There is no Rotary meeting on January 17th because we will be honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When we reconvene on January 24th, our guest speaker will be someone whose last name also was often in the national spotlight in the turbulent 1960s.
Committee chairs and project leaders: In addition to announcements at our weekly meetings, you can now make brief announcements through Pulse. The deadline for announcements for the next edition of Pulse is Tuesday, January 24th. Items should be no more than 50 words. Email them to Steve Heath at steve@rotarysacramento.com.
Recap of the January 10th, 2023, Meeting
Reported by Jim Culleton
Past-President JOHN FRISCH introduced our speaker, fellow Rotarian MIK MIKLAUS. John, himself a long-time real estate industry pro, said the Mik has forgotten more about real estate than some of us will ever know! Mik joined Rotary Club of Sacramento in 1979. He started in the mortgage brokerage business in 1972. 25 years ago, he started his own company. He has eight children and eight grandchildren.
Mik gave his interest rate and housing forecast, packing an amazing amount of information into a tiny time slot. “Inflation drives mortgage rates,” he told the audience. “The Fed, using ‘quantitative easing’ during Covid, artificially held down mortgage rates by buying mortgage-backed bonds. This policy, kept in place too long, resulted in a rapid acceleration of inflation, due to all the Federal stimulus money added to the economy. The Fed (Federal Reserve) is now trying to pound inflation out of the economy using interest rates, the only tool they have.” He pointed out that 39% of inflation is housing. “The way the Fed measures inflation is very simplistic, and the monthly number is coming down—except for housing. Shelter costs are the lagging component in the inflation number.” Mik showed slides depicting how mortgages are priced and how they track with the price changes of ten-year Treasuries. Another slide showed an inverted interest rate curve of the 10-year rates compared to three-month notes. His prediction: “We are headed for a recession. Consumer debt is high, and savings rates are down.” His next prediction: “Interest rates will be at or below 5.5% by May.” He also pointed out that homeowners are staying in their current homes longer. Most have refinanced already. He also said that housing sales usually spike between April and August. In summer, prices go up. In winter prices go down. Mik said there is a healthy relationship between buyers and sellers right now. “The build-versus-buy question always looms. Inventory levels are better, but not great. In short, housing prices will hold up nicely. High new buyer demand, low inventory and no overbuilding all work to hold up housing prices.” Recapping, he said, “Inflation will go down. There will be a recession-like slow down. Incomes going up will help affordability in the housing market.”
Joe Cocker’s “I get by with a little help from my friends” welcomed Rotarians back to the first meeting of 2023!  President LINDA GEERY selected the song to recognize the tremendous work of Past-President JIM LEET and NICKI WARDLAW, who put together an outstanding Daughters’ Day two weeks earlier.
Also getting “Thank-Yous” were greeter JOHN MASSEY, photographer JOHN SWENTOWSKY, wine reception co-hosts DEE HARTZOG and PETER DANNENFELSER, and Pulse reporter JIM CULLETON. At the head table with PRESIDENT LINDA were Meeting Sponsor JIM RELLES, Chair of the Day JOHN FRISCH and featured speaker MIK MIKLAUS.
ROBYN DELONG, subbing for vacationing Sergeant-At-Arms KATHE NATHAN, introduced our guests, who included prospective new member DENNIS GODBY, visiting Rotarian RANDY FIORINI from the Turlock Rotary Club, and COLBY RELLES.
Past-President WALTER DAHL ended the meeting with a smile.
Our invocator was MEGAN LAURIE, who said, “Happy New Year. As this is our first meeting of the new year and my first ‘thought for the day opportunity,’ I was thinking about how I could tie in New Year’s resolutions and how we look forward to this year. Some stats around New Year’s resolutions: 25% of people who make them, don’t make it past week two of January, somewhere between 60-80% don’t make it to February 1st, and only around 9% make it through the whole year. I find these numbers a little sad and I’m not sure what I could say or what words I could borrow from someone that would encourage someone to make it all 12 months.
