Rotary Club of Fisherman's Wharf

San Francisco


Posted on Jul 16, 2018

On July 12th, club members welcomed Lise Pearlman, an author, former trial lawyer and judge who is the country’s leading expert on the 1968 Huey Newton death penalty trial. She discussed her most recent books, With Justice for Some: Politically Charged Criminal Trials in the Early 20th Century That Helped Shape Today’s America and Call Me Phaedra, the Life and Times of Movement Lawyer Fay Stender.

Pearlman, at left, is pictured with President Kay Auciello and Program Chair Alan Test.

Author Describes Famous Trials 2018-07-16 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 08, 2018
The first meeting of the club's new year was moved across the street to Boudin Bakery after last-minute notice that the Franciscan was closed due to a plumbing problem. President Kay Auciello said 12 members attended, and business was conducted despite the bakery's busy lobby and loud background music.
Alan Test was inducted as a new member, and he and wife, Sue Rokaw, were welcomed into the White Hat Society by Foundation Chair Riki Intner. The Society was formed to promote regular, significant, annual giving to The Rotary Foundation. A donation of $5,000 or more in one Rotary year and the willingness to recruit one other Rotarian to do the same qualifies one for membership. 
Prior to the meeting's start, Rotakyrie sisters Aline Estournes, Suzanne Varacalli and Riki Intner gave notice of their retirement after three years of entertainment for club debunking dinners.
'Pop-Up' Meeting at Boudin Bakery 2018-07-08 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 18, 2018
Our terrific speaker on June 14 was Dave Blum, aka “Dr. Clue” who engaged our members in a lively two team “Treasure Hunt” exercise designed to “get everyone on the same page” and build trust. Key ingredients to achieving those goalsJu: partnership, benevolence, reliability, transparency and integrity. 
Special guests were, on the left, Djaffar Ould-Abdeslam from Mulhouse, France, and center, Pat Messinger from the Bloomington, Illinois Sunrise Rotary Club.  At right is our June President Aline Estournes. 

June 14 Speaker and Guests 2018-06-18 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 18, 2018
Partners in the recent Fisherman's Wharf Merchants Association golf tourney were, l-r: club member Dan Morse, Christopher H. Christensen, President, Bay Area Longshoremen’s Memorial Association, and club member Herman Jones. Dan and Chris were big winners in the raffle. Herman reports: It was Dan's first golf exposure and he represented our club  well."
Club Well Represented in Golf Tourney 2018-06-18 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 06, 2018
Representatives from the SF Giants organization made their third annual visit to our club on May 31st.  Shana Daum, VP Community Relations, and Amanda Nichols, Mgr of Premium Seating and Retention Services, updated us and provided insights on all things Giants.
Another highlight of the meeting was when Erik Scheller received his newest Paul Harris pin in recognition of his support of Rotary International. Pictured here with Suzanne Varacalli, president of the week, and Riki Intner, Foundation chair.

The Giants are Back! 2018-06-06 07:00:00Z 0
The May 24th speaker was Giuseppe "Joe" Pennisi, founder of Pioneer Seafoods and a local leader in the sustainable fishing industry. He was accompanied by Jolene Lambrecht-Skinner, fishing vessel deck boss, and they displayed an example of the special nets used to collect a wide variety of fish in a sustainable way, allowing limited contact with ocean floor and avoiding fish damage. They're pictured with President of the Month Aline Estournes.
We also welcomed and heard from the 2018 scholarship winner from Galileo High School.
We Learn About Sustainable Fishing 2018-05-29 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 22, 2018
Members present and past enjoyed an informal potluck dinner and Rotary camaraderie on Friday evening, May 18, to mark the club's anniversary. The gathering was held in the east lounge of Riki and Bob Intner's condominium complex. 
Everyone enjoyed meeting visiting Rotarian Juliet Wong of Toronto, and welcoming former members Rick Zimmerman and his wife, Stacy Tiffin and her husband, and Jeff Varacalli.
Potluck Party Marks Club Anniversary 2018-05-22 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 15, 2018
Our May 10th speaker was Professor Ken Kobré, a professional photojournalist, educator and author for more than 35 years. His former students, who include winners of the Pulitzer Prize, World Press Awards, and many other prestigious honors, work on staff and as freelancers for publications and media outlets around the world.  He's pictured with President of the Month Aline Estournes.
Ken's book, Photojournalism: The Professionals’ Approach, has been the widest-selling text on photojournalism in the world since 1980. His new book, Videojournalism: Multimedia Storytelling, was published in early 2012.
Photojournalism in Today's Media 2018-05-15 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 14, 2018
Festa Italiana, our club's 24th annual International Dinner, was a success in all measures: Fun, Friendship and Fundraising. All the credit goes to the event organizer, President Elect Kay Auciello, and her merry band of club volunteers. Kudos to all!
Success! Festa Italiana 2018 2018-04-14 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 31, 2018

