This Friday, January 26th, we have David Orth-Moore talking about Africa!!


Plus, there are more chances to win points during the Savi's Surprise Challenge! Details below! :)


DAVID ORTH-MOORE is Catholic Relief Services’ Senior Advisor for Africa, based in Baltimore, Maryland, where he recently relocated after 25 years in Africa, most recently as CRS’ East Africa Regional Director from 2008—2017.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Juniata College in Huntington, Penn, David started his career in international development serving as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal from 1986 to 1989 helping rural communities to develop water and sanitation systems. After completing his Peace Corps service, David returned to the United States to continue his education. In 1991, he received a master’s degree in Development Management from the American University in Washington, D.C. He then joined Catholic Relief Services, being first assigned to conduct relief operations in Liberia during the civil war.

In August 2008, David became CRS’ Regional Director for East Africa responsible for regional oversight of CRS programs in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan Tanzania and Uganda, as well as for CRS support to partner agencies in Somalia.


We have so many great programs and events coming up!! Read on!!


*Feb 02, 2018 Andrea Quintero - Mindfulness (11:30am Champagne Reception this day sponsored by the Rotary Club of Santa Monica Past Presidents!!)
*Feb 09, 2018 Gene Sykes - LAOOC 2028 - LA Hosts the Olympics 2028
*Feb 16, 2018 DARK for President's Day
*Feb 23, 2018 Monika White - Living to 100 
*Mar 02, 2018 Literacy Day w/Dr. Bonnie Buratti - Cassini's Grand Finale: a Good Spacecraft Goes to Heaven
*Mar 09, 2018 Craft Talks - Come hear 2 new members tell their life story in 10-12 minutes!
*Mar 16, 2018 Dr. Alan Gaveck - Fact vs Myth of Stemcells


Want to Sponsor a Champagne Reception??
Due to popular demand, we would like to have Champagne receptions much more often! Because the club is unable to host them all the time, we open up the option to SPONSOR a CHAMPAGNE RECEPTION!!
$500 covers the cost of one reception, and in return we'll post your name or your company's name as sponsor in various locations as we promote for whatever meeting you've sponsored, i.e. the RotaMonica newsletter, the slide show at the meetings, club emails, etc. Tell Savi what date you'd like to sponsor!
This Friday: David Orth-Moore & Africa Savi Labensart 2018-01-21 08:00:00Z 0
Rotarians attended the District Breakfast on January 9, 2018, where they enjoyed a buffet breakfast and a fabulous speaker!
Attendees consisted of Mike Cates, Past President Judy Neveau, Pat Johnston, Daniel Bennett, Executive Secretary Savi Labensart, Past President George Collins, President Tom Larmore, and Russ Warner.
The speaker was John Mulchaey, the Director of Carnegie Observatories, who talked about astronomy, the big bang, the vastness of the universe, and what we are made out of! It was fascinating! 
In this pinch of space is 3,000 galaxies, each with a trillion planets, all 8 to 10 billion years ago! 
Event Recap: Dist. Breakfast Jan. 9, 2018 Savi Labensart 2018-01-14 08:00:00Z 0
On Thanksgiving Day we provided a hot turkey feast for over 60 Santa Monica Police Officers on duty!
Volunteers helped set-up, serve in this buffet line, and clean up at the end! This was the traditional utensil salute to the public safety employees who work on the holiday to keep the community safe! Thank you to all our volunteers and to the Jonathan Club on the Beach for donating all the food!!  Pictured here: Iao Katagiri, President-Elect Mitchell Kraus and his son Zachary, Vlado Valkof, Bill Dawson, Nora Bohn, John Gorman, John Zurik, Past President Judy Neveau, Paul Leoni, Alan Glick, President Tom Larmore, Lisa Alexander, Erik & Nancy Jorgensborg, Jillian Alexander, co-chair Past President Dee Menzies, Bill Powell, John Dracup, and co-chair Jim Menzies.
These amazing people serve and protect our community every day, and we are so thankful for them! Especially thankful were Rotarian Monte Herring and Rolenta Sibarami, who somehow snuck into this officer shot! :)
New Member John Dracup set up the drink station!
And Bill Powell filled the warming trays with water! 
Alan Glick dragged his friend John Zurik out to the event to pitch in!
Eric Schmitter brought his wife Marilyn and their son Jacob!
And Roger Davis brought a huge crew...his daughter Grace, son Clayton, wife Joy, and mother Kathleen Craig who was visiting for the holiday from Jackson, Mississippi!
It was great to see Past President Judy Neveau and President Tom Larmore!
The Apron Ladies were in full swing...Past President and Co-Chair Dee Menzies even has a Rotary apron! She was joined by Lisa Alexander, Judy Neveau and Nora Bohn!
We also had a four-legged visitor that day! No, this isn't one of the Santa Monica Police Departments K-9 unit. :)


The officers shared with us that they look forward to this every year!



It's not only the great food, but the friendly Rotary servers! 



Lt. Bob Almada thanked photographer Rotarian Iao Katagiri and all the Rotarians who stood their posts on Thanksgiving!
Nora Bohn was impressed with the greeting cards made by Carlthorp School students for the officers!
Along with serving food, Roger Davis helped SMPD's Suzie Kim to decorate a tree in the lobby! 

Thank you again to all our volunteers, especially to co-chairs Dee & Jim Menzies, who have successfully run this event for many years now!

Pictured here: Lisa Alexander and John Gorman, along with co-chairs, Past President Dee Menzies & Jim Menzies

Event Recap: Thanksgiving "Feed the Police" Day - Nov. 23, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-12-10 08:00:00Z 0
We honored Veteran's Day on November 10th, with speaker Captain Chris Janke, US Navy! We recognized members who are vets, welcomed some special guests, celebrated birthdays, and more!
Captain Janke was honored to meet Jim Reidy, US Marine Corp Vet, Submariner Monte Herring, US Navy Vet, and all our Rotarian Veterans...
Even the grumpy ones, like Bob Sullivan! :)
Past President Dee Menzies Co-Chairs the Honor the Police at Thanksgiving event and let everybody know the details for this year!
Thanks to Dick Lawrence, vet of the Army National Guard Reserves, for greeting Jim Menzies, US Army & Air Force, and everybody else at the door! 
Ken Waltzer and Executive Secretary Savi prepare to sing each of the military anthems!
Our newest member, a transfer from Northern CA, is a vet as well, with the US Army!

We love having GUESTS!

It was great to have Gert Gremes, from Northern Italy, return for a visit! He sits here with Billy Howard who has been away on leave and we are so happy to have him back!


We had some really nice prospective members visiting, including Jalal Away, introduced by President-Elect Mitchell Kraus...



and Agnes Wang, introduced by Membership Co-Chair Roger Davis. 


Thank you to our Wine Fest Committee!

President Tom presented bouquets and bottles of wine to the Rotarians who worked so hard to make the Nov. 5th event a success! Among the tireless volunteers were Co-chairs Andrea Gressinger and Vicky Curtis, Suzan Allbritton, Nick Goehner, Carol & Bill Powell, and Iao Katagiri! Iao, in her typical "angel behind the scenes" way, produced the background visual aids for the event and live auction, along with taking all the event photographs!


Dick Lawrence was called upon to explain his amazing Flower Child costume that he wore at his bank on Halloween!
The real question is...did he buy this at the store, or find it in the back of his closet?? It was made for him!

Happy birthday, Rotarians!
We celebrated November and December birthdays, including Susan Annett, Monte McCormick, Bob Sullivan, Past President Dee Menzies, Andrea Gressinger, and Vicky Curtis!

Thank you again to our speaker, and to Deborah Williams and President Tom for arranging for him to be there!
President Tom asked member vets to stand and receive the appreciation of fellow members for their service. There was loud and boisterous applause!
Meeting Recap: Nov. 10, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-11-30 08:00:00Z 0
Our 10th Annual International Wine & Jazz Fest was amazing and a huge success!! Fun was had by all, and much money was raised for our service projects! 
Rotarians and guests alike were in good spirits as they tasted wine, ate delicious food donated by Fig Restaurant, listened to the live jazz band, and participated in the live and silent auction to raise money for our club service projects!!
Here Lisa Alexander, John Gorman, and other guests toast to the day!
Gale Miron definitely had a great time! She attended with her husband John and son Justin.
There were so many great auction items! Carol Powell, Mike & Mary Cates, and David Bohn can attest.
President Tom Larmore and Wine Fest Co-Chair Andrea Gressinger kicked off the presentation and auction! 
So many smiling faces!

So many people to thank!
Thank you to Larry Snyder, our auctioneer, and to Rotarian Iao Katagiri, our amazing photographer!
We had a wonderful crew of volunteers from the Santa Monica Junior Chamber, thanks to President Magdalena Davis and all our Jaycees volunteers! Maggie's celebrating here with Jeff Darrow.
Thanks to the awesome jazz band led by pianist George Kahn!
Len Lanzi must have been in shock that Matthew Lehman and Fig Restaurant donated all the tasty food for the event! Thank you Matthew!!
We are so grateful to all those on the Wine Fest committee!! Ken & Jennifer Waltzer are always such huge help!

To the Wine Fest Committee and Chairs, Andrea Gressinger and Vicky Curtis, thank you so much!! Your hard work and determination is what drives this event, and we are so grateful!!

This event benefits our service endeavors, including World Community Service, Community & Youth Grants, Rotary Day of Service, Scholarships, youth programs, and much more!

Not all numbers are in yet, but it looks like between sponsorships, ads, lottery ticket purchases, and the live and silent auction, we raised almost $100,000 this year!!
Event Recap: Wine Fest 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-11-26 08:00:00Z 0
The rein of King George returns! Our meeting on October 20th was led by Past President and King George Collins!
And we had speaker Guido Hajenius!  
King George greeted him at the door. Rotarians were moved by Guido's presentation about what we can do to fight the exploitation and enslavement of children in LA County.
Thank you to our Champagne Reception sponsors Kurtis Magee, Merrill Lynch & Jesse Walker, Lord Abbett!!
And thanks to Bill Dawson for amusing us with his Donkey Kong socks! Do you remember this old video game?

Co-chair of the Wine Fest committee, Vicky Curtis, gave us one last announcement for our 10th Annual Wine & Jazz Fest that happened November 5th! 


Lisa Alexander, co-chair of the Membership Committee, expressed what each of us should be doing to cultivate prospective members! She and Roger Davis have been doing a superb job this year!

Kimberly Adams attended as a guest of our speaker, but is also an old friend of Past President Nat Trives!



Grace Cheng Braun invited Chris Wingle, the new head of the Salvation Army in Santa Monica.  David Rosenfeld was glad to meet Chris.


Matthias Ortner is a repeat visitor from the Vienna, Austria, Rotary Club. He was glad to see Len Lanzi again and was pleased to meet speaker Guido Hajenius.


Thanks as always to the DoubleTree Hilton for taking such good care of us!

RoseMary Regalbuto is definitely enjoying the lunches! (And thanks to Rosie for being our speaker introducer!)

Bill Dawson was especially excited about the carving station with delicious roast beef!
Meeting Recap: Oct 20, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-11-12 08:00:00Z 0
October 13th was a fun day! Jackson Varady was our speaker, talking about Happiness: The Art of Turning Blahs into Aahs!
Michelle Arellano introduced the speaker, and she looks pretty happy about it!
Thank you to Melissa Dagodag and Kurtis Magee for expertly greeting at the door!!
And thank you to Nora Bohn and President Tom Larmore for stepping up and being our song leaders! Tom brought his trusty ax since the regular accompanists were sick or out of town.

We always enjoy seeing former member Alonzo Hill! Joe Metoyer's guest was D'Andre Parker, and RoseMary Regalbuto had fun hanging with this handsome trio! 


Sheila Spencer, Santa Monica High School PTSA, was a guest at the club to thank everyone for the Day of Service to landscape a section of the campus!



And speaking of our Rotary Day of Service, Co-Chair Drew Fleming recognized all the Rotarians who worked on Saturday, Oct. 10, to clean up and improve the landscaping in a major section of the Santa Monica High School campus.


Dr. Eric Schmitter received a large tube of Bengay...



and Erik Jorgensborg got a bottle of wine...


as they both worked exceptionally hard! 


Thank you to all who worked on the Rotary Day of Service!

Drew asked all who worked that day to stand, which included Sharon Perlmutter Gavin, Eric Schmitter, Len Lanzi, Bill Powell, co-chair Tom Woods, Erik Jorgensborg and President-Elect Mitchell Kraus!
Meeting Recap: Oct. 13, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-11-05 07:00:00Z 0
September 29th brought us a wonderful meeting! We love Craft Talks, where two newer members give us their life story in 10-12 minutes!
Cindy was brief in her statements, but it was nice to hear some of her background...who would have thought she grew up on a dairy farm! She was one of three girls, and now she has 5 adult children of her own.
Chuck Husting gave a more detailed account of a rattlesnake woman for a mother that settled for nothing less than grit, of horseback riding lessons, military academy in the summers, and ballet...what's better than raising up girls in leotards, right?! He told of his adventure driving the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, about his real estate business, his two teen sons, and his wife, the love of his life.
Thank you Bret Carter for introducing guests and visiting Rotarians, and updating us on the Million Dollar Dinner that the District is throwing! Make sure to turn in your raffle tix!
It was so nice to see former Assistant District Governor Guity Javid there with her daughter Negeen Dehesh (member of the Beverly Hills Rotary.) Guity gave a very informative presentation about the upcoming District Trip to Columbia. It's almost sold out already!


Thanks Karim Jaude for your wonderful invocation!




And to David Wisen and Nick Goehner for being an effective greeting duo at the door!

Steve Taub is our perennial visiting Rotarian from the Beverly Hills Club! Even though the DoubleTree is farther away than the Riviera was, he still enjoys attending our meetings frequently!


And Nick Goehner brought a special guest, the lovely Linda Larson!

Thank you DoubleTree Hilton!

The DoubleTree Hilton continues to work hard to ensure that Rotary is well taken care of! Thank you to Dave Romano and Brian Murphy who always stop by to check up on us. Laurel Rosen and all the Rotarians appreciate it!
Meeting Recap: Sept. 29, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-10-22 07:00:00Z 0

The Rotary Club of Santa Monica Invites Applications for Community and Youth Grants - Deadline October 27th!

The Rotary Club of Santa Monica is currently accepting applications for its Community and Youth Grants program from non-profit organizations that serve the Santa Monica area and address the needs of those less fortunate in our community. 
Grant applications are due by October 27, 2017 for the next funding cycle. Grants offered by the Community and Youth Grants program range from $500 to $3,500. Funds may be requested for use in construction and equipment purchases. Funds are not available for annual operational needs or special events. 
Applications and instructions can be obtained by contacting the Rotary Club of Santa Monica at: 
Organizations must provide proof of non-profit 501(c)(3) status and be able to verify that the funds benefit the community of Santa Monica or address the needs of the less fortunate in Santa Monica. 


Community & Youth Grants: Non-Profits Apply Now!! Savitri Labensart 2017-10-15 07:00:00Z 0
On September 22nd we had a fabulous meeting! Dr. Greg Saccone joined us as our speaker, and we had so many other wonderful visitors! Plus, we had a huge birthday celebration!
President Tom Larmore with Yesenia Monsour (Past Chair of the Board, Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and Director of Community Relations, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles), speaker Dr. Greg Saccone (Chief Medical Officer, Kaiser Permanente-Santa Monica), and Barbara Bishop. Thanks to Barbara for introducing all our guests and visiting Rotarians!
It was National Ice Cream Cone Day, so the DoubleTree Hilton's Dave Romano was ready to fill cone or bowls. Bill Dawson was a two-bowl guy. Were they both for him? We'll never know...
Thanks to the good Reverend Joe Metoyer who gave a wonderful invocation that asked for help for natural disaster victims and for improving our health care system!
And thanks to Vicky Curtis for introducing our Speaker!
Isn't it great to see everybody with these big smiles at Rotary!?

Nora Bohn and her brother-in-law Past President David Bohn were our amazing greeters!



The Wine Fest Committee is really revving up for the event November 5th!! Andrea Gressinger and Ken Waltzer joined forces to raise more sponsorships for the festival. Thank you to Bill and Carol Powell who have offered a large matching grant to encourage more sponsorships!


Drew Fleming was our President's Pick for the week. He's also co-chairing the Rotary Day of Service Committee with Tom Woods, and the report is that we had a very successful event helping to landscape and clean up at SaMoHi!!

Repeat customers...

Dan Smarg returned for another experience with the club, introduced this time by Roger Davis! I think Dan likes us!



And Deborah Williams introduced again her returning guest, Sandy Alarcon!


And newbies! 

Matt Williams picked up two people at a sushi bar (it sounds like a joke, but it isn't) who expressed interest in Rotary. He invited Greg and Beth to the meeting and they showed up!

Visiting Rotarians!
JT Warring from LA5, the project leader for the Myanmar orphanage pool project, returned with the current intern from Myanmar, Aye Chan Maung!
Another LA5 guests was Herb McGurk!
And rounding out the Dynamic Trio from LA5 was Walter Railey. Santa Monica Rotary's meetings are a lot more free-form than Walter is used to.

Happy Birthday Rotarians!

We celebrated all these incredible human beings: Past President Paul Leoni, Past President George Collins, Timur Berberoglu, Greg Hargrave, Mike Isseks, Past President Tom Loo, Past President David Bohn, Palle Jensen, Nora Bohn, Lisa Alexander, Kurtis Magee, Avo Guerboian, Joe Metoyer, Past President Hal Quigley, and Past President Spyros Dellaportas
Meeting Recap: Sept. 22, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-10-15 07:00:00Z 0
September 15th was a great day at Rotary! Our speaker was Marc Wanamaker talking about film making in Santa Monica, and both he and folks from the SM History Museum brought displays to share!
Marc was full of stories and facts about the origins of film making in Santa Monica dating back to the early 1900s!
Drew Fleming and guest Carol Lemlein check out Marc's fascinating photos of early film making locations.
Susan Gabriel Potter, Rotarian and president of the Santa Monica History Museum, stands with Sarah Crown, archivist from the SM History Museum, who brought wonderful additional displays!
RoseMary Regalbuto let us know about the District Peace Celebration on Sept. 21st called Winds of Freedom!
And Andrea Gressinger, Co-Chair of the Wine Festival, gave us an update on the event and led us in applause for the members who are working so hard to organize the event! Don't forget to buy your tickets!  CLICK HERE!


Carol Lemlein is president of the Santa Monica Conservancy. She helped the speaker prepare for his presentation.



Eddie is chairman of the Santa Monica History Museum. Besides supporting the speaker, he thanked Rotarians for their support of the museum.


Carol Powell brought a guest, Stephanie Chow!





Deborah Williams brought Sandy Alarcon! 




Mitchell Kraus brought Pren Sud.




These guys are President Tom's law firm colleagues who were actually next door for a lawyer workshop.  Our buffet and program were more interesting so they jumped ship for lunch.

We love having visiting Rotarians!

Guest Introducer David Wisen and Anne Trussler exchanged club banners. Anne is from the Courtenay Club in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Meeting Recap: Sept. 15, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-10-08 07:00:00Z 0
On September 8th we had such a blast hearing from Professor Gary Fouts about solar eclipses!!
Professor Gary Fouts of SMC and President Tom Larmore bonded over both of their recent trips to Central Oregon to witness the full solar eclipse.
Professor Fouts was accompanied by his wife, Karen, who also made the trek to Oregon for the solar eclipse. Karen is a photographer who documented the event beautifully. We loved seeing the slideshow! Past President Nat Trives introduced her.
President Tom had his 2017 Solar Eclipse hat on and made sure that Gary got one too! Here he greets and answers questions after the meeting.
Thank you to Michelle Arellano (and Chuck Husting too) for greeting at the door! Past President George Collins and Steve Litvack look happy with their warm hello!
And thanks to David Rosenfeld  (right) for introducing all our visiting Rotarians and guests! Here he exchanges flags with visiting Rotarian Matthias Ortner from Vienna, Austria!

More guests!

VP Bill Powell introduced John Dracup, retired professor from UC Berkley, Rotarian of the WASH e-Club who is relocating to the west side!


Len Lanzi's guest was Len Lanzi...Senior, that is.  We were delighted to meet Len's father!




Roger Davis introduced his guest, Todd Nathanson! 


Connie Maguire's guest was Naveena Ponnvsamy, the new Director of Development for the Venice Family Clinic.  She was the head of development for RAND, so she knew the club photographer, Iao Katagiri, very well.


President Tom welcomed Dan Smarg, guest of Laurel Rosen!



Eri Tanaka, from the Waikiki Beach Rotary Club that meets at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, is relocating to Los Angeles. Past President Tom Loo told her she needs to join the Santa Monica club.


Eri brought her pooch, who seemed to have an obsession with Tom Loo's shoes! Watch that ankle Tom! 

Tom Woods is spearheading our next Rotary Day of Service, doing a major site and landscaping cleanup at Santa Monica High School on Saturday, October 7th from 8:30-12:30! Come out and help!
Nora Bohn reminded everybody to get their tickets for the Wine Fest at Playa Studios on November 5th! This is our only fundraiser, so let's make it count! Spread the word with the great video that Vicky Curtis made!!
Pam Brady invited club members to walk in the upcoming ACS fundraising walk/run event. Roger Davis and Nat Trives, who have direct experience with dealing with cancer, shared their thoughts and urged participation.
President Tom asked Myles Pritchard to share any information he might have about Hurricane Irma as it barrels down on the Bahamas and Florida. Myles is from the Bahamas and still has family who live there.  Myles urged everyone to donate to their favorite emergency response and recovery agency.

What a lovely group of women!

One of Grace Cheng Braun's guests was Cynthia Singleton of the Pacific Region Oasis Institute, which has just been acquired by WISE & Healthy Aging. Her other guest was Janie Gates, a former club member. Susan Annett brought Patty Wong, the new head of the Santa Monica Public Library system.
Meeting Recap: Sept. 8, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-09-28 07:00:00Z 0

Welcome back to the club, John Miller!

Previous member John Miller has joined us again! John was born in Covina, CA, and is big into health care, foster kids, and education! He got his BA from UCLA and his MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary, and he is the Vice President of Development for St. John's Health Center Foundation. He's joining Bob Klein in our first ever Corporate Membership! John lives with his wife and former Santa Monica Rotarian, Charlene Underhill Miller, in Malibu.
New Member - John Miller Savi Labensart 2017-09-24 07:00:00Z 0

Rotary Community & Youth Grants Money Put to Good Use


We got a great and grateful report back from Talitha Phillips at Claris Health on the grant we gave them in December of 2016! They have finished the furniture and equipment upgrades to their Support Center, and sent us photos to show how beautiful everything turned out!



Rotary Money Put to Good Use! Savi Labensart 2017-09-24 07:00:00Z 0
August 25th brought a wonderful meeting, with speaker Sam Lagana, voice of the Rams!
Rotarian Nora Bohn introduced our speaker, Sam Lagana. Mr. Lagana has been a guest speaker before, as Executive Vice Chancellor of Pepperdine University. This time, he focused mainly on his new role as the stadium voice of the Los Angeles Rams.
Thank you to Josh Bradburn for greeting and to Eric Schmitter for that wonderful invocation!
And thanks to Ken Waltzer for putting together our musical entertainment, customizing a song just for us...even if he did forget to pass out the song sheets! ;)

Donna Byrd is coordinating silent auction items for our 10th Annual Wine & Food Fest coming up on November 5th! Go and track down some items and get them to Donna!

Our favorite drug dealer, Past President Paul Leoni, got fined for having way too much fun on his recent vacation to Maui, Hawaii! He needed no drugs, legal or otherwise, to enjoy a wonderful time away.

National Banana Split Day!

Thanks to Chef Michael Fonder for creating the perfect desert station for National Banana Split Day! He dished up the ice cream, and the rest was up to you!
Meeting Recap: August 25, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-09-24 07:00:00Z 0
On August 18th we enjoyed a great meeting! Our speaker was the Deputy Consul General of France, President Tom doled out some wicked fines, and we had some wonderful guests! 
President Tom welcomed our speaker, Matthieu Clouvel, Deputy Consul General of France in Los Angeles. He shared some observations about the recent French election and the continuing Brexit issue.
Josh Bradburn, our Guest Introducer for the day, exchanged banners with Maya Bendiherad from the Amiraute Algeria club...
And with Phil Hirschberg from Caldwell, New Jersey, who returned to visit again!



Sharon Perlmutter Gavin was fined for her terrific vacation with her family on a Disney Cruise!




Past President Dick Lawrence was fined a tiny amount for the big honor of his upcoming tribute by Downtown Santa Monica Inc.!



Carol & Bill Powell were recognized for their recent fabulous trip to Africa!


And then the tides turned, as Stan Fox interrupted the regular show flow by suggesting that President Tom ought to fine himself for misspelling Sharon Gavin's name in his recent Monday message. President Tom did not argue the matter with Stan and chalked it up to "no good turn goes unpunished."  We all appreciate his Monday messages, but he'd better get everyone's name right or this could be an expensive year.

The new leaders of the Interact Club at Brentwood School were the guests of Bill Buxton: Lauren Reichwald and Emery Bolkin. We are so proud of our young people!
Thanks to Past President Judy Neveau who stressed the importance of sponsoring and buying tickets for our one big fundraiser of the year, our 10th Annual International Wine Fest! Want to go? Buy tickets by clicking HERE! 
Thank you also to Deborah Williams for providing a wonderful invocation!
And to Vicky Curtis, for being the President's Pick this week!

Nooo, don't go!

Sad to say, Bill Wood returned so that he could bid us all a fond farewell and express how much the club has meant to him.  He is retiring as pastor of First Presbyterian Church and is moving to Ashland, Oregon. Patricia Farris and Judy Neveau, along with all of us, hate to see him go but wish him the best up North!
Meeting Recap: August 18, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-08-27 07:00:00Z 0
August 11th was another wonderful day at Rotary! We gave away more money, heard a great speaker, celebrated birthdays and elephants, and had some very interesting guests!
From left to right: the good Reverend Joe Metoyer, his guest AJ Ali whose current documentary film, "Walking While Black:  L.O.V.E. is the Answer," addresses the challenges of police-community relations, our speaker Ken Morris, who is the descendant of both Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington, and is President of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, and our Past President and Mr. Santa Monica Nat Trives. 
Ken Morris' educational program about modern-day slavery is right in line with Rosie Regalbuto's leadership for our Rotary peace and justice program.
Boo-hoo! We bid a fond farewell to Kathy Shepard, one of our most active members, who is relocating to Las Vegas. Best wishes to you Kathy!
Josh Bradburn was recognized and fined for completing his certification as a personal financial advisor. Congrats Josh!

We love giving away money for good causes!

Why was Bill Buxton so happy to bring his son to the Rotary meeting?


Will Buxton was there to receive a grant from President-Elect Mitchell Kraus! The Brentwood Interact Club is working with homeless veterans at the West LA VA campus and the grant is for program equipment. One of Mitch's favorite duties is to dispense Community & Youth Grants!

