If you happen to hear someone humming that song from “The Sound of Music,” most likely it will be President Linda Geery. The time has come for our annual year-end ritual known as “demotion.” That’s when our club’s current president ends their term of office with a bit of fun and fanfare—and that’s exactly what will take place next Tuesday (27th) at noon at the Annunciation Church. There will be music and comedy, laughter and tears, sex and violence (well, probably not that last part), as President Linda ends a busy year, heaves a sigh of relief, and makes way for incoming President Todd Koolakian. You won’t want to miss this fun-filled tradition. If you haven’t already done so, respond to the email invitation from the club and make your reservation now.
Recap of the June 20th Meeting
Reported by Steve Heath
Another 50 Years of Debate?
It has been 50 years since the Roe v. Wade decision was issued, 12 months since it was overturned by the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health ruling and, perhaps we have another 50 years of debate to come. That was the tongue-in-cheek prediction of Past President BRIAN VAN CAMP (Van Camp ADR), who filled in admirably as our featured speaker after a last-minute cancellation.
Introduced by Chair of the Day Past President DIANE MIZELL (Retired/Northern California Collection Service), Past President BRIAN is a retired Superior Court judge who, these days, consults as an arbitrator and mediator specializing in commercial disputes. Steering clear religious and moral arguments, he skillfully guided the audience through a litany of key Supreme Court rulings, constitutional amendments, and legislative actions that directly or indirectly impact the abortion issue.
Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, he pointed out, abortion was totally illegal in 30 states and allowed only under special circumstances in another 16. In writing the majority opinion for Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun said that the right to abortion is found in the concept of personal liberty, as well as in personal, marital, familial, and sexual privacy rights said to be protected by the Bill of Rights.
Then, in 1992, the high court’s ruling in Casey v. Planned Parenthood rejected Roe’s trimester-based framework for when abortions could be performed, but also said that decisions about abortion, family planning, marriage, and education fall within “realm of personal liberty, which government may not enter.”
Exactly one year ago, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case. In his majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito said, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.” The ruling by the sharply divided court also essentially left it to the individual states to decide whether to enact protections or prohibitions for abortion rights.
What has ensued is a flurry of state legislative actions, some attempting to reinstate former prohibitions on abortions and others to replace what was overturned by the Dobbs ruling. And, he said, there has been significant political fallout. “It mobilized the liberal base, enabled Democrats to paint GOP candidates as too extreme for independents, and even turned off some Republican women…which not only helped to limit Republicans to a net gain of only nine seats in the U.S. House but also helped Democrats to maintain control of the Senate and win state-level races…in more traditionally conservative states such as Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.”
Will all of this stop any time soon? “Why should you think so?” he responded to his own rhetorical question. “The controversy over Roe v. Wade raged for 50 years. What makes you think the argument will stop any earlier?!”
An Honor to Have Her Honor Back
President LINDA GEERY (CFO/California Lawyers Association) inducted former member KIMBERLY MUELLER back into the club as an Honorary member. She is the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Her schedule had become so crowded that she decided to resign from her 18-year membership in early 2022. However, the club’s Board of Directors wanted her to remain a part of our Rotary family and recently offered her an honorary membership.
Remembering A Leader Who Served
STEPHEN SHIFLETT (Retired/California State Parks) offered a tribute to recently deceased member JIM STRENG, saying that Jim built neighborhoods, not just tract homes. Steve noted that, in addition to having built more than 4,000 homes over the course of his career, Jim had truly been an example of Service Above Self, having served two terms on the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors and taken an active interest in a number of community organizations, such as the American River Parkway Foundation, as well as creating a scholarship fund with the Rotary Club of Sacramento Foundation for students at Bella Vista High School.
Your Donations Making a Difference
Community Grants Committee chair CHRISTIE HOLDEREGGER (CEO/Volunteers of America) announced recipients of this year’s community grants. Funded out of shared earnings from our Foundation’s investment portfolio, this year’s grants totaled $35,000 to 11 community-based nonprofits selected after careful screening by the committee. Recipients included:
American River Parkway Foundation, Carmichael, $2,000 for its Outdoor Education program that serves about 2,700 fourth through seventh graders from Title I schools annually.
City of Refuge, Sacramento, $3,500 for its Youth Development program serving children and teens currently housed through the organization’s motel voucher program.
Fairytale Town, Sacramento, $3,500 to enable it to serve more than 900 children from low-income backgrounds through its Animal Workshop program.
Futures Explored, Sacramento, $4,750 for its Film and Media program that trains individuals with developmental disabilities to work in film and video production.