Past District 5180 Governor Bob Deering of Sacramento (right) was our March 29 speaker on the topic, “District 5180’s Global Grant to Combat Human Trafficking, a Grant That Can Be Duplicated Anywhere in the the World.” Lots of questions and discussion followed his talk.

President of the Month Tony Bothwell welcomed visiting Rotarians from Arizona and southern California as well as Richard Swart from the Rotary Club SF Chinatown.

District Grant Combats Human Trafficking 2018-03-31 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 27, 2018

Jim Schmitz, the dean of United States Olympic weightlifting coaches, gave an inspiring talk at our club's March 22 meeting over breakfast at the Franciscan Crab Restaurant. Jim coached Team USA weightlifters at the 1980, 1988 and 1992 Olympics. He noted that women have been participants in USA weightlifting since 1988. Jim has authored books on weightlifting. He trains people of all ages at the Sports Palace in South San Francisco, and conducts training for coaches as well.

We Hear from Olympic Weightlifting Coach 2018-03-27 07:00:00Z 0
Don't Miss the Fun of Festa Italiana! 2018-03-19 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 13, 2018

Former Peace Corpsman Steve Carlson of the San Carlos Rotary Club spoke to us March 8 concerning the Moroccan water project that Fisherman's Wharf and other Rotary clubs are cosponsoring. The Global Grant project in Morocco's High Atlas Mountains is building an aqueduct to improve irrigation and conserve water for Berber villages. Steve put pictures up on the screen and even made some remarks for us in Arabic. The Fisherman's Wharf Rotary Club also currently supports an agrarian enterprise and nutrition Global Grant project in Puno, in the Peruvian Andes -- and an anti-gang Global Grant project led by the Rotary Club of Bogota Centenario in Colombia. Carlson, left, is pictured with March President of the Month Tony Bothwell.

Water Project Update 2018-03-13 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 03, 2018

Tami Beneau, left, the Principal of Galileo High School, was inducted and welcomed as a new member of our club during the Feb. 28 meeting. She was introduced by Sue Rokaw, center, and sponsored by Past President Suzanne Varacalli, right.

Four students who were among the 38 from Galileo’s Interact Club who attended the Interact Fall Leadership Conference spoke briefly about their experiences there.

Member Wendy Vived, left, was presented her first Paul Harris Society pin by Foundation Chair Riki Intner, right,  in recognition and thanks for her financial support of the Rotary Foundation.

Riki and husband Bob, who are midway in a 4 1/2-month, worldwide Viking Ships ocean cruise, described some of their stops since they departed in early January. Bob said that visiting Cuba was a highlight to date, and Riki most enjoyed snorkeling over the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Club Welcomes Newest Member 2018-03-03 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 13, 2018

Bettie, Roger,  Dan and Andrew distributed personalized Macmillan Children’s dictionaries to 3rd graders at Garfield elementary school on Feb. 8. We have three more distribution dates, Feb. 15, 20 and 27, so it is not to late to join the fun.

Rotarians from Hamburg, Germany, were our special guests at the Feb. 8 meeting.

Garfield 3rd Graders First to Receive Dictionaries 2018-02-13 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 06, 2018

During this week’s Club Assembly, Herman Jones reported on another successful Operation Dream toy drive and read a letter thanking the club from Sgt/Insp Glenn Sylvester (retired) of the San Francisco Police Department. “The donated toys were distributed to children in low income neighborhoods. Your contribution brought joy to numerous children.”

Club Supports Successful Operation Dream 2018-02-06 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 26, 2018

Dictionaries for 3rd graders were labeled and boxed in record time Thursday evening. After the work session we walked to the nearby Mars Restaurant and Bar. Fun was had by all.