“I know Mik is our speaker today, and I was a little stuck on merging umping with brokering mortgages into a thought for the day. But this weekend, I watched a documentary called ‘Stutz,’ a documentary on mental health and healing tools, in which gratitude was brought up. So instead, I want to focus this moment on gratitude, and as we are entering this new year, on how grateful I am that I get to come to these meetings and be a part of this great group. Here is a little bit about the impact that gratitude can make:
  • “Studies have shown that people who spend more time experiencing gratitude seem to spend less time experiencing aches and pains and going to doctors. They also report more feelings of physical and mental well-being.
  • “Gratitude improves one’s outlook on life. Appreciating what you have can make you feel more optimistic and satisfied and experience less frustration, envy, and regret. It also tends to result in increased self-esteem and confidence, which also improves mood.
  • “Gratitude can enhance relationships. We are often attracted to positive people; this positivity also makes one easier to get along with and talk to, even about difficult things. Being thankful for the important people in your life is more likely to be reciprocated.
  • “People who practice gratitude right before bedtime, by listing those things they feel grateful for, report better sleep. This is likely because gratitude diminishes anxiety and stressful feelings, allowing for a more restful and relaxed entry to sleep.
  • “Those who are mindful about being grateful express appreciation for the people and things around them, which can enhance the positives to be gained from gratitude.
“When do you practice gratitude? The best thing about it is that it is completely up to you when and where you do it. You can set a scheduled time, to ensure you do it every day. You can do it when something negative happens, to help you combat the negative. Start by just picking three things you are grateful for. Try not to repeat them. Some days it may be harder, but there is always a reason. So, I invite you to join me in practicing gratitude and benefitting from less aches, pains, more sleep, and recognizing that things will be ok. Happy new year!”
JIM RELLES, told the audience that in 2022, Relles Florist celebrated its 75th anniversary. The shop is going strong and has put COVID in the rearview mirror. COLBY, Jim’s son, will be taking over the business in about two years. He started in March of 2022. Relles Florist guarantees its flowers, has a large delivery area and has even started a wholesale division.
ELFRENA FOORD was back at it with her clever highlights of six members. To quote Elfrena:
“JIM PHILLIPS: Jim, who turned 93 just 10 days ago, was the first baby born on January 1st of 1930, in Alameda County and got his picture in the Oakland Tribune with his mother. Jim’s family owned a 2,500-acre ranch in Groveland, where Jim’s dad was raised. Jim’s grandmother was born and died there.The family visited it frequently. In 1953, Jim graduated from Cal, after some Air Force active duty. In 1958, Jim got married, and in eight years, they had two boys and two girls. He got his pilot’s license and flew a Cessna 182 for over 3,000 hours. He also organized the Arden Arcade 20-30 Club, where he made a connection that resulted in his career in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry. This continues today, like a hobby where he still consults. His final career was as Director of Energy Management for American Recreation Centers, which operated 46 bowling alleys around the U.S. Jim has been in our Rotary for 43 years, is a Paul Harris Fellow, and is known for his 20 years of leading Yosemite day hikes four to five times a year—and for 41 years of perfect attendance before the pandemic. Fun Fact:  When he was young, Jim would periodically go to the family ranch to ride horses and drive cattle. At age nine, Jim started driving a 1935 Ford pickup on the dirt roads. Then at age 14, he purchased a 1930 Auburn car for $30. He made it run on cleaning solvent, which was not rationed during World War II. This showcases his “Can Do” attitude he has shown in his life.