Juma Ventures, Sacramento, $2,200 for its Wonder Mentoring program that helps pave the way for disadvantaged youth to work, education, and financial capability.
Sacramento Children’s Museum, Rancho Cordova, $3,500 to fund supplies, curriculum development, and staff costs for its Early Childhood Education program.
Sovereignty Abound African American Community, Sacramento, $2,700 to help provide clothes, food, blankets, tents, and other supportive items for 200 people through for its Night Out with the Unhoused program.
Stanford Sierra Youth and Families, Sacramento, $2,200 for its Wonder Mentoring program, the region’s only mentoring program designed specifically to meet the needs of children and youth in foster care starting at ages 5-15.
Wayfinder Family Services, Citrus Heights, for $3,500 for its Kinship Support Services program that supports grandparents, extended family members, or close family friends who step up to raise children, so they avoid the trauma of separation from their birth families.
Wellspring Women’s Center, Sacramento, $2,350 for its Children’s Corner program that offers children of various ages a safe space filled with opportunities for children to learn, build skills, and interact with their peers.
Women’s Empowerment, Sacramento, $3,500 for its Employment Readiness & Empowerment program, a comprehensive job-readiness program designed specifically for women who are experiencing homelessness—and their children.
ELFRENA FOORD (Arata Brothers Trust) presented the last Rotarian Spotlight of the current Rotary Year, featuring four members. To quote Elfrena,
*JOHN MASSEY: While John has been in our Rotary Club for just nine months, he has a long history as a 16-year Rotarian, having served as president twice and treasurer for 13 years for a small club that has since disbanded. For 23 years, John and his brother have owned Massey & Massey Accountancy. They work with business owners on tax matters, as well as consulting on a broad range of business issues. John says he and his brother both have weird senses of humor, which helps them have fun in their work environment. John has interesting hobbies, like playing Texas Hold’em and dominoes, wine tasting, and reading “who done it” detective novels—as well as developing his sarcasm. Looks to me like he is blowing up the idea that accountants are dull people. For the last 11 years, John has also been CFO/co-owner of Luxe Aviation, which not only arranges private aircraft for travel but also simplifies the process of managing, selling, acquiring or leasing airplanes. Because of his flying connections, he has met John Travolta, who he says is surprisingly short, and Harrison Ford, who is surprisingly down to earth. A fun story: When he was 12 years old, his family was visiting Hearst Castle. On the return trip, the van ran out of gas five miles from any gas station. John had to excuse himself to go “visit nature” and, ironically, saw a gas tank sitting nearby. He opened it and was surprised to find just enough gas to get the family van to the gas station. John is a guy who has fun and finds solutions when they are needed.
“LARRY GILZEAN: Larry has been a Rotarian for 31 years. He started his professional life working as an auditor for Big-Eight CPA firm Price Waterhouse. Next, he was the Chief Operating Officer, and then President, of RCA Information Services from 1991-2001, when the company was sold. They created a great charitable legacy when $9 million from that sale went to the Sacramento Region Community Foundation to create the RCA Community Fund. Since 2001, that fund has made grants in excess of $7.6 million to support approximately 300 nonprofit organizations in the region and has grown its fund balance from $9 million to over $10 million. Since 2001, Larry has worked for Spare Time Sports Clubs, and currently is its President. He enjoys working in the fitness and sports club industry, where his company can have the opportunity to positively impact its members’ physical and mental health and wellness every day! Some fun facts: Larry’s family has gone on camping and water skiing vacations at Trinity Lake almost every year for the past 57 years. The only two years they didn’t go were in 1977 and 2014, when the lake was so low from the drought that you couldn’t launch a boat! Larry and his wife love traveling, and even bumped into Jim and Mary Jo Streng in New Orleans. They enjoy finding unique or unusual activities to do on their trips. One fun activity was jet skiing in the New York City Harbor—much like in the movie Hitch, except Larry didn’t kick his wife in the head like Will Smith did in the movie!
“LEV KAGANOVICH: Lev has been a member of our club for 18 years. He grew up in Belarus (in the former Soviet Union) and received a degree in mechanical engineering in 1969. A year later, he was drafted into the Soviet Army as a construction manager in Moscow, with 70 people under his command. Lev was exhilarated and scared because he was a Construction Manager with no previous knowledge of construction. It helped him to grow up in a hurry. Against all odds, things worked out really well. He doubled his income. And he appreciates the Soviet Ministry of Defense for the opportunity to meet his wife of 51 years, Galina. In 1978, Lev applied for permission to leave the Soviet Union. This was permitted for people wanting to reunify with relatives abroad. Unfortunately, Lev did not have any relatives abroad. German fascists made sure that his father lost all his 22 first blood relatives and Lev’s parents both lost their previous spouses. But a story he made up about a fake relative worked, and in 1979, Lev made it to the USA. Here, Lev graduated with Master of Management Degree. He lived in Michigan and was a partner in an egineering firm in Chicago before settling in California to stay closer to his sons and super-bright teenage grandchildren. He ended his career as a consulting mechanical engineer and was an Energy LEED specialist. Fun fact: Lev and Galina love to travel. They have collected hundreds of shot glasses from the 75 countries they have visited.