Special thanks to Larry for hosting us at Hoogasian Flowers and providing the gardenia corsages worn here by Bettie, Kay, Kira and Suzanne. Not pictured: Charles and his two young children, who delighted and charmed us.

Hoogasian Flowers Hosts Dictionary Labelers 2018-01-26 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 23, 2018

Anna Lippert, a third year law student at Golden Gate University, gave a thought-provoking talk about the effects of bio-research on the oceans of Micronesia. She was recommended and introduced by International Chair Tony Bothwell, left, and welcomed by Secretary Suzanne Varacalli.

Law Student Presents Research Paper 2018-01-23 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 16, 2018

On Thursday, Jan. 11, Ed Niu (right), past president of the Rotary Club of San Leandro, and Wayne Gregori gave a spirited presentation on the history of Bitcoin and its current opportunities and challenges.  The program sparked a lively discussion among members. Pictured with the speakers is Past President Suzanne Varacalli.

We also welcomed these visiting Rotarians from Austria and Switzerland.

The Rotary Club of Fisherman’s Wharf is proud to support the good works of the Service Interact Club at Galileo Academy of Science and Technology High School. Pictured are members who assembled recently for the club’s official yearbook photo.

Bitcoins Then and Now 2018-01-16 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 19, 2017

Our Dec. 13 holiday party at The Franciscan was a great success with 22 members and guests alike in joyful attendance. Good company and good food, not to mention the wine. Toys were collected for Operation Dream, and a good time was had by all. 

We bid a fond farewell to Riki and Bob by wishing them safe and happy travels. Bob gave us a heartfelt adieu, with a tear in his eye, telling us how important our small club had become in his and Riki's lives. We will miss them, but know they will be back, with lots of tales to tell of their grand four-month adventure. 

Holiday Dinner a Fun, Festive Evening 2017-12-19 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 09, 2017

For the club’s 4th annual First Responder event, Captain Paul Yep (Star #95) and five other police officers from San Francisco Central Station attended our Dec. 7 breakfast meeting.  President of the Month Marcella Ramos presented a certificate of appreciation to Captain Yep and thanked the officers for their dedication and service.

Thank you, Aline for organizing the event and also Marcella and Suzanne for preparing additional food.  

December birthdays for Aline, Bob and Bettie were celebrated.

Club Agains Honors & Thanks First Responders 2017-12-09 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Dec 02, 2017

This week’s speaker and fellow Rotarian, Mark Schiavenza, educated club members about the Museo Italo Americano, a wonderful museum in our neighborhood. He provided pamphlets from past exhibits about Italians immigrating to San Francisco, Italians in cinema and Italian artists that were informative and confirmed the quality of the Museo’s events.

Past District Governor Jeri Fujimoto presented the club with a banner celebrating our achievement as District 5150’s 2016-2017 No. 1 Club in per capita Annual Find giving to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

Herman Jones was presented with his second Paul Harris pin.

Members Introduced to Museo Italo Americano 2017-12-02 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 20, 2017

Club members joined a host of other volunteers welcoming neighborhood guests, serving meals and bussing tables for the Tel Hi Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday evening, Nov. 16. Pictured l-r: Bob and Riki Intner, Kay Auciello, Marcella Ramos, David Chan, Herman Jones and friend, Maria.

Development Associate Candace Elumba said that our club "once again managed to make this year’s Thanksgiving Dinner very special for over 650 who attended the community event. For many of our guests, this may be the only hot meal they receive during the holiday season.  We are honored that you made it a priority to help us out this year and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us to continue this time honored North Beach tradition.”

Club Members Give Their Time for Tel Hi Dinner 2017-11-20 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 12, 2017

At this week’s meeting, John Martini, historical consultant, presented Alcatraz Island: 200 Years on the Rock, a history of Alcatraz from its Spanish discovery through today's status as a National Park site. The talk focused on the 1934-1963 era when The Rock was a federal penitentiary, including stories of the island's infamous residents, escape attempts, and the Hollywood mythology of Alcatraz. 

John is pictured with November President of the Month Suzanne Varacalli.

200-Year History of Alcatraz Island 2017-11-12 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Nov 06, 2017

For our first-quarter community service project, this “Magnificent Seven” crew of volunteers showed up Saturday morning, Nov. 4, and worked hard, adding dozens of native plants to the East Beach berm on behalf of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 

Pictured l-r: Riki and Bob Intner, Park Service Volunteer Coordinator Laura Elze, Herman Jones, Erik Scheller, Andrew Wong, Kira Hahn and Kay Auciello.

