Back to His Roots
Jim Cooper served two terms in the California Assembly, but the job he really wanted all along was the one he won in last June’s election to succeed Scott Jones as Sacramento County Sheriff. Cooper had a highly decorated, 30-year career in the Sheriff’s Department before losing to Jones back in 2010. How are things going for Sacramento’s first Black sheriff, who was also Elk Grove’s first mayor? Find out next Tuesday, when Cooper will be our guest speaker (noon, March 28th, Annunciation Greek Church). Be sure to register as soon as you receive the email invitation!
Golfers, Auction Items, and Sponsors Needed
Golf 4 Kids, the oldest fundraiser in all of Rotary, is coming up on May 12th at Land Park. The afternoon event will be followed by a reception, dinner, and silent auction at Fairytale Town. Golfers and auction items are needed for this 102nd annual event, which benefits programs for the physically and intellectually challenged at five different locations. To get more information and sign up for golf, click here. To help out with the silent auction or learn about sponsorships, contact President-Elect Nominee BOBBY REED by clicking here.
Recap of the Meeting of March 21st
Reported by Jim Culleton
Water All Around Us
President LINDA GEERY (CFO/California Lawyers Association), kicked off the post-St. Patrick’s Day meeting with a bang. Rotarians and guests were reminded that it was time to their seats for the day’s water-themed program by Deep Purple’s 1973 hit, “Smoke on the Water” blaring from the sound system.
Helping Out

Greeters Ed Melia (Retired/CPA) and Matt Page (Partner/Lucas Group Financial Planners) welcomed one and all. Past President Dan McVeigh (Attorney/Downey Brand) and Virginia Wade (Retired/SAFE Credit Union) poured libations as they hosted the wine reception. John Swentowsky (Owner/Swentowsky Photography) documented the meeting with great photos (don’t miss the Photo Gallery below).

Thought for the Day
Roy Alexander (Retired/Sacramento Children’s Home) gave us the thought for the day. He reminded us that it is good for your health to express gratitude. He also worked the theme of the day, “water” into his speech. “When you turn on the faucet,” he asked, “are you grateful?  Water makes it into the news for catastrophes and water-borne illnesses among other things. But in reality, we should be very thankful and grateful for our clean water.”
Guest Introductions
Sergeant-at-Arms KATHE NATHAN (Retired/Merchants Bank of Commerce) introduced our guests, who included Jeff Brandenburger, guest of dad STEPHEN (Proprietor/Loch Leven Lodge) and brother DAVID (Managing Director/Newmark); visiting Rotarians Cathy and Don Guy from the Elk Grove club, guests of BRAD TOWNE (Owner/Law Offices of Bradley S. Towne); former member Rita Gibson, guest of CLAYTON LEE (C.K.L. Trust); rejoining member Steven Walker; Ana Javaid, guest of SARAH HODGE (Regional Affairs Representative, Association of California Water Agencies); Karen Smith (guest of DAVID BRANDENBURGER); and Yvonne Martinez from the Hiram Johnson-Sac State Transition program, Andrea Horton and Robert Morgan from the Ralph Richardson Center, and Sac State and Ralph Richardson participants Perrin Rapp, Dominic Williams, Ryan Stockton, David Perez and John Johnson, all guests of BRYAN MURRAY (Technology Risk Advisor/Bender Insurance Solutions) and President-Elect-Nominee BOBBY REED (CEO/Capitol Tech Solutions).
Meeting Sponsor
David Brandenburger, our Meeting Sponsor, donated his time to Karen Smith, Executive Director of Futures Explored. Karen’s organization creates inclusive futures for all. Led by the choices of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Futures Explored creates equitable access to relevant programs, supports, and advocacy. Additionally, Futures Explored is a film and media studio teaching filmmaking and providing individuals a pathway into the film industry. They have employed around 40 students per year on projects as editors, camera, grip, sound, actors, and voice-over talent. Some of their students have gained employment outside the company in Georgia, Bakersfield, and Colorado. One student was cast as a series regular on Little Voice on Apple TV! They have an event coming up: Be the Spark! Wednesday, April 26th, at 5:30 p.m. at 2533 R Street in Sacramento. They are showing off their new space and film studio functionality. Here is the flyer.
Rotarian Spotlight
Elfrena Foord (Arata Brothers Trust) spotlighted four Rotarians with birthdays in March and April:
Dennis Cook (Partner/Cook Brown LLP) has been a Lawyer since 1979, and a member of our club for six years. He went to night school at Loyola of Chicago Law School and worked during the day at the Illinois Department of Labor. After two years at the National Labor Relations Board, he went into private practice, specializing in labor and employment law. In 1992, he started his own law firm, Cook Brown, in Sacramento. A highlight was arguing an employment case in front of Federal Court Judge Larry Karlton, and earning his begrudging respect!