Grace Cheng Braun's guests were Celia Brugman and her mother, Astrid. Astrid is from Uruguay and her uncle was a Rotary Club founder and a District Governor in Uruguay.
Past President Judy Neveau's guest was Dr. Kathryn Jeffery, President & Superintendent of Santa Monica College!
Milesh Bandekar, who came as the guest of Vlado Valkof, is in the process of founding a Rotary club in Dubai.
Fun Stuff!
President Tom Larmore can't help but bring the music to the meetings!
Happy Elephant Day!
Executive Secretary Savi showed off the cutest plush elephant you've ever seen, and President Tom got a $150 donation for it!
Some serious thought is going into the possible formation of a new committee...The Short Stuff Committee!  Suzan Allbritton and Barb Bishop invited photographer Iao Katagiri to join.
President Tom thanked Chef Mike Fonder for the outstanding buffets being provided!

Happy Birthday Rotarians!

Birthday boys and girls included Roger Davis, Suzan Allbritton, Myles Pritchard, Jillian Alexander, Pam Brady, Jay Smith, Charlie Follette, and Susan Gabriel Potter. Thanks to our Birthday Committee for always doing such a wonderful job with birthdays!
Meeting Recap: August 11, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-08-27 07:00:00Z 0


Get your tickets today for the

Rotary Club of Santa Monica

10th Annual International Wine and Food Festival

by clicking HERE!


The event will be Sunday, November 5, 2017 from 4pm to 7pm at Playa studios!

There will be wine tasting, live music, live and silent auctions, and a twilight buffet provided by Fig Restaurant, Santa Monica!


We look forward to seeing you there!

Chairs, Andrea Gressinger and Vicky Curtis, and all the Wine & Food Committee

10th Annual Wine & Food Fest: Nov. 5, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-08-06 07:00:00Z 0
Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! On August 4th, we celebrated cookies, gave away money, we had wonderful guests, and we had an incredible speaker on North Korea
Nora Bohn and Susan Gabriel Potter were definitely in the spirit of the day! President Tom provided a centerpiece of different chocolate chip cookies at each table, and the DoubleTree Hilton served their signature CC Cookies a la mode! Yum!!
Past President Carol Jackson presented a grant to Ashley Chase of Harvest Home, a safe harbor facility for homeless and low-income pregnant women and new mothers!
Ashley was enthusiastic and appreciative about the immediate uses for the funds.
Thanks to Scott Gaynor for doing our Invocation of the Day!
And to Rev. Joe Metoyer for introducing all our guests! 

We love having guests!

Among the many that day, Timur Berberoglu brought Myung Deering, President of the Koreatown Rotary Club, and her husband, Joe Deering. The fact that Joe is a Kiwaniian is balanced out by his also being Timur's law partner. 


Past President Dick Lawrence brought his employee Ceci Muta, who will soon be attending USC Law School!


Chuck Husting brought Chashra Jhun Hopkins to the meeting!  Chashra had just heard our speaker at another event and wanted to meet her.

Bret Carter gave us all the details for the District Foundation Celebration, The Million Dollar Dinner, on Oct. 28th! Let Savi know if you want to go!
And Nora Bohn urged everybody to sign up for the Wine Tasting on Aug. 27th! Karim Jaude is hosting at his home, so get in touch with him if you want to go!

Thank you to our speaker, Hannah Song, who gave an incredible and fascinating talk!

Jillian Alexander introduced Hannah Song, President and CEO of Liberty in North Korea (LiNK). 
Hannah taught us that although North Korea is thought of as a socialist state, disguised capitalism is sneaking into the picture.
The country has for 70 years been repressed and closed off from the rest of the world under ultimate control, with only state media available...25 million isolated people. This is a country where, for the regular folk, energy is poor, technology and communications are far behind the times, and bribing officials is a common part of the culture. This is a country where only domestic cell phones are allowed and at high cost, tourism is risky and practically non-existent, and where a $1,400 yearly income is normal. Over 30,000 have left for South Korea, to work and send money back home.
But entrepreneurialism is growing fast, and citizens are trying to make their lives better there. Commerce now exists, along with shared disobedience. People are sharing foreign media, even though it's dangerous and you could even get killed for having it. (It's like do them together, which forms bonds and trust with your neighbors and friends.)10 years ago, people were leaving because they were starving. Now all people want is freedom!
When asked about the potential nuclear attacks on the US, Hannah stated that even though it's a scary thought, the threat of nuclear war is merely a deterrent. They love to be perceived as a threat, but they know it would be suicide, so it's really a low risk. The same story has repeated itself many times. If you looked at an article from 1975, it would have a similar thread. So, you can sleep tight in your bed tonight. About that, anyway.
Meeting Recap: August 4, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-07-30 07:00:00Z 0
July 21st brought our District Governor Visit! It was wonderful to have DG Cozette Vergari and her crew with us that day
DG Vergari shared her key priorities, awarded club members, and even got down on the dance floor!
Knowing that the DG was a former pro dancer, President Tom Larmore made sure that we began the meeting on the dance know, to make her feel more comfortable! Everybody got into it, and Jay Smith did a great job spinning her around the dance floor!
Roger Davis also brought his dancing shoes, though of a different sort! Thank you Roger, for showing us your many talents! DG Vergari was obviously grateful to have a fellow dancer in her midst!
Thank you to Russ Warner for doing greeter duty, and welcoming Past President George Collins so warmly!
And to Chuck Husting, for jumping right into Guest Introductions!

President Tom Larmore was replaced by Mr. Jack I.T. Box, since it was National Fast Food Day! (Thanks to DoubleTree Hilton for providing an awesome taco bar and churros for the occasion!!) 

But Tom showed up later to present DG Vergari with a $5000 check for End Polio Now, an effort that Rotary has been involved with for many years, and for which we are trying to eradicate for good! This year, the district is trying to raise $250,000, and our grant will be matched 2-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation! 

The governor recognized Donna Byrd for her individual efforts toward our goal!  


DG Vergari presented Rotary members with awards for their dedicated service to our club and district! Joe Metoyer, Pam Brady, and RoseMary Regalbuto all deserve much recognition! It was wonderful to also have Assistant DG Karen Greenberg (2nd from the left) there helping us celebrate! 

And we are very sad to be losing highly active member, Gita Runkle! She has a great new job at Rio Hondo College, so we sent her off with a commendation and some gifts. We'll miss you Gita!! 

Thanks to all who came to our Pre-Luncheon Board Meeting with the District Governor! Great job briefing the DG and her crew on what we are up to!  
President Tom is justifiably proud of the work by his board!

Congratulations to our Scholarship Winners, Anya Nelson and Anthony Merriweather!!

Pictured here: Anya's father Ron Nelson, Anya Nelson, Past President & Mr. Santa Monica Nat Trives, Anthony Merriweather, Anthony's mom Jeanette Magee, and Scholarship Chair Deborah Williams! Proud Rotarians and parents are so happy for these young people!!
Meeting Recap: July 21, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-07-30 07:00:00Z 0
On July 7th, we started off the new Rotary year with a new Rotary president, and a new home base location, the DoubleTree by Hilton!
These gentlemen came ready to celebrate! Bill Dawson, President Tom Larmore, and Past President Paul Gaulke came early for the Champagne Reception, sponsored by Tom himself through his company Harding, Larmore, Kutcher, and Kozal LLC!
Everybody was excited about Strawberry Sundae Day! Especially David Rosenfluttter!
Elvis was in the building!! Can you guess which Rotarian this is??
We also had a lost golfer looking for his first tee! Toto, I have a feeling we're not at the Riviera anymore!!

We had some wonderful guests!!

The Doubletree Hilton General Manager, Brian Murphy, came out to thank us for being there!



Chuck Husting brought his mother, Caroline Husting!




Dick Lawrence brought his son Tod Lawrence, in from Taipei Taiwan!



And our Assistant District Governor Karen Greenburg came to see how the first meeting went! She must have said something funny because Past President David Bohn looks like he's choking back a guffaw! :)


President Tom Larmore ran into a few folks he wasn't expecting... 


Like his elementary school teacher!And his coach! They all told of how much trouble Tom was in his youth, but decidedly perfect for Rotary presidency!  



It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces!
We love seeing Dick Hart at the meetings,
along with Past Presidents Carol Jackson and Dee Menzies,
Brian Linnekens and Monty McCormick,
Nick Goehner,
and Lisa Alexander, who said it took her under 20 minutes to walk there from work and she plans to do so regularly!

Thank you to our amazing speaker, Dr. Ben Drati, Superintendent of our Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District!

Dr. Drati spoke eloquently and with passion for the unification of education and the growth of our young people!

His slideshow was wonderful and succinct!

Meeting Recap: July 7, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-07-23 07:00:00Z 0
On June 16th, we had a bittersweet day...our last day at the Riviera Country Club! Despite our sadness in having to leave, we still had a wonderful meeting, and the staff sent us off with a phenomenal meal! And, we sent others off with lots of money...
Melissa Dagodag and our Community & Youth Grants Committee presented checks to Renee Opell of Back on My Feet, and Oscar de la Torre of the Pico Youth & Family Center!
Past Presidents Dick Lawrence and Nat Trives presented a whopping $15,000 grant to Robert Temple (center), Director of Programs at the Virginia Avenue Park facility of Santa Monica PAL!  The grant will help replace equipment and refurbish PAL's boxing and martial arts gym!
Bill Powell presented a check for over $15,000 to Past President Dee Menzies, chairwoman of our Santa Monica Rotary Club Foundation, for the money raised at our 95th Anniversary Party in February!
Dee was happy to receive the check and provide a summary of our Foundation's activities over the year!

We had a fabulous speaker!!

Dr. Stephanie Shaner is the head of the addiction medicine department of Kaiser Permanente-Los Angeles.  She focused on the epidemic of opioid addition, most of it starting with legitimate prescriptions to manage pain.



Along with it being the last time at the Riviera, this was also the final meeting for President Connie Maguire, who was warmly greeted and congratulated by Myles Pritchard on the great job over the last year!


Some folks have been in Rotary since before we started meeting at the Riviera, almost 40 years Jim Reidy! 





Along with Bob Baker and his wife, Karen!



And Rotary Past President and Mr. Santa Monica himself, Nat Trives!

Thank you to the Riviera staff for always treating us so well! We will miss you!

The Riviera staff was welcomed to the front of the room so we could heartily applaud them!

 Ken Waltzer closed the lid on the Riviera piano for the last time. We now head off to our new home base, the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton in Santa Monica!

Meeting Recap: June 16, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-07-03 07:00:00Z 0
June 9th brought a fun surprise...a musical performance by 17 yr. old singer/songwriter Grace Gunn Davis, daughter of Rotarian and VP of Programs Roger Davis! We also gave away grant money, had a group of visiting Rotarians from Japan, and celebrated birthdays!
Grace sang her heart out, and obviously enjoys sharing the joys of music!
Grace was equally impressive answering questions after performing, being poised and thoughtful in her responses! She stands here with her very supportive family, her parents Roger and Joy, and her brother Clayton.
Steve Litvack presented a check for $2,500 to the Santa Monica Breakfast Club! Accepting the grant was Carla Barrett. Carla's husband, Pat, was a longtime member of our club. The SM Breakfast Club provides free dental and orthodontic work to low-income children!
Thank you to Nora Bohn, who did an excellent job greeting everyone who arrived at the front door, including photographer Iao Katagiri and Vicky Curtis!


We were pleased and honored to have a group of visiting Rotarians from Isesaki, Japan!

President Morita Takashi, President Connie Maguire, and Kurtis Magee exchanged banners.

The eight members of the Isesaki Rotary Club were visiting us on their way to the RI Convention in Atlanta.  Their club has nearly 90 members, and they are located about 90 minutes north of Tokyo.
They were very kind and generous, leaving us with many gifts, including these beautiful bottles of sake, that we decided to auction off at the Wine Festival this fall!


 Very Merry Happy Snappy Birthdays to Jolly Gissell, RoseMary Regalbuto, Sharon Perlmutter Gavin, Erik Jorgensborg, Pat Johnston, Mike Cates, Josh Bradburn, Jim Menzies, Brian Linnekens, Laurel Rosen, Steve Litvack, Eric Schmitter, and David Rosenfeld!! 

Thanks to Donna Byrd and all the Birthday Committee for making everybody feel so special!

Meeting Recap: June 9, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-07-03 07:00:00Z 0
On April 21st we had our Colleague & Co-Worker Day, with a great speaker, Mr. Kevin Groves! 
Speaker Introducer Bret Carter and President Connie Maguire greeted Kevin Groves. In his talk, Kevin described the impact of the millennial generation on the workplace and on careers!
Big thanks go to our Decorations Committee for making the room so festive, and for the Rotary Wheel Cookies!!

We had so many wonderful guests and colleagues of Rotarians! Ken Waltzer brought Nick Nejad, Donna Byrd brought Selina Korkis, Past President Dick Lawrence brought Kathy Irby, Tod Lipka brought Rosemary Sosa, a new Step Up on Second employee, and Laurel Rosen brought Tish Tisherman and Kathy Motz who both contribute to the Chamber of Commerce as professional service consultants.


Incoming President-Elect Mitchell Kraus is chairing the Dethroning Party coming up on June 25, so he came in festive attire to talk about the event!!

Meeting Recap Apr. 21, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-06-19 07:00:00Z 0

Congratulations to our Scholarship Winners!

Each year, the Rotary Club of Santa Monica is pleased to present students with scholarship money for school! Awardees from middle school through community college are invited to our luncheon with their guests to receive their certificates and checks.

Congratulations go to: Stephanie Caroliny da Silva Triska, Orlando Gonzalez Gudino-Guizar, Terrance Ware, Jr., and Dane Cruz from Santa Monica College; Kyle Zolkin, Jaredan Levin, Anna Pack, and Luis Ramirez Hernandez from Santa Monica High School; Olivia Fitzmorris from St. Monica High School; Auriel Pattison from Olympic High School; Anthony Merriweather from New Roads High School; Arely Gil from John Adams Middle School; Amarize Finley from Crossroads Middle School; Anya Nelson from New Roads Middle School
Proud family and friends gather with the awardees, along with our incoming president, Tom Larmore, and the Scholarship Committee Chair, Deborah Williams!
Thank you to Deborah for your amazing work on this project!!
Meeting Recap: June 2, 2017 savi 2017-06-12 07:00:00Z 0
We love celebrating the amazing people in our community!
On May 19th, we had our Public Service Recognition Day, where we honored 4 outstanding public servants...those who drive us around, teach our children, save our cats from trees and babies from burning buildings, and protect us from the bad guys...we are so grateful to them all! 
Our honoree from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District was Lora Morn! She was congratulated by Rotarians Donna Byrd and Michelle Arellano, along with her co-workers Gail Pinsker, Tara Brown, Susan Bronstein, Rachel Bressler, and Maya Lindemann!
Our honoree from the Santa Monica Fire Department was fire fighter Captain Sean Van Sluis! His friends were so proud...Chief Bill Walker, James Altman, Tom Clemo, Michael McElvaney, and Judah Mitchell!

Our honoree from the Santa Monica Police Department was Officer Jennifer Sekera! She was lauded by Rotarians Nat Trives, Michelle Arellano, and Donna Byrd, along with her presenter Deputy Chief Al Venegas, and many of her biggest fans, Michael Sekera, Eric Mathre, and Al Cobb-Adams!



Our honoree from Big Blue Bus, Getty Modica, had a family emergency, so his colleague Maureen Curran accepted in his honor. Rotarians Michelle Arellano and Donna Byrd, along with presenter Rolando Cruz, send their best wishes to Getty! Also in attendance from the Big Blue Bus were Vanessa Mejia, Mark McCullough, Jabryn Donald, George Martinez, David Nanjo, and Liseth Guizar.

Congrats to all our honorees!! Thank you for all you do for your community!!

And thank you to our event chair, Donna Byrd, and all those who worked hard on this days program!!


Meeting Recap: May 19, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-05-29 07:00:00Z 0
April 7th was a celebration of community, service, and birthdays! Our guest speaker was John Kobara from the California Community Foundation! 
John Kobara, being greeted by President Connie Maguire and President-Elect Tom Larmore, has extensive experience leading both for-profit and nonprofit organizations, as well as working with philanthropists of all types and levels of wealth. Unfortunately, personal philanthropy in Los Angeles is declining, he says.
Thanks to Karim Jaude and Matt Williams for participating at the head table!
Past President Dee Menzies, here with Bret Carter, reminded all members to sign the special 90th birthday card, which will be mailed to Bellingham, Washington to help former member Stan Dyer celebrate his big day at the end of the month! 


Congrats to Brian Linnekens and Merv Hecht for winning Four Way Test Service Medals from President Connie! 



And a big welcome to our newest member, Valter Lauzums of Red Bull! So great to have you in the club, Valt!!   

We love having guests!
Kristina Block was the guest of Cindy Heydt. RoseMary Regalbuto is doing her job by pouncing on anyone who looks like they haven't heard about our charitable foundations!
And Melissa Berberoglu is always a popular guest, attending with her husband, Timur! 

Happy birthday Rotarians!! 

We had fun celebrating a couple months of birthdays, including Larry Mortorff, David Wisen, Alan Glick, Matt Williams, Deborah Williams (no relation lol), Past President Paul Gaulke, and Bill Powell. We are so glad you guys were born!! :)

Meeting Recap: Apr. 7, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-05-22 07:00:00Z 0
On March 31st, along with many other wonderful happenings, we honored a well-deserving community member with our Four Way Test Award! Congrats to Becky Lantry!
Past President Nat Trives, Becky Lantry, Jillian Alexander and President Connie Maguire snapped a pic after the luncheon...Nat and Jillian, co-chairs of the Four Way Test Committee, were pleased to present this award to someone so involved in contributing to the community, so giving of their time and energy!
President Connie also gave another of her "Spirit of the Leprechaun" Awards to Ann Greenspun for her consistent contributions in making our meetings so fun and engaging!
Avo received a deferred fine in honor of the grand opening of his high-end original jewelry design shop at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel! President Connie has given him until the end of 2017 to establish the business before he has to pay his fine...


Rick Mateus announced, "I'm almost a grandfather!" and said that at the end of April it'll be official!   

Adam Lichtl and Nick Goehner continue to support the bow tie industry. Unfortunately, Adam announced that day that he will be leaving our club because he is relocating to Pasadena. We are so sad to see him go! 

Congrats again to Becky Lantry!! 

Annie Wilson from the First African American Episcopal Church in Santa Monica chronicled Becky's contributions to and leadership of her faith community.

Amy Bishop Dunbar of the League of Women Voters-Santa Monica described Becky's volunteerism with the League to bring nonpartisan, thoughtful public policy programs to the voting public.

What a lovely group of ladies!! SM Chamber President and Rotary member Laurel Rosen, Becky's daughter Desirae Lantry, Becky Lantry, Rotarian Jillian Alexander and Amy Bishop Dunbar.

Meeting Recap: Mar. 31, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-05-15 07:00:00Z 0
On March 24th we had a great meeting! Our guest speaker, Larry Kohn, was prompt, charming, intelligent and inspiring!
Guest speaker, Larry Kohn, greeted by Vice President of Programs, Roger Davis! Larry talked about Diz Dev Best Practices, and everybody was very excited about his ideas!
Thank you to Pat Johnston, who led us in song, despite the lack of piano!
We are so proud of Rev. Joe Metoyer and RoseMary Regalbuto, co-chairs of our Peace Initiative Committee, who arranged the screenings of SOLD, which chronicals child sex slavery in India.

Monty McCormick won a Spirit of the Leprechaun Award from President Connie for his work on our FARF (Fantastically Awesome Rotary Function) where Rotarians and guests ate BBQ and played games at the Bel Air Bay Club! 


Past President Paul Leoni took home the pot of gold, however! The Golden Touch of Leoni was the big winner at the poker table! 

New member Michelle Arellano did a great job introducing our guests and visiting Rotarians!
And we so appreciated David Rosenfeld's invocation...
though afterward Len Lanzi couldn't help but tease him about the size of his notes! :)

Some of our members have had the big job of updating our Club Constitution, Bylaws and Policies & Procedures over the past 9 months! 

Co-chairs and Past Presidents, Paul Gaulke and Dee Menzies, gave us an update...

Paul let us know that working on the Constitution needs a lot of intestinal fortitude...and Vice President Roger Davis said he was happy to take custody of the remedy!

Thanks to all who have worked on this project! We appreciate your hard work!

Meeting Recap: Mar. 24, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-05-15 07:00:00Z 0
It was indeed a happy St. Patty's Day! March 17th was so fun, with a Champagne and Beer Reception, a speech by Dermot Ryan, wonderful guests, wild attire, and the spirit of the leprechaun!
Gita Runkle and President Connie Maguire greeted our speaker, Dermot Ryan! His talk was on the shared themes of Irish and American Art and Literature!
Pat Johnston received one of President Connie's Spirit of the Leprechaun Awards for all she does throughout the year for Rotary!
Tom Loo also received an award, a service medal for his consistent high performance on behalf of the club! 


Thank yous go to...

Matt Williams and Christine Mirasy-Glasco for so graciously greeting at the door!



President-Elect Tom Larmore for leading us in song!





"Feel No Pain" Fleming, for his  quick and jolly invocation!



 And Executive Secretary Savi is always grateful for her back table buddy, RoseMary Regalbuto, for helping with check-in, setting up the Rotary Int'l materials, and for being so fun in the process!

We always love when Rotarians come to visit us from other clubs! Tom Bos was visiting us from Holland, Michigan. He's an Assistant District Governor for Dist. 4920 in Michigan! 


And talk about spirit!! 

Ann Greenspun, Avo Guerboian, Alan Glick and Len Lanzi really made our day...fresh and green, like new grass!! Fun and marvelous folks, all!!

Meeting Recap: Mar. 17, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-05-08 07:00:00Z 0
March 10th was a wonderful day! Our speaker was  Dr. Kathryn Jeffery, the Superintendent and President of Santa Monica College! Plus, we gave away money to SMC, inducted one of our new members, and had lots of cool guests!
Dr. Jeffery is a great speaker, and has a super impressive resume!!
We had a Kiwaniian wander in off the street and into our meeting, the irrepressible Eddie Guerboian!
And Palle Jensen brought his lovely and sweet wife, Liza, to enjoy the presentation about SMC! 


Executive Secretary Savi and President Connie Maguire greeted two of our Bobs...Bob Baker and Bob Moore, a couple of our longest-term members!!

SMC President Dr. Kathryn Jeffery and SMC Foundation Dean Lizzy Moore, along with Associate Dean of SMC College Emeritus and our Rotary member, Gita Runkle, accepted a check from our Santa Monica Rotary Foundation!! 


Welcome to the Club, Michelle Arellano!! 

We inducted Michelle Arellano, CEO of the Santa Monica Boys and Girls Club, into the Rotary Club of Santa Monica! She stands here with her posse of sponsors, Incoming President Tom Larmore, Bob Sullivan, and Past President Paul Gaulke.

Michelle, we are so pleased that have joined us!!

Meeting Recap: Mar 10, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-05-08 07:00:00Z 0
February 24th was a great day, with our  speaker Cindy Simon and many other wonderful guests!
Here we have Past President Dee Menzies, our speaker Cindy Simon, and President Connie Maguire. Cindy, the founder of Dollies Making a Difference, spoke about family-based philanthropy.
Timur the Tyrant's 2 week reign was over, but at least President Connie brought him back a shirt from Merida, Mexico to make up for it!
President Elect, Tom Larmore, led us in song! We hope Tom will still do lots of singing when he takes office in July! 



Thank you to Bill Randle for greeting at the door!!




Thanks to Michelle Arellano and Tammy Andrews, as well! Michelle was our President's Pick and Tammy gave our Inspirational Invocation!



Curt and Gail Smith reconnected with Russ Warner! They were all on the District Humanitarian Trip to Merida, Mexico together!
Past President, Paul Gaulke, warmly greeted Maruja Conway, from Peru!

And our Assistant District Governor, Guity Javid, visited from her home club of Rancho Park, and brought a guest, Mitra Moradifar!

Meeting Recap: Feb. 24, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-04-24 07:00:00Z 0
On February 3rd we had Tom Nunan as our speaker, and lots of other wonderful guests!
Tom Nunan, Academy Award winning producer, was greeted by our VP of Programs, Roger Davis! Tom talked about the upcoming Oscars, and gave us some predictions.
Our VP of Committees, Timur Berberoglu, took the podium in Connie's place! Cheers to you, Timur!
New member, Deborah Williams, sat at the head table with Past President, Mr. Santa Monica himself, Nat Trives! 



Past President, David Bohn, brought Katie Moyers!





Palle Jensen's guest was Tony Braun!



And we had some visiting Rotarians from Camden, Maine...Joan and Graham Phaup! They'd come to see us before, and must have enjoyed themselves, because here they were again!

Thank you to Kurtis Magee and Mike Isseks (far right and left) for greeting at the door!

Ann Greenspun's guests were Maureen and Steve Book!

Meeting Recap: Feb. 3, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-04-17 07:00:00Z 0
Happy 95th Anniversary to the Rotary Club of Santa Monica! 
Celebrating the club's 95 years of fellowship and giving, we gathered to eat, drink, make merry, and donate to our Santa Monica Rotary Club Foundation! Together we added another $15,000 to our fund!
Lisa Alexander, Nora & Paul Bohn, and President Connie Maguire had a blast riding the carousel!
Thanks to Carol & Bill Powell, and all the 95th Anniversary committee, for putting together an awesome event!
A big thanks to Donna Byrd and Bret Carter for running the check-in table! Savi is especially thankful since that's normally her job, and she got to just attend as a guest this time. :)
Also much gratitude goes to Jack Gregory & Pat Johnston for bringing tons of cool memorabilia from the Rotary office for people to see! Here President Connie welcomed Jack & Holly Gregory to the event! 


Riding the carousel was a favorite highlight for so many!

John McIntire and Ellen Travis thought it was super romantic and fun!




Monika White and Roger Goodman looked stately upon their steeds!





Len Lanzi... Ride 'em Cowboy!






Pat Johnston looked so charming in her riding hat!





And Steve Eorio decided to dominate the piggy! 



Kurtis Magee, Suzan Allbritton, Timur Berberoglu, and Len Lanzi had a blast catching up with friends!  





So did Tammy Andrews and Jamie Menzies...





Kay & Kent Colberg...





and Char & Dick Lawrence, too!






Here's to another 95 years of providing service to our community and the rest of the world, to fellowship and friendship, and to world peace!

Event Recap: 95th Anniversary Party Savi Labensart 2017-02-20 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary Gives Dolls to Make a Difference

Representatives from our Rotary Club went to Merida, Mexico on our Rotary District 5280's Humanitarian Trip! Our club, in partnership with Dollies Making a Difference, served as ambassadors bringing 90 beautiful handmade dolls and teddy bears to local children from impoverished families. President Connie and Rotary were featured in the Dollies Making a Difference newsletter!
Check out the article by clicking HERE!!
Dollies Made a Difference in Mexico Savi Labensart 2017-02-20 08:00:00Z 0
January 6th, our first meeting of the year, started us off with a bang! We welcomed Paul Goodwin to speak about polling and gave away lots of money to non-profits in our area
Guest Introducer, Vicky Curtis, welcomed our speaker Paul Goodwin! He gave a very interesting talk about the vagaries of public opinion polling in the Presidential Election!
Susan Annett helped present a grant check to Chris Baca of Meals on Wheels from our Community & Youth Grants Committee!
Kathy Shepard welcomed C&Y Grant recipients Josephine Moerschel of Elemental Strings and Neferteri Plessy of Single Mom's Planet! 