Our Own Magnificent Seven Volunteers 2017-11-06 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 29, 2017

“Living through cancer with exercise” was the topic for our Oct. 26 speaker, Regan Fedric, Program Director of Sunflower Wellness, which offers exercise programs and classes throughout the Bay Area. She's pictured with Riki Intner, our October President of the Mont

Sunflower Wellness was established in October 2004 in direct response to the need for promoting and providing exercise among people living with cancer. Regan said that research shows a 40% reduction in risk of recurrence and death from breast cancer in patients who perform 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. 

“We bridge the gap between medical treatment and physical activity by working with oncologists to bring exercise directly to patients,” she said. For more information, visit

Member David Chan was presented his Paul Harris +2 pin in recognition and thanks for his continued support of the Rotary Foundation.

We also welcomed and exchanged club banners with two Rotarians visiting from France, Jen Luc and his wife, Geraldine.


Cancer Patients Benefit from Regular Exercise 2017-10-29 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 14, 2017

Development Director Yvonne Curley (right) and co-worker Candace Elumba updated us on the broad reach of Tel Hi Neighborhood Center, which the club has long supported with funds and volunteers. They were invited to speak by member Herman Jones (center).

The Preschool, Infant and Toddler program runs year-round, with a current enrollment of 93 children, more than half from low income families. Average daily attendance in this year’s Summer Learning Program, June-August, was 66, and there currently are 153 enrolled in Tel Hi’s Futurama After-School Program at Galileo High School.

The Senior Program serves lunch in partnership with Project Open Hand. About 80 seniors attend daily for various activities, including Tai Chi, bingo, line dancing, yoga, computer lab, cooking and gardening.

Tel Hi  also operates an after-school program at North Beach Chinatown Beacon Center and North Beach Place. 

Yvonne invited members to again join the crew of volunteers who serve more than 500 free meals during Tel Hi’s community Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, Nov. 16.

Sue Rokaw, Past President and District Public Image Chair, was recognized for her continuing generous support of the Rotary Foundation when October President of the Month Riki Intner presented her with a Paul Harris Fellow sapphire pin.

Tel Hi Neighborhood Center Serves All Ages 2017-10-14 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 07, 2017

Kira Hahn was welcomed with pins and hugs as the newest member of the Rotary Club of Fisherman’s Wharf. A San Francisco native, Kira was sponsored by her longtime friend, Suzanne Varacalli, who noted that Kira has previously attended club events and supported our fundraisers.

Kira specializes in interior design and project management through her business, Hahn Design Services, Inc. Interested in the arts and an active athlete, Kira is a hiker, skier and Bay swimmer. She has repeatedly swum from Alcatraz to the Aquatic Park and from Golden Gate Bridge to Crissy Field. 

Pictured l-r: Membership Chair Marcella Ramos, Kira Hahn, Suzanne Varacalli and President of the Month Riki Intner.

Larry Hoogasian and Suzanne Varacalli each received a three-stone pin in recognition of their multiple donations as Paul Harris Fellows. Foundation Chair Riki Intner thanked them for their continuing support to enhance the lives of others through gifts to the Rotary Foundation.

Riki and Bob Intner described their recent trip to Chicago, where they were were inducted into the Arch Klumph Society, whose members have made significant contributions to the Foundation.

We Welcome New Member, Kira Hahn 2017-10-07 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 01, 2017

Our speaker Sept. 28 was Ben Davis, founder and CEO of Illuminate, who shared his vision to transform San Francisco into the “city of awe.” Illuminate's mission is to rally large groups of people together to create impossible works of public art that, through awe, free humanity's better nature. The Bay Bridge Lights were created by Illuminate.

Ben said the "summer of love" project at the Conservatory of Flowers turned the ornate white building in Golden Gate Park into a nighttime canvas of light.  More than 20,000 visitors came at night, and many returned during the day, boosting public awareness of the Conservatory.

The Harvey Milk project, at the corner of Castro and Market, will feature rainbow lights and a neon sign with a Harvey Milk quote: "Hope will never be silent.” “Harvey’s Halo” will open November 8th on the 40th anniversary of Milk's historic election.    

Illuminate’s“Lightrail” will beam lights above the heads of pedestrians along Market Street. Another project will beam lights under people's feet at BART stations.

