Rotary Club of Fisherman's Wharf

San Francisco

Club Information

The Club Where the Bay Greets the Day!

Fisherman's Wharf

Join Us for Breakfast with a Spectacular View

Weekly on Thursday morning at 7:30 am, except the 3rd Thursday, which is an evening social, 5:30-7:30 pm, at rotating venues on Fisherman's Wharf.
The Franciscan Crab Restaurant
Pier 43 1/2 Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA  94133
United States
District Site
Venue Map
Two charming Rotarians from Tasmania, Kath Downie and Elizabeth Anderson, joined our club's 27th birthday party potluck dinner on Saturday evening at 101 Lombard St. Kath and Elizabeth were enjoying a stopover in San Francisco enroute to a Rotary Friendship Tour in Montana.

On Saturday, May 13, an enthusiastic work crew installed protective concrete blocks that our club purchased around 30 sprinkler heads on the West Bluff berm near Crissy Field. 

This 4th quarter community service project was again with the Golden Gate Recreation Area, and the project leader was National Park Service Volunteer Coordinator Laura Elze. With perfect weather and a stunning view of the GG Bridge, Bay and the city, we completed the task in less than two hours.

Representing the club were Erik Scheller, Wendy Vived, Kay Auciello, Dan Morse, Nancy Slepicka, Sonny Nguyen, Bob and Riki Intner and grandsons, Aaron and Ethan Fagin.

Shelley Cummins Shehab (right), UCSF wellness specialist, meditation and yoga teacher, led us through the “8 Tools of Mindfulness” for our May 11 meeting program. The exercises, meant to calm the mind and body, proceed through the following steps.

1) Be aware of obstacles and challenges.

2) Create actual remedy to obstacles.

3) Be aware of life force and work within it.

4) Take a stance and be receptive.

5) Focus, heighten attention.

6) Let go of the outside world, find your center.

7) Meditate, observe, slow down, find your inner center.

8) Choose and cultivate bliss.

Shelley said that the medical community is beginning to adopt these tools to help patients with pain control and achieve greater success with surgery.

She’s pictured with Program Chair Kay Auciello, left, and President Suzanne Varacalli.

Nancy Slepicka was pinned and welcomed as the club’s newest Paul Harris Fellow during the May 4 Club Assembly. The Rotary Foundation certificate recognizes “appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.” She’s pictured with President Suzanne Varacalli, left, and Riki Intner, District 5150 Foundation Chair.

Riki noted that this year, District 5150 (1,700 Rotarians) is currently in first place in the United States in contributions to the Rotary Foundation. The Foundation has been recognized as the world’s top charitable foundation for its transparency and for spending 91% of funds directly on its international programs.

Everyone who attended the April 27 meeting went home with one of these SF Giants flags, symbolizing this season’s theme, "We Are SF!" Shana Daum, in her 18th year with the Giants and now Vice President of Affairs and Community Relations, gave us the scoop on what’s new in give-aways, food offerings, special events and other happenings at AT&T Park for the Giants’ 135th season (59th in San Francisco).

Shana said the Giants are supporting the Heading Home community campaign which seeks to raise $30 million to end family homelessness in San Francisco by 2020. To raise public awareness, the team will donate $1,000 to Heading Home for every Giants run scored in a home game this season.

She said the Giants Community Fund spends more than $2.5 million annually to support Junior Giants Baseball, a free 8-week summer program that combines baseball instruction with lessons in leadership and life skills for 25,000 kids in California and Oregon.

Pictured (l-r) are Tresa Eyres (a former club member who was president when Shana was a guest speaker about the Giants six years ago), Shana Daum, Manager of Premium Seating Amanda Nichols, and Program Chair Kay Auciello (and Giants season ticket holder).

On Thursday we also welcomed Joyce Li, a senior at Galileo Academy and winner of the club’s $2,000 college scholarship. Joyce plans to attend UC Berkeley and study child psychology. She’s pictured with Past President Marcella Ramos, who conducted Thursday’s meeting.

Guest Rotarian Shivanand Bellare and President Suzanne Varacalli exchanged club banners at this week’s Club Assembly meeting. He came to us from the Rotary Club of Bengaluru, Platinum City, India. Am

“Shiv” said his young club of 35 members is focusing on health, education and sanitation. Among its projects is construction of gender specific restrooms in rural schools. A longterm goal is to adopt a village and provide a doctor for its residents.