President Connie brought in two of the dolls that will be part of the humanitarian trip to Merida, Mexico, by District 5280.  Grace Cheng Braun helped out by walking to each table to show off the dolls!


Myles Pritchard announced the results of the bell ringing for the Salvation Army. Rotary wiped out the other service clubs!  Sharon Perlmutter Gavin reminded us about the Day of Service at the Westside Food Bank on Jan. 7. 

New member Scott Gaynor took at turn at being a greeter...and Kathy Shepard approved!


Meeting Recap: Jan. 6, 2017 Savi Labensart 2017-02-06 08:00:00Z 0
A few brave Rotarians traveled North to adventure in the wilderness and ski the slopes of Mammoth!
Included in this adventure were Tom Woods with his 2 kids, Will and Hadley, Tammy Andrews with her kids, Charlie and Emily, Carol and Bill Powell with their 2 kids, and Kurtis with his girlfriend Rose! It looks like they had a blast!
They didn't think it would be quite that adventurous, though. They got 9 feet of snow in 3 days! They were totally snowed in on Sunday and no one got out! Once that happened, there was nothing left to do but lounge, cook, play games, and watch the snow fall... 
All in all, it got a big THUMBS UP!
Thanks to Bill & Carol Powell for organizing the trip and taking care of your fellow stranded skiers!
Event Recap: Rotary Ski Weekend Jan 20-22 Savi Labensart 2017-01-31 08:00:00Z 0
On January 7th, a hearty group of Rotarians gathered at the Westside Food Bank to sort and box food donations
Thank you to Sharon Perlmutter Gavin who chaired this event! Other generous participants included Past President Judy Neveau, current President Connie Maguire, President-Elect Tom Larmore, Nora and Paul Bohn, David Rosenfeld, Suzan Allbritton, Bill Buxton, Drew Fleming, Deborah Williams, Past President Dee Menzies, Kathy Shepard, and our ever amazing photographer and volunteer, Iao Katagiri!
Allison Griffith, the volunteer coordinator for the food bank, quickly summarized the guidelines for sorting the food donations into coherent categories. Nearly one million pounds of food are donated during the holiday season.
Drew Fleming is always in his element at these volunteer events...thank you for your enthusiasm, Drew! 



Bill Buxton lent some strong arms to the task!




And President Connie diligently sorted and assigned foods where they needed to go! 






Past President, Judy Neveau, spent two hours labeling boxes as fast as she could write. The volunteers filled them up almost as fast as she could label them!




No, Tom, those yummy snacks are not for you. :)  





These volunteers were hard at work!

Thank you again, to all our volunteers! Go Rotary!

Volunteer Recap: Jan 7 Savi Labensart 2017-01-30 08:00:00Z 0
December 10th was our Holiday Party! Hosted by Jolly & Patty Gissell and coordinated by Carol & Bill Powell, it was an event to remember! 
Kai-Li Quigley, Past President Spyros Dellaportas with his bride Donna, Past President Dee Menzies, and Patty Gissell were so festively dressed!
The dog got special treatment, thanks to Past President, Dick Lawrence! :)
The dining and drink was divine and delicious! 

So many happy and rosy faces!

Host Jolly was thrilled to provide a beautiful home for the occasion! And Gita Runkle (right) was happy to be there! 



Past President, David Bohn, chatted with Charlie Follette...




while his lovely wife, Lisa Kludjian Bohn got a chance to hang with former Executive Secretary of our club, June Doy, and her precious bundle, Mia!


Tammy Andrews, President Connie Maguire, Allan Young, and Carol Powell were having a blast!




As were Karim and Anne Jaude!







Past Presdient, Hal Quigley, and his sweet wife, Kai-Li took in the lovely decorations! What a great shot!




Past President, Judy Neveau, got to cuddle up with Len Lanzi (right) and his amazing boo, Russell. :)


Fun times were had by all!!

Joe Regalbuto, Russell Lanzi, RoseMary Regalbuto, Roger & Joy Davis, Liza Jensen, Len Lanzi, and Palle Jensen

Past Presdient, Spyros Dellaportas, Donna Byrd, Susan Gabriel Potter and Palle Jensen

Happy Holidays!!



Event Recap: Holiday Party Dec 10 Savi Labensart 2017-01-23 08:00:00Z 0
On December 16th, we had our Holiday Luncheon which included a festive room, generous giving of funds, and a special musical performance by some of the SMC Applied Music Program students!
President Connie Maguire (far left) and the Director of Vocational Service and organizer of the program, Gita Runkle (far right), congratulated the wonderful performers! Thank you to Brian Driscoll, Gary Gray, Enrique Conde, Luke Hu, Olivia Kamalski, Courtney Marsh, Andrew Rodriquez, Sina Roustapour, and Airrel Watkins for making our holiday luncheon so amazing!
An enthusiastic David Snow presented a check to Talitha Philips of Claris Health from our Community & Youth Grants Committee!!
And Chair Mitchell Kraus was equally happy to celebrate life and generosity, giving money to Yesenia Monsour of the Santa Monica Chamber Foundation! 


Thank you to Steve Eorio for providing some of his own homegrown and homemade wine! David Wisen couldn't wait to try it!





Nora Bohn, RoseMary Regalbuto, and Savi Labensart were feeling extra festive!




Thank you to our decorating committee, led by co-chairs Diane Margolin and Susan Gabriel Potter! The tables looked so wonderful!


We had lots of fun guests too!

Past President, George Collins, brought his sweet wife, Pat!





Teon Brooks was a guest of Adam Lichtl!





Robert Segal said hi to fellow Rotarian Pat Johnston, and some of her family, Kathy & Larry Dozal!





And Mr. Santa Monica and Past President, Nat Trives, welcomed visiting Rotarian ,Grady Mateen! No, he's not a basketball player...he is in sales in Milwaukee. :)


Thank you to Jolly Gissell for hosting the holiday party!!

And to Bill & Carol Powell for organizing it!!

Meeting Recap - Dec 16, 2016 Savi Labensart 2017-01-16 08:00:00Z 0
Our meeting on November 4th was dedicated to Veterans Day, and inspired us all!
We had Dr. Fatma Batuman speaking about women veterans and health care! We gave away money for a good cause! And, we honored many veterans, both from in our club and out!
Thanks to Monte Herring (2016-17 Secretary and Chair of Veterans Day Committee), our Veteran's Day program was a huge success! Dr. Fatma Batuman is the Medical Director for Women's Health Comprehensive Care, VA Los Angeles Health Services, and spoke beautifully about "Women Warriors!"
Veteran Dave Potter was greeted warmly by Bret Carter and Sharon Perlmutter Gavin! 
Jay Smith presented a moving invocation that paid tribute and expressed appreciation to all our veterans! 



Veteran Adrienne Horion Mohammed was a lively addition to the meeting! She virtually sparkled with energy and enthusiasm!




Nora Bohn and Gita Runkle  graciously greeted Eily Pat Gorman!





Past President, Nat Trives, welcomed veteran Dr. Nancy Cattell, who was also a trustee of Santa Monica College!



These wonderful women, along with our other Women Warriors, were among our special guests for the day...Renee Andresassen,  Angela Russell, Electa Williams, Elaine Maxwell, & Mickiela Montoya.


We had many veterans as well as Rotary Alumni there that Monte Herring greets Herb Roney and John Lehne, both veterans and former Past Presidents of our club!





Veteran, Stan Fox!






John Lehne was so happy to say hello to his old friend, Jim Reidy, and so was photo bomber, sneaky Savi...




Veterans, Russ Warner...






Mike Cates...







And Klaus Brandt!

Rotarians love giving away money!!

President, Connie Maguire, and Past President & SM Rotary Foundation President, Dee Menzies, were so pleased to hand a check to Dan Ryan of the Santa Monica Museum of Flying so they could install a sound system in the museum!!



Our new member, Miho Ikeda, couldn't be there that day, but she recently did a makeup in Fujinomiya, Japan!! The Fujinomiya and Fujinomiya Nishi Clubs met together that day, so Miho got double the fun! Here she is exchanging club banners with them...


Meeting Recap Nov. 4, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-11-28 08:00:00Z 0
October 28th was a ghastly good time...
Our speaker was Jacqueline Stanford, tri-athlete! We had a spooky room celebrating Halloween! And, we had many wonderful guests! Check it out...
President Connie and her daughter, Erin, greet the wonderful and inspiring Jacqueline Standford...Connie's pumpkin was made just for her by our speaker, who is not only an incredible athlete, but also makes awesome pottery!
In thanks to Donna Byrd for her help on the Decorations Committee, and for so many other reasons, President Connie presented her with a service medal! 
Another service medal was presented to Tom Woods, who has been serving as Savi's "roadie", helping to set up and break down the audio equipment we now need to provide at Riviera! 


Donna wasn't the only Rotarian working on decorations for this very fun day...the Decorations Committee Co-Chairs, Susan Gabriel Potter and Diane Margolin, deserve much credit! And lots more hugs from Len Lanzi!



Did you know that Diane Margolin made the popcorn/candy-corn decorations BY HAND! (hee hee)




Congratulations to Nora Bohn for winning the auction prize of President Connie's Pumpkin Pie that she baked to stir up interest in the Wine & Jazz Fest! Nora thought it was the most delicious $200 she ever spent!




Look at these devilish creatures and wonderful witches! RoseMary Regalbuto, Ann Greenspun, Julie Thomas and Iao Katagiri know how to party!





Suzan Allbritton, too!







Guess who was scaring our new member, Bryan Flores?





And we had a feline executive secretary checking us in that day! 

"Don't forget to cross your name off the list meow", says Savi!





President Connie recognized Iao for both achieving her 65th birthday and for her retirement from RAND!

Meeting Recap Oct 28, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-11-21 08:00:00Z 0
On October 21st we had an exciting meeting...
Our speaker was Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Denmark and former Secretary General of NATO! AND we had a Craft Talk from our member, Bill Dawson! Plus, we had many wonderful guests! Check it out...
Mr. Rasmussen was a skilled and assertive speaker with a clear vision that what the world needs most is American leadership.
Thank you to Past President Dee Menzies for being one of the greeters at the door! Past President Spyros Dellaportas felt very welcomed, and told Dee to "Party, Party, Party!" :)
And thank you to RoseMary Regalbuto for so diligently setting up the display of information on Rotary International every week!


Rotarian Palle Jensen (right) who introduced our speaker, also greeted visiting Rotarian Held Jensen. Could they be related? Palle said no, but maybe we should get Tom Loo to do an analysis of their DNA!



Rotarian Ann Greenspun introduced Helga Bacchetti, one of her neighbors who was born and raised in Denmark!




Tammy Andrews brought her daughter Emily, who is fresh out of law school!



WOW! Kurtis Magee is ON FIRE bringing guests to meetings! This time he brought Carlyn Peterson and Jaime Lehman!




Roger Davis is also hauling in guests...this time is was Dusty Farber and Will Rassman!






Julie Thomas brought her new Americorps interns, Lisette Mendez, Chiamaka Okeke, & Louise Sylvester!


Bill Dawson did a fabulous job with his Craft Talk! You'd never know it to look at him, but this man grew up on a farm, and knows how to disassemble a shot gun! We confirmed the latter with his father-in-law, Bob Sullivan, who pulled one on Bill the first time he came to pick up his daughter from the house.

Meeting Recap Oct. 21, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-11-14 08:00:00Z 0

What a fun experience...dinner on a ship with hundreds of Rotarians from all over District 5280! Here are a few fun shots from the Rotary District 5280 Paul Harris Celebration that took place on the USS Iowa!

President Elect Tom Larmore & Karon Larmore, Past President George Collins, Rotary Int'l Foundation Co-Chair Bret Carter, Gale and John Miron, guests of Hal and Kai-Li Quigley...
Past President George Collins and Bret Carter get the bunny ears of peace from our President, Connie Maguire!
What a lovely couple! Karon Larmore is going to be acting as first lady to Tom Larmore once he becomes our president in July 2017! 
It's always great to see the smiling faces of these four sweet folks who are long time friends and colleagues...Gale & John Miron, and Kai-Li & Hal Quigley!
Event Recap: District 5280 Celebration Savi Labensart 2016-11-07 08:00:00Z 0
October 14th was another great day! Check it out...
President Connie Maguire welcomes our speaker, Kurt Floren, the LA County Agricultural Commissioner and Director of Weights & Measures! Kurt surprised us with the broad range of important responsibilities his office oversees to protect the interests of consumers and the health of everybody in the county.
Klaus Brandt was delighted to be greeted at the door by Nora Bohn! Thank you for greeting, Nora!
Thank you to Ken Waltzer and Pat Johnston (and all the music committee) for providing such wonderful music all the time!!


Larry Maher surfaced to receive his "thank you" gift from President Connie for his hard work in organizing the Paso Robles Wine Trip!


David Snow attended his first meeting of the year and received his Slainte glass! We're so happy you're back from your leave of absence, David!

New Member, Mike Isseks, introduced and welcomed visiting Rotarian from Stockholm, Hans Nilsson!

Meeting Recap Oct 14, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-10-31 07:00:00Z 0
Time to get your tickets for our
9th Annual Wine & Food Festival!!
Join us on November 13th at the Museum of Flying from 4pm to 7pm!
Buy your tickets by clicking HERE!
 Toast to life with an afternoon of delicious food, great wine and live jazz music while enjoying the Museum of Flying 

Plenty of FREE Parking 

Great Wines

Fabulous Menu by Fig of the Fairmont Hotel

Music by the George Kahn Trio

Live & Silent Auction 



Rotary Club of Santa Monica, benefitting local, national and international charities.


Made possible by the generous support of: 

The Fairmont Miramar Hotel


If you have yet to become a fan on Facebook, please follow the link below and click "like" to join the conversation!


Watch one of our previous events here 


For tax purposes, the value of each entry ticket is $100

This is our one big fundraiser for the year, so invite everybody you know and bring lots of guests!

Also, please help us get or donate auction items!

Think about your regular service providers (like facial salons, dog groomers, massage therapists, trainers, tennis teachers, etc.) and all your favorite restaurants you go to who will readily give you a gift certificate! You can either bring items to a meeting and give them to Donna Byrd, or you can e-mail her at (or e-mail chair Andrea at if you have any questions. Donna can e-mail you a fillable donation form so give her a shout!


Hope to see you there!!
9th Annual Wine & Jazz Fest Savi Labensart 2016-10-24 07:00:00Z 0
On October 7th, we had a lot of fun with a great speaker, wonderful guests, and award time! Check it out...
Our speaker, Janette Flintoft, brought her father, John Schatteler, and husband, Gerry Flintoft, to enjoy her presentation. President Connie Maguire (far right) welcomed them!
President Connie Maguire presented Sharon Perlmutter Gavin with a monthly service medal for her work to secure a matching grant from District 5280 to fund our community service project with the Westside Food Bank!
President Connie thanked Alan Glick for his help in organizing the Weekend Wine Trip to Paso Robles! His co-chair, Larry Maher, was apparently too exhausted to show up at the meeting! Too bad, because who wouldn't want a Thank You Beer??


Thank you to Christine Mirasy-Glasco for her excellent greeting skills! Pictured here greeting the ever kind and jovial Joe Metoyer!


Miho Ikeda, our Guest Introducer for the day, exchanged flags with our guests from Denmark, Robbyna Svard and Bjorn Eisner!




Past President, Judy Neveau, introduced our newest member, Johnnie Adams, the Santa Monica College Police Chief! Welcome Johnnie!! 

Meeting Recap Oct 7, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-10-20 07:00:00Z 0
September 30th was a great day! We had Craft Talks, birthdays, and leprechauns! Check it out...
Craft Talks are when a member gets up and tells their life story in 10-12 minutes...these brave souls were amazing and it was great to learn about them...
Craft Talker Vicky Curtis
We should have been able to guess that she used to be in the fashion industry! Such great style!
Craft Talker David Wisen
I don't think anyone would guess, though, that David was in the CIA and a spelunker!
President Connie Maguire presented Pam Brady with a Monthly Service Medal for overseeing the Paul Harris Raffle Sales!
The prez also gave Greg Hargrave and David Rosenfeld Leprechaun Awards for their Spirit of Rotary!


Thank you to greeter, Kurtis Magee...

though, we aren't sure what he's paying off Palle Jensen for. Can you guess?




Thank you to our other greeter and our song leader, President Elect Tom Larmore!





We love having John And Gale Miron as our guests...what sweeties!!





Thank you to Donna Byrd and the Birthday Committee, for always putting a smile on our members' faces around their special day!!



Past President, George Collins, and new member Kurtis Magee were excited to get their treat...





as were Lisa Alexander and Karim Jaude...







Grace Cheng Braun...

and the rest of the crew, too!

Happy birthday to Past President Tom Loo, Diane Margolin, Greg Hargrave, Grace Cheng Braun, George Pickell, Lisa Alexander, Karim Jaude, Past President George Collins, Kurtis Magee, Len Lanzi, Palle Jensen, Past President Hal Quigley, Past President Paul Leoni, and Past President Spyros Dellaportas!! :)

Meeting Recap Sept. 30, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-10-20 07:00:00Z 0
September 23rd was an inspiring day at Rotary! 
His name is a mouthful, but his dedication to saving India's elephants is mind blowing! Here is our speaker, Kartick Satyanarayan, along with our President, Connie Maguire, and speaker introducer, Caroline Schankers. 
(Caroline just had a baby, but you'd never know it to look at her, right?!)
The Spirit of the Leprechaun was recognized in Nora Bohn! Thank you, Nora, for all you do!
Meeting Recap Sept. 23, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-10-17 07:00:00Z 0
September 6th was a wonderful day! We had a special presentation, a great speaker, and lots of fun guests! Check it out...
JT Waring, Rotary Int'l's special envoy to Myanmar, led the salute to former member and Past President, Jim Dyer, for the Myanmar Orphanage swimming pool project!  Jim helped lead the way to the completion of the project, which he got to see just before his untimely passing. Jim's family was presented with large photographs and a copy of the dedication sign that hangs at the pool now.
Pictured here: Jim's son Greg Dyer (looks just like him, right?), JT Waring, Myo Min Tun (from Myanmar and helped with the project), Jim's uncle and our Past President Bill Werner, and Jim's wife Sharen Dyer.
Music & Wine Fest Co-Chair, Ken Waltzer, got a warm welcome from our greeter, David Wisen, who is also co-chairing the Student Exchange committee this year!
New Member Mike Isseks was encouraged to participate by Nora Bohn, co-chair of the Greeters Committee!


Guests Galore!


Diane Margolin, co-chair of the Decorations Committee, brought Qin Stubis... 




Len Lanzi brought prospective member, Bryan Flores...




Past President, Judy Neveau, brought her house guest, Nora Sellner...




And our regularly visiting Beverly Hills Rotarian, Steve Taub, brought one of his Rotary colleagues, Tom Holliday!

Thank you to our speaker, Steve Sims from Bluefish! It's his job to make people's dreams come true!

Speaker Steve Sims with our Vice President of Programs, Roger Davis. Thank you to Roger for scheduling such amazing speakers this year!!

Meeting Recap Sept. 16, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-10-03 07:00:00Z 0
August 26th we had a great meeting! We gave away another grant, members were awarded for their hard work, and our speaker was really interesting! Check it out...
Community & Youth Grants Co-Chair Melissa Dagodag presented a check to Kevin McKeown, the director of the SaMoHi Marching Band! 
Thank you to our friendly and enthusiastic greeters, Nick Goehner and Palle Jensen!
New Member Vicky Curtis was our President's Pick for the week, and she's making friends already! Suzan Allbritton joins her here!

Rotary District 5280 Centennial Celebration!

Bret Carter announced the District Celebration taking place on the USS Iowa on October 22! Our club has a table going. Do you have anything you can contribute to their auction? Contact John McIntire at 310-372-8345. 


President Connie awarded some of our members for their outstanding work in our club...


New Member Kurtis Magee was awarded the Monthly Leprechaun!




Is it any surprise that RoseMary Regalbuto was given a monthly Achievement Award?




Bret Carter obviously deserved to receive an Achievement Award as well!



Thank you to all the members who work so hard to make our club run well and to do good work for our community!!

Thank you to our speaker, Steve Cron, criminal defense lawyer!

He gave a wonderful talk on criminal law and some of the cases that have come to his firm. He also offered advice for those who might be confronted by a possible arrest or questioning by law enforcement...not that any of our members would ever need it. :)   

Josh Bradburn greeted our speaker, Steve Cron, and Steve's partner, Phil Israels, who was originally scheduled to speak but thought he'd have to be in court. We were so happy he could join us after all.


Meeting Recap Aug. 26, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-09-25 07:00:00Z 0
August 14th we had a Rotary Family BBQ at Kelly Gulch, thanks to Allan & Sally Young! It was a hot but beautiful day!
Arriving in style was the Menzies family...Jim, Dee and Jamie!
I'm sure they were heading here Sally Young who played bartender for the day!
The kids got a special treat, watching the farm animals get their dinner, too.
Among the dinner guests were the cutest, most fluffy chickens ever!



Erik Jorgensborg with Tricia and Bill Dawson...they definitely enjoyed drinking in the woods!





And Karim Jaude was very excited to join in as well!




It was so nice to see our former member, Helen Zhao, who brought her nephew William, and Li Chen!



Klaus Brandt cooled off under a tree with the sweet Char Lawrence!





And soon all the group was sitting to dine together on a classic BBQ feast!

Jolly Gissell, his lovely wife, Patty, and their son Michael looked like they had a blast! Looking sharp Gissells!!

President Connie Maguire thanked Carol & Bill Powell, the organizers of the event!

Thank you to the Powells and to the Youngs, all for whom the event would never have happened!!

Event Recap: Rotary Family BBQ - Aug 14 Savi Labensart 2016-09-12 07:00:00Z 0
Saturday, September 3, was a fun day for the Healthy Living Committee and those who signed up for the Boxing Workout!
John Dravillas, co-chair of the Healthy Living Committee, graciously hosted at his physical therapy practice location, Physical Therapyworks! And was obviously a vibrant participant!
John's co-chair, Lisa Alexander, was kicking butt connecting with this speed bag!!
As was Donna Byrd!!



 RoseMary Regalbuto took on this big blue burdon of a punching bag...


New Member, Scott Gaynor, looks like a formidable opponent!


Don't mess with Donna Byrd or new member Kurtis Magee...they are ready to mess you up in the name of Rotary!! :)


Event Recap: Healthy Living Boxing Day - Sept. 3 Savi Labensart 2016-09-12 07:00:00Z 0
On August 19th, our luncheon was hosted by RAND due to more construction at the Riviera, so a big thank you to Iao Katagiri for arranging this!
We had a different kind of meeting, with table discussions and presentations about our Santa Monica Rotary Club Foundation! We also gave away a HUGE check!
We presented the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club with a $15,000 check, along with helping to facilitate another matching grant as well! 
Pictured here: President Connie Maguire, Past President Judy Neveau, Past President Paul Leoni, Monty McCormick, Eric Schmitter, Steve Litvack, B&GC CEO Michelle Arellano, President Elect Tom Larmore, B&GC Development Director Janis Morse, Past President Paul Gaulke, and Past President Nat Trives.
Great job and thanks to our new members who are already inviting prospective members to lunch! Joe Peterson was brought by new member Kurtis Magee....
And Cindy Heydt was introduced by new member Deborah Williams!

Table discussions!

Lisa Alexander & Bret Carter led a discussion which focused on strengthening our club branding and developing your elevator speech! 



Bill & Carol Powell, Tammy Andrews, and Past President George Collins jumped right in!



Past President Judy Neveau started out the program with a brief overview of our Santa Monica Rotary Club Foundation!




Mitch Kraus reviewed some recent beneficiaries of our Community & Youth Grants.




Len Lanzi talked about how our SM Rotary Foundation raises money, and also discussed some of the international service projects we've supported.

Welcome to our newest member, Miho Ikeda!!

Past President Tom Loo introduced our newest member, Miho Ikeda! Miho, we are so glad you've joined the club!


Meeting Recap Aug. 19, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-09-05 07:00:00Z 0
August 5th was another wonderful meeting!
Check it out...
Vice President of Program, Roger Davis, greets our speaker Ambassador Frank Baxter and his guest, Robert Landis! Ambassador Baxter gave us the run down on Public Education!
Melissa Dagodag presented a Community & Youth Grant to Linda Jackson of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Opera. Linda sang her "thank you" to us and received a standing ovation!
Past President, Judy Neveau, was delighted to meet one of our newest members, Scott Gaynor!


Greg Hargrave exchanged club banners with  Arjan J Groot Baltink who brought a banner from the Rotary Club of Dalian, China!







Suzan Allbritton and Jillian Alexander were among the July & August birthday group!




Treasurer, Jay Smith and Vice President of Programs, Roger Davis were also admitting to another birthday!




Ann Greenspun & Carol Powell were also in the birthday group, treasuring their chocolate gifts!

Thank you, greeters!!

Kathy Shepard and Nora Bohn did a fabulous job as our Pat Bofird can attest!


Meeting Recap Aug 5, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-08-29 07:00:00Z 0
On July 29th we had a full and interesting meeting! Our speaker was from St. John's Hospital, we gave an award to a Firefighter, and we had lots of wonderful guests! Check it out...
Marcel Loh, President and CEO of Providence St. John's Hospital, gave a comprehensive talk about health care, and how St. John's is meeting new challenges!
Leprechaun of the Month: President Connie is recognizing Rotarians who go the extra mile, and this time the award goes to Bill Powell! Thank you Bill, for encouraging others to take on assignments and tasks for the club!
President Connie also recognized Iao Katagiri, our resident angel behind the scenes! (She should get an award every day!) Iao made sure the activity update slideshow went on and table signs were made even while she was away for a couple weeks on vacation!

We have such wonderful, smiling faces at our meetings...


LA5's JT Warring joined us with Myo Min Tun, who is a part of Rotary International's clean water project in Myanmar!



Timur Berberoglu, President Connie Maguire, Andrew Lustig, and Larry Mortorff...Larry brought Andrew as his guest. Looks like he had fun!



David Rosenfeld, Tammy Andrews, Roger Davis, and Roger's guest Fred Hamberg!




We are always so glad to see Bob Klein, and even more excited to see his lovely wife JoAnn!




And they brought former Rotarian John Miller to lunch as well! When you coming back to us, John??


Public Service Recognition!!

On the day of our public service awards, the fire department's honoree, Captain Rob Erdmann, was responding to an emergency call.  Joe Metoyer, Donna Byrd, and Julie Thomas presented Rob with his award, along with Battalion Chief Frank Evaro and Fire Chief Bill Watkins.