Ben, who biked from his home in Glenn Park to our Rotary meeting, said he sees the Sutro Tower on his daily morning run. He has proposed creating a light rendering of artwork inspired by Keith Haring's pink triangle, “Silence Equals Death” to hang from Sutro Tower. His talk was punctuated by several short and beautiful videos of the proposed art projects.

Founder/CEO of Illuminate Shares His Vision 2017-10-01 07:00:00Z 0

Club members were inspired by what one person can accomplish when guest speaker Heidi Kuhn described Roots of Peace, the organization she founded 20 years ago that is dedicated to the eradication of land mines worldwide. 

Heidi, a member of Rotary SF#2, serves as CEO of Roots of Peace. Its Mines to Vines™ global initiative is working to remove the more than three million land mines that still exist in Vietnam and plant over one million trees and pepper vines.

Roots of Peace Founder Inspires Members 2017-09-29 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Sep 03, 2017

Sans speaker for our Aug. 31 meeting, members took turns responding to a couple of icebreakers: “If I could be anybody besides myself, I would be….”  (John F. Kennedy, my two sisters, Carol Burnett, Playboy model, etc.) and “The weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten was….”  (brains, kangaroo, don’t-know-what-it-was served at a restaurant in Japan, fresh-from-the-egg infant chickens, etc.) 

Sue Rokaw said donations for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts can be made through the district website,

The meeting closed with August’s Larry Hoogasian pinning the presidential pin on September President of the Month Sue Rokaw.

Don't worry, says Larry, I was taught early how to pin a corsage on a lady.

Serious and Silly Answers to Icebreakers 2017-09-03 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 25, 2017

Members were given a primer on how non-profits can raise dollars and introduce their message to potential donors by Lynn Luckow (right), co-founder and CEO of, which assists organizations in formulating and conducting crowdfunding campaigns. He’s pictured with President of the Month Larry Hoogasian.

Lyn said the keys to successful crowdfunding include an attractive website with a 2-3 minute video describing the project, a stated financial goal, ability to donate online, and click-throughs to various social media platforms like FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn. “It's important to ask your donor base to contribute and then forward the link to all their friends,” he said.

Lyn is a member of San Francisco #2 Rotary Club, where he serves on the board as Vice President for Youth Services.

Club banners were exchanged with Olli Vuola, a member of the Helsinki Rotary Club, Finland’s oldest Rotary Club at 90 years. Olli works in startup development and training and was in the Bay Area on business.

Non-Profits Find Success in Crowdfunding 2017-08-25 07:00:00Z 0

Cervante Burrell, a potential club member, was this week’s guest of Sue Rokaw, Past Club President and District Public Relations Chair. A graduate and former dean of students at Sacramento Charter High School, Cervante is the founder of The Unforeseen, a nonprofit that surprises deserving students with Christmas gifts and opportunities to meet sports celebrities.

Information about The Unforeseen and videos of recipients can be found at

'The Unforeseen' Founder Visits Club 2017-08-19 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 12, 2017

This week’s guest speaker, Kris Calvin, CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics, gave tips on how to achieve a balance between “doing for others and doing for yourself” through advocacy and creativity, which she describes as the “pillars of a meaningful life.” Kris, center, is pictured with Program Chair Kay Auciello and President of the Month Larry Hoogasian.

Kris also described her personal journey from an unsafe childhood through university, postgraduate degrees, a successful career and parenthood. Her first novel, One Murder More, earned critical acclaim and awards. Kris brought and sold copies of the hardback book for $10 each, which she then donated to the Rotary Foundation.


President of the Month Larry presented our club banner to Doug and Lynn Pfaffenberger from the Cypress Fairbanks Rotary Club of Houston, TX. The Rotary couple attended our Aug. 10 meeting while vacationing in San Francisco.

Successful CEO/Author Urges Advocacy & Creativity 2017-08-12 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 27, 2017
David Chan (left) and Herman Jones (3rd from left) represented our club in the annual Fisherman's Wharf Merchant Association Tournament played July 21st on The Presidio Golf Course Their foursome included Cris Conners (2nd from left) and Joe Fitting (far right), both with the San Francisco Zoo.
"Cris and Joe were exceptionally outstanding as partners," says Herman.
Club Sponsors Two in Merchant Assn. Golf Tourney 2017-07-27 07:00:00Z 0

We had the pleasure to have DG Ron Gin present at the last meeting. Ron exchanged the President’s Banner with Bob Intner and the District Leadership Team Banner with Riki Intner.

