Rotary Meeting: January 12, 2021


Our Zoom-erific meeting was launched by PRESIDENT KEVIN SMITH-FAGAN (Executive Director of Fairytale Town). PRESIDENT KEVIN announced one of this week’s special guests, KRISTIN OLBERT, who will be coming to Sacramento this Summer. We were so honored to have her tune in all the way from her current location of Cologne, Germany! KRISTIN’S parents were Rotarians, which gave KRISTIN and all 5 of her siblings the chance to go on Rotary Youth Exchanges. Her first excursion took her over to Ecuador; eventually, she went on another youth exchange and spent time in South Africa. Over the years, her house was also a welcoming refuge for Rotary Exchange students. Over 30 Rotary Exchange students were estimated to have stayed in her home!


ALLISON CAGLEY (Sergeant in Arms) (Executive Director of Friends of Sacramento Arts) gave a warm welcome to three other guests at this week’s meeting: CHARLA JEANNE LAWSON (Development & Engagement Manager of Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera), KEITH GLEN (Shareholder at Gilbert CPA), and SHAHNAZ VAN DEVENTER (Director of Marketing & Development at MOSAC) who is working alongside today’s guest speaker, MICHELE WONG (Executive Director of MOSAC). What a big day for special guests! We were all humbled and honored to see all of you that joined us for this meeting, thank you!


KERRY WOOD (Chief Marketing & Donor Engagement Officer of Sacramento Region Community Foundation) presented our Thought for the Day, her inspiration sourced from the new name for the Powerhouse Science Center – SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity (her emphasis being on the word “Curiosity”). KERRY’s quote, listed below, can be found in The Once and Future King by T.H. White:


  • “The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.”


SHAHNAZ VAN DEVENTER “volunteered” to lead the Pledge of Allegiance and called everyone to put their right hand on their heart as she led us in the recital. PRESIDENT KEVIN commented on how moving it was to hear the Pledge of Allegiance during such a turbulent time in our country, as it provided us with a brief moment where we can all remember and agree on what we stand for.


PAUL KEEFER (Executive Director of Pacific Charter Institute) updated the Club regarding an RYE Host opportunity. In light of the pandemic, our District will be holding a virtual exchange. PAUL needs a counselor who can mentor this student and is asking for a volunteer from a fellow Rotarian.


BOBBY REED (CEO of Capitol Tech Solutions) has an update on the upcoming Young Professional project. We are going to help create the most iconic sign in all of Sacramento! The Old Sacramento Water Front sign project is in alignment with the community and economic development focus area of Rotary. The sign will go on top of the California State Railroad Museum, highly visible from the I-5 South, which will be a great view for anyone coming into Sacramento. The Young Professional group will throw a fundraiser where those who would like to participate can purchase a romantic Valentine’s Day kit, which includes a flower bouquet, wine, and more. The target goal is to sell 200 kits for $100 each. Other items available for purchase during the fundraiser include: a private dinner by former midtown Press Bistro chef David English and/or a serenade by the Rotary Rockers. All event proceeds will go towards the Water Front sign.


CHRIS ANN BACHTEL (SVP and Trust Division Manager at First Northern Bank) confirmed that we need meeting sponsors!  $250 is the Zoomisphere price. Please reach out to PAST PRESIDENT DAN MCVEIGH (Downey Brand LLP) or CHRIS ANN if you are interested.


PRESIDENT KEVIN announced that our community grants program is moving forward and the deadline for nonprofits to submit an application is January 31st! Please encourage any of the nonprofits you support to take advantage of this opportunity – this money isn’t going to spend itself!