Meeting Recap - July 29, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-08-22 07:00:00Z 0
July 15th was an incredible day! Our speaker, Dydine Umayang, was a Rwandan Genocide Survivor, so our program was very powerful. Also, Past President Tom Loo gave out the rest of the Dethroning awards, and we gave money to two non-profit organizations! Check it out...
Rwandan Genocide Survivor, Dydine Umayang, spoke bravely and brilliantly about her experience in genocide. She was but a small child of 3 or 4 years old when she was separated from her family. She ended up in a line to be killed, but was miraculously saved and managed to survive through to tell her tale today.  
Melissa Dagodag presented a check from our Rotary Community & Youth Grants Committee to Jonathan Bijur of the reDiscover Center!
And from the same committee, Gita Runkle presented a check to Ashley Powell of Vista del Mar Family Services.



One of our newest members, Kurtis Magee, handled our Guest Introductions for the day! Way to jump right in, Kurtis!







Carol Jackson, doing her best Stevie Wonder impression, was wonderful enough to provide us with piano accompaniment for the day!







Our President-Elect is one of our favorite song leaders! Thank you Tom, for always entertaining us and honoring us with your voice.




More awards! Past President/Past Emperor Tom Loo passed out the Dethroning awards to those who were unable to make it to the event! 











Drew Fleming won the Herb Spurgin award! He wasn't able to attend the Dethroning, but we wouldn't have been able to recognize him anyway, with his newly grown facial hair.

Sharon Perlmutter Gavin had been on vacation, but came home to receive a President's Award!
Stan Fox won the Austin Jennings Award! Go Stan!
Timur Berberoglu also received a President's Award for his energetic production of several activities for members last year.  We should all get awards for finally being able to spell his name correctly!


Dydine said something quite lovely when talking about race...she said, "A garden is beautiful with multiple colors, not just one."

May each human being remember to appreciate all the colors in our gardens.


Meeting Recap - July 15, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-08-08 07:00:00Z 0
On June 28th, Rotary got called to quickly donate to Upward Bound House and these amazing Rotarian women took on the project! Check it out...
Suzan Allbritton rallied the gals and stands here in front of the newly furnished kitchen.
Carol Powell and Donna Byrd came to the call and sit here on one of the newly furnished beds.
What great lamps!
And shower curtain and towels for the bathroom...
And super cute place settings!
Rotary is so happy to be able to donate these furnishings to the family moving in! On to the next helpful project!
Upward Bound House Project - June 28, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-07-11 07:00:00Z 0
There is nothing better than giving money to kids for their college educations!!
May 20th was Scholarship Day! It brought much excitement, and a big crowd of wonderful people!
Here are all our scholarship reciepients and their families! We gave away over $10,000 to these exceptional students!
Past scholarship recipient Daniel Kolko came back to express his gratitude for the support from Rotary that has helped open the door to educational achievement for him at USC!
Guest introducer Deborah Williams exchanged club banners with Keith Muras from the Risborough club in England!



Past President Dee Menzies (who was our first woman president!) will be honored with the Bob Gabriel Community Service Award at the Chamber of Commerce Dinner on June 15! Way to go, Dee!!



And poor Stan Fox was fined AGAIN for allowing Mimi (a homeless woman who is now a movie star) to call his laundromat home for many years!







Melissa Dagodag brought Ronnie Roy! (Yes, Len, we see your cute face back there!)




Nick Goehner brought Joshua Mabie!




And Kurtis Magee was back for the second week! His host Bret Carter wasn't around, so Mitchell Kraus generously stepped in to introduce him!

We are so proud of our scholarship recipients! But not as proud as their families! :)

Recipient Maurice Wilkes with his beautiful family!


Recipient Alex Spanos with his dad George! (Alex was Founding President of our SaMoHi Interact Club!)


Recipient Zain Delawalla and his lovely family!


And thank you to Susan Annett and David Snow for putting this amazing day together!!

Susan Annett and David Snow with Citizenship Awardees Celeste Delgadillo, Siri Storstein-Norgaard, and Golden Gonzales-Palmer!

Susan Annett with recipient Carlos Bustos!



Meeting Recap - May 20, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-06-14 07:00:00Z 0
On May 29th, Rotary went to the races!
It was a wild rush!
Thank you to Steve Taub who made it possible to have such a fun Santa Anita experience! He invited Lafitte Pincay, Jr to speak to us. Lafitte is the second-most winningest jockey in history! 
Thank you also to Emperor Tom Loo and Event Chair Timur Berberoglu, who were instrumental in creating this fantastic day! Thank you for all your hard work, gentlemen!


Susan Annett, Marilyn Leoni, and Pat Bofird look happy and relaxed...





As does the lovely RoseMary Regalbuto...





But not as happy as Jolly and Patty Gissell, who have smiles on their winning faces!





Roger and Joy Davis are also wearing their winning smiles...they bet and won on the very first race!




Greg & Terry Hargrave had a fun time on the stable tour before the races started...





And so did Monty McCormick!




Linnekens Family selfie time!





Pat & George Collins and Paul & Marilyn Leoni had a blast! (Both Pat Collins and Andrea Gressinger have injuries, but that wasn't going to stop them from attending this fun day!




David Rosenfeld had to be enjoying himself with such a beautiful woman on his arm!




Drew Flemming enjoyed the yummy lunch buffet!

The Rotary section was right at the head of the home stretch! What a view...

Thanks to Iao Katagiri for all the amazing pictures from this day!


A special highlight...

The third race of the day was dedicated to the Rotary Club of Santa Monica! Tom and Timur were invited to the Winner's Circle!


Event Recap - Day at the Races! Savi Labensart 2016-06-14 07:00:00Z 0
May 13th brought us an awesome speaker, fun guests, a grant presentation and inductions of our newest and dearest!
Our speaker was Larry Kopald, and he talked about global climate change. He explained that we need to start taking care of our soil. We kill off the microorganisms with chemicals and ignore crop rotation, making it hard for our soil to draw the CO2 out of the atmosphere, as it would if it were healthy. What an incredible vision! 
Our speaker, Larry Kopald, poses here with his introducer and our Rotary Vice President, Larry Maher.
Alongside are the two representatives from Boy Scouts of America who came to receive a grant check from our Foundation for Camp Josepho!
Ken Waltzer introduced our newest member, Vicky Curtis! Make sure you say hi and welcome her to the fold!
And Past President Judy Neveau presented a club flag to Matthias Rumplehardt from Berlin, Germany!



Our Rotary Vice President Sharon Perlmutter Gavin(right) inducted Deborah Williams! 





Past President Spyros Dellaportas inducted Josh Bradburn!



Past President David Bohn inducted his soon-to-be sister-in-law, Nora Straight!





And Rotary Director Roger Davis inducted Tammy Andrews!



Our wonderful, talented and kind member, Iao Katagiri, was called upon to pay a fine by Len Lanzi! Iao will be recieving the Roy Naylor Lifetime Achievement Award from the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce on June 15th...YAY!! She will be retiring from the RAND Corporation later this year after 41 years!! What??


Meeting Recap - May 13, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-06-07 07:00:00Z 0
On May 6th we had an interesting turn of events!
Our regularly scheduled program fell through, so Tom Loo and Grace Cheng Braun pulled a great talk out of their molassas! 
We also gave away money to two wonderful organizations from our Santa Monica Rotary Club Foundation!
Our Emperor, Tom Loo, with co-speaker Rotarian Grace Cheng Braun. They talked about their childhoods, and growing up Asian in America!
Past President David Bohn and Rotarian Susan Gabriel Potter presented a check to Kathryn Evans from the Santa Monica History Museum!
And Past President Judy Neveau presented a grant to Heather Doyle for the Santa Monica Pier Acquarium!


RoseMary Regalbuto, chair or our Rotary International Foundation Committee, provided a great video presentation on RI activites. 





She also awarded Past President Judy Neveau with another Paul Harris Fellowship!




We always have the most wonderful guests!

Lisa Alexander invited the new CEO of the Boys & Girls Club, Michelle Arellano!





And our President-Elect Designee, Tom Larmore, introduced Grace Cheng Braun's guest, Jodi Cohn, who just joined the board of directors at WISE & Healthy Aging.



Nick Goehner, sporting another of his trademark ties(how many of these do you think he owns??), provided the inspirational invocation. At least, we assume it was good. We were all mesmerized by his dashing attire!


Meeting Recap - May 6, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-05-31 07:00:00Z 0
Gita Runkle snagged some super cute pics of club members at the recent Rotary District Breakfast!
Incoming president, Connie Maguire, with Matthew Williams and Karim Jaude.
RoseMary Regalbuto and President-Elect Designee, Tom Larmore, were both looking quite dapper!
These two are up to something...
Our incoming leaders...don't you think they are going to do a phenomenal job?
District Breakfast Recap Savi Labensart 2016-05-31 07:00:00Z 0
May 1st was our International Food & Song Festival!
It was so much fun! Tons of amazing food, cool tunes, and you just can't beat that view! 
We had a few acts, one being Monika White and her bluegrass band! It sounded great!
And Savi sang a bunch of fun tunes, accompanying herself on ukulele and guitar!


Attendees galore!


The Berberoglu Clan




David Rosenfeld, Incoming President Connie Maguire, and Mrs. Holly Gregory




Mr. Santa Monica, Past President Nat Trives, and Karim Jaude





Mitchell Kraus and his son, Zachary







Past Presidents Spyros Dellaportas and Allen Young, along with the lovely Helen Zhao




Consistent Rotary visitor Sumaya Casteel and her guest




Russ Warner and Past President Judy Neveau






Nora Straight Bohn and her new brother in law, our Past President David Bohn







Past President Judy Neveau with Grace Cheng Braun and her hubby Ted Braun




Savi's predecessor, the wonderful June Doy and guest






New Member Pradeep Batra and his wife, Neelam, with Past President Spyros Dellaportas




Sally Pai Unruh and her new hubby Jason Unruh





And the stoic Nick Goehner. He must have been feeling very contemplative that day. ;)


Thank you to these hard working gentlemen behind the bar, Bret Carter & Ric Mateus!

Thank you to Mike Cates & Broadway Gymnastics for providing such a fun kids playground!

Thank you to Barb Bishop for bringing in food from Lago!

Thank you to Tom and Stefani Loo for hosting this incredible event at their beautiful home!!

Meeting Recap - Food Fest May 1, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-05-24 07:00:00Z 0
On April 22nd, we had our Co-Worker Day, where we invite our colleagues and staff to lunch as a thank you for their hard work!
Our speaker was Robert Goon, who spoke on corporate governance!
From Left: President Tom Loo, Speaker Robert Goon, and President-Elect Connie Maguire!
Past President/Mr. Santa Monica Nat Trives called on the club to fine Emperor Loo for being honored by WISE & Healthy Aging at it's May 21st Luncheon!
Andrea Gressinger introduced our newest member, Vicky Curtis! Welcome Vicky!! 


All the amazing Co-Workers!

Here is Past President Paul Leoni with his guest, Elsa Vasquez!



Phil Devin was Monika White's guest, pictured here with Bill Bubar on the right!




Kathy Irby was there with Past President Dick Lawrence!




Lisa Alexander (right) brought Michele Vader and Courtney Cole!


Roger Davis (right) brought George Farley!




Past President George Collins brought Christine Wentzel!




Lynn Davis was a guest of Andrea Gressinger!



Bret Carter and Dick Hart brought their co-workers Anna Karin Nordlund and Jill Anderson!


Meeting Recap - Apr. 22, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-05-17 07:00:00Z 0
Our meeting April 15 was wonderful!
Our speaker was Professor Daniel Lynch from USC's US - China Institute, and we also celebrated birthdays and some unexpected family!
Rotarian Sally Pai, our speaker Professor Daniel Lynch, and our President/Emperor Tom Loo! The professor offered us many thoughtful comments on current Chinese political leaders, the economic and social unease, and how U.S. policy might change with a new president!
Rotarian Merv Hecht brought his son Spencer to the meeting with him!
And Rotarian Sally Pai brought Stan Fox's son, Mac!



Birthday time!

We celebrated Alan Glick, Donna Byrd, Stan Fox, Matt Williams, Paul Gaulke, Bill Powell, Deborah Williams, Larry Mortorff, David Wisen, and Klaus Brandt, among others!



Big announcements were made about the Int'l Food Fest May 1st! Rotarian Mike Cates runs Broadway Gymnastics, and brought a whole bunch of fun equipment for the kids who came to the party!



Thank you to Deborah Williams(right) for jumping in! She's been greeter several times already, and here she greets Monika White & Lisa Alexander.


Meeting Recap - Apr. 15, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-05-10 07:00:00Z 0
Our meeting April 8 was great!
We had the Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole, and lots of other fun guests!
Rotarian Deborah Williams and Rotary Past President Judy Neveau greet our Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole at the door!
Rotarian Bill Dawson brought his son Ryan Dawson...gotta get them involved in Rotary as early as possible, right?!
Rotarian Gita Runkle brought Dee Dee Carter, the new dean at Santa Monica College!


President Elect-Elect Tom Larmore never has any issues being at the podium. He vigorously led the club in our weekly song, and also introduced the speaker! Thanks for doing double duty Tom!



Deborah Williams & Matt Williams...same surname, different family! Still chums at the head table though...Deborah was our President's Pick for being one of our newest members, and Matt graciously gave the invocation!



These two are up to something! Something fun!

President Tom Loo and Beverly Hills Rotarian Steve Taub are planning a Day at the Races - May 29 at the Santa Anita Racetrack!! Don't forget to RSVP to Savi if you'd like to go. It's going to be a blast!


Meeting Recap - Apr. 8, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-05-03 07:00:00Z 0
Rotarians are always up to one fun thing or another! Check out a couple activities we have done lately!
Our Healthy Living Committee had a beautiful hike up Corral Canyon, and the Environmental Outreach Committee helped to clean the LA River!
Bill Rayman was the organizer and coordinator for our efforts at the LA River!
 Bill Rayman, Bret Carter, Judy Neveau, Jillian Alexander, & Tom Woods all participated in the LA River Cleanup! (John Dravillas helped organize too, but was unable to attend.) 
Our team covered three areas within the Glendale Narrows' section of the Los Angeles River.
Thanks to Bill Rayman bringing and sharing his trowel, we contributed to a local boy scout troop master digging out pair of jeans. Our big finds were cans, one hypodermic needle, one nylon knee-high stocking, Styrofoam and laminated paperboard containers, plastic straws, and plastic cups. Most were little pieces of plastic and laminated paperboard. EVERY PIECE COUNTS!


Our hikers were full of energy, and wouldn't you be as well on what looks like the most gorgeous day of the year?

Suzan Allbritton, Carol & Bill Powell, Jillian Alexander, Donna Byrd, and Connie Maguire definitely had a blast!





That's where I want to be right now! How about you??



Our hiking group again, with an addition in the back right there...the chair of the Healthy Living committee, John Dravillas!


Rotary Events Recap - Hiking & River Cleaning! Savi Labensart 2016-04-19 07:00:00Z 0
Our meeting on March 18th was really interesting!
We had Jonathan Palfrey speaking on climate change!
From Left: Emperor Tom Loo, Speaker Jonathan Palfrey and our speaker introducer, Rotarian Larry Mortorff
Thank you to Nora Straight for being our invocator! This sweet new member is getting married to David Bohn's brother very soon and we're all very excited for her!
And thank you to Tammy Andrews for greeting at the door...she and her greetee Deborah Williams are both new to the club and we're so happy they've joined!


Visiting Rotarian Jillian Vorce from Massachusetts was greeted by our incoming president, Connie Maguire!



A rarity: We actually got Allan Young up at the head table! He usually avoids it, perhaps because he doesn't want to leave the Bad Boys Table unsupervised.



Or perhaps it merely cuts into his nap time!




Mr. Palfrey was an enthusiastic speaker and used beautiful photos of Los Angeles to guide his presentation!


Meeting Recap - Mar 18, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-04-12 07:00:00Z 0
Looks like the End Polio Run/Walk was a really great adventure! Check out a few pics of our participants... 
It's wonderful to see the smiling faces of Judy Neveau and RoseMary Regalbuto!
RoseMary Regalbuto, Donna Byrd, Connie Maguire and Lisa Alexander were really giving it their all!




Our incoming President Connie Maguire knows how to work hard and hydrate, all while looking sharp on the trail!





Wish I'd gone...this looks like fun!


Connie Maguire, Judy Neveau and Lisa Alexander at the starting line!




Oh look! There was a guy there! John Dravillas, surrounded by our beautiful and wonderful Rotary ladies. Congrats to those who crossed the finish line!!


Event Recap - End Polio Run/Walk Savi Labensart 2016-04-12 07:00:00Z 0
March 11th was so much fun!
We got to hear a couple new members gve their Craft Talks, members got fined, and we had some great guests!
Craft Talkers Billy Howard (middle) and Carmen Portnoy pose with Billy's son-in-law and business partner Adam Thornhill!
Robert Segal got fined...he and his wife Jeanne ending up on the front page of the Santa Monica Daily Press!, started as a project in our club, has turned into a huge success!
New Member Pradeep Batra and his sponsor Spyros Dellaportas sitting back at the Bad Boys Table!


John Coker from the Fredericksburg, VA club was greeted by our incoming president, Connie Maguire!



Thanks to our awesome participants at the head table...

Andrea Gressinger was our lovely Invocator...




Barb Bishop gave a wonderful welcome as Guest Introducer!




Spyros got fined this day for putting the Palm Motel up for sale with a new real estate listing...for 11mil!

If he sells the motel, I guest we'll have to find something else to tease him about! ;)


Meeting Recap - Mar 11, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-04-01 07:00:00Z 0
February 26th was an exciting meeting, and it was awesome to see the room so full...Savi had to ask the Riviera to set up more seating!!
What a fabulous program, what an energized club, and what honored and distinguished guests we had! The Rams are returning to LA, and it was great to hear how it happened!
Our speakers: Former member of our club, the Mayor of Inglewood, Jim Butts, with Rotarian Bob Klein, pro-football star for the Rams and the Chargers!
(That helmet was from a long time ago! Did you know that the Rams were the first team to put insignia on their helmets?)
Three mayors in one room! What an honor!
From left: Current Mayor of Santa Monica, Tony Vazquez, Current Mayor of Inglewood, Jim Butts, and Nat Trives, former mayor of Santa Monica!
Mayor Jim Butts with Rotarian Dick Lawrence, the man who sponsored him for membership nearly 25 years ago!


We had some wonderful guests!

Rick Mateus welcomed 2 district staff members from Assemblyman Richard Blooms's office...that's Andrew Aldama in the middle and Tim Harter on the right!



Mayor Jim Butts was accompanied by Inglewood City Councilmember, Alex Padillo(top right)! Captain Ken Semko and Captain Clint Muir were just starting their law enforcement careers when Jim became chief, so they definitely had to stop by and say hi!




Past President Judy Neveau invited Santa Monica College facilities manager, Charlie Yen! And incoming president Connie Maguire brought along Sam Lagana from Pepperdine University!




Bob Klein brought his lovely wife, JoAnne...







Along with his now co-worker at the Providence St. John's Foundation, John Miller, former member of our club!

It was a grand time for a great program, and for catching up! Grace Cheng Braun and Susan Gabriel Potter were first in line to hug their friend!  


Meeting Recap - Feb 26, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-03-08 08:00:00Z 0
February 19th was not depressing, though our speaker talked all about the brain processes it and how to help get out of it! Don't forget to get outside, exercise, and get your sleep! Along with hearing about our brains, we greeted some wonderful visitors and welcomed home one of our members who's been away a long time...
Emperor Tom Loo and Ann Greenspun welcomed our speaker, Dr. Alex Korb!
Vlado is home from teaching in Dubai, and he obviously did some make-ups all over the Gulf region!


We had some wonderful guests!


Errol and Sharon Bennett were in town to help Daniel celebrate his birthday!



And Nat Trives brought an old buddy who used to be in our club, Lloyd Allen. He's in the Watts-Crenshaw club now!




Speaking of getting outside and exercising...

Timur announced our participation in a golf tournament at Mountaingate on the Monday, Feb. 29th! RSVP with Savi if you want to go!




And Lisa Alexander was geared up for the 321 End Polio Run/Walk on  March 12! Let her know if you want to go!

Thank you, Nick! You did so great leading the singing!

Not that we don't absolutely LOVE our regular singers, but it was so nice to see someone else brave that microphone...Don't worry, be happy! And sing!


Meeting Recap - Feb 19, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-02-29 08:00:00Z 0
February 5th was our Valentine's Lunch and Orchid Day! Along with hearing about orchids from our speaker, we welcomed many members' sweethearts, gave away grant money, and learned where some of our grant money was spent! We also had an amazing meal of aphrodisiac foods...salmon with artichokes, salad with arugula, avocado, pine nuts and pomegranate, chocolate cake with strawberries and whipped cream! Yum!! 
  Rotarian Melissa Dagodag presented a check to Josephine Liu Moerschel, Executive Director of Elemental Strings and Band!
Rotarian Sharon Perlmutter Gavin presented TWO checks to Suzanne Peckels of WISE & Healthy Aging!


David Snow presented an update on the Rotary Grant we gave to Kid Unity for computers!

The kids took those computers to Iowa to report on the Iowa Caucuses. David shared impressive anecdotes of the kids interviewing all the major candidates!




Here's just a few of the lovely couples we saw that day!

Dick Lawrence brought his sweet wife Char! Aren't they adorable?





We got to meet our new member Jolly Gissell's better half, Patti! ;)




What would a Valentine's lunch be without Kai-Li Quigley, Hal's sweetie?





Kathy Shepard's husband, Mark, decided to brave a Rotary meeting!




Timur Berberoglu, of course, brought his lovely wife Melissa to enjoy the meeting!




Wait! They're not a couple!

Savi couldn't bring her sweetheart to the lunch that day, so Emperor Tom Loo made her feel special in his stead! Thanks, Boss!

Susan Annett is looking for volunteers for Rotary Reads to Kids! It's happening March 2nd and 3rd, so give her a shout if you want to participate!


Meeting Recap - Feb 5, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-02-23 08:00:00Z 0


On February 5th, we heard from George Vasquez, Jr. and he told us all about orchid growing! 

Mr. Vasquez was very passionate about orchids!

George Vasquez, Jr., owner of Zuma Canyon Orchids in Malibu, gave our club a fabulous presentation last week! His presentation included a slide show from the latest orchid show he attended as one of 30 judges, instructions on how to take care of your orchids, and a gorgeous display of his line.

Mr. Vasquez shared all about the Tokyo Dome Orchid Show, attended by 350,000 people at $25 a pop. (Despite the showing, they still lose money.) The opening ceremony was presided over by the princess. It’s a huge deal there, and we here in the US are at least 10 years behind the Japanese in the process.

At these shows you have the pleasure of seeing tons of exhibitors, both by orchid sellers and design schools. In Tokyo, they had 30 design schools. Orchids were donated to the students and they put together beautiful set-ups. The goal of all exhibits is FLOW & HARMONY! But you have to be timely with your designs, as everything is union and on a strict schedule! Exhibitors’ blooms were judged by best in each category. You should have seen the shingling of some of those plants…every bloom folded neatly over the next one. If you win a gold medal, it’s actually gold, and you have to pay for it! But if you win the grand prize, you go home with 80 grand and a Mercedes. Might just be worth it, right?

It’s incredible how involved this process is, and how much money changes hands in the orchid industry. Trader Joe’s spends $200 million a year on these flowers. Some plants can cost thousands of dollars, often because of their breeding, and how long they’ve been around. Orchids are a tough breed, and have been around since 65 million years ago. They know because they found some of the oldest kind in amber! Special labs breed the plants in Petri dishes, and there is a university in Taiwan that specializes in growing orchids. George himself has a lab in Holland. He buys one plant for say 11 thousand, and sends it to them to test for disease, and then breeding. They’ll start with 3,000 to see how fast they grow, then pick the 10 best to breed more.

If you picked up one of his beauties, he gave us some specific instructions to care for them. One 4 ounce turkey baster of water was recommended once you see that the soil is completely dry. Make sure you don’t over water, because the roots will rot very easily. You can also just go with a couple quick sprays from a water bottle onto the buds, where the H20 will get absorbed within the hour. Don’t forget when you are buying an orchid that you check the bottom of the container to see that the roots are not black. If they are, don’t buy that one.


Feb 5 Speaker - George Vasquez, Jr.! Savi Labensart 2016-02-23 08:00:00Z 0


On January 29th, we heard from Dr. Eric Hudson! 

Quantum Computing and the Quiet Quantum Revolution! 

Dr. Eric Hudson!
The next generation of computers, or “quantum computers,” will promise greater power and faster processing speeds once they can draw their computing power from super-cooled molecules, according to the January 29 meeting of the Santa Monica Rotary Club.
Rotarian Adam Lichtl, introducing the day’s speaker, primed the room on what quantum computing means in layman’s terms, calling it a rare event in which the exploration of science meets practical engineering.
“A lot of times people are trying to understand the universe around them, what’s out there, and where the universe came from,” Lichtl, former SpaceX director of research, said.
“Other times, people are trying to engineer solutions to problems using existing technologies – how do I make a stronger bridge? How do I make a taller building? And it’s interesting when you see the intersection of these two things.”
Take the telephone switchboard for example.
“If you wanted to make a phone call 100 years ago, you would call up and an operator would take a cable and plug it into a jack, and that’s how calls were connected,” he said.
The phone operator career was a major source of employment in many rural cities, Lichtl explained, but it was still a terrible and inefficient system.
“So they came up with a different kind of switch using newly discovered laws of fundamental physics. In that case, at that time, it was quantum mechanics, and the new switch they came up with was the transistor, a semiconductor. It conducts, it sometimes doesn’t conduct – that’s the quantum nature of it,” he said.
With this, the development of the transistor led to the birth of computing industry and the technology we harness today, Lichtl explained.
“So there’s really no limit to what engineers can do if they marry their work with the deep, explorative questions that people are asking about how the universe works,” he said. “Quantum computing is such a theory, because in the same way that the invention of the transistor opened up an entirely new field and entirely new devices people hadn’t even imagined, they were just trying to connect phone calls. Quantum computing will do the same thing when it’s a reality.”
Speaker Eric Hudson, a UCLA assistant professor of physics, has dedicated his research toward quantum computation with ultra-cold molecular ions and a search for any variation of the fundamental constants of nature.
In quantum computing, to harness the unique quantum mechanical properties of atomic particles means scientists must chill molecules to a fraction of a degree above absolute zero, the temperature at which they can be manipulated to store and transmit data, Hudson said.
Hudson earned his Ph.D. at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2006 for work in atomic, molecular, and optical physics with ultracold polar molecules. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University, he joined the faculty of the UCLA in 2008.
“The goal is to build a computer that doesn’t work with zeros and ones, but with quantum mechanical objects,” Hudson explained. “A quantum computer could crack any code created by a classical computer and transmit information perfectly securely.”
To wrap up the meeting, the Rotary Club of Santa Monica presented the Westside School of Ballet with a grant.
“The Westside Ballet in Santa Monica is dedicated to excellence and training the development of the students and artists, and every year since the school’s founding in 1967, its students have been awarded scholarships for the major ballet companies schools’ summer programs,” presenter Melissa Dagodag said.
“Your gift helps enable not only our presentation to the community but to the children in the community, as well,” replied Caprice Walker, head of the Children’s Division of the Westside School of Ballet.
This year, Westside Ballet has nine sold-out performances at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica with Symphony Orchestra, she said, and they plan to use the grant money to enhance the productions and reach out to Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District students.