Ron currently works at Morgan Stanley and was in the military prior to that. He served as President Elect in 2009-10 during the chartering of the Chinatown club.

The marketing campaign this Rotary year is “We are people of action.” The top priority continues to be ending polio now—“We are this close.”

Since the initiation of Polio Plus in 1985, 2.5 billion children have been inoculated. Bill and Melinda Gates will continue to match funds 2:1 for three more years. Each inoculation costs 60 to 80 cents, and $1.6 billion has been raised since 1985.

Ron reviewed how Rotary in general has made a difference through ShelterBox, Rotaplast, Alliance for Smiles, H2Open Doors and Roots of Peace.

Ron talked about how our club specifically makes a difference through its support of RYLA, Rotaplast, the Dictionary Project, scholarships for Galileo students, National Night Out and Project Amigo. Not only that, we fund at our weekly socials, since it’s also about having fun.

Our club was chartered in 1990 and it was the 27,131st club. Our total giving since charter is $234,331 and we have 15 Paul Harris fellows, three Major Donors, one Benefactor and five Rotary Direct participants.

The RI theme this year is “Rotary Making a Difference.” Ron challenged us to think about how each of us/our club is making a difference, or is “Rotary making a difference on you?”

He showed us a video at the end of his presentation that covered some of the history of Rotary and its various projects, along with photos from our club—very moving!

Inspiring Words from District Governor Ron Gin 2017-07-22 07:00:00Z 0

Much to their surprise (and dismay), Team Fisherman’s Wharf made it to the semi-finals of the Rotaplast International Bocce Ball Tournament on Sunday, July 16, on the Marin Bocce Federation courts in San Rafael. 

Players were, l-r, Sue Rokaw, Riki Intner, Nancy Slepicka and Herman Jones. Not present for the photo: Marcella and Sal Ramos.

It was the first time that our team has ever been in the running after lunch, and they played two more matches before being ousted. Sunday’s sun was scorching, and by 3 pm everyone was ready to head home.

Herman and his guest, Maria Ocampo, with the tournament's mascot.

Best Showing Ever for Bocce Ball Team 2017-07-17 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 14, 2017

Allons enfants de la Patrie, Le jour de gloire est arrive´! 

President of the Month Bob Intner provided the lyrics and Aline Estournes (fluent in French) led us in singing “La Marseillaise” to open this week’s meeting and celebrate Bastille Day. 

Continuing the international theme, member Marcella Ramos showed slides and described her life changing experience as an interpreter with the recent Rotaplast International medical mission in Lima, Peru. Her participation was made possible by a donation from member Charles Field and matched by our club.

“Changing Lives Forever” was the message of this 10th anniversary Rotaplast mission. Marcella said the team’s medical professionals performed 59 reconstructive surgeries for cleft palates and related problems. Patients ranged in age from 10 months to adults and included three sets of identical twins with cleft palates. Marcella worked principally in the recovery room, helping parents of young patients communicate with nurses and doctors.

The 25th Anniversary Gala of Rotaplast International will be held Aug. 11 at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco. For tickets and to learn more about the good works of Rotaplast, visit

Rotaplast Mission a Life Changing Experience 2017-07-14 07:00:00Z 0

During this week’s club assembly, member Herman Jones, left, presented a banner and other memorabilia from the 2017 Rotary International Convention to President of the Month Bob Intner.

Herman described the convention as “a great experience and reminder of  how large Rotary is –– its arms stretch out in so many ways.”

Herman: Convention was a Great Experience 2017-07-07 07:00:00Z 0

The Rotakyries returned for a final encore during the Debunking Dinner for President Suzanne Varacalli, held June 27 at the Fisherman’s Wharf Marriott. “Rotarhala Awaits” was the theme acted out by, l-r, Riki Intner as Grimgerde, Suzanne as Rossweise, and Aline Estournes as Schwertlite.

The premiere performance by the Rotakyries was for the 2015 debunking of President Sue Rokaw and the costumed trio returned last year to debunk President Marcella Romanus.