“STEVEN WALKER: Steven was a member for 13 years, before taking a one-year break, and now he is back. He has been an entrepreneur since high school, when he had a vending machine business. After graduating from El Camino High, he started Fast Break Tech. They are the IT provider for many businesses and home offices that don’t have someone to turn to for their technical needs. Then, after eight years at CSUS, he got his degree in Management Information Systems. Fast Break Tech has thrived and will celebrating 25 years in business next year. Here are three of Steven’s hobbies: 1, Travel. He has been to 63 countries and notched his seventh continent, Antarctica, last year. 2, Physical fitness. Steve bikes 400 miles a month and does yoga and pilates after work as his wind down. 3, Spartan races. How many of you know what Spartan races are? They involve running and sprinting through different terrains, like sand or high altitudes, and additionally, through up to 30 obstacles such as lifting and carrying 100lb lead balls, navigating through multiple structures of rings and monkey bars and flipping 400lb tires. Steven started six years ago, competes in the 13-mile version, and recently, won two prizes competing in his age group, finishing second in one race and third in another. Congratulations!”
Back from Down Under
President-Elect TODD KOOLAKIAN (Director of Philanthropy/Sacramento Children’s Home), just back from Australia, shared of slides from his trip to the Rotary International Convention in Melbourne, as well as several other adventures while representing RCOS at the annual event. The convention offers not only educational sessions, but also opportunities to interact with club leaders from around the globe.
A Sad Thought for the Day
Past President JOHN FRISCH (Senior Managing Director/Newmark Knight Frank) used the Thought for the Day to inform club members of the passing of recent guest speaker Brian Schul. The former SR71 pilot and Vietnam War hero died of cardiac arrest in early May in Reno shortly after making a presentation to a group of Air Force veterans in Reno. Schul spoke to our club on February 13th. He was 75.
Meeting Sponsor’s Moment
RUTH TESAR (Retired CEO/Northern California PET Imaging Center), was our Meeting Sponsor. She gave her time at the podium to her successor, Bradley Schmidt, who gave the audience a brief overview of what the PET Imaging Center does and how it plays a key role in the continuum of Northern California healthcare services.
They Added Some Real Sparkle
During Tuesday’s “You’re a Gem for Giving” session, the following Rotarians continued our club’s tradition of generosity with a combined total of more than $4,000 in gifts: Past President KEN NOACK, JR. (Senior Managing Director/Newmark Knight Frank); JIM PHILLIPS (Owner/The Energy Savers); ELFRENA FOORD; JOHN MASSEY; ART and KIEFIE BREUER (Retired); RICK DAVIS (Colonel/U.S. Air Force, retired); President-Elect Nominee BOBBY REED (CEO/Capitol Tech Solutions); DENNIS GODBY (CEO/Sacramento Neuropathic Medical Center/Walk USA for Health Equity); STEVEN WALKER; STEPHEN SHIFLETT; DIANE MIZELL; and BRIAN VAN CAMP.
We Had Visitors
Stand-in Sergeant-at-Arms ROBYN DELONG (Realtor/Coldwell Banker) introduced our guests. They included Bradley Schmidt, guest of RUTH TESAR; prospective member Thomas King, guest of CHRISTIE HOLDEREGGER; and prospective members Marquis Simmons, Stacia Beckinger, and Mike Belcher, all guests of DAVID BRANDENBURGER (Managing Director/Newmark Knight Frank).
They Helped Out
President LINDA thanked Greeters RICK DAVIS, NANCY TEICHERT (Writer/Retired Journalist), and TIM MATTHEIS (Principal Architect/WMB Architects); Wine Reception host LEV KAGANOVICH; stand-in Sgt.-at-Arms ROBYN DELONG; Smile of the Day provider JOHN WOOD (Principal/McGee & Thielen Insurance); stand-in Photographer BARBARA CLEGG (Rotary Staff Accountant) and stand-in Pulse Reporter STEVE HEATH (RCOS Executive Director).
(Snapshots of Tuesday’s meeting, courtesy of Barbara Clegg)