton
August 25
Lynn Blystone
August 28
Ron Eaves
August 28
Spouse Birthdays
Jerry Battisti
August 20
Bob Burdette
August 1
Duane Keathley
Corey Keathley
August 1
Patrick Collins
August 14
Join Date
Benjamin Taft
August 1, 2016
5 years
Ray Karpe
August 2, 2001
20 years
Nick Ortiz
August 4, 2016
5 years
Bob Burdette
August 15, 2002
19 years
Jorge Barrientos
August 15, 2019
2 years
Ken Carter
August 15, 1996
25 years
Michael George
August 16, 2012
9 years
Toni Harper
August 16, 2018
3 years
Ashley Sodergren
August 20, 2020
1 year
Dick Porter
August 23, 1984
37 years
Horace Mitchell
August 26, 2004
17 years
Bryon Schaefer
August 28, 2014
7 years
Duane Keathley
August 31, 2000
21 years
Jack D. Henderson
August 31, 1967
54 years

Area Meetings

Tuesday @ noon
Bakersfield North

at the Petroleum Club

Wednesday @ noon
Bakersfield West
at the Stockdale Country Club

Wednesday @ 6:45 am
Bakersfield Breakfast

at the Petroleum Club

Wednesday @ 6 pm
Bakersfield Twilight

at The Mark

Bakersfield  Downtown
at the Museum of Art

Friday @ noon
Bakersfield East

at Bakersfield Museum of Art

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