The Return of the Rotakyries! 2017-07-07 07:00:00Z 0

Project Avary, a nonprofit based in San Rafael, serves children who have a parent in prison with the goal of  ending generational incarceration. Members learned about this worthwhile program from Zach Whelan, Executive Director, and Amy DeLeon, Director of Community Resources.

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and one in 28 children has a parent in prison, totaling 5 million children. 

“We commit to work with kids for ten years,” Zach said. In addition to a week-long summer camp, Project Avary sponsors weekend outings  –– hiking, camping, kayaking –– with activities that teach life skills, build character and, most important, “give kids a sense of belonging.”

Zach said Project Avary annually accepts 25 new kids, who are referred to the program by counselors, and currently serves 125 children and 90 caregivers. Its $850,000 budget is supported by donations, grants and fundraisers. The per-child cost is $2,500 a year.

We were joined this week by four international Rotarian guests: Sven Inabnit of Basel, Switzerland, Shaun Lennard of Hobart, Tasmania, and Andrea Siniscalco and wife, Svetlana Nikolic of Milan, Italy.

Project Avary: Ending Generational Incarceration 2017-06-17 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jun 08, 2017

Three members of the Otsu Rotary Club in Japan attended our breakfast meeting on June 8th. They were enroute to the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, GA. Members Sue Rokaw and Erik Scheller will also be there.

In the absence of the scheduled speaker, President Suzanne Varacalli asked members to tell “what you love about Rotary.” Responses included RYLA, the dictionary project, international experiences and visitors, conventions and district events, guest speakers, and the opportunity to meet and get to know like-minded people.

Visiting Rotarians from Japan 2017-06-08 07:00:00Z 0
Andrew Wong was welcomed and inducted into our club's membership during the June 1st meeting. Andrew, an acupuncturist with Kaiser Permanente, was sponsored by Past President/Past District Governor Bob Intner. Pictured l-r: President Suzanne Varacalli, Bob Intner, Andrew Wong and Past President/Past District Governor Riki Intner.
Club Welcomes New Member Andrew Wong 2017-06-05 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 27, 2017

Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) headlined the May 25 meeting, when Youth Liaison Chair Sue Rokaw, left, described the recent weekend RYLA Camp and her role as director. A total of 130 high school students attended from 23 high schools in the three-county District 5150 (San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo).

Camp activities that promote team building, leadership and community service were shared by three of the Galileo High School students our club sponsored this year, (l-r) Yaxuan, Amanda and Jenny. All three agreed that participating in RYLA helped build their self confidence in meeting new friends and taught them how to reach and grab for opportunities.

Club banners were exchanged by visiting Rotarian, Suresh Balsubramani of Bangalore, India, and President Suzanne Varacalli.

RYLA Students Share Their Camp Experiences 2017-05-27 07:00:00Z 0
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.
Special Guests at our Birthday Potluck 2017-05-22 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 14, 2017

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.

Club Volunteers Work Again for GG Recreation Area 2017-05-14 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 14, 2017

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.

Members Practice Tools of Mindfulness 2017-05-14 07:00:00Z 0

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.

Club, Foundation Welcomes New Paul Harris Fellow 2017-05-06 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 30, 2017

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.

Giants Love San Francisco & Vice Versa! 2017-04-30 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 12, 2017


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.

Festa Italiana a Fun Fundraiser 2017-04-12 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Apr 02, 2017

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.

We Welcome SF Zoo Officials & Residents 2017-04-02 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 25, 2017

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

Guest Speaker Scores a First 2017-03-25 07:00:00Z 0
Posted on Mar 05, 2017

“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.

Rotary Changes Lives: One Man's Story 2017-03-05 08:00:00Z 0

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.

Dictionaries Given to 159 Third Graders 2017-02-28 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 24, 2017

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

San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park 2017-02-24 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 20, 2017

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.

Conversation with the A.C.T. Dramaturg 2017-02-20 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Feb 16, 2017


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.

Learning How to Experience New SFMOMA 2017-02-16 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 30, 2017

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.

Dictionaries Ready for 3rd Graders 2017-01-30 08:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 12, 2017

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

Docent Tells All About The Presidio 2017-01-13 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jan 07, 2017

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.

Recognized as Paul Harris Fellows 2017-01-08 00:00:00Z 0

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.

Operation Dream Involves Police with Youth 2016-12-11 00:00:00Z 0

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.


What do you love about your job? 2016-12-03 00:00:00Z 0