LARRY CASSIDY: Born on January 2nd, he has been in Rotary for 45 years. Larry grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He was drafted into the Army and went from Detroit to Fort Ord in Monterey. In the service, he was selected to be part of the Military Honor Guard, and loved his job as the Army escort for beauty queen contestants when he was stationed in Alaska. On a leave from Fort Ord, he caught a bus to the Bay Bridge, then hitchhiked in uniform to the Greyhound bus station in Downtown Sacramento. He was met by his aunt and uncle. They owned a collection agency, so after the service, Larry worked there while going to school at Sac City and then Sac State. During his third year at McGeorge Law, Larry formed his own firm, Northern California Collection Service. His firm handles commercial collections for national and international creditors. He has a staff of experienced collectors and three in-house attorneys to service clients. That’s a long way from his first collection job, when he was a paper boy in Detroit. Larry has been a leader in his industry and has been president of three different collection associations. Fun Fact: Larry was honored as a Sutter Club 50-year member at the annual Presidents dinner. During the dinner, he mentioned that that night he was in a tux, but only a block away from the old Greyhound bus depot, where he first arrived in Sacramento.
BOB MILLER: Bob grew up in the tiny Mendocino town of Gualala, a suburb of Point Arena. He celebrated his birthday on January 8th. Bob attended Sacramento State University and he was a member of the Hornet football team for three years. These days, he doesn’t look like a football player. The reason? He’s a runner. He’s run one marathon and 15 half-marathons. Probably his other hobbies of cycling and golf help his trim physique too. While at Sac State, Bob needed to work. One of his football buddies had a brother with a business that needed some help. So, he took the job and met Marina, his future wife, at the shop next door. It was meant to be, as they met and went on one date before the business where he was working folded two weeks later. That was over 31 years ago, and they have been married for 27 years. Bob has been in Rotary nine years, and rose to power as our President last year. Nine years seems to be magical number for Bob. He started at First U.S. Community Credit Union in business development, and now nine years later, he’s the Vice President of Business Services. Fun Fact: Bob and his wife were extra’s in the movie ‘Lady Bird,’ and their names are listed in the credits. How did that happen you might ask? Bob worked with Greta Gerwig’s dad, so he had met Greta several times. Obviously, she thought Bob and Marina were movie star quality.
JOHN WOOD: John, whose birthday is January 12th, has been in Rotary 20 years. He is known for his entertaining and funny presentations, skills he honed through a gauntlet of 20-30 Club Skit Nights. John is a fifth-generation Sacramentan (with the first three generations being Portuguese farmers in what is now the Pocket area), and is a Sac State graduate. This year will mark John 40th year McGee and Thielen Insurance Brokers. He is part of the ownership group of the firm, which is celebrating its 103rd year in business. John specializes in insuring against business liability exposures of all kinds, and also consults with high-net-worth families about their personal insurance programs.Fun Fact:  John is quite certain that he was the worst busboy in the history of the Old Spaghetti Factory on J Street, but fortunately, he enjoyed more success as a college football official in the 1980’s and 90’s. He has officiated three Causeway Classics, which have boisterous crowds—and even had a streaker at one game. He refereed a Humboldt game in a monsoon. It poured on John and the crowd for three hours. John also officiated a number of Sac City College versus American River College games, back when they were notorious for the number of fights that had to be broken up. Mike Pereira, before he was Chief NFL official on Fox Sports, got himself put into one of these games, just to see if the story about the fights was true. He couldn’t believe what he saw!
DAN MCVEIGH: He was born in San Francisco, the second of five red-haired Irish children. Following his graduation from Cal, he spent time working as a bartender at the M&M Tavern in downtown San Francisco. The bar was started by Grandpa McVeigh, an immigrant from Ireland, in 1934, just after the repeal of prohibition. Of course, Grandpa already had some practice, cooking up bathtub gin in their home. Dan’s father took over the tavern in 1946. Around 2000, it was sold and renamed the Chieftain Irish Pub. It is at the corner of 5th and Howard Streets. I’ve gone-it’s a great pub!!! Dan graduated from Hastings School of Law joined Downey Brand Seymour & Rohwer in March, 1979. They hired him despite the fact he did not hunt or fish, which were two strikes against him. The possible third strike came at his ‘new guy’s lunch’ at the Sutter Club. Everyone ordered Coors beer, but Dan blithely stated, ‘I will have a beer, anything but a Coors!’ His dad’s bar didn’t serve Coors because the company had an anti-union reputation. One of the senior partners represented the local Coors distributor, but even so, Dan has been a lawyer with Downey Brand for 43 years—despite all the bets taken, that he just wouldn’t last there. Fun Fact:  His co-ed book club has been meeting regularly for more than 40 years and has read more than 300 books. Dan has been in Rotary 23 years and was president of our club six years ago. His birthday is January 21st.