Under the leadership of President (Super Party Planner) Suzanne Varacalli, club members and lots of guests had a blast and raised important dollars at Festa Italiana, our 23rd annual international dinner, on April 7th at the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club in North Beach.

Pictured with Suzanne is District 5150 Governor Jeri Fujimoto. For more Festa photos, visit us on Facebook.

The San Francisco Zoo literally came alive at our March 30 morning meeting when Chris Connors, Vice President of Operations, described the zoo’s history, future plans and current programs — ZooMobile, Zoo Camps, Safe Haven, Wellness and Renew the Zoo, to name a few. 

Connors (at right in photo) was accompanied by Blair Bazdarich (center), who manages the ZooMobile’s educational outreach to more than 400 classrooms in the Bay area. With them is Past President Sue Rokaw, who conducted Thursday’s meeting.

Blair introduced club members to two zoo residents, Ralph, a rare Spider Tortoise from Madagascar, and Clementine, a Horned Frog.

Connors explained that the zoo is owned by the City but is operated by the San Francisco Zoological Society, a not-for-profit that will host its ZooFest 2017 fundraiser, Call of the Wild Gala, on Friday, April 28, at the zoo. 

The SF Zoo and Gardens is open 365 days a year and offers discounted tickets to San Francisco residents. Visit for special promotions, hours and updated daily events.

It most likely was the first time that club members heard the Berber language. This week’s speaker, Steve Carlson, president-elect of the San Carlos Rotary Club, said he became fluent in Berber and Arabic while living with an Amazigh family during his Peace Corps stint in Morocco 20 years ago. He's pictured with Program Chair Kay Auciello, left, and Past President Marcella Ramos.

Claiming that “you can take a kid out of the Peace Corps but you can’t take the Peace Corps out of a kid,” Steve initiated and is raising funds for a water project to build an aqueduct for Berber villages in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains.  The San Carlos club is working in tandem with the Rotary Club of Marrakesh to improve the agricultural irrigation system and drinking water in a series of villages in Morocco’s Ouarzazate province.

He thanked our club for supporting the project through District Designated Funds and invited everyone to his second annual Reubens for Rotary on Sunday, June 4, at his home in the San Carlos Hills. A self-described “foodie”, Steve said the event will feature home-cultured cheeses, home-cured pastrami, home-smoked salmon, home-baked breads and home-fermented kraut. For more information visit

“Rotary changed my life” was the theme of Steven Soloman’s dynamic talk and slide show for our March 2 meeting. As the Senior Annual Giving Officer for Zones 25 & 26, Steven works with Rotarians in 23 districts in the western region of North America to raise money for The Rotary Foundation. He's pictured with Riki Intner, District and Club Foundation Chair.

His incredible journey began as an Interact Club member and then as a Rotary Scholar in Durbin, South Africa. By taking advantage of opportunities and chance happenings, Steven met and became friends with both Dr. Jane Goodall and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He was responsible for orchestrating Dr. Goodall’s participation at Rotary’s 100th International Convention and served as the primary contact for Archbishop Tutu at the Rotary World Peace Symposium in England.  

Donations to the Rotary Foundation change lives, said Steven. He reminded us that every dollar donated to the Rotary Foundation is matched by $2 from the Gates Foundation to eradicate polio.  

Steven uses his story to illustrate the power of Rotarians to better their own communities and effect positive change worldwide.

Success!  Our club’s annual distribution of dictionaries to 3rd graders in four local schools has been completed. 

A personalized Macmillan Dictionary for Children was presented to a total of 159 pupils at Garfield, New Traditions, Spring Valley and Jean Parker elementary schools.  Club representatives also conducted classroom lessons on ways to explore and use the dictionary.

We’ve received thank you letters from several of the 3rd graders. A sampling:

Roman: “Thank you so much for the dictionary. Also thank you for making the world a better place. I will definitely learn a lot of stuff in it. P.S. I found definitely in the dictionary.”

Grace: “Thank you so much for the dictionarys! Everyone in my family agrees with me that it was so cool of you to give us the dictionarys and when I told my grandma about the polio medications, she loved it!”