Article written by Mariella Rudy at the Santa Monica Mirror

Jan 29 Speaker - Dr. Eric Hudson Savi Labensart 2016-02-17 08:00:00Z 0
Our meeting on January 29th was filled with many wonderful things! Along with hearing about quantum computing from Dr. Eric Hudson, we said hi to some fun visitors and gave away grant money! Check it out...
  Dr. Eric Hudson and his wife Jennifer Hudson were greeted by Emperor Tom Loo and his wife Stefani DoyLoo! (Isn't it the sweetest how Stefani comes all the time to support her hubby!)
Santa Monica Rotarian Allen Mueller exchanged flags with visiting Rotarian Janice Dost, from the Sun River, Oregon club!


We love giving away money for good causes!

Melissa Dagodag (left) presents a grant check to Caprice Walker of the Westside Ballet of Santa Monica!




Selfie Time!

Laurel Rosen (middle) brought David Woodbury from the Santa Monica Arthur Murray Dance Studio as her guest! She pulled in our club photographer/slideshow maker extraordinaire, Iao Katagiri for this super cute shot!

Thank you to our lovely ladies, Helen Zhao and Kathy Shepard for greeting everybody at the door!


Meeting Recap - Jan 29, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-02-09 08:00:00Z 0
Our meeting on January 22nd was so great! Along with hearing about ways to keep us and our pets healthy from Dr. Jean Dodds, we also welcomed in two new members and celebrated birthdays, among many other wonderful things! Check it out...
  Caroline Schnakers (left) was in charge of introducing Dr. Jean Dodds, our speaker! Also pictured here are Norm Lane and Charles Berman, both from Greenburg Traurig and the latter being the hubby of our speaker, and of course our fearless leader, Emperor Tom Loo!
A big thanks to Palle Jensen and Josh Bradburn for greeting at the door! What better way to meet other Rotarians than to shake everybody's hand as they walk in the door!


New Members!


Lisa Alexander welcomed Tammy Andrews on her first day,


and David Bohn welcomed Nora Straight!



Our SaMoHi Interact is really thriving!!

Their president, Alex Spanos, came to fill us in on the Rotary World Peace Conference in Ontario, CA!

It was birthday celebration time! Timur Berberoglu gave it a big thumbs up!


Meeting Recap - Jan 22, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-02-02 08:00:00Z 0


On January 22, we learned about Nutrigenomics! Keep yourself and your pets healthy!

Thank you Dr. Dodds! Your talk was so informative!

Here's the whole scoop from Mariella Rudi at the Santa Monica Mirror...

For pet owners, there are foods and supplements that humans and animals can share to optimize health and wellness. These foods, or “superfoods,” can be personalized to fit an individual’s needs, thanks in part to the science of nutrigenomics, according to pet healthcare expert Dr. Jean Dodds.
“We need individual diets, not only to prevent disease but to mitigate disease and to cure chronic illness,” said Dodds at the Santa Monica Rotary Club Friday, Jan. 22.
Nutrigenomics, or nutritional genomics, identify the different ways people and animals respond to food based on their genetic make-up, Dodd said.
“Everything I’m going to talk about relates to you, even though I’m a veterinarian,” she added.
An ideal diet for both humans and pets includes foods that reduce the body’s chronic inflammatory properties, Dodds explained. 
“Chronic inflammation of your tissues is what leads to infectious diseases, it leads to obesity, and it leads to cancer,” she said.
To combat these hematological problems, Dodds broke down “good” foods into three categories.
“Functional foods are whole foods with a nutrient-rich composition that provide optimal wellbeing,” she said. “Whole foods have variety and density in the food. The food should be whole as much as possible. Superfoods are usually rich in phytochemicals; they are known to have disease-fighting properties.”
In other words, you need plants to balance your diet.
Dodds’ functional superfoods included prebiotics, probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oils.
“A prebiotic and a probiotic functions most in tandem,” she said.
Prebiotic supplements like lactulose and spirulina, or whole algae, serve to balance a pet and human’s needs along with meats and other foods, Dodds said.
Foods have medicinal properties, and Dodds identified some of the best additions to a diet.
“Basically all the products from bees – and that’s raw honey, especially Manuka honey from New Zealand; bee pollen; royal jelly; propolis – those all have the same anti-microbial, anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory properties,” she said.
Dodds added that raw honey is best because of its active, unprocessed properties but that infants, puppies, and kittens should not ingest it.
The best honey is the one made in your own community, “because those bees have made honey reacting to all the environmental things that we have in Southern California. So if you want to get the health benefits from raw honey, you should try to get local honey, and you can get that probably at the farmers market,” she said.
Other superfoods include mushrooms, especially the Oriental mushrooms like reishi, cordyceps, shiitake, and maitake, which  act as potent anti-cancer agents, according to Dodds.  “These types of mushrooms are also anti-microbial and anti-diabetic,” she said.
Dodds’s list of superfoods and healthy supplements range from the familiar – ginger, raw apple cider vinegar, avocado, sprouted seeds, licorice, green and black tea – to the exotic – deer or elk velvet, green-lipped mussels, King of Bitters, boswellia, white kidney bean extract. She advised to look for these names in ingredients and supplements to get the most out of them.
Finally, there are foods that recharge and boost brain health and memory; like leafy green vegetables (spinach kale, mustard greens, collard greens); cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, broccoli); beans and legumes (lentils, green beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, peas); whole grains; nuts (macadamia nuts are toxic to pets); seeds (flax and hemp seeds); spices (like the potent anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial spice, turmeric); and berries and cherries.
“The only berry that pet animals should not eat is strawberry,” Dodds said.
More foods from Dodds to help brain memory and cognition includ eggs, kiwi fruit, quinoa, mercury-free salmon, sweet potatoes, coconut oil.
Dodds received the D.V.M. degree with honors in 1964 from the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Toronto. In 1965, she accepted a position as a Research Scientist with the New York State Health Department, where she began comparative studies of animals with inherited and acquired bleeding diseases. Eventually, her position culminated as chief at Laboratory of Hematology in Wadsworth Center. In 1980, she also became executive director of the New York State Council on Human Blood and Transfusion Services.
In 1986 Dodds moved to Southern California to establish Hemopet, the first nonprofit national blood bank program for animals. She has authored and co-authored two books and secured over a dozen patents related to animal health care and genetics.
In 2011, Dodds released NutriScan, a food sensitivity and intolerance diagnostic test for dogs that tests for twenty of the most commonly ingested foods.
For more information about Dodds and her business visit


Jan 22 Speaker - Dr. Jean Dodds! Savi Labensart 2016-01-26 08:00:00Z 0
Our meeting on January 8th was great! Along with a speech by Dr. Ronald Loo, we gave away money to charities, and congratulated a couple members on amazing news!
  Rotarian Larry Maher poses with David Saunders (right), and his new bride Ronah, of the Red Rhino Orphanage in Kenya! While they were in town we were able to present them with a check for the orphanage!
Rotarian Sharon Perlmutter Gavin (right) presented a grant check to Patti Oblath, the Executive Director for Connections for Children, which will be used for their "Where the Story Begins" early literacy program!



Can you see that gorgeous rock! Congratulations to Andrea Gressinger for getting engaged!



And guess who has a bun in the oven??

Caroline Schnakers is pregnant! Congratulations to her and her sweet husband Martin on this amazing news!

Suzan Allbritton and Len Lanzi welcomed one of our newest members, Deborah Williams! You can already tell she's going to be a fabulous member and we're so glad she's making fast friends!


Meeting Recap - Jan 8, 2016 Savi Labensart 2016-01-26 00:00:00Z 0


It's a new year, so we started out by learning all about prostate cancer! Not so fun, you say? Well, we were told by our speaker Dr. Ronald Loo that one orgasm a day will reduce risk by 22%! I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty awesome to me!

Despite the good news, it looks like our Emperor Tom Loo couldn't help but feel very protective and concerned. He's pictured here with his brother and our speaker, Dr. Ronald Loo (right) and his lovely wife Stefani DoyLoo (left).

Here's the whole scoop from Mariella Rudi at the Santa Monica Mirror...

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men other than skin cancer. About one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and about one in 38 men will die of the disease.
To put these statistics into perspective, Ronald K. Loo, MD, regional chief of urology of Southern California Permanente Medical Group, spoke to the Rotary Club of Santa Monica last Friday about the cutting edge developments occurring in prostate cancer, including the controversy of prostate screenings and robotics surgery.
Loo, who oversees 120 urologists nationwide and has more than 40 years’ experience, is well-versed in the ongoing debate shrouding prostate and breast cancer screenings.
With about a quarter of a million new cases diagnosed each year, most patients can be cured, and it’s an inexpensive blood test followed by a biopsy that can help detect prostate cancer, according to Loo. So, what’s the problem?
“In 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a governmental recommendation agency, said you shouldn’t do prostate cancer screenings for men at any age,” Loo, who is also the brother of Santa Monica Rotary Club President Tom Loo, said. “And indeed, since that’s come out, there’s been a 25-30 percent drop in the number of men who are screened for prostate cancer across the country.”
Loo shared his theory on why the agency would prescribe such an “outlandish recommendation.”
“Their thinking was that screenings offer a minimal survival benefit for the patients being treated, and that the harms vastly outweigh all the benefits, either through the biopsy or through radiation and surgery, etc.”
Since the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test was invented around 1990, Loo said that there has been a 30 percent decline in the number of patients who have died of prostate cancer.
“Prostate cancer screening is meaningful if you’ve got a life expectancy of more than 10 years,” he said. “If we stop completely screening for prostate cancer, we’re going to triple the number of patients with metastatic disease, and there is no cure for metastatic prostate cancer.”
From a public health perspective, in the three years since the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s recommendation was released, six new prostate cancer drugs have come out, Loo explained, and they work, he said, at a cost of about $9,000 a month. Now, it has become a problem of over-treating, not over-diagnosis, he added.
Loo is also a huge proponent of robotic surgery. With robotic surgery, prostate surgery, and radiation for prostate cancer, the outcomes are good, he said.
“Not finding this cancer is not the issue, really,” Loo continued. “It’s what you do with the patients once you’ve found the cancer that’s going to make the biggest amount of difference, and that’s where the evolution of prostate cancer is occurring right now due to the economics.”
The chief of urology offered more advice on the prospects of prostate cancer. First, if you’re of average risk and decide you want to be screened, start at the age of 50 and continue through 69.
“If you’re higher risk – if you’re African American or have first-degree relative who’s got prostate cancer – then you start at the age of 45,” he said.
Everything recommended for a healthy heart works to help reduce your risk of prostate cancer, according to Loo; diets that are rich in red foods, like tomatoes and watermelons, and foods that have isoflavones in them, like green tea and tofu. Eat more fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, eat less in animal fats, and stop smoking, he said.
“If you’re between 50 and 70 please consider getting tested. If you have a higher risk, consider 45. If you do need treatment, if you have an aggressive type of prostate cancer, you need to get treatment performed at a high volume center that does a whole lot of prostate cancer surgery and radiation therapy, and they need to have transparent outcomes,” Loo explained.
Finally, consider the orgasm. Researchers from Harvard Medical School Men found that having one orgasm a day could significantly reduce a man’s chance of developing prostate cancer by 22 percent.



Jan 8 Speaker - Dr. Ronald Loo! Savi Labensart 2016-01-26 00:00:00Z 0
Our meeting on December 18th was precious!! The Carlthorp School Choir came to sing and play for us!!
  We got carols and songs from all walks of life, and even got some choreography!
Some of the kids also played instruments, like these two sweet guitarists!


Past President Dee Menzies (right) invited some of her Carlthorp School parents! It's Dee's last holiday season as Headmistress of the school!



Remember June Doy?!

Savi's always thrilled when she gets to see her friend and predecessor, even though she can't express it when her mouth is full!

One last auction item for our Wine & Jazz Fest 2015, a 2-night stay at the Fairmont Miramar, won by Bill & Carol Powell! Presented here by Co-Chair of the event, Suzan Allbritton!


Meeting Recap - Dec 18, 2015 Savi Labensart 2015-12-31 00:00:00Z 0


December 11th we heard from Michael Rich, the CEO of RAND!

Speaker Michael Rich (right) with Rotarian Tim Jackman, retired SMPD Chief.

When RAND Corporation’s Michael Rich last visited the Rotary Club of Santa Monica more than a half-decade ago, he reported on RAND’s global expansion and early days in Santa Monica.

But today, as the fifth chief executive officer and president of the nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution, Rich has a few more things keeping him up at night: his 2,000 employees.

“My concern is that it is getting harder and harder to have their voices heard in today’s rancorous political climate,” he said.

Rich couldn't have emphasized RAND’s objectivity more at his talk Friday, Dec. 11. That neutrality is the lifeblood of RAND’s mission and purpose, and it’s one increasingly lacking in the two-parties political system.

RAND exists to aid policy decisions in the most important problems – the ones that affect the most people – made with the best available evidence. That core purpose, as Rich called it, is getting a lot harder these days as it once was. For this, we can blame partisan politics. Without any overlap or common ground between the two parties, public interest can be swayed and compromised.

RAND combats this with facts, helping to improve decision- and policy-making through rigorous and objective research and analysis. 

How do RAND researchers, analysts, and employees keep this objectivity at the forefront of their work? It’s through scrupulous peer review and bias screenings, Rich said. And by publishing this work online for free, RAND ensures that the public is involved with the findings, as well.

He quoted Justice Louis D. Brandeis, saying, after all, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

“Project RAND” was originally created at the request of Army Air Corps officials in 1945 to assist the U.S. military with the new technologies and strategies developed during World War II and to tackle future issues. It began in Santa Monica as a unit of the Douglas Aircraft Company, and in May of 1948, RAND became an independent, non-profit located at 4th and Broadway.

Funding for RAND’s work comes from a variety of sources. About one-third comes from the request of clients, another third from clients to finance research that RAND researchers have come up with, and the final third from the collaborative process of discussing opportunities and problems with a variety of sources. RAND also initiates research that is self-financed from its income from operations, donations, and an endowment created by past donors.

RAND is headquartered at Main Street, with the rest of locations scattered among its four U.S. offices, two European offices, and an office in the Middle East. RAND’s Pardee Graduate School is also located at the Santa Monica location.

About 800 titles are published by RAND each year. They can be accessed by the public on their website, free of charge.


Article written by Mariella Rudi, Santa Monica Mirror


Dec 11 Speaker - Michael Rich, RAND CEO! Savi Labensart 2015-12-22 00:00:00Z 0


December 4th we heard from Mark Ordesky, Executive Producer of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy!

Emperor/President Tom Loo with movie producers Jane Fleming and Mark Ordesky, who addressed the club. Jane and Mark are former executives at New Line Cinema (Mark was executive producer of the “Lord of the Rings” Trilogy).  They are co-founders of Court Five, a multifaceted media company.
How did New Line Cinema nab Peter Jackson and his vision for the fantastically successful “Lord of the Rings” trilogy?
You might not have heard of him, but Mark Ordesky was the secret sauce to the franchise that would gather 30 Oscar nominations and net nearly $3 billion at the box office.
“The $200 million green light I secured for the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy – which in hindsight might seem like the surest of sure bets – was deemed so improbable, so dangerous that no other studio even bothered to compete for the rights to make the movie,” Ordesky said at the Santa Monica Rotary Club Friday, Dec. 4. “Even at New Line where I was now a senior production executive and passionate ‘Rings’ advocate, there were those who believed the trilogy would be the company’s undoing.”
Yet where did he discover Peter Jackson, future Oscar winner and maestro of Middle-earth, he asked.
It was in a toilet at Republic Pictures.
Ordesky’s self-described “toilet office” was a converted men’s restroom so small that the then-24-year-old could touch both walls at opposite ends. It was there that he had stumbled upon an independent B-movie called “Bad Taste” from a young unknown Kiwi about carnivorous space aliens trying to harvest New Zealanders for food. The Kiwi, Peter Jackson, wrote, directed, starred, and edited the film for four years on nights and weekends.
Ordesky endeavored to secure U.S. distribution rights, but as he would come to find out and treasure, sometimes being told no is a gift.
“Since I had tried and failed to buy ‘Bad Taste’ in 1987, I had gone on to get Peter his first Hollywood job at New Line, writing a sequel of ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ that never got made,” he recalled.
Part of New Line Cinema in 1999, Ordesky went to a midnight screening of “The Blair Witch Project” at Sundance Film Festival. He had a hunch but was $400,000 short of a competing bid, and the filmmakers went with a more enthusiastic distributor.
That loss seared into his mind forever the lesson of not denying a core instinct when you are fortunate enough to have one, he said.
After he slept on another movie, the Oscar-winning “The Usual Suspects,” he made a vow.
“I decided nothing and no one was going to stop me from seeing the ‘Lord of the Rings’ made – if it was the last thing I did in the film business, so be it,” he said.
A USC journalism grad, Ordesky grew up in the turmoil of the ‘70s, watching Vietnam and Watergate play out on TV. The same place he had watched the moral decay of a nation, he soon discovered films from Clint Eastwood, François Truffaut, Lina Wertmüller, and Monty Python.
“You could sort of say movies saved my soul,” he remembered.
At 13, he devoured the three “Lord of the Rings” books and happily fell down the Tolkien rabbit hole.
Decades later, at Miramax, the Weinstein’s were trying to compel Peter Jackson to make one film of the three books, and the director was hoping to convince anyone to make two films of the three books.
“And this is where knowing him from 12 years and believing in him became destiny,” Ordesky said of New Line’s coup locking in the three films.
After all, it was at Ordesky’s tiny apartment that Peter Jackson slept the couch when he came to L.A., where they played Risk all night, and where the auteur witnessed all of Ordesky’s “Lord of the Rings” and Dungeons and Dragons paraphernalia.
“So, who do you think he was going to call when he was trying to fight for his life to manifest his own vision for ‘Lord of the Rings’?
And it didn’t matter that he hadn’t won an Oscar, and it didn’t matter that he lived far away in New Zealand because Peter’s vision for ‘Lord of the Rings’ was so comprehensive as to be undeniable.
“And I had correctly suspected that fantasy films were due for a reinvention because ‘Harry Potter’ was just getting started at this time. It was a perfect storm.”
Nine weeks before the global launch of the first film of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” the attacks of 9/11 occurred.
“And I remember feeling the horror and impotence and anger of what to do in the face of such evil,” Ordesky recalled.
In that moment, making movies seemed kind of silly and irrelevant to him.
“And I couldn’t have been more wrong. Because this child of Watergate and Vietnam, who fought his own apathy and cynicism with movies, I had in my hands a potent antidote for the children of 9/11,” he said. “I had three movies about four little hobbits who must leave the the Shire and confront Middle-earth’s most darkest elements with a simple notion: that there is some good in this world and it’s worth fighting for.”


Article written by Mariella Rudi, Santa Monica Mirror


Dec 4 Speaker - Mark Ordesky & the Lord of the Rings Savi Labensart 2015-12-15 00:00:00Z 0
December 4th was magical!! Our speaker was Mark Ordesky, the Executive Producer of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy!!
  Rotarian Larry Maher posed with his friend and our speaker, Mark Ordesky, and fellow producer Jane Fleming! Such nice folks!
Emperor Loo and Past President Dee Menzies welcome our visiting Rotarians from Karachi, Pakistan! Thanks for coming all the way just to see us! ;)


Past President Judy Neveau was presented with a beautiful bouquet for chairing our very successful Wine & Jazz Fest! Ken Waltzer and Suzan Allbritton should have gotten some too, for they were both driving forces in this event!



I missed the memo...apparently it was Family Day at Rotay!


Alan Glick brought his son, Charles, to see our awesome speaker!




Sharon Perlmutter Gavin brought her hubby Andy & her twin sister Keren! Can you tell which is which??





And our speaker Mark Ordesky invited his brother Joel!

A big thank you all of the members who volunteer their time to greet, introduce guests & speakers, & give the invocation! David Rosenfeld is one of our most active participants, and here Daniel Bennett is getting a great handshake and warm welcome!


Meeting Recap - Dec 4, 2015 Savi Labensart 2015-12-15 00:00:00Z 0
Our Wine & Jazz Fest was a hit...again!! Members and guests were in high spirits! Planes soared, hearts soared, wallets soared...

Judy Neveau, past president and chair of this event, was eager to welcome in our guests! And what a wonderful crew we had for this journey!
Time for some action! I mean, auction!
Suzan Allbritton, a major driving force behind this event, with our talented auctioneer, Larry Snyder.


Our featured charity, Angel Flight West!

What a fitting one for the event! They offered rides in the simulator and took donations so they can continue to get sick ones to the care they need!
Rotarian Donna Byrd was excited to try it out, and support such a worthy cause!



RoseMary approved of the food! A huge thanks to Matthew Lehman and FIG Restaurant for donating the amazing meal!




So did Iao Katagiri's friend! Although he seemed a little stiff when I met him.




And new member Jolly Gissell approved of the wine! That glass looks empty, let's get another!



And you can't forget the jazz!! What would a Wine & Jazz Fest be without the amazing music? They did a phenomenal job, and they even did a couple numbers written by our own member, Melissa Dagodag!!


What a success!! Thank you to all our Wine & Jazz Fest committee for your hard work and dedication to this event! We couldn't have done it without you!


Wine & Jazz Fest Recap - Nov 15, 2015 Savi Labensart 2015-12-08 00:00:00Z 0
Thanksgiving was a wonderful opportunity to give back to the officers who protect us every day!!
Dee Menzies & Iao Katagiri with 3 officers showing off their cards from Carlthorp School fifth graders thanking them for being on duty during the holidays!!
Mitch Kraus and his son Zachary are some of the most consistent volunteers!!


Inside it says:

Dear Police Officer,

   I very much appreciate the dedication that you give to your work. The fact that you are spending your Thanksgiving to help others is very outstanding. You should be very proud that you are helping others, and for that reason you are appreciated by many people!

Best wishes,






At the serving line...


They were at the ready for their customers! Thank you to all our volunteers!!


Thanksgiving Feed the Police Savi Labensart 2015-12-02 00:00:00Z 0
November 20th was a touchdown!! We had our annual USC/UCLA Rivalry Celebration with the Westwood Village Club. Amazing special guests!
  UCLA cheerleaders Julia Savage and Carley Smiddy enjoyed the festivities, along with Tom Larmore, Pat Collins and Nat Trives!!
Emperor Loo (right) is a fierce supporter along with his friend here from USC!!


USC's Rodney Peete expressed his true feelings about UCLA's Danny Farmer and Cade McNown. And there always is a pretty girl, in this case, Westwood Village Club member Aly Shoji!



We had the most fabulous guests!

Westwood Village Past President Don Nelson was a huge part of planning and participating in this event!



Terry White, the Beer of our FAVORITE visiting Westwood Rotarians!





The prodigal son returns! Savi was so happy to see former Santa Monica Rotarian Alonzo back in the fold! Alonzo, come back for good, and soon!

We have some winners from the Veteran's Day War Film Clip! Scott Wagenseller, Monty McCormick and Monte Herring


Meeting Recap - Nov 20, 2015 Savi Labensart 2015-12-01 08:00:00Z 0
November 6th was a great day!! We celebrated our veterans and had a little fun too! The program was trivia-based, where they showed movie clips about wars and Rotarians had to guess it's movie title or main actors name.

There were fun moments!
Here are Navy Veterans Monte Herring and Monty McCormick! The Double Monty! :)
There were serious moments!
Veteran Michael Cates


There were moments of great thought!

The trivia quiz was tough! RoseMary Regalbuto, Julie Thomas and Kent Waltzer worked towards an answer even as everybody else got up to leave!


There were singing moments!

Veterans Scott Wagenseller & Monty McCormick,




Russ Warner & Jay Smith,





and Klaus Brandt with new member, Miss Simone Gordon

Here's the crew that made it all possible! Here are guests Diane and Michael Rhodes, with Bill Powell, President/Emperor Tom Loo, and Carol Powell. Michael provided the excerpts from famous wartime movies that we used in the trivia quiz. He also produced the 3-minute short about an industry salute to America that was used in three Oscar award shows.


Meeting Recap - Nov 6, 2015 Savi Labensart 2015-11-24 00:00:00Z 0

October 30th we heard from two of our new members as they gave their Craft Talks! This is their opportunity to tell their life story in about 10-12 minutes. It's always super interesting and fun to learn about our new friends!

Craft Talkers Kathy Shepard
& Palle Jensen!


The key to a successful Craft Talk at Rotary is to have your fellow Rotarians walk away with a tangible sense of you and your family. The purpose of it is for Club members to find out how they and the Craft Talkers fit into, and form a unit within, the family of Rotary.
The Rotary Club of Santa Monica program fulfilled just that, with Rotarians learning more about the newer members’ personal and professional lives Friday, Oct. 30.
First up was Kathy Shepard.
Shepard grew up a military brat and continued in her adult life to find places to go.
She’s a public relations veteran, now self-employed as a corporate communications and public relations expert.
Shepard’s trajectory has always been upward. She got her start doing PR for KTTV, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, and independent consulting. Soon, she was director of PR for the Hilton Hotels Corp., first joining in 1993 at the Las Vegas Hilton and later Hilton Gaming, where she was responsible for 13 casino gaming properties in Nevada and New Jersey.
Her final coup came when she became vice president of corporate communications for the Fortune 500 Company.
The hotel industry was where she honed her crisis management skills.
“I cannot tell you when you work at a hotel company what kind of crisis you might run into on a daily basis. I had, unfortunately, murders, I had suicides, I’ve had mold,” Shepard said.
But it hasn’t been all dire straits. Shepard also worked in the entertainment industry, helping to launch shows like “21 Jump Street” and “The Simpsons.”
A fun tidbit about Shepard is that she’s met two presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. She met President Clinton while she was very pregnant, and he used her pregnancy to cut his talk short, saying that he’d better hurry up because Kathy was about to pop. He cleverly said he didn’t want to be blamed if she didn’t get to the hospital on time. And she met President Obama after winning a 15-minute meet-and-greet. She and her daughter were able to fly to San Francisco for the opportunity. A die-hard football fan, Shepard lives with her husband and daughter in Santa Monica.
Next up was Palle Jensen, who hails from Denmark and speaks with a thick, good Dutch accent. A member of the Club for over a year now, Jensen files under the manufacturing classification. He got his start in the industry at a prestigious engineering company specializing in providing high-tech plastic solutions for industrial applications. While attending a four-year master’s program, Jensen met his wife.
“I stayed in what I would call the ‘corporate life’ until 1994 with the same company that provide high-tech plastic solutions for industrial applications,” Jensen told Rotarians. But it was when the company “got into trouble” that he decided to head up his own venture.
With his strong industrial network of contacts, Jensen started another business in Denmark. He has since been CEO and owner of Electronic House UAB, Metalco Baltic UAB, and Libra Cable Technologies, Inc.
In 2004, his wife and he established the IBO-based Vilnius International School with two other international families. The school is considered one of the best schools in Lithuania today and a top school in the Baltic’s.
Two years ago, he and his wife, along with their children, invested in a different venture: moving to the U.S.
“We made a business plan, launched a business, started it up, and moved here,” he said.
Their business continues to grow today.
He’s also president of the Danish American Chamber of Commerce in Southern California.
“One thing I’ve learned is hard work. Hard work, hard work is extremely important. That’s also why I’m standing here today,” Jensen said.