WES YEE: Wes, whose birthday is January 30th, has been in Rotary 35 years, serving as our president 15 years ago. Or as he liked to say humorously, serving as our Emperor! Wes’s grandfather came to the US in 1910, went to Cal, Stanford and Michigan to earn an engineering degree. He then went back to China to contribute his expertise there. He returned to Sacramento in 1925 and opened a Chinese healing herb business. This was an expertise of his great great grandfather, who had a substantial reputation as a healer. His office was at 7th and J Street. Wes’s father grew up living upstairs, after emigrating to the US at age seven. So, in that same building, Wes has been a dentist for 45 years, and his dad for 55 years before him. For almost 100 years, the Yee dentists have operated what they like to call “a filling station.” Wes was Asian Dentist of the year in 2002 and in 2022 was president of the Sacramento District Dental Society. He has served on four dental missions to Jamaica and our club supported all four financially. Skiing has been a big hobby for Wes. He took ski lessons from Past-President FRANK POELMAN’s Tioga Ski Club, and then advanced enough to ski down one of Europe’s steepest ski slopes in Innsbruck, Austria. He’s also a single-digit handicapper at golf.Fun Fact: Wes was a cast member in the 1960 Music Circus show “King and I.” He likes to think that this helped him be “The Emperor” when he was our president!”
STEVE HUFFMAN has arranged for nine sites for Brown Bag Day on February 7th. Look for an email soon that will enable you to sign up and rank your choices for which session you will attend.
President-Elect TODD KOOLAKIAN encouraged everyone to mark their calendars for the 114th Rotary International Convention in Melbourne, Australia, May 19th through June 1st. More details to follow soon.
BOBBY REED reminded us that Golf 4 Kids is the afternoon of May 12th at Land Park, with a dinner to follow at Fairytale Town. Sponsors are needed!  Golfers are needed!
Past-President PETER DANNENFELSER and SARAH HODGE.are reviving Passions Day on January 31st. Come show your special skill, interest or hobby to your fellow Rotarians. Tables will be set up for display. This will also coincide with Reunion Day. If you know any past members, invite them or invite a guest who may become a new member! Lunch will be free for past and prospective members.
CLAYTON LEE thanked us for the Crystal donations. The Safe Water Honduras project is moving along well. He recapped a few district grants and global grants that are focused on clean water.
Generosity happens on Tuesdays! President LINDA tapped President-Elect TODD KOOLAKIAN for a few bucks for being recognized in Comstock’s Magazine for the successful Luxx for Living fundraising event for the Sacramento Children’s Home Crisis Nursery…Past-President WES YEE donated in honor of his retirement after 45 years! He did offer a free root canal on his way out. There were no takers…Even though he wasn’t present, Past-President THOM GILBERT received a thank-you from LINDA GEERY in honor of her retirement from Gilbert Associates…PAUL KEEFER thanked Wes Yee and mentioned his respect for the dentistry profession, having lost a few teeth while getting knocked around in rugby games many years ago.
There isn’t one. We will be closed on January 17th in observance of Martin Luther King Day. Our next meeting will be January 24th, and will feature CRAIG MCNAMARA, owner of Sierra Orchards, founder of the Center for Land-Based Learning and son of former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, who served under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson during the Viet Nam War era. This is a meeting you won’t want to miss. Be sure to watch for the email with the reservation link, and invite a potential new club member!
PHOTO GALLERY FROM JANUARY 10TH (Courtesy of John Swentowsky)