Lazlo: “Thank you so much for the dictionarys. They are really helpful and it also helps me write. P.S. Did you know that some saber toothed tigers died in tar pits?”

Annika: “I really enjoyed your visit stupendis. I just looked up philosophy and I read that it means the study of the nature of life concerned with such matters as knowledge truth existence and values, someone’s particular beliefs and values. My philosophy on war is that no one ever wins.”

Thanks to Bettie Grinnell for heading up this worthwhile project. She was joined in distributing dictionaries by members Riki and Bob Intner, Michael Reiner, Kay Auciello, Dan Morse and Nancy Slepicka.

Our Feb. 23 speaker, Lynn Cullivan, public information officer, described the history and the attractions of the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, located on the waterfront between Hyde and South Van Ness streets. He's pictured with Kay Auciello, club program chair.

Free exhibits can be viewed at both the park's Visitor Center, located inside the Argonaut Hotel on Jefferson St., and at the Maritime Museum in the Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building. 

Hyde Street Pier, built in 1922 for automobile ferries between San Francisco and Sausalito, is home to several historic vessels, including five that are designated National Historic Landmarks: the C.A. Thayer and Alma (schooners), the Balclutha (square rigger), the Eureka (side wheel ferry) and the Hercules (steam-powered tug boat). Smaller craft are moored on the pier’s east side.

An extensive collection of artifacts, books, photographs, vessel plans and other documents is available to the public at the Maritime Library, located at the park headquarters in Building # at Fort Mason Center. For more, visit

Members who attended our Feb. 16 happy hour social at The Pub in Ghirardelli Square were treated to a fascinating conversation with Michael Paller, resident dramaturg and acting instructor for the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.

Michael spoke about the 50 years of A.C.T., from its inception and early days in Pittsburgh, PA, to mounting productions in various venues in SF, coping with major earthquake damage in the 1980s with support from other SF theater groups, rebuilding the Geary Theater, opening the Strand, and all the current exciting activities. 

He shared stories about colorful characters associated with A.C.T. and some past productions, and updated us about the Master of Fine Arts program. (A.C.T. has the only accredited program not affiliated with a university and is considered one of the very top programs in the country.)

Michael’s book, A Five-Act Play: Fifty Years of A.C.T. will be published later this year.


Our guest speaker Feb. 9 was Sandy Hunt (left), a long-time educator and psychotherapist who’s been a SFMOMA guide/docent for 14 years. Through her candid perspective on how to approach, and enjoy, the new museum, members learned: 

• Modern art can be challenging to appreciate…but it’s worth it!

• Take advantage of the new SFMOMA website to familiarize yourself before you go.

• Pace yourself when visiting the  museum –– limit 1-2 hours at a time.

• Try to take a tour with a guide if you can; you can also schedule a tour for your own group.

• Visiting the museum with others and having conversations about what you are viewing helps you get more from the experience.

Sandy did a guided session with club members using a number of Diane Arbus photographs, which illustrated how much more you can get out of viewing art by discussing individual reactions with others and having an informed guide aiding the conversation.

Members gathered Thursday evening at Hoogasian Flowers on 7th St. to unbox, label and rebox dozens of hardcover Macmillan Children’s Dictionaries, which we’ll deliver to 3rd graders at four San Francisco elementary schools in February. Each child receives a dictionary personalized with her or his name and labels identifying the book as a gift from the Rotary Club of Fisherman’s Wharf and stating the Rotary 4-Way Test.

After efficiently completing the evening’s work, the group walked to the nearby Mar’s Bar for a light meal. Participating were Bob, Riki, Larry, Herman, Suzanne, Wendy, Dan, Roger, Erik, Nancy and former member Rick Zimmerman.

Members at our Jan. 12 meeting — 10 women, one gentleman (Bob) — learned everything we didn’t know about The Presidio National Park and Presidio Officers’ Club. Chris Greene told how she became a Heritage Docent at the Officers’ Club and described the wealth of activities, events and attractions —mostly free — available year-round at The Presidio. Chris is pictured at left with President Suzanne Varacalli.

Presidio National Park, the only national park within a city, encompasses 1500 acres, 900 of which are forest. “Because it’s not natural, the forest is a cultural artifact, and the trees are getting old. The Park Service is now planting 2500 trees a year and will continue that for the next 60 years,” Chris said. The park includes 24 miles of trails and 18 scenic overlooks.