Article written by Mariella Rudi, Santa Monica Mirror


Oct 30 Craft Talks: Kathy Shepard & Palle Jensen Savi Labensart 2015-11-10 00:00:00Z 0
October 30th was a hoot!! With Halloween the next day, we had fun decorations and costumes! And what a program...birthdays, an induction, and two Craft Talks by new members!!

Our new member and Craft Talker, Palle Jensen, was greeted at the end by fellow Rotarian, Dick Hart! Palle is the CEO for Libra Cable Technologies, Inc., a company focused on cable manufacturing!

Our new member and Craft Talker, Kathy Shepard, was greeted at the end by fellow Rotarian and past president, Dee Menzies! Kathy is an expert in Public Relations with her own business, though she's held a lot of other prestigious jobs in her life!


We celebrated our September and October birthdays!

Up top is Diane Margolin, Bret Carter, Karim Jaude and Grace Cheng Braun!

And down below is new member Palle Jensen, our president and emperor, Tom Loo, and past president George Collins!

I think at 80 years old, George takes the cake for most wise in the birthday group! :)


Past President Judy Neveau gets fined for having her floors redone! Pictured here with Matt Williams. Someone definitely said something funny!

Jolly Gissell was inducted at the luncheon! He's the one in white, second from the right. Jolly is a Family Wealth Director for Morgan Stanley! Others pictured here were Jim & Dee Menzies, Barb Bishop, Jolly's wife Patty, and Lisa Alexander.


Meeting Recap - Oct 30, 2015 Savi Labensart 2015-11-10 00:00:00Z 0

December 20th we heard from 3 awesome football stars!

From left, football quarterbacks and NFL veterans Cade McNown (Bruins 1995-1998) and Rodney Peete (USC 1985-1988) with record-holding wide-receiver Danny Farmer (Bruins 1996-1999). That's our Rotarian Bill Powell right there in the middle, and on the far right is Westwood Past President Don Nelson, both of whom helped set up this great program!
The Santa Monica Rotary Club merged with its sister club in Westwood Village Friday, Nov. 20 to revel in the greatest cross-town rivalry in football: USC vs. UCLA.
With the room decidedly split down the middle between Trojan and Bruin alumni, with a few sparse UC Berkeley Bears and other collegiate outliers, Rotarians rang in the coming end of the college football season, bringing in three marquee players from both schools to find out more about what it’s like to play “in the Big Game” and lead their teams, and colleges, to victory.
Santa Monica Rotary President Tom Loo (USC ‘68) addressed former USC quarterback and NFL veteran Rodney Peete (1985-1988) about their alma mater, and past Westwood Village president Don Nelson (UCLA ‘48) doled out questions to star Bruin athletes Cade McNown (1995-1998) and Danny Farmer (1996-1999).
McNown, who was drafted in the first round to the Chicago Bears and ended his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers in 2002, is now in the investment advisory business in Beverly Hills with Lourd Capital Management. When asked whether his football career helped him in his present career, the All-American quarterback called his new life with a wife and four kids “the revised dream.”
“When it comes to work or investing or anything else – discipline and focus and commitment – are all things that you need to be successful in a business career, and those are all certainly things that you development when you’re on a football team,” McNown said.
Farmer echoed his football best friend’s sentiment.
“Both Rodney and Cade will agree with me that football’s an unbelievable way to kind of set yourself up,” the wide receiver said. “It teaches you how to come together for a common goal.”
After all these years, Farmer still holds the UCLA football record for career receiving yards (3,020).
“I’ve got my best friend from football here and we just had so much fun together,” Farmer said. “Cade will tell you the same thing: we worked really hard, were successful, and had a lot of fun.”
Farmer also led the UCLA Bruins men’s volleyball teams to two national championships.
“So I didn’t have to go to spring football,” he joked.
The Bruins and Trojans volleyball rivalry was significant in its own right, Farmer said, adding the team was 4-0 against USC.
“That rivalry was a little bit different. The volleyball community is a lot smaller,” he said.
And Farmer knows about this rivalry. His grandfather played basketball at USC in the 1930s, his father played football, basketball and track at UCLA, his uncle also played football at UCLA, and a cousin played baseball at USC while another played football with him at UCLA.
“Our family is split down the middle,” he said.
Farmer today is an advisor for a boutique life insurance brokerage firm in Beverly Hills, specializing in disability insurance for athletes.
Last up was one of the most famous quarterbacks in USC history, Rodney Peete, now a sports broadcaster for Fox Sports. Peete lost one game to UCLA in his Trojan career and went on to play 16 years in the NFL, retiring with the Carolina Panthers after going to the Super Bowl XXXVIII.
But according to Peete, his greatest call to fame was marrying one of the neighborhood kids, actress and entertainer Holly Robinson. The husband-and-wife duo will star in their own docu-series “For Peete’s Sake,” announced earlier this year.
University of Arizona, UCLA, and Stanford also pursued Peete before he picked football at USC. The deciding factor? When he was picked up in a black limo with two USC Song Girls in the back and taken to lunch in Marina del Rey.
Rotarians also wanted to know about how Peete managed to play in the 1988 UCLA-USC game just days before he was hospitalized with measles.
“I get asked that question all the time. Was it a trick or tactic to duck focus away from the game and give us an advantage? And I would say we never needed a trick against UCLA. That being said, it was a difficult week.
“But there was never a doubt that I wasn’t going to play. It was just that kind of a game. At that time I think we were 9-0. It was a big deal.”
They ended up winning and played at the Rose Bowl against Michigan State.
“But I certainly felt the adrenaline, felt the crowd, felt the USC fans that helped me through,” Peete said.
On his feelings leading up to the Heisman Trophy announcements where he was named second to Barry Sanders: “Growing up, admiring those who won the trophy in the past, watching that ceremony, you know where it is; you have Downtown Athletic Club embedded in your mind. It’s something that you dream about.”
And Peete’s predictions for next week’s USC/UCLA game at the Coliseum? He foresees 27-20, USC.


Article written by Mariella Rudi, Santa Monica Mirror


Dec 20 Speakers - USC & UCLA Football Stars Savi Labensart 2015-11-02 00:00:00Z 0
October 16th was a fun filled day! Along with a fabulous speaker about bees, the club was abuzz with other adventures, too!

Christine Mirasy-Glasco was up at the head table! This amazing new member is the Executive Director for Upward Bound House!

As was the wonderful Susan Annett! She used to be the Principle Librarian for the Santa Monica Public Library!


It's always great to see Rotarians bring their spouses! Hal Quigley brought his sweetie, Kai-Li!


Ken Waltzer made an announcement for the Wine & Jazz Fest coming up on November 15! Don't forget to buy your tickets online!

And look who's back there, the talented Pat Bofird who was our songleader for the day!

Thank you to Ruth for bringing actual bees to her speech!!

Left to right:  Jay Smith, Barb Bishop, Russ Warner, Paul Leoni in the back there, Allen Mueller, David Rosenfeld, Timur Berberoglu, Alan Glick, and the mystery man...I think it's Larry Maher.


And what would a day at Rotary be without fining someone heavily for something amazing! Well, this was a big one for our past president, George Collins...he turned 80!! Woohoo!! He's looking younger every day! Can you see in Lisa Alexander's picture how big his cake had to be to fit that many candles? :)



Meeting Recap - Oct 16, 2015 Savi Labensart 2015-11-02 00:00:00Z 0
October 23rd was such a great day! Along with our very interesting talk about North Korea by Dr. Bruce Bennett, we had some fun and honored some people as well...

We inducted our new member, Bill Bubar! He is the president of Bubar's Jewelers, Inc. located right in downtown Santa Monica!

Past President George Collins passed out some awards to folks who weren't at Dethroning, and Stan Fox, owner of Fox Coin Laundries, won the Austin Jennings Award, for outstanding service of over 20 years! Does Bill Bubar look jealous, or what?!


Emperor Loo has been filling his head table with wonderful people! His president's pick this time was Diane Margolin, who is the publisher of the Santa Monica Star! So nice to see her highlighted this week!


Past President David Bohn brought his soon to be sister-in-law, Nora Straight!

Emperor Loo fined Roger Davis heavily for putting out his new book, Wall Street's Just Not That Into You!

Meeting Recap - Oct 23, 2015 Savi Labensart 2015-11-02 00:00:00Z 0

October 16th we heard from Dr. Bruce Bennett on what will happen if North Korea collapses!

Dr. Bruce Bennett, senior defense analyst at RAND Corporation!


North Korea is a time bomb. That was the thesis behind Dr. Bruce Bennett’s talk at the weekly Rotary of Santa Monica meeting Friday, Oct. 23.

Bennett, a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation and an expert in Northeast Asian military issues, offered an introduction to Rotarians about preparing for the possibility of a North Korean collapse. He painted a surreal portrait of a post-Kim Jong-Un world – one with famine, infighting, and nuclear and biological warfare.

“The collapse of North Korea has been rumored for decades,” Bennett said. “But you never had a leader like you have in North Korea now. This is a person who has done his best to offend his elites.”

To put the current North Korean dictator in context, Bennett said that his predecessor and father, Kim Jong-Il, had changed his defense minister three times in 17 years, two of which died of old age. Kim Jon-Un has changed his defense minister five times in less than four years. This, coupled with sociopathic brutality of well-known purges and gentle executions, typifies a paranoid despot.

“And as a result, I believe that sometime in the not-too-distant future, a number of years probably, we will see a change in the government in North Korea. You can’t project because sooner or later – I think – some member of his elite is going to kill him. And then we are going to have a change,” he said.

The country runs on a hierarchy with Kim Jong-Un, the current leader, at the very top, Bennett explained.

“A 32-year-old – roughly speaking, we don’t know for sure – he has then a variety of people below him. His security has gone up considerably after his father. He’s feeling the threats,” Bennett said.

He said the real game changer came when Kim Jong-Un pulled his uncle out of the number two spot within the pecking order, making that role a veritable death sentence.

“It wasn’t immediate; it would be in a matter of three of five years. But you and your family and your extended family were likely going to be exterminated,” he said.

With a race to the top after Kim Jong-Un, the political and military elite will likely suffer dissension.

“So, we anticipate that some combination of factions develop. This is just one guess. But if it does, you’re going to expect civil war. If that happens, the all-ready terrible food situation in North Korea will get worse. And as a result, sooner or later South Korea is going to decide if they’ve got to intervene. There is just no choice. They can’t let their ethnic brothers suffer,” he said.

Once this happens, though, the Chinese will also intervene.

“The Bank of Korea has projected that in a collapse of North Korea, roughly three million North Koreans out of a total 24 million population would make their way into South Korea over time,” Bennett explained. “Given where the population lives, that means about five million head towards China. And they want something less of zero of those people living in China because they worry about the disruptive affect they would have. And so China will intervene to deal with that and other issues.”

For a country with a disastrous economy, dilapidated industry, and antiquated infrastructure, Bennett predicted that once infighting happens, the North Koreans would starve as a result.

“Agriculture doesn’t produce enough to feed their people even at a subsistence level,” he said.

The North Korean’s only saving grace has been their nuclear weapons.

“Because for a regime like this, what do they have to be proud of? Not economy, not politics, so they try to infuse in their people pride for the fact that they are one of the only 10 countries that have yielded nuclear weapons – therefore, they’re a great state,” he said.

Once South Korea intervenes, one way to resolve the threat of WMDs is to unify the country. But before they can do that, they’d have a myriad of short-term and midterm issues to handle like civil war, humanitarian disasters, and food relief.

“These are the key challenges in my mind and the things that we need to be prepared to work with our Korean allies to resolve,” he said.

One example is the humanitarian aid. Bennett surmised that food would have to be taken via military like the U.S. and Korean marines to make sure the Korean military or the criminal organizations don’t take it.

“Black market is well-established in North Korea and a very serious problem,” Bennett said.

And what will become of the North Korean elites after Kim Jong-Un?

If they don’t want unification, which is likely, and they believe they won’t get a good deal out of it, “you can bet they’re going to fight us.”

Bennett wrote a book in 2013 titled, “Preparing For the Possibility of a North Korean Collapse,” available for free download at


Article written by Mariella Rudi, Santa Monica Mirror


Oct 23 Speaker - Dr. Bruce Bennett & N. Korea Savi Labensart 2015-11-02 00:00:00Z 0

October 16th we heard from Ruth Askren, bee rescuer and beekeeper extraordinaire!

Ruth Askren, owner of Bee Capture, pictured here with Emperor Loo!


When the Los Angeles City Council voted to legalize urban beekeeping last week, they overturned a 136-year-old ban on the practice going back thousands of years.

Fitting, a full-time beekeeper was at Rotary Club of Santa Monica Friday, Oct. 16 to discuss the curious lives of bees and their impact on the L.A. ecosystem, household, and economy.

Ruth Askren has been keeping bees in and around L.A. since 2009. What started out as a hobby to spend more time with her father has turned into her own business, Bee Capture. From mid-city to Point Dume, Askren has provided beehive removals and relocations, but today, she mainly focuses on hive maintenance and mentoring.

She began her talk to Santa Monica Rotarians about how Africanized honeybees came to the L.A. basin.

“In 1957 a Brazilian scientist imported some bees from Africa in an effort to make beekeeping in South America more profitable because all the South American apiaries were using European honey bees, which are used to a colder climate. Unfortunately, a lot of those African queens escaped and it took them about 40-50 years, and they’re here,” Askren said. “And now they have interbred with the larger European honey bee population in Los Angeles, and we have something wonderful called hybrid vigor, which is the Africanized honey bee’s ability to survive a lot of the disease onslaughts that the European bees cannot survive. But it’s true: they have a more aggressive temperament.”

This is why beekeepers like Askren who are keeping feral bees have a heavy task at hand. There are always bee rescues to be done around L.A.

“We find ourselves on the forefront of trying to tame the population,” she said.

Askren, who previously taught at Notre Dame Academy, spoke with such deftness that one would think she’s been doing this her entire life. She then turned to bee biology, something a beekeeper has to be keenly aware of if she wants to control the hive.

In the hive, she explained, all the bees except the drones have jobs.

“Well, the drones do have one job and that job is to find a queen to mate with. Only about 10 percent of the hive is drones. Meanwhile the females do all the work,” she said.

There are three types of bees: the worker, the drones, and the queen. The worker bee can live somewhere between four to eight weeks, going through different work cycles throughout that time. From receiver bees to guards to housekeepers then forages, the worker bee’s life is determined by how long her wings will last.

“The worker is the smallest one, and her abdomen is pointed, you can just see her stinger there. The next size up is the drone, whose got a blunt, hind end and he does not have a stinger. He has big eyes, they take up most of his head because his main job in life is to look for and find a queen, along with 15 or 20 of his brothers,” Askren said.

The drones die directly after mating. In fact, they cant even feed themselves, which is why they get kicked out of the hive at the stress times of the year (when the weather changes.)

And then there’s the queen bee. She has no stripes on her body and will always have a little dot of paint on her signifying her age for the beekeeper.

Queens can live for two to five years. In a very good spring season, she can lay up to 2,000 eggs a day.

“And yet commercial beekeepers do like having 1-year-old queens in all of their hives because they are the most productive. And each year that a queen is alive, her production will fall off slowly but surely. However, it’s worth it to keep and older queen around because some of them have within their genetic code a lot of strength and resistance to disease that is very sought after,” Askren explained.

Lastly, budding beekeepers must decide how they will deal with varroa mites, or “the new biggest challenge to the bees.” Askren said that today, it’s widely accepted that these mites are what causes colony-collapse disorder, a 25-year-old phenomenon that bees in the U.S. haven’t developed immunities to. The varroa mite’s lifecycle matches a bees, so larvae are born with these red dots all ready on them.

“A viral syndrome races through the hive and can kill all the bees in very short order,” Askren said. “We have to make the decision as beekeepers as to how we’re going to treat the mites. There’s a treatment-free community that believes all medicines for mites are bad and harms all bees and should allow sick bees to die – it’s called bond beekeeping,” she said.

But most commercial bees understand they have to deal with bee treatments, and they use a miticide similar to what one would use for fleas or ticks on pets.

“Beekeeping is multi-faceted and it can be a craft and a pastimes as well as business,” Askren said.

To learn more about beekeeping, visit Askren’s business at


Article written by Mariella Rudi, Santa Monica Mirror


Oct 16 Speaker - Ruth Askren & Bees Savi Labensart 2015-11-02 00:00:00Z 0

October 9th we heard from Andy Gavin about the video game industry!

Andy Gavin, founder of Naughty Dog, introduced by Rotary Vice President Sharon Perlmutter Gavin!


Andy Gavin, co-founder of Naughty Dog video game developers, gave Santa Monica Rotarians Friday, Oct. 9 insider insight into the $30 billion industry.

“Video games are an art. Sure, a commercial art, but an art nonetheless,” Gavin said.

Since the commercialization of video games in the 1970s, this business has been mostly popular with young kids, Gavin said. But since then, video games have grown at a furious pace, and Gavin proceeded to chart the rise of video games in culture, business, and life.

There have been tens of thousands of other games made across dozens of genres.

“Despite the decades and the enormous graphic developments, what the platform game does – running, jumping, swinging – has remained fairly consistent,” he said.

Moving from Donkey Kong to Super Mario to Sonic The Hedgehog, “which revolutionized platform mechanics like the lighting-fast game player and colorful graphics. And in 1994’s Donkey Kong upped the ante with high-resolution details and character animation. But if you don’t mind me saying, Crash Bandicoot really changed it to next-level with its life-like 3D cartoon look.”

Gavin created the insanely-popular and best-selling Crash Bandicoot, a 3D platform video game chronicling the creation of its namesake at the hands of the series villain Doctor Neo Cortex and his henchman Doctor Nitrus Brio. The game’s story follows Crash’s effort to stop Brio and Cortex’s plans for world domination, clean up any pollution they have caused, and save his girlfriend, a female bandicoot also evolved by Brio and Cortex.

“Leaping forward Naughty Dog’s 2008 Uncharted 2 offers up intense new realism and cinematic style in which players can alter – games to look more and more mature,” he said. “And by 2012 ubiquitous graphics in arts from Journey explores new realms and new style. Finally, next year’s soon-to-be-hit Uncharted 4 offers unprecedented graphics detail. If you notice 40 years later, video game characters are still swinging from ropes and dragging through water, all the same stuff – it just looks a lot better.”

The Uncharted franchise has been universally praised for its cinematic quality and technical proficiency, and has sold nearly 17 million copies worldwide as of 2012.

Gavin compared the extreme, teamwork effort video game development goes through, just like films and television. Even the smallest game projects require 3-4 people with different skill sets and modern big-budget games as many as 500 contributors, he said.

The next thing we should know about the video game industry was the different genres and sub-genres the industry produces. From the classics pinball and ball and paddle action games, to the first-person shooter, and survival horror of action-adventure, a quick tour of the dozens of video game genres shows the multiplicity of business. Gavin walked through massively multiplayer online role-playing games (like World Of Warcraft) to sports (FIFA) to vehicle stimulation (NASCAR) to a multiplayer online battle arena, real-time strategy game (League of Legends).

Perhaps more fascinating than the backstory of video games is Gavin’s own story. With a photographic memory, two novels under his belt, and a food and wine blog, Gavin doesn’t stop at computer programming even if it is his niche.

At the age of 15, he and his childhood friend Jason Rubin founded Santa Monica-based Naughty Dog (then Jam Software before renaming it in 1989). In between he matriculated as a PhD candidate at M.I.T.’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

His research was for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the Pathfinder Mars Rover project and involved real-time low-cost vision. While still a student, he learned the programming language LISP, hacked hardware, programmed real-time robots, and built custom compilers that would serve him so well at Naughty Dog.

As a subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment, Naughty Dog is best known for developing games for the PlayStation family of consoles, including the Crash Bandicoot series for the original PlayStation, Jake and Dexter on PlayStation 2, and Uncharted and The Last of Us on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. Before selling to Sony, Gavin and Rubin sold approximately 40 million copies on the seven video games they developed.

To learn more about Andy Gavin visit his website at


Article written by Mariella Rudi, Santa Monica Mirror


Oct 9 Speaker - Andy Gavin & the Video Game Industry Savi Labensart 2015-10-27 00:00:00Z 0

October 2nd we heard from Dr. Bogdan Pasaniuc and some of our Rotary members on geneology and ancestry!

Dr. Dr. Bogdan Pasaniuc, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, pictured here with Jenn Brown, of UCLA Health and Sciences Development!


Africa is where we first evolved, and where we have spent the majority of our time on Earth.
If there was one takeaway from the Santa Monica Rotary meeting Friday, Oct. 2, it was that “we all came out of Africa – We are all related,” said Santa Monica Rotary President Tom Loo. “There is no such thing as race, quite frankly.”
Using genetics to trace human migration patterns, scientists and anthropologists have traced a map of the human journey. And using the National Geographic Project, people have helped answer fundamental questions about where humankind originated and how we came to populate the Earth.
The National Geographic Project, about a decade-old anthropological study that uses DNA voluntarily contributed by hundreds of thousands of people to answer the oldest questions we have about ourselves: Who are we and where did we come from? In doing so, the project has gone on to create the world’s largest survey of DNA samples to map how humankind populated the planet.
So far there have been 742,652 participants in the genographic project in over 140 countries.
But before some could share the story their DNA told, Rotarians first were primed on how this science worked.
Dr. Bogdan Pasaniuc, professor at Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, explained the uses of modern DNA to understand the history and evolution of the human species.
Through his research, Bogdan is primarily interested in statistical and computational methods for understanding genetic risk factors for common diseases with a particular focus in the study of admixed populations.
“Each chromosome has all the information that we need for our cells to function,” he said. “Although you don’t have to go through all the details to understand this, within the chromosomes there’s this molecule called DNA which is formed from other, smaller molecules. It’s a blueprint of everything that we are.”
Following his presentation was about a quick tour of the results of the National Geographic Geno Project from four Rotarians.
Geno 2.0 Next Generation Genographic Project Participation and DNA Ancestry Kit costs about $200. It uses a custom-built genotyping chip that enables a test of nearly 750,000 DNA markers, many of which have been specifically selected to provide highly detailed ancestry-related information.
The test kit involves a painless cheek swab and instructions for submitting the DNA. From this, you will discover the migration paths your ancient ancestors followed hundreds – even thousands – of years ago. You will also learn what percentage of your genome is affiliated with more than a dozen regions of the world. But perhaps most importantly, you will have the opportunity to share your story and connect with other Genographic Project participants, and help National Geographic fill in the gaps in the human story.
Anthropologists believe that humans only started to leave Africa between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago. With a major climactic shift happening around that time – the Ice Age – genetic and paleontolical records point to humans (or what was left of them) then made the great migration out of Africa.
Before that, however, Homosapiens lived with other human species in Africa for about 200,000 years, Loo said.
There was another group that left Africa that went to European and Asian areas and became other species, Loo said. Two of which were Neanderthals and Denisovans.
We all have Neanderthal DNA in us in varying degrees,” Loo said. The Denisovans are named after a cave in Russia where they found a finger fragment of a primate, and after testing it for lab DNA they concluded it was another species in 2008.
The Denisovans split off from the lineage of Neanderthals 200,000 years after humans had already had their split from the species.   
“And guess what: we all have Denisovan DNA within us,” Loo said.
Loo’s 65 percent came from the North, through the Mongolian area through his paternal side, and 35 percent Asian came through South East Asia where the trek was from India and up through South East Asia.
Nat Trives traced his own ancestor’s migration patterns, but the results were less important than what they signified.
“What’s important to me is that this project opened my eyes to the fact that I have always believed – and now even more strongly – that we are all human beings from the same root, and we should strive to live on this planet in a peaceful manner,” he said.


Article written by Mariella Rudi, Santa Monica Mirror


Oct 2 Speaker - Dr. Bogdan Pasaniuc - Geneology Savi Labensart 2015-10-13 00:00:00Z 0
September 25th we were on pins and needles!! Dr. Daoshing Ni gave a very interesting talk on acupuncture, and we had lots of other fun guests, too! 

Brian Linnekens brought his father Henri to enjoy the luncheon! He was tasked with making sure that Brian behaved!

Carol Powell introduced and exchanged flags with visiting Rotarian Atle Sandberg from Norway! He came to visit us last year too...we must have made a good impression!


It's always great to see a new member inducted! Simone Gordon was inducted by Roger Davis with much fanfare and some chaos! Welcome to the club, Simone!


Ken Waltzer made an announcement for the Wine & Jazz Fest coming up on November 15! Don't forget to buy your tickets online!

Thank you to Dr. Ni for the wonderful talk about acupuncture!!

Left to right:  Iao Katagiri, Nat Trives, Lois Green (President, Yo San Univ.), Dr. Daoshing Ni (co-founder, Yo San Univ.), Tom Larmore, Barbara Browning, Kathy Fergen, Grace Cheng Braun.

Meeting Recap - Sept 25, 2015 Savi Labensart 2015-10-06 00:00:00Z 0


Imagine watching a beautiful Tuscan sunset while enjoying a delicious glass of Chianti and some fresh melon and prosciutto.  That easily can be you!  A trip to Tuscany is one of the incredible live auction items at the upcoming Wine and Jazz Festival. Invite your friends and family and come out to taste some terrific wine and start bidding.  Get your tickets today by visiting


November 15, 2015!
(Reminder: No meeting the Friday before)


Rotary Club of Santa Monica
International Wine & Jazz Festival
The Museum of Flying

Santa Monica
2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.


This is the annual fundraiser for local and international service projects
sponsored by the Rotary Club of Santa Monica
and the Santa Monica Rotary Club Foundation!

Click here to purchase tickets!
or contact Suzan Allbritton at or 310-392-3654.

Toast Life with an afternoon of delicious food, wine and live jazz music while enjoying the Museum of Flying 


Plenty of FREE Parking 


Great Wines

Fabulous Menu by Fig of the Fairmont Hotel


Music by the George Kahn Trio


Live & Silent Auction

8th ANNUAL WINE and JAZZ FESTIVAL - NOVEMEBER 15, 2015 Savi Labensart 2015-09-16 00:00:00Z 0

September 11th we heard from Dr. Hao Li, about Democratizing 3D Computer Graphics! What fun!!