Outside of work, Dennis is a busy guy. He has been on the Board of First US Community Credit Union for five years (where Past-President Bob Miller heads up the business lending department). Dennis is part-owner of a walnut orchard near Chico, owns a vineyard in the delta, is part-owner of a corn and soybean row crops farm in Illinois, and part-owner of six NAPA Auto Parts stores in Northern California. Very busy! Then there are his sports. He still likes to play basketball but tries to stay away from the younger, bigger, and stronger guys. In college at USC, he was on the freshman basketball team and Bill Walton was on the UCLA freshman team. Dennis got two points, but not shooting over Walton. Both came on free throws! Dennis’ backpacking days have ended, but he is now riding his bike regularly and has been to Ireland three times on bike rides. Fun fact:  Dennis spent his junior year in college in Rome, Italy. Even with just one year there, many of his class keep in touch and they are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.
Past-President Jim Leet (Retired/Boutin Jones) is an 18-year Rotarian who presided over our club four years ago, during the onset of the pandemic. When Jim was in high school in Pittsburgh, he made enough money to learn how to fly. He received his private pilot license at age 17 and flew around Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Most people fly for the thrill of it. Jim flew to get solutions to school problems. Somehow floating in space in an airplane gave him great clarity on the solutions he needed. And it worked every time! Jim spent his career as an attorney focusing mainly on federal income taxation issues. The career highlight for Jim was to be the advisor that clients came to when they needed good advice. In 2021 as Jim was preparing to retire, one client told him that he was a major positive influence in his life. That was particularly meaningful as Jim exited his career. Hiking became a big hobby for Jim in 2009. Since that time, he has taken many hikes—including his longest, which was walking from Santa Cruz to Lake Tahoe; 360 miles! He has walked across Connecticut, visiting his ancestral home in Guilford, where his ancestor, Governor William Leete, co-founded that town in 1639. He has hiked internationally in New Zealand, Iceland, England, and Newfoundland. And now, he’s learning Italian for his fall hike in Italy. Fun fact: During Jim’s freshman year of high school, he tied his school’s record in the 220-yard dash—22.0 seconds. While an exciting accomplishment, it did not count because it was at practice. He says now it would take him about three minutes to cover the same ground.
John Swentowsky has been a Rotarian for 29 years. In his junior year of high school, John was on the varsity football team and broke his leg. His football season over, his photography teacher said, “You’re taking pictures at the game this Friday.” “I am?” John said. The rest is history. John has had his photography business since 1980. A few celebrities have graced his camera including Governors Pat Brown and Gavin Newsom, rock stars Rod Stewart and Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles, Barbi Benton of Playboy fame, and many of you Rotarians. After high school in West Sacramento, in 1974 John joined the Navy. He told the recruiter he wanted to be a photographer. The recruiter said, “Son, everyone wants to be a photographer.” After his service, John finished college at Sac State, where he earned a BA in Photo-Journalism. Just like Mike Gilligan, while in college, John worked as a stripper—at the Vacaville Reporter newspaper in prepress as a stripper. This October, John will have been married to his wife, Barbara, for 40 years. There was almost no second date. On their first date, dinner was at A& W Root Beer. Barbara ordered her dinner with no fries. She told John, “I’ll just have some of yours.” “I don’t think so,” John replied. They still joke about it to this day! One of their hobbies is traveling in an RV. Last year, they went on a two-month RV adventure to Alaska, an 8,000-mile round-trip. Fun fact: John is a huge baseball fan. One day John and his son went to see the Oakland Athletics on a rainy, miserable day. The TV camera zoomed in on John and Kyle, and then panned out, showing that they were the only two fans in the entire section of seats. The announcer said, “Look at those poor, wet souls!”
Nancy Weaver Teichert (Retired/Writer-Journalist) has been a member of our club for eight years. She was a national award-winning journalist for 30 years. Her reporting on inadequate public schools garnered the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service for the Jackson, Mississippi, Clarion-Ledger in 1983. At the Denver Post and Sacramento Bee, she exposed public corruption, racism, poverty, elder abuse, and after a six-year legal battle, the deaths of children under the care of Sacramento County’s Child Protective Services. She’s now retired. Nancy was born in Bloomington, Indiana. Raised in a working-class family, she was the first in her family to earn a college degree. Her mother nurtured her interest in the news through books and routinely watched Walter Cronkite and “60 Minutes.” Except for one summer job at a dry cleaner, her only job has been news reporting. She loved it. Scholarships got her through college, so Past-District-Governor FRED TEICHERT created one in her name at Indiana University as a 20th wedding anniversary gift. Nancy now regularly writes stories about her life and career, a history of the Stephen W. Downey family with Linda Boutin, co-wrote a history book about the Community of Writers in Tahoe—and serves on its board. When not writing, she enjoys tending her garden at the historic former Downey home in East Sacramento. Fun fact: To get stories, she has parachuted and landed in a tall tree. hanging by her knees; been sued for libel (and won); had her life threatened more than once, and once asked to be handcuffed to a toilet in the Sacramento County Jail for a story to show poor treatment. She and Fred met on a blind date. She says she entered the marriage with one dog and one cat. He came with three teenage daughters, who later wed and provided them with six grandchildren.