The Officers’ Club reopened to the public two years ago after total restoration to its WWII architecture. It houses a museum of California history, “Earth Wall” — one of the Presidio’s four natural sculptures by artist Andrew Goldsworthy — and the Arguello Restaurant. 

Presidio Dialogues, interactive conversations with authors and artists, are held at 6 pm every Thursday at the Officers’ Club, and Presidio Sessions, intimate concerts by musicians of all genre, are on Friday at 6 pm. The Presidio Book Club, led by Presidio Trust historian Barbara Bergland, meets 1-3 pm on the third Saturday of the month. “And you don’t have to read the book to attend,” Chris said.

Complete information and a calendar of events/activities can be found at

Past President Marcella Ramos and Program Chair Kay Auciello are the club’s newest Paul Harris Fellows, which recognizes their financial support of the Rotary Foundation. In presenting each with a Paul Harris pin and certificate, Foundation district representative Riki Intner said their contributions help achieve a polio-free world, show that peace is possible, and support clean water, food and health initiatives worldwide.

Pictured l-r: President Suzanne Varacalli, Kay Auciello, Marcella Ramos, Foundation Chair Janice Vela, Riki Intner.


Speaker for our Dec. 8 meeting was retired San Francisco Police Lieutenant Michael Slade, now executive director of Operation Dream, a cooperative effort between SF Police Department and the community to enrich the lives of children in San Francisco. He's pictured at left with President Suzanne Varacalli and member Herman Jones, also retired from SFPD.

Slade said Operation Dream is an outgrowth of the SFPD program to reduce crime in the city’s housing developments, which involved officers in providing bicycles to children and taking kids on field trips. “Police work is a job of leadership,” he said. “Nothing takes the place of face-to-face contact to change lives.”

The Christmas toy drive, which our club supports with member donations of toys, is Operation Dream’s flagship, Slade said. Thousands of new toys — donated and purchased at wholesale prices — are distributed by police officers at public housing and community center parties.

Operation Dream also annually donates more than 2,000 turkeys and food baskets for the Thanksgiving holiday.  To learn more, visit Operation Dream on Facebook.

The club’s Annual Meeting took place during our Dec. 1 Club Assembly, and the following officers and directors for 2017-2018 were elected unanimously: President Tammy Rianda, President Elect Kay Auciello, Secretary Riki Intner, Treasurer Bob Intner, Past President Suzanne Varacalli, and Directors Erik Scheller and Nancy Slepicka. The offices take effect on July 1, 2017.

After President Suzanne reviewed the club’s participation in holiday toy and sock drives and our Dec. 15 holiday party, we celebrated the December birthdays of Aline, Roger and Bob. Erik then explained his role as Vocational Chair and moderated a vocational panel of Dan Morse, Bettie Grinnell and David Chan. (pictured l-r: Dan, Bettie, Erik and David)

Asked “What do you love about your job?” both David and Dan, who work in real estate, said they get the most satisfaction out of helping first-time home buyers find a suitable property, educating them about the process of purchasing a home, and assisting them through all the paperwork of securing financing. David noted that in San Francisco, the mayor’s office of housing has some “great programs” to make the purchase affordable for qualified buyers.

Bettie said “being with students all day” is what she loves about in her roles as head administrative secretary at Galileo High School and adjunct teacher at Dominican University and Columbia College. “Since my area is communication, I get to hear amazing stories from my students,” she said.


Six members –– 25% of our club –– joined the crew of volunteers who served 500 meals (turkey-and-all-the-trimmings) to families, children, the elderly and homeless on Thursday, Nov. 19, at Tel-Hi Neighborhood Center, 660 Lombard St. 

Aline, Riki, Herman, Dan, Tammy and Nancy attest that the annual Tel-Hi Thanksgiving Dinner is  a jovial, worthwhile and rewarding community service endeavor. 

Herman, Aline and Tammy with the blue team and Police Captain David Lazar

Riki at work

Nancy served green beans with the pink team.

Supervisor and newly elected State Senator Scott Wiener with Herman and Aline

Members not in attendance for the Nov. 10 meeting (several) missed Tony’s spot-on thought of the day and a fascinating presentation by Yvonne Curley, Development Director for Tel-Hi Neighborhood Center, pictured at right with President Suzanne and Aline Estournes, immediate past president and 6-year member of the Tel-Hi board of directors.