Dr. and Professor Hao Li, from USC Computer Science Department wowed with 3D images!
This week Snapchat updated its app to include a layer of different “lenses” for taking a selfie. Upon clicking your face, a spider web detects your image within a second, and then a slew of silly, scary, and plain weird digital sketches decorates your tongue, teeth, and eyes in real time. It even makes sounds if you move in a certain way.
This is what Dr. Hao Li would call real-time facial animation with on-the-fly correctives. And that spider web is what he would call an “efficient mesh deformation algorithm” and it can track any individual, starting from just a single face scan of the subject in a neutral pose.
Li did something similar at the Santa Monica Rotary meeting Friday, Sept. 12. He turned his entire face into a monkey. And then a panda. Li was demonstrating the future of three-dimensional computer graphics and shared his vision for making human 3D visualization standard in every home.
“Recently, we have figured out how to display high quality displays at low cost. So these things can be democratized,” Li said.
Li has been described as the rising star of the USC Viterbi computer graphics department, where he is a tenure-track assistant professor in the Geometric Capture Lab. The department is involved in everything from facial geometry, to geometry processing, urban city modeling, and computer animation and physically based simulation.
His algorithms on dynamic shape reconstruction and non-rigid registration are widely used in the industry, ranging from leading visual effects studios to defense projects and manufacturers of state-of-the-art radiation therapy systems.
Li has consulted for everyone from Facebook to Disney and has film credits from “Star Treck Into Darkness,” “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” to name a few. He’s also received the Google Faculty Research Award and the Okawa Foundation Research Grant in 2015 and was named one of the world’s top 35 innovator under 35 by MIT Technology review in 2013 and NextGen 10: Innovators under 40 by C-Suite Quaterly in 2014.
Of Taiwanese descent, raised in Germany, and taught at a French school, Li’s background is as unconventional as his hairstyles. Though his work speaks for itself, Li has a quirky, almost punk-y, side to him that makes his resume all the more fascinating. He cut out the jargon and got down to the basic fundaments of 3D imaging, in his professorial manner, asking Socratic questions and making sure everyone followed along.
One could imagine how much his students want to come to class and work with him. He’s young, he’s bright, and he has fun with what he does.
One of the most interesting snippets of his talk was when it came to Hollywood. Deconstructing the science of special effects, Li revealed how much time and work actually goes into a CGI-dominated film. For example, creature animation in Hollywood uses ” sophisticated suits that have sensor balls attached to the actor’s body, as seen in something like “Planet of the Apes.” With a camera in front of the actor’s face, designers then re-animate another creature onto the face.
Li called the “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” one of the best examples of a highly realistic CGI face, which was how lead actor Brad Pitt appeared throughout the whole movie.
“It took three weeks to do 10 seconds of animation using an entire studio,” Li said.
That timeline hasn’t changed since 2008, as Li said it took the same amount of time when he worked on the 3D facial tracking for animating the digital Paul Walker in “Furious 7.”
“But this isn’t something an ordinary person can use,” Li said, moving away from special effects in the film industry and focusing more on gaming and other uses for 3D technology. To bring it into the home, you have to rely on hardware, digital devices, to digitize the person or thing, Li said. The vision is to bring this technology of 3D printing and 3D imaging into virtual reality.
“In order to improve 3D content, we’re creating technology that would allow you to digitize things from the physical world to the virtual work. How does that work? Using the technology of a 3D scanner,” Li said, either through lasers or a camera.
Some of these devices are all ready available in the home, like Microsoft’s Xbox One Kinect, which can be used with a 3D builder app to scan and 3D print in full-color.
“It can also be used to scan entire three-dimensional human bodies,” Li said.
3D scanners can help in the medical industry, where some hospitals have all ready begun using noninvasive scanning for tumors. You can also create visual models for fashion or fitness, “where you can basically stand in front of the camera and basically analyze your body without having to be measured.”
In other words, the computer can tell if you’ve been putting on weight. Other uses are on the horizon. 3D scanning and printing are the future, and Li wants to see it as soon as possible.
“If we scan a person, we can extract everything about the person.”


Article written by Mariella Rudi, Santa Monica Mirror

Sept 11 Speaker - Dr. Hao Li & 3D Graphics Savi Labensart 2015-09-11 00:00:00Z 0
Rotarians gathered to help fix up the Lighthouse Christian Academy for another amazing ROTARY DAY of SERVICE!! THANK YOU ROTARIANS!!

Lighthouse Christian Academy, a school for underprivileged kids!

One of this year's VPs, Sharon Perlmutter Gavin, with Rotary Day of Service Co-Chair Tom Woods!


Our other Co-Chair Drew Fleming! Keep up the good work, fellas!


One of our new members, Caroline careful up there, you sweet thing!

The Rotary Club of Santa Monica strives to pull off one or two Rotary Days of Service each year! The project was started by Past President Judy Neveau, and it has been a wonderful way for the club to do something hands-on in the community! Do you know of a non-profit organization, a school, or some other needy business that needs our help?? Contact the Rotary office at:!

Rotary Day of Service - Aug 22, 2015 Savi Labensart 2015-09-03 00:00:00Z 0

August 28th we heard from Dr. J. Zink, about marriage and relationships! He had some very intriguing insights!

Dr. J. Zink, emotional wellness expert!
Dr. J. Zink’s mission Aug. 28 was to improve the quality of love among Santa Monica Rotarians by distilling 42 years as a marriage therapist into a 35-minute talk.
“The greatest gift I can offer you is to answer – what is it that makes a soul mate?” Zink asked.
He started the lesson off by asking everyone in the room to stand up and “reach over to the person next to you and give a great big hug.” Rotarians obliged, and the tension in the room between the speaker and Rotarians, and Rotarians among Rotarians, went away.
Retired as a therapist and public speaker, Zink explained that he lost his wife 22 years ago, his childhood sweetheart and soul mate. Years later, he eventually married his late best friend’s wife. They grew together once both of their spouses died. They helped each other and developed feelings for each other. Today, he can confidently say he found another soul mate.
Zink theorized the success of his new marriage, along with everyone else’s relationships, stems from an underlying, simple idea.
“I read this book by a man named Willard Harley in 1997. He sat down with 1,100 men and 1,100 women and asked them the same question: what are your emotional needs?” Zink said.
Harley’s approach to an affair-proof marriage began with identifying each other’s most important emotional needs and developing habits to meet them.
Starting with the men and making Freud proud, the first need was – and you probably guessed it – sex. The second one was recreational companionship. The third need was a good-looking person (with both clothes on and off). The fourth was domesticity.
And lastly, “number five, after we have you taking care of the house, worry about your weight, making sure that you can be comfortable in a tent with mosquitos, and providing as much sex as we can possibly use, we ask you to admire us for it.”
The fifth most important emotional need was respect, praise, and esteem for himself.
“It all turns out to not be a so beautiful picture,” Zink said, “because none of the five women’s needs that I’m about to share with you match any of the needs of the men.
And this was my first insight as a marriage therapist: I figured out that the reason those two wanted to kill each other is because he was projecting his needs onto her and she was projecting her needs onto him.”
Putting the men’s needs on hold, Zink moved on to what 1,100 women reported as their top five emotional needs.
The number one need for women was affection – it’s flirting, touching, the little things. Number two for her partner to listen to her without trying to fix the problems and without distraction. The third was honesty, and the fourth was the choice to work or stay home. The last need was for him to help with the children.
“Women are clearly not the same species as men, and furthermore, women are by the design the superior species,” Zink said to laughter in the room.
Though Zink relied on normative gender conventions and a heterosexual sample, there was a communal sense in the room – nods and laughter peppered with looks among Rotarians with the idea that all sexual relationships rely on some level of cliché and romantic tropes. Or as Woody Allen said, “we need the eggs.”
Rotarians scribbled away their partners’ top five emotional needs before tucking away the notes into their pockets.
But Zink didn’t stop there. He took the new information a step further. He recommended sitting down with your spouse and writing out your own top five emotional needs: talk to find out what’s not being addressed.
“You can actually download Willard Harley’s book ‘His Needs, Her Needs,’ read it with a highlighter, buy two copies, highlight the things that jump out at you, have your spouse highlight the things that jump out at him or her, and then switch books and read what they were seeing,” he said. “And you’ll discover that you weren’t actually reading the same book. That’s because our brains are very different
Maybe the reason this country’s rate of divorce is 54 percent, Zink surmised, is because no one’s emotional needs are being met. Just remember: needs are not wants.
A neuro-psychotherapist in private practice in the Los Angeles area since 1976, Zink has been the psychotherapist for some of the most influential families in the world. A three-time graduate of the Jesuit University of Detroit Mercy, Zink completed his formal education with two years of post-doctoral work in neuro-psycholinguistics at the University of Michigan in 1974. He is a leading specialist in the areas of emotional disaster recovery, grief and loss, as well as trauma counseling.
He has been a consultant to the Young Presidents’ Organization for twenty-five years. In addition to his presentations on child discipline and on couples’ therapy, he has moderated hundreds of YPO Forums.
Zink has twice been honored by the Harvard University Business School for his work in family life development and named, along with Tiger Woods, as a “Hero of the Heart” by Children’s Hospital in Newport Beach, California. He is the author of “Building Positive Self-Concept in Kids;” “Motivating Kids;” “Ego States: Resolving Conflict; Dearly Beloved: Secrets of Successful Marriage;” “The Parents Your Parents Were Not; Face-It: Two Executives’ Lives;” “Upbringing: Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children;” and other numerous professional articles and monographs. He is also the co-author of “From I to WE: The Round Table Journey.” He is also the brother of Dr. Jeffrey Zink.


Article written by Mariella Rudi, Santa Monica Mirror

Aug 28 Speaker - Dr. J Zink on Relationships Savi Labensart 2015-08-28 00:00:00Z 0

August 21st we heard from Adam Lichtl, PhD, about populating Mars!! Can you even imagine?? He talked about Space X, and their mission to colonize the planet Mars, and what it would take to get there!

Speaker Adam Lichtl (right) with his wife Patsy and fellow Rotarian Jay Smith!
The Planet Mars is arguably the last frontier in space exploration (for now). When will we reach it? How will we get there? What will it take? And why do we want to go?
“The idea is that we want to take people from Earth and put them on Mars and not as a trip, not as a suicide mission, but actually colonize the planet,” said Adam Lichtl, PhD, former research director at SpaceX during his talk entitled “Blue Marble to Red Marble” to Santa Monica Rotarians Friday, Aug. 21.
Lichtl – who skipped high school and graduated from CalTech at 19 – recently left SpaceX to become a free agent in the rocket science world, but he shared some of the highlights he’s seen during his time at Elon Musk’s independent space launch company.
Headquartered in Hawthorne, Calif., SpaceX was founded in 2002 when Musk took his PayPal money and had a beer with Tom Mueller, “a legitimate rocket science,” said Lichtl. Though the government doesn’t fund SpaceX, it has government contracts with it – in fact, NASA is one of its customers.
“I feel that we’re at the beginning of this very interesting point in history where it may be another 100 years before this a done deal and people are on Mars,” Lichtl said.
What are some of the challenges of going to Mars? One is the distance.
“The international space station is 250 miles straight up. The moon is a quarter of a million miles. It took about three days for the Apollo astronauts to reach it. Mars is 140 million miles away. This is a very long trip,” he said.
You’re also chasing Mars as your aiming for it.
“Mars is moving, the earth is moving, so you actually have to time it just right,” he said. “It’s kind of like jumping from one moving car to another. And the other car is moving way faster.”
Lichtl said there are only certain times in the year you can go to Mars, approximately every two years is the window where the car is coming by you again.
Another challenge is supplies.
“You also want to take stuff with you. You need a nuclear reactor for power, heat, the ability to melt water, the ability to do electrolysis on the water to get oxygen out. You need, obviously, food,” he continued.
The next challenge is getting back to Earth. Right now, the rocket at SpaceX runs on highly refined kerosene and oxygen, but there is nowhere to fuel up on that on. Lichtl said one of the primary projects at SpaceX is to make a rocket that can run on methane, available to synthesize through Mars natural gases – that’s also how they plan on getting breathable air and drinkable water.
NASA estimates that they’d need to take roughly 300 tons of stuff to Mars in order to establish even a rudimentary settlement. Lichtl said SpaceX researchers have designed one of the world’s most advanced combustion simulations to digitally test new designs of what will be the most powerful rocket ever created.
“Because you don’t want a trial and error with things like this. What you want to do is design and understand it,” he said. “The idea here is to simulate turbulence to drive the efficiency of the engine. It’s an engineering challenge.”


Article written by Mariella Rudi, Santa Monica Mirror


Aug 21 Speaker - Space X Savi Labensart 2015-08-21 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 17, 2015

August 14th was shocking!! A brain treatment that can help PTSD, Autism, addiction, and more, has been discovered, and we heard all about it from Dr. Yi Jin!

Emperor Tom Loo(right) with speaker, Dr. Yi Jin, CEO of the Brain Treatment Center!

Imagine a cure-all type of device that zaps away brain disorders to undo years of trauma and other mental conditions that therapy could never dream of unraveling. Alzheimer’s, autism, anxiety, sleep and eating disorders, and addiction could all vanish within days.

Today, that device exists.

Dr. Yi Jin, chief medical officer and CEO of Brain Treatment Center, spoke to Santa Monica Rotarians Friday, Aug. 14 about his breakthrough treatments of PTSD, autism, Alzheimer’s and other conditions affecting brain functions.

His center uses magnetic resonance therapy, or MRT – a procedure that pulses energy from magnetic coils into the cortex to realign and synchronize the firing of neurons in each patient’s brain depending on the condition.

People with Alzheimer’s, anxiety, sleep and eating disorders, addiction and tinnitus have gone under the coils that emit the magnetic fields (it looks like one of those huge hand-held personal massagers from Brookstone.)

Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2008 for drug-resistant major depression, the magnetic procedure has treated and even cured people all over the world from their six global locations.

In the beginning of their talk, Dr. Jin and his associate opted to show rather than tell of their success-stories through videos: an seizure-riddled girl with autism who had seizures reduced to one a day and “normal” behavior; a soldier, shot in the head in Afghanistan and paralyzed on his left side, was able to make a fist with his left hand and move his left foot within months; and a seven-month comatose Taiwanese teenager who awoke after 10 days of MRT.

Two months later, the teenager could stand on his own, three months later he was walking, and even when they ended treatment, his recovery continued.

But perhaps greater evidence came from the first-person testimony of former Army staff sergeant Jonathan Warren.

When Warren returned from Iraq, he had posttraumatic stress and self-medicated with alcohol, pills, weed, and other self-destructive behavior.

He was wracked with guilt and suffering a failed attempt to rescue his best friend who nearly burned to death after their Humvee hit a roadside bomb in 2006 – it would be his worst memory from the war.

As a result of the L.A. Times following him and doing a longform feature on his struggles, the Brain Treatment Center reached out to offer their help.

Warren was was interested in it from a physiological standpoint. Dr. Jin looked at your brain rather than ask you how you’re feeling, he said.

“Much in the same way, if you have a heart issue, you’re going to go to the cardiologist they’re going to look at your heart, not ask you to fill out a form and tell them how you feel about your heart,” Warren told Rotarians. “They’re not going to tell you to think differently about your heart or change your perspective. They’re going to look at the organ itself.”

Dr. Jin and everyone else at the Brain Treatment Center didn’t care about his past or his emotions. They just wanted to look at his brain.

From a look at Warren’s EEG, Dr. Jin was able to describe his every conditions.

“He told me that I had severe anxiety issues, depression, substance abuse issues. He goes on to tell me that when I was younger I was strong in education and a straight-A student.

He told me I was good at math, and I was. He told me I should play piano, and I said I do. The very last thing he said to me was, can you read a book right now? And I told him no, but I never told anyone that, ever. It took too much effort and couldn’t follow along,” Warren said. “When I saw these things and saw what my brain was doing, it was very freeing in a sense.”

“It made me feel, for me, that it wasn’t my fault.”

One session of MRT did what seven years of therapy couldn’t do for Warren. After one session he slept for eight hours straight, something he hadn’t done in years. Two weeks later a switch went off. He didn’t want to bingedrink or pop pills or smoke weed.

“In that moment what I felt was just peaceful. My mind wasn’t racing. I wasn’t all in my head. I didn’t feel like my skin was going to fall off,” he said.

The Brain Treatment Center has helped hundreds of other veterans. It’s an important cause to them.

“While we’ve talked now, two veterans have all ready killed themselves. There are 22 suicides everyday,” Dr. Jin said in the middle of him explaining the science of MRT.

They hire 10 percent of the patients they’ve successfully treated.

“Veterans are the best employees,” he added.

But their work continues, and they need more funding and awareness about the benefits of MRT.

To learn more about the Brain Treatment Center, visit:

To see a video of former Army staff sergeant Jon Warren recount his recovery with this treatment, visit:


Article by Mariella Rudi, Santa Monica Mirror


Aug 14 Speaker - Brain Treatment Savi Labensart 2015-08-18 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 17, 2015

Holocaust survivor Avraham Perlmutter spoke about surviving Nazi Germany by sheer determination and talent for escapism!!

Emperor Tom Loo with speaker, Avraham Perlmutter, and his daughters, Sharon Perlmutter Gavin and Keren Perlmutter!

Santa Monica Rotarians didn’t just hear a first-hand account of the Holocaust on Friday, Aug. 7. They were transported to a young boy’s survival story inside a Nazi nightmare, which in turn translated into an entire generation’s story of resilience and humanity. Rotarians learned about the human capacity for suffering, determination, murder, and ultimately survival. One 88-year-old’s story was able to relay a lifetime of achievement and grit.

The audience was captivated by Dr. Avraham Perlmutter’s vivacious and unwavering depiction of escaping Nazi soldiers nearly 60 years ago. At the end of his talk, he received a standing ovation, a gesture previously unseen by this reporter. In between his oration one could hear audible gasps and “oh my god’s” from the audience. It was a story of a lifetime that gave Rotarians emotions and plots typically saved for the big screen

Perlmutter was just 10 years old when he saw Hitler come in to Vienna, Austria in 1938. He was Jewish and the invading German army was after him soon after they arrived.

“The very fact that I was a wild child actually helped me later on to survive,” Perlmutter said.

It was hard for his family to move anywhere in Europe because they were Jewish. But one of those countries that took them was Netherlands, where he had an aunt. So his parents put him on the Kindertransport (children’s train) and the ensuing war-torn years continued.

Many times, a number of nuns and priests helped Perlmutter in Jewish refugee camps.

He recounted one specific moment when German soldiers came looking for Perlmutter to take him to the Jewish Theatre in Amsterdam (and subsequently off to Auschwitz). He’ll never forget the sound of their boots, and he made the thumping sound on the ground as he told the story. They took him, along with the son of the family whom Perlmutter was staying with.

“Because I was a wild child, I was always planning to get out of there,” Perlmutter said.

So he escaped when two Nazi soldiers changed shifts. He tried to bring the family’s son with him, but he was too scared to come in fear of getting killed. Later, Perlmutter learned he died during the war.

After that, Perlmutter was in constant hiding. Fortunately, his sister, who was in a refugee camp, had sent someone to find him, give him a train ticket, and take him into hiding until they could be reunited again.

“In those days about 95 percent of the Dutch people were anti-Nazi, and a good many of them were actually hiding Jewish children. Before the war there lived about 180,000 Jews in the Netherlands and only about 30,000 survived. And the majority of them were hiden among non-Jews,” Perlmutter said.

His story was punctuated by multiple accounts of hearing those Nazi boots (thump-thump-thump), but each time Perlmutter squirreled away just in time. But every time, there was someone else picked up by the Nazis who died in the war.

He hid in dirt, under coal, under beds, and in closets. He ran from the Nazis, and he escaped their clutches. The wild child soon became a survivor.

Like the tailor, the farmer, and the priest, many of the people who helped Perlmutter along the way remained nameless.

“In those days you were not supposed to know names because if they ever caught you, you couldn’t tell the addresses or names of the people who were hiding you.”

Though he was eventually reunited with his sister, she was caught by the Nazis and taken to Auschwitz. But she survived as well.

“She lives now in Santa Monica, too,” Perlmutter said as the crowd clapped.

With the British soldiers arriving, Perlmutter was able to snag a ride to Tel Aviv, where his parents were. Upon the reunion, his father tried to conceal the sad fact that his mother had died two weeks before his arrival.

During his hidings he managed to get hold of various dictionaries. He taught himself English, French, and Spanish during the war. He realized his passion for knowledge.

He arrived at America with grants to quench his thirst for education. At 24, he graduated undergraduate college in three years. He still wanted to know more. So he received a PhD in aeronautic engineering and went on to become a successful businessman.

After the war, highlights of his life included fighting in the Israeli War of Independence, meeting Albert Einstein during his time attending Princeton University, and developing a stabilizer most cameras use today.

Perlmutter’s story focused on those who helped him rather than those trying to defeat him. His autobiography, the acclaimed book, “Determined,” recounted this miraculous journey from Nazi Europe all the way to Santa Monica, where he lives with his wife still today.

Find Perlmutter’s “Determined” on

Article by Mariella Rudi, Santa Monica Mirror


Aug 7 Mtg - Holocaust Survivor Avraham Perlmutter Savi Labensart 2015-08-18 00:00:00Z 0

August 22nd is our next Rotary Day of Service!!

We need volunteers to help clean and paint!

We need helpers! Come beautify the Lighthouse Christian Academy for underprivileged kids!

DATE: Saturday, August 22, 2015

TIME: 9am to 12 noon

LOCATION: Lighthouse Christian Academy

                    1424 Yale Street

                    Santa Monica, CA 90404

Refreshments will be served, and kids are welcome as well!

Please respond directly to Drew Fleming:


Rotary Day of Service - Aug 22! Savi Labensart 2015-08-12 00:00:00Z 0

July 31st was our third meeting of the Rotary year! Our speakers were from the 5 Gyres Institute, and they know all the garbage!!

Dr. Marcus Erickson & Mrs. Anna Cummings spoke about trash in the ocean and it's impact on the Earth, animals, and humans!

That fabled Texas-sized island made of trash in our ocean, the Great Pacific garbage patch, does not exist. Nor is there a plastic zoo or trash vortex. It’s something more insidious that exists in our waters, and it can’t be cleaned up.

“The best name for it is a plastic smog,” said Marcus Eriksen, co-founder of the Santa Monica-based non-profit group, 5 Gyres Institute.

But this plastic smog – “like horizontal smoke stacks pumping small particles of plastic into the worlds oceans” – can’t be scooped out of the waters. Nor can it be cleaned out.

But there is hope, according to 5 Gyres, at stopping this haze of trash, mostly made up of micro-particles of plastic; it involves stopping the plastic at the source.

Husband-and-wife team Eriksen and Anna Cummins spoke to Santa Monica Rotarians last Friday, July 31 about the research 5 Gyres has conducted in identifying how much trash and plastic exists in the ocean today, where it comes from, and what it’s impact is and will continue to be.

The 5 Gyres Institute is the first research organization to study all five oceans, and the only organization to study the southern hemisphere gyres. For the past five years, they’ve used information based off annual worldwide expeditions to populate a global model of trash in the ocean. During these research trips on the sea, dragging a fine net behind the boat for a few miles, and they discovered a confetti of small plastic particles dominating every sample.

“Plastic is non-biodegradable, made from fossil fuels from petro chemicals so it’s designed to last indefinitely,” Cummins said. “Plastic traveling around in those currents will break down and become more brittle and will fragment but it never completely dissolve.”

The team has documented roughly 633 species of fish impacted by plastic waste, including being found in the circulatory systems of muscles and clams and even plankton. This is when it starts to impact human life because the particles of plastic waste act as sponges for toxins.

“There are many different contaminants that make their ways into the ocean from industry, agriculture,” Cummins said, and “these contaminants don’t mix with water, but they will stick to plastic at high concentrations, up to a million times higher.

“One single particle of plastic the size of a grain of rice can have up to a million times higher concentration of chemicals like PCBs or DDT, pesticides, oil drops, [and] many different chemicals that make their way into the ocean and are being absorbed into this food web. We are at the top of that food chain.”

To make their research even more relevant to those who might not live near the ocean but instead a great body of water, they decided to sample the Great Lakes. It was in those lakes, specifically Lake Erie, that they found the highest concentration of plastic particles yet.

“One sample contained roughly 1,200 particles of plastic. We were pretty baffled by this sample. Many of these tiny little balls are the same perfectly round shape and size and under a microscope we figured out where these were coming from,” Cummins said.

The worst plastic water pollution came from an unlikely source: microbeads, found in face wash, body scrub, moisturizer, and toothpaste.

Microbeads in scrubs and toothpastes wash down the drain but aren’t actually being captured by sewage treatment. About 38 tons pass into rivers, lakes, and ultimately oceans annually, where they then threaten marine ecosystems via the food web.

When 5 Gyres took their published findings to Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, the corporations agreed to slowly start phasing out the microbead products.

“But we wanted to take it one step further because we are far too small of an NGO to hold major multi-national corporations accountable,” Cummins said. “So we drafted a bill.”

They helped Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) author AB 888, which would set up the strongest protections in the country against the use of these unnecessary and toxic additives.

If passed by the State Senate before Sept. 11, AB 888 would prohibit, on and after Jan. 1, 2020, selling a personal care product containing intentionally added plastic microbeads that are used to exfoliate or cleanse in a rinse-off product.

Lastly, the Santa Monica Rotary Foundation gave two donations to local organizations.

Presented a grant to Orchestra Santa Monica, the music director and conductor Allen Gross, for $5,000 to purchase orchestra chairs and a conductor chair. They welcomed everyone to their fourth season at the Anne and Jerry Moss Theater at New Roads School.

Another grant was presented to Step Up on Second, with the CEO and Rotary member Todd Lipka accepting the $4,500 gift: “This money will go to support a security system and surveillance system at one of our permanent supportive housing called Michael’s Village.”

Lipka said the surveillance system would act as a helpful tool to monitor the individuals as they transition during the first year to living in a home.

“At Michael’s Village we have housed 34 individuals who are homeless or mentally ill; we literally took them off the streets and then moved them into housing,” he said. “They had a cumulative period of 300 years of homelessness amongst the 34 individuals.”

Visit or download the Beat the Microbead app for more information about the harm of microbeads on the humans and the marine environment.


July 31 Meeting Program: 5 Gyres Institute Savi Labensart 2015-08-12 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 23, 2015

July 24 was our second meeting of the Rotary year, and we had a very interesting speaker on astronomy and the creation of the universe!!

Emperor Tom Loo and astrophysicist Proessor Matthew Malkan!

Four decades after Apollo 17 astronauts shot the “Blue Marble,” the first complete true-color image of the entire Earth, NASA released the updated version earlier this month of the fully sunlit Earth from one million miles away.

To view Earth in its most current state, wholly illuminated yet covered with expansive clouds, dangling in the blackness, provides equal parts amazement and a cosmic existential crisis. In this newest version of ourselves, our world, the Solar System cannot be seen. Our world is alone in the current Blue Marble, a visual definition of our remote place in the galaxy, at least for the time being.

When the famous British astrophysicist Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe is expanding, he essentially discovered the cosmos and supplanted one of the great intellectual revolutions of the 20th century.

About 25 years ago, scientists decided to name one of the most important science projects ever after the founder of modern cosmology: the Hubble Telescope. It was a joint ESA/NASA project with a mission allowing astronomers to make the very high-resolution observations that are essential to open new windows into planets, stars, and other galaxies.

The telescope has been responsible for supplying and unearthing some of the most awe-inducing photographs of the universe and for making over a million scientific observations.

The next generation of this successful but aging telescope will be the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018. During the final servicing mission in 2009, a docking device was fitted onto the base of the Hubble Telescope so that a rocket can easily attach and safely de-orbit the telescope once its mission is complete.