New Member
President LINDA GEERY inducted our newest member. Elke vonSchlosser (Vice President/Schlosser Properties). Her membership was proposed by CLAYTON LEE and BOB ROSENBERG (CEO/Inve$tnet). She is already active in our club helping CLAYTON with the Honduras WASH international water project. Elke is a native of San Francisco and is a Paul Harris Fellow from her days as a member of the Woodside/Portola Valley Rotary Club. She teaches etiquette and is an accomplished equestrian in hunting, carriage, jumping, and steeple chase. She also ran her family’s landscape supply business before “retiring” to buy a vineyard and run a bed and breakfast. Lastly, Elke loves to dance. Be sure to introduce yourself to our newest member!


Club Announcements
Loaves & Fishes: John Swentowsky said we need two more volunteers for the a.m. shift and four more for the p.m. shift next Thursday, March 30th. Click here to email JOHN if you can help out.
Speech Contest: DAVID BRANDENBURGER announced that the club’s annual speech contest had been held the prior day and that all three speakers were excellent and would be advancing to the District 5180 contest.
Sons’ Day: President Linda said we still need young volunteers for April 4th. Sons’ Day chair MIK Miklaus (Integrity Mortgage) added that the day will have a baseball theme and he is looking for memorabilia to display. If you can help out, click here to contact him.

Golf 4 Kids
: Bobby Reed thanked Ted White (President/Sacramento Delta Property Management) for agreeing to be the dinner sponsor. Paul Keefer (Executive Director/Pacific Charter Institute) will also be sponsoring the event. Gabriel Gendron (Realtor/Coldwell Banker) is looking for hole and tee sponsors. And Jim Leet is trying to fill all 72 golfer spots.
For more information, click here. The Golf 4 Kids announcements were accompanied by a special visit from a large group of students from the Ralph Richardson Center and Hiram Johnson High School-Sac State Transition Program—two of the worthy causes that benefit from the longest-running fundraiser in all of Rotary. Through the generosity of our club over the years, they have been able to teach living and job skills, provide peer grouping classes at CSUS, pair up with the Best Buddies program, and purchase physical education equipment, cooking tools, clothing, communication boards, a new sound system and books for non-verbal children.
Gems for Giving
Kathe Nathan gave a Golf 4 Kids donation. Nancy Teichert honored new member Elke vonSchlosser with a gift to Honduras WASH. Matt Page, whose son is getting to be a pretty good baseball player, donated to the water project in honor of his son’s walk-off triple in a recent game.  Sarah Hodge disclosed her current health challenge and added to her Eddie Mulligan. Jaydeep Balakrishnan (Associate Dean for Faculty Support/CSUS School of Business Administration) donated to Golf 4 kids. Linda Geery and John Wood (Principal/McGee & Thielen Insurance) each donated to Sarah’s Eddie Mulligan. And Mik Miklaus added to his Eddie Mulligan, Paul Harris and Clayton Lee’s water project.
Guest Speaker
Sarah Hodge introduced our guest speaker, Jim Peifer, Executive Director of the Sacramento Regional Water Authority. She noted that Jim had spent 29 years as a civil engineer before heading up the five-county organization that encompasses 22 water districts and serves more than 2.1 million people. She said that two of his main objectives are to improve water supply and maintain affordability and that climate change in the American River Basin is a major obstacle that we are facing in the near future. She said SRWA has received a $120 million grant to build resilient water systems. SRWA also serves as an advocate and staff to groundwater authorities.
Peifer addressed changes to the watershed, reservoir capacity, groundwater basin, and overgrowth of forests—including the added fire danger. To provide perspective on the need for water, he talked about capacity in acre-feet. (An acre-foot of water is the amount of water it would take to cover one acre of land with 12 inches of water; about 326,000 gallons—the approximate amount used by the average California household per year.) He said reservoirs in our state currently hold about 50 million acre-feet of water. The groundwater basin holds between 850 million and 1.4 billion acre-feet. This has actually improved since the 1990s, as there has been a limit on agriculture pumping and more of a reliance on surface water. A new measure in the legislature, Senate Bill 659, has been introduced to set a state goal of creating 10 million acre-feet of subsurface storage. During the question-and-answer period that followed his talk, Peifer responded to inquiries about flood control (particularly along the Cosumnes River), the proposed Sites Reservoir, rife farmers’ use of water and surface water, and aquifer replenishment.
Past President Walter Dahl (Partner/Dahl Law) closed the meeting with the Smile for the Day (something about a gardener who was so excited that the drought was over that he wet his plants). And Sgt.-at-Arms Kathe Nathan reminded everyone that Sheriff Jim Cooper will be our next speaker on March 28th.
Photo Gallery for the Meeting of March 21st
(Courtesy of John Swentowsky, Swentowsky Photography)