Founded in 1819 by two nurses, principally to serve new immigrants and their children, Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center now operates a wide range of educational and recreational programs for all ages, infants to seniors, both on-site and at area schools. For example:

- 100 senior citizens are served a Project Open Hand hot lunch daily at Tel-Hi.

- Seniors participate in classes for yoga, line dancing, back exercises, Tai-Chi and more.

- A computer lab is open to adults till mid-afternoon, when it’s then available to youth.

- Early childhood and pre-school education is provided daily to over 100 children.

- After-school programs, classes and tutoring are provided at Francisco Middle School and Galileo High School.

- Tel-Hi employs 60 part- and full-time staff members and relies heavily on a large group of volunteers.

- About 60% of Tel-Hi clients are low income, but thanks to the support of donors, foundations and the city, no one is denied service.

- To learn more, visit

Club members will again be volunteers for Tel-Hi’s free Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, Nov. 17. It’s not too late to sign up — email Suzanne at

Bettie Grinnell, a friend of our club since the 1990s, became a Paul Harris Fellow during the Club Assembly meeting Nov. 3. She was inducted by Riki Intner, Rotary Foundation representative. (l-r: President Suzanne Varacalli, Betti and Riki)

Paul Harris founded Rotary with three business associates in Chicago in 1905, and the Paul Harris Fellowship was established in 1957 to express appreciation for a contribution of $1,000 to the humanitarian and educational programs of the Rotary Foundation. A Paul Harris Fellow is recognized as a person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the Foundation’s mission to “do good in the world” and build understanding and peace.

Bettie, senior administrative secretary at Galileo High school, is a regular guest at club meetings to represent the school principal — currently Principal Michael Reimer — who holds a membership in the club. Bettie said she’s served under 11 of Galileo’s 18 principals.

The ten members who attended the Oct. 27 breakfast meeting learned how Habitat for Humanity builds homes, revitalizes neighborhoods and changes lives. Our guest speaker, Maureen Sedonaen, CEO of Habitat’s Greater San Francisco chapter, said that in the Bay Area’s overpriced housing market, “We provide hardworking families with the opportunity of home ownership.

To qualify for a Habitat home — and earn zero down and 0% interest on a 30-year mortgage — the prospective owner must be able to meet the monthly payments and be willing to partner with Habitat by contributing at least 500 “sweat hours” in its construction. Maureen said the income range for a family of four is $50,000-$85,000.

In addition to new home projects in San Francisco and Novato, the chapter is currently repairing/upgrading homes for senior citizens and low income residents in the Bayview district and revitalizing community centers and parks. 

Habitat also operates a ReStore facility in San Carlos which sells quality, donated home improvement items and furniture at greatly discounted prices.

To see the scope of Habitat's projects or to become a volunteer, visit

Maureen was accompanied by Kris Leja, chief development officer, and Linda Griffith, director of marketing and communications. Pictured, l-r, are Linda, Kris and Maureen with Marcella Ramos, who conducted Thursday’s meeting.

Armed with hatchet diggers, gloves and determination, a crew of club members chopped, pulled and dug out prickly blackberry vines and other invasive plants from a large berm at the East Beach picnic area on Saturday morning, Oct. 15. This was the third year we've volunteered with Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy as one of our community service projects.
Workers were Bob and Riki Intner and grandsons, Ethan and Aaron, Janice Vela, David Chan, Suzanne Varacalli, Marcella Ramos, Herman Jones and Nancy Slepicka.

Past District Governor Chris Gallagher’s passion for Rotary’s Polio Plus was obvious as she described her 2013 trip to Ethiopia as part of a National Immunization Day team.

“Going door to door to immunize every child with just two drops of vaccine was a life-changing experience,” she said. “I felt very personally as being part of the effort to eliminate polio from the face of the earth.” Chris, left, is pictured with club President Suzanne Varacalli.

Since 1985, when Rotary International made the eradication of polio its number one priority, Rotarians, the World Health Organization and other organizations have made 99% of the world  free of the crippling disease.

Club Executives & Directors
World Community Service Co-Chair
World Community Service Co-Chair
Youth Services Liason
Vocational Service
Immediate Past President
Public Relations, Web Site
Community Service
Upcoming Events