Rotary Good News was kicked off by JAMIE FURLONG (Securitized Real Estate Specialist at Bangerter Financial Services) who wanted to donate $99 in honor of today being what would have been the 99th birthday of her grandfather and longtime Rotarian, MEAD KIBBY. JUDY KJELSTROM (Director Emerita of the Biotech Program at UC Davis) was happy to say that her youngest sister has beaten back a cancer diagnosis. She contributed in her honor. PAUL KEEFER thanked all Rotary volunteers in our club. PRESIDENT KEVIN shamelessly tried to solicit a Cleveland Brown’s donation, in honor of their recent win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. When no one jumped on the offer, he donated to commemorate his hometown’s win. DAN MCVEIGH contributed towards his Eddie Mulligan in honor of an upcoming milestone birthday (70!). Happy birthday, DAN! KERRY WOOD donated $100 for recognition of Sacramento Regional Foundations leaders who were recently championed for their hard work. A huge thank you to all Rotarians who donated!


As Chair of the Day, JUDY KJELSTROM introduced our guest Speaker, MICHELE WONG, with an introduction full of accolades, noting that she is “the perfect person to lead us to the finish line” through Sacramento’s lineup of community development projects. MICHELE is the Executive Director of the SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity (MOSAC), which you may know by its previous name, the Powerhouse Science Center. The Science Center will be moving into their new facility just North of Old Sacramento on the river.



MICHELE highlighted in her PowerPoint presentation that most of the exhibits are in the historic portion of the museum.  Traveling exhibits, a café, and a retail store will all be housed in the new building.  The iconic dome theater will concurrently serve as a planetarium/classroom (maximum capacity of about 60 students). Here is a brief summary of each of the exhibits that you can expect to see:


  • Nature Detectives: teaches younger children about nature and science
  • Water Challenge: explores the science, technology, and sustainability methods for all things water-based; sponsored by various regional and state water agencies
  • Pictures of Health: features human anatomy displays; reviews the interplay between genetics and environment; showcases the most recent innovation in healthcare
  • Powering Change: addresses climate change, energy conservation, and current environmental issues
  • Destination Space: highlights technologies and strategies that are used for space travel, as well as the concepts and theories for sustaining life on space
  • Digital Dome Theater: 120 seat, full-dome theater with the most advanced digital projection system for star shows and full films
  • Design Lab: hands-on, immersive experience for young engineers and designers
  • Traveling Exhibition Gallery: versatile space containing exciting new content; also functions as a modern space to host corporate and community events

CLICK HERE to visit the official website for the SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity.

Physical construction will be complete by approximately February 1st and their summer camps are anticipated to be held in June this year. A grand opening of the Museum is not expected to take place until Fall. In the meantime, the Museum will hold all kinds of virtual events and opportunities, as it is important that they operate in compliance with the most up to date COVID regulations.

There have been numerous speed bumps on the journey to opening the MOSAC. The complications of melding an old building with new space have proven to be a challenge of its own. In the process of rehabilitating a historic structure, MICHELE and her team found themselves in an intense web of entanglement with the Historic Preservation Society. The amount of time, money, resources, and group efforts funneled into the mere act of achieving a mutual agreement that would permit regular glass in just one window of the Museum was a struggle and this doesn’t even take into account the many other variables, such as environmental mitigation. Nevertheless, it is without a doubt that the MOSAC team has done their due diligence to ensure everything is set to succeed come the grand opening.

PRESIDENT KEVIN thanked MICHELE WONG and SHAHNAZ VAN DEVENTER for their time and their audience-engaging presentation. He eagerly concluded that, in conjunction with the UCD Aggie Square, the MOSAC, and the Old Sacramento Water Front sign project, we are truly coming out the other side of this pandemic with such a wide array of brand new cultural amenities and family activities. Sacramento is being reborn and there has never been a better time for it!



CLICK HERE to watch an informational video about the up-and-coming SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity, featuring none other than today’s guest speaker MICHELE WONG.


ALLISON CAGLEY (Sergeant in Arms) (Executive Director of Friends of Sacramento Arts) reminded us all that we are dark next week, our next meeting will be on January 26th. At our next meeting, we will be starting 20 minutes ahead of time at 11:40AM for a wine reception. Tune in early to wine and recline with your fellow Rotarians! DR. AMY ROGERS will be returning once again as our guest speaker, to give everyone the 411 with the latest COVID updates. See you in two weeks!