This is where Matthew Malkan comes in. The UCLA professor has been the principle investigator on low orbit Hubble Telescope projects more so than any other astronomer. He spoke to Rotarians on July 24 about what role these bigger-than-life telescopes have on the origins of the universe, and what plans the new telescope has in store for humanity, from the creation of the first galaxies to the evolution of young galaxies, observations about the Big Bang to galaxy surveys through cosmic time.

How we landed in one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy is one of the most frequently asked questions people ask of Malkan. A leader in his field, he has published more than 250 published articles and peer reviews and has focused on his research on infrared radiation, investigating active galactic nuclei and quasars, and the evolution of young galaxies.

His UCLA astronomy department biography describes his research with activity in nearby galaxies as “using high-resolution imaging from the Hubble Space Telescope to analyze the properties of the galaxies which host the various types of active nuclei. One result is that these data do not support the popular model that the principal properties of the active galactic nuclei are determined by the orientation of a compact hypothetical thick torus which surrounds and is aligned with the accrediting black hole.”

Malkan was also a Mashall scholar at the University of Cambridge, received his PhD from Caltech, and has been a professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA since 1992.

As co-author of the undergraduate textbook, “The Origin and Evolution of the Universe,” Malkan provided a dense overview to Rotarians of the Big Bang Theory and what measurements led scientists to think it had occurred.

One of the “most frequent questions that an astrophysicist always gets: how did we get here. When people are asking that what they’re really asking is, why did it happen and why are we here. That’s what we really want to know. Where we’re at right now, science can’t possibly answer all those things. But it’s kind of fun to see how close we can get,” Malkan said.

It begins with the stars and measuring light received from each star.

Astronomers have spent lifetimes measuring the positions, speeds, temperatures, and chemical compositions of millions of stars. Because they have measurements, we know that stars of the universe are currently seen spreading apart from each other, which means they have been close enough together in the past.

With a big enough telescope, one could essentially look far enough into the galaxy to go back in time to the very beginnings of the universe.

There is “overwhelming evidence” that most of the mass in the universe is dark matter – more than 95 percent. Malkan said that it all must have started with dark matter.

“All you need just to give it something, just a little bit of small excess density, little less gravity, expand a little slower, gets a little bit relatively denser than the rest of the universe which means gravity is stronger,” he said. “Extra gravity. So then that region slows down as more deceleration eventually stops accelerating at all and it collapses. And you can see this process happening if you can turn back the clock. If you can turn back time, we’re just using the slowness of light and the bigness of telescopes.”

And that’s why the James Webb Space Telescope is critical to detecting the first stars and galaxies that formed right after the Big Bang, almost 14 billion years ago. With a bigger telescope come more distant objects. The launch of the James Webb telescope will have to be released in space in pieces.

It’s an “incredible gamble and outrageously expensive,” said Malkan, but one he sees as worth it.

For more information about the James Webb Space Telescope visit


Astrophysicist Prof. Matthew Malkan Savi Labensart 2015-07-24 00:00:00Z 0

July 17 was our first meeting of the Rotary year, and our District Governor visit, and we had an awesome speaker on the Santa Monica Road Races!!

District Governor DJ Sun takes a ride in the old racer!

Last week’s Rotary meeting was a crash course lesson in Santa Monica’s genesis. The main theme was the city’s roots as an auto racing destination, and the syllabus included buzzworthy L.A. trivia, as well as which streets used to be the auto track.

Harold Osmer, historian and author of such books as “Where They Raced” and “Real Road Racing,” began his lecture at the beginning of Santa Monica, when it was just a rigged coastline – “nothing worth coming up seeing.”

People started coming to Santa Monica in the 1880s on trains, when a ticket during the railroad wars would cost upwards of $185 from Missouri. The train station stopped at the top of the Santa Monica Canyon near Patrick’s Roadhouse.

“What southern California had was a lot of space and a really good climate,” said Osmer, a former engineer who pursued a degree in geography. “To get to Southern California you had to want to be here. You had to target this place. The people who came here initially came for their health; later on they came because it provided a lot of opportunity. Problem was, they had to create that opportunity.”

When Osmer was writing his graduate thesis that would eventually turn into a book, he focused on auto racetracks in Los Angeles; “where they were, what’s there today, and what affect the race track had on future landings.”

He found out that more auto racing had taken place in Southern California than any other place in the world. Dating back to 1903 and to the current time, there were 174 different official race tracks in Southern California.

“A lot of Santa Monica history can be found form 1923 forward for some reason, but Santa Monica road races actually took place from 1909 to 1919. My goal here today is to point out how important the road races were to Santa Monica’s autonomy from the big nasty neighbor of Los Angeles,” Osmer told the audience.

The first main attraction of Santa Monica was the ill-fated Arcardia Hotel, on Ocean Ave. just south of the Pier. At that time, the city was competing with Venice, which had the topographical advantage of being sea level. At the Arcadia Hotel, you had to go down long flights of stairs to get to the beach and walk back up at the end of the day.

“This wound up to be probably the first celebrity trials in Los Angeles, because in 1903 nobody was here yet,” Osmer said.

His sentence? Assault with a deadly weapon claiming alcohol insanity – “in essence, the Twinkie defense.”

After two years at San Quentin, he rehabilitated his public image and donated today’s landmarks like Griffith Park, the Observatory, and the Greek Theatre.

After 10 years in business, the state-of-the-art Arcadia Hotel shut down.

“You couldn’t get anyone to stay in Santa Monica, that was the problem.”

As Santa Monica went through boom and bust periods of tourism, the city was contacted by Auto Dealers Association and got the idea to attract attention through some good old-fashioned racing.

The first organized auto race took place in 1903, and from 1909 to 1919 Santa Monica experienced a growth spurt.

The most famous in Santa Monica ran from from Ocean Ave. to Wilshire to San Vicente boulevards. Fun fact: The corner of Ocean and Wilshire was called Dead Mans Curve.

“Nobody ever died at Dead Man’s Curve – they called it that because it sells a lot of newspaper. It’s about potential and watching this for whatever demented reasons people did,” Osmer said. “They started off on Ocean right where the avenue starts and come down and made that tight left turn ... Next time you go that way, notice as you turn onto Wilshire, you’re now going uphill. You go all the way to the Old Soldier’s Home, which is the Veteran’ Center, and turn around and come down San Vicente and this is downhill.”

Well, people flocked to that first race in 1909 – the estimated crowd was about 40,000 people.

“By 1916, there were well over 100,000,” he said.

“Auto racing in this period was simply the biggest spectator-sporting event. Nothing else was bigger. And there was no radio or television or other ways to spread the word,” he said.

The stars of the West Coast racing world were tough characters from the late 1920s, early 30s era.

Men like Barney Oldfield, Earl Devore, Eddie Pullen, and Jack Tower.

Just a lot of crusty characters with big hands – “they had to because of these great big steering wheels that didn’t have powered steering” – and all good mechanics – “they had to be because they had to fix their own cars.”

These road races were relived that night, where the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows sponsored the re-enactment to benefit the Santa Monica History Museum.

To view a fun video from the day, follow this link...


July 17 Mtg - District Governor Visit & the Santa Monica Road Races Savi Labensart 2015-07-24 00:00:00Z 0


Members got together to fix up and paint!!

Twenty volunteers gathered at The Children's Place on Saturday, June 13, for the 2015 Rotary Day of Service, a day where members of the Rotary Club of Santa Monica continue their "Legacy of Service" in the Santa Monica community.

The Children's Place is a part of The Ocean Park Childcare Foundation, a foundation dedicated to providing children of all socioeconomic backgrounds with quality early childhood education.

Rotary Day of Service co-chairs Tom Woods and Drew Fleming organized a day of painting and beautification. 

"The idea is to implement an annual hands-on project that benefits and meets a real world need in Santa Monica, as well as raise the visibility of the work of the Rotary Club of Santa Monica, and establish a Santa Monica 'Legacy of Service,'" Woods said.

There was much excitement and a sense of pride as the volunteers transformed the appearance of the preschool.

On Feb. 1, 1922 the Santa Monica Rotary Club was officially chartered as Rotary Club number 1086. Rotary International is a volunteer organization of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service, and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. There are approximately 1.2 million Rotary club members belonging to 34,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.

Rotary clubs address critical issues at home and abroad by providing health care and medical supplies, clean water, food, job training, youth development, and education to millions of people in need.

June 13 - Rotary Day of Service at The Children's Place Savi Labensart 2015-06-26 00:00:00Z 0


There were a lot of new smiling faces at the Santa Monica Rotary meeting last Friday, and they belonged to the Rotarian scholarship recipients and their proud parents.

The 14 students from three middles schools, four high schools, and Santa Monica College were rewarded for their excellence in academics, leadership, and community service.

Jessie Ramirez, a former LA Tax Associates scholarship winner and Santa Monica College student, began the award ceremony.

“Looking back, I never imagined that I would get into USC and receive an acceptance letter from UCLA,” Ramirez said. “I made the decision to come to Santa Monica College and it opened a lot of doors for me.

I am very thankful for the Santa Monica community as a whole and everything that was presented to me here by the LA Tax Associates. I wouldn’t be here without their help, with the cost that it takes to be at USC.”

“I hope that all the recipients of the scholarships here tonight go on to bigger and better things.And thank you very much for every ones assistance,” Ramirez said, finishing his speech.

The scholarship award winners from Santa Monica College included Jessica Soegono and Ali Khan (Archie Morrison Scholarship for $750), Haley Coleman (Nick Holt Scholarship for $1,000), and Dabiel Kolko (LA Tax Associates Scholarship for $1,500).

The high school award winners included Jessica Bonilla (Russel Hart Scholarship for $1,000), Abigail Wisen (Clyde Smith Scholarship for $1,000), and Cynthia Cristobal (Russel Hart Scholarship for $1,000) from Santa Monica High; Jhonton Aragon (Tom Fox Scholarship for $1,000) from St. Monica High School; Maia Joseph (John English Scholarship for $1,000) from Olympic High School; and Shaila Hernandez (Harding Larmore, Kozal and Kutcher for $1,000) from New Roads High School.

The middle school winners included Soah Frankli (Citizenship Award for $100) from Cross Roads Middle School, Yabsra Ayele (Citizenship Award $100) from Lincoln Middle School, and Melissa Pflug (Citizenship Award for $100) from New Roads Middle School.


The Santa Monica Rotary board has decided to give $2,000 to the Rotary District 5280 Disaster Relief Fund in collaboration with the Nepal District 3292 for Nepal earthquake relief. In addition, the club will match donations up to another $2,000 by club members.

Pei and Marina Hanai were introduced as the newest Rotarian members.


May 15 Mtg - Scholarship Day Savi Labensart 2015-05-27 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Savitri Labensart on Feb 19, 2015

Steve McAndrew

Head of Emergency Ebola Operations in Sierra Leone

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies


There are few people in this world as well traveled, well informed, and as brave as Steve McAndrew. As the head of emergency operations for the International Federation of the Red Cross, he works globally on all sorts of projects. When he's not out in the field, which he is 50-75% of his year, he's mentoring, training, working on policy development, etc. but lately he's been in Sierra Leone, in the middle of the biggest Ebola outbreak the world has yet to see.

Steve has been adventurous his whole life, but started out just like any of us. His parents were from the Jersey shore, and he grew up in Philly, playing street hockey with his friends, couch cushions strapped to his body for protection. As an adult he did construction, brick and mason.

At 28, things started to get more interesting. He joined the peace core and flew off to Honduras to build water systems. "This is where I learned to be humble," he says. How could he not, when next thing he knew, he was in the middle of Hurricane Mitch, a major hurricane that hit Central America (particularly Honduras and Nicaragua), the Yucatan Peninsula, and South Florida, killing over 19 thousand people.

From there, McAndrew joined the Red Cross as a volunteer, where they trained him for international response. He went to India first, and then learned about food aid in Africa. "This is where I learned to listen," Steve says.

Eventually Steve made his way up the ladder, and got the title he has today. As head of emergency ops internationally, he helps to organize the Red Cross' 187 national societies. And as I noted earlier, his latest heroic endeavor has been to help with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

McAndrew says that Ebola is sweeping around Africa at great speed, the worst hit being Guinea, Liberia, and of course Sierra Leone where Steve has been helping. This incredibly infectious malady has also taken a toll on Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, and Spain, even limited cases in the UK and here in America. There have been 23,337 cases, and 9,442 deaths so far. "The world is having to adjust," Steve says. "We have seen Ebola before, but this is the largest and longest issue with it that the world has faced. It starts in one place, rapidly moves around, often ending up back where it started, and all the while we are chasing it."

There is no known cure for Ebola, but Steve says that there are a few different ways to battle this disease, including treatment, safe and dignified burials, surveillance and contact tracing, social mobilization and communications, and psycho social support.

Social mobilization and communications is pretty straight forward....educate people! The Red Cross is constantly trying to teach about this disease, talking about it on radio and TV shows. In Africa, the system is ignorant with human dysfunction. People don't know what to look for or what to do if they have it. In the later stages people come down with dementia, so there is a lot of room for error. Folks often think they have something else, like malaria or some tropical disease, or even blame witchcraft.

Surveillance and contact training speaks for itself on intent, but things are easier said than done. The people down there do not trust their government, and it's hard to keep track of who is where. The people are suspicious of everything, and with good reason, after all their history includes being colonized, enslaved, and forced into diamond mines. Here in the USA we can watch in typical "big brother" fashion as cameras line the streets and traffic lights, and the likelihood of transporting the disease is limited, but there are no traffic lights in Sierra Leone, no big brother watching out.

As far as medical treatment goes, there's only so much they can do. You can give a patient pain killers, hook them to an IV, hydrate. They think that we can increase survival by quicker treatment, but aren't sure. They've noted that kids who drank coconut milk seemed to recover better, but this is also mere hypothesis. By getting a person to a hospital, they can provide that other illnesses or injuries are treated, which likely helps, but there is still no cure for Ebola. Whether there was a cure or not, some would never turn to western medicine anyway.  With seldom a doctor to be seen, many turn to natural healers. Unfortunately, unless those healers are educated, they can be part of the problem, getting the disease and then passing it around to all their patients. Steve says that the thing is to have hospitals up and running with 24/7 staff, in locations out of town, and to make sure that those running the hospitals are doing it safely and securely. This is hard when at every turn there is the possibility of infection. The suits they wear to protect against this disease are great, but only if you use them correctly. There are many steps to getting into, and especially out of, these terribly hot suits. You miss just one step, and you are going to get it.

One of the most difficult areas to deal with is safe and dignified burial. This seems like a simple task, but there they have a different culture, one where they touch the dead body, wash the body. One dead person can infect another 20 who go home and spread it some more. There have been extensive efforts to work with spiritual leaders on this, to explain how it all works, and they are starting to change but it’s slow.

Teams are sent into quarantined areas to retrieve bodies, often finding more dead in a house than was reported. Imagine if you will, being in the shoes of these team members. You walk up to a quarantined area, and you see one guard, and he's sleeping on job. The idea of restriction has already flown out the window. You head to the house, and there everything has to be sprayed down... the walkway leading up, the door, the roof, and then inside. You carry out the body (or bodies rather) while family and friends are gathered, weeping and wailing. You have to keep going. In the end, you finally get to take off your suit, but not before being sprayed off yourself, and then slowly removed from each piece. If you are lucky, you're job for the day is just dealing with suits, making sure each team member has theirs on correctly and helping them off afterward.

As you can see, there are so many things to think about when it comes to Ebola. Steve says that the response isn't so much about money, though that helps, too. It's really about volunteers and workers jumping up to help. And Steve McAndrew has certainly been doing his part!


February 20 Speaker, Steve McAndrew - Ebola Operations in Sierra Leone Savitri Labensart 2015-02-20 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Iao Katagiri on Oct 12, 2014
Last week was the 15th of King George's reign. We witnessed fellow plebes, er, uh, I mean fellow Rotarians -- architect and furniture designer Vlado Vlakof and Santa Monica Mirror publisher TJ Montemer -- give their Craft Talks.
Architect and Furniture Designer
Vlado Valkof
Santa Monica Mirror Publisher
TJ Montemer

Carlthorp School Headmistress and Past President Dee Menzies presented $2 ,500 grant to the Museum of Flying at the Santa Monica Airport Executive Director Dan Ryan.


Iao Katagiri was recognized for her many fabulous contributions to our Rotary Club.

Additionally, visiting Rotarian John Coker (RC-Fredericksburg, Virginia) got to know American Red Cross-Santa Monica Chapter Executive Julie Thomas and SM Fire Chief Scott Ferguson reported on meeting with President Obama.

Meeting Recap - October 10, 2014 Iao Katagiri 2014-10-13 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Sep 22, 2014

Rotarian and Santa Monica Fire Department Chief Scott Ferguson nominated President “King George” Collins to take the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Rick Ruby had the honor of dousing Collins with ice water. This challenge is to bring awareness to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) commonly referred to in the United States as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. When the motor neurons  die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death.

Approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. The incidence of ALS is two per 100,000 people, and it is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time.  Life expectancy of an ALS patient averages about two to five years from the time of diagnosis, although 25% of patients live considerably longer.


Image Image Image

The following quote is from ALS Foundation website,

"Please be thoughtful about water usage. If you’re in an area of the country or world affected by drought, please consider making a donation instead, or repurpose the water for later use."
For more information about ALS, click here.

I do not know how dousing someone with ice water has any correlation to ALS, but happy to do it to generation donations.
King George takes Ice Bucket Challenge Jillian Alexander 2014-09-23 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Thomas Montemer on Sep 22, 2014

The September 19 Rotary Club of Santa Monica meeting was particularly eventful as the members became more informed about where their funds are allocated and as President George Collins partook in the popular Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS.
The weekly meeting commenced with a group sing-a-long, per usual, as the cheery Rotarians livened up the atmosphere by collectively crooning "America the Beautiful" and "We Are The World."

The meeting continued on to introduce some of the visiting Rotarians, including special guests who ventured all the way from Europe: Geoff Hunt from Coventry, England, and Hatto and Ursula Brand from Westheim, Germany.


A recognition of the recent blood drive took place as well, with saluted blood donors and Rotarians Mitchell Kraus, Rob Santos, and Bret Carter making a toast with Ann Greenspun, Southern California Blood Services Board Chair, and Julie Thomas, American Red Cross of Santa Monica Executive.

Rotary Meeting Recap -- September 19, 2014 Thomas Montemer 2014-09-23 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Leonard Lanzi on Aug 21, 2014

Santa Monica Rotary Corner: Members Address Meeting As Part Of Craft Talks

Friday, 22 Aug 2014, 8:56:00 AM

On Friday, Aug. 15, the Rotary Club of Santa Monica commenced its weekly meeting at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades with the usual warm, hearty greetings among both members and guests.

Meeting Recap - August 15, 2014 Leonard Lanzi 2014-08-22 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on May 12, 2014


The entire meeting was devoted to appreciating our Support Staff including business workers, colleagues, and spouses.

Surprise appearance by Dolly Parton (impersonator) singing the work-weary hit 9-to-5
Dolly Parton impersonator and President Nat Trives

Dolly Parton impersonator and President Nat Trives

With Susan Gabriel Potter,
Diane Margolin not only created a lovely event,
but also honored Wendy Navin.
Wendy Navin and Diane Margolin

Wendy Navin and Diane Margolin

Matt Williams toasted his support staff
Jonathan Schwartz, Matt Williams, Matt Johson and Philicia Kennedy Flamer

Pictured left to right: Jonathan Schwartz, Matt Williams, Matt Johson and Philicia Kennedy Flamer

Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce President
Laurel Rosen brought her entire team whom support not only Laurel, but also many Rotarians
Shelly Locks, Carl Hanson, Laurel Rosen

Pictured left-to-right: Shelly Locks,Carl Hanson, Laurel Rosen

Karim Jaude brought his
Dynamics Capital team
Zara Nguyen, Gabrielle Aboujaoude, Karim Jaude, Annette Koomthong

Pictured left-to-right: Zara Nguyen, Gabrielle Aboujaoude, Karim Jaude and Annette Koomthong

Tax Wizard Greg Hargrave brought his business partner-wife Terry Hargrave and their support staff
Terry Hargrave, Sharon Wright, Christina Pilo, Shedonna Johnson, Greg Hargrave

Pictured left-to-right: Terry Hargrave, Sharon Wright, Christina Pilo, Shedonna Johnson, and Greg Hargrave.

Too bad we did not get photo of Shedonna's shoes.

For more photos, click here.

Meeting Recap - May 9, 2014 Jillian Alexander 2014-05-13 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on May 06, 2014


The entire meeting was devoted to speaker VJ Smith sharing his tale about an exceptional and unforgettable Wal-Mart employee Marty Martinson, and how meeting him altered Smith's life. Marty's gratitude for all he had inspired Smith to write a book and become a professional speaker.

President Nat Trives with speaker VJ Smith
President Nat Trives and speaker VJ Smith

Former University of South Dakota Athletic Director SHOUTED about the need to HUSTLE and that the most important word is "CARE". Smith believes love is part of care, not that care is act of love.

Smith also SHOUTED at us to say "THANK YOU," and expressing gratitude was the underlying message.

Meeting Recap - May 2, 2014 Jillian Alexander 2014-05-07 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by John Dravillas on May 06, 2014

Last Saturday, Sustain Our Environment committee participated in
Friends of the LA River's annual La Gran Limpieza (LA River Cleanup).


Contrary to popular belief, there IS water in the LA River.

Our crew -- Rotarians Bill Rayman, Bret Carter, John Dravillas,
and a couple of John's buddies -- gathered 5 bags of garbage from the river,
and had a good time together.
Image Image
Continue reading for the full story and more LA River images.

Sustain Our Environment committee at La Gran Limpieza 2014 John Dravillas 2014-05-07 00:00:00Z 0
International Food & Song Festival - April 27, 2014 Jillian Alexander 2014-05-07 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Nicholas Goehner on Apr 15, 2014



April Birthdays were celebrated and all received hats and acknowledgment for being one more year older.  

We saw a wonderful photo video of the Rotary Day of Service Event and everyone who helped out wore their Rotary Day of Service t-shirts to the meeting.  The principal of the school presented Rotary with a giant card signed by all of the kids at St. Anne's School.  Thank you to everyone who did help out, it was an amazing day!

George Collins introduced our speaker who discussed our founding fathers.  His goal was to give us many interesting facts about what he called 6 great men.  Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton.  It's very interesting to get a more human idea of these great men who lived in the 18th century.  We were able to get an idea of their size and weight, hobbies, and personal life.  

We will be dark for the next couple of weeks, but we will see everyone in May for more for and more great meetings!

Meeting Recap - April 11, 2014 Nicholas Goehner 2014-04-16 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Apr 07, 2014


Speaker Lee Stanley with Program Chair Larry Mortorff
and Presiding Officer Bret Carter

VP Committees Bret Carter presided over our meeting. VP Bret brilliantly fined Adam Lichtl $300 for getting engaged to Patsy Rincon,  Iao Katagiri $100 for always taking photos at the Rotary meetings, and Mitch Kraus $50 for promoting the upcoming Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce's Sustainable Quality Awards.

Invocateur Jay Smith III brought our attention to those displaced by the earthquake in Chile, mudslide in Washington, and missing Flight 370 as well as their dear ones. Rotarians have been helping to address each effort, and we are proud that Rotary Cares.

Russ Warner presented a $1,500 Community and Youth Grant to Fr. Anthony “Tony” Gonzalez on behalf of St. Anne School and St. Monica Catholic Community parish.

Ron Caul cheerfully led guest introductions.

Larry Mortorff introduced documentary writer, producer, director, and winner of five Emmy Awards (including best director and best film) Lee Stanley. Lee shared how repairing a film for California Youth Authority's Camp David Gonzales and screening his documentary about a paraplegic at the San Fernando Valley Juvenile Hall led to The Desperate Passage Series. The series shows how violent juvenile prisoners released into Lee's sole custody for 10-day at-sea expeditions aboard his 58’ sailboat overcome gang allegiances to work as a team aboard the vessel and regain their sense of humanity and hope. It took four years to obtain permission for the youths to be released to Lee, then Lee had to raise financing for shoe-string budget film. In addition to 10-days of principal photography, it took a year to complete and another year to get network to commit to airing it. KTLA's long-time General Manager was so moved, he was instrumental in securing Michael Landon as program host and scheduled KTLA airing which won the prime-time slot both on initial and first rebroadcast. The Desperate Passage Series was nominated for 33 individual Emmys and won 13.

Lee expressed it would be near impossible to raise similar financing today, and how fortunately philanthropists and Galpin Motors' owners Bert & Jane Bachman had an appreciation for the project. The first films success led to the Bachmans financing 5 additional films. Filmmakers know it takes a team to achieve success.

Meeting Recap - April 4, 2014 Jillian Alexander 2014-04-08 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Apr 02, 2014



VP Scott Ferguson opened our meeting informing us that President Nat Trives is recovering well after having a defibrillator implanted last Wednesday, March 26.

In the spirit of tax season, carrot farmer Jim Menzies gave our invocation to “spare some taxes so we have something to share with Rotary.” And Tom Larmore lead an interesting revision of The Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things.”

VP Scott fined Barbara Bishop for being named to the Board of the Orchestra Santa Monica.

Sharon Perlmutter-Gavin presented a check to Courtney Lockwood on behalf of the Venice High School STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine) Magnet program. Our club partnered with Rotary Club of Playa Venice Sunrise and secured a District Grant resulting in a $3,250 award.

Roast Host Roger Davis emceed the Retirement Roast of “free-spirit” Rosemary Regalbuto and “sexy librarian-type” Judy Neveau.

Tish Tisherman played a “Roast for Rosie” video and Len Lanzi bestowed RoseMary with a chef’s hat and apron. Then Kevin McNulty gave us the real scoop. Ironically, RoseMary worked at Meals on Wheels West (MOWW) for 27 years but her cooking is so bad that her husband Joe won’t let her do it and having no sense of direction makes deliveries challenging!

Dick Lawrence provided voice-over to the “Joy of Judy” Neveau slideshow. Highlights included how Judy recruited many Rotarians to be SMC Associates, squeezed money out of SMC Associates, and used her charms for career advancement. Queen Judy enjoys “hob nobbing” with high profile dignitaries. This was one of the perks of her job at SMC.

We look forward to recent retirees RoseMary and Judy dedicating much of their free time to various Rotary activities!

To view photos from the meeting click here.

Meeting Recap - March 28, 2014 Jillian Alexander 2014-04-03 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Mar 30, 2014
District 5280 Youth Service District Breakfast

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 7:00 a.m.
Westin LAX Hotel
5400 W. Century Blvd.
Los Angeles 90045
Free self-parking in hotel parking structure.
Valet parking at Westin rates.
Program Speaker: Prophet Walker
Prophet's remarkable journey is one of determination and perseverance. Come hear how this young man went from prison to
become a college graduate, a
community leader, a role model, and activist. Treat your youth clubs to this amazing program!

View the flyer here.

RSVP with Savi ASAP! It’s first come, first serve, and we only have a total of ten spots!
District 5280 Youth Service District Breakfast - April 8, 2014 Jillian Alexander 2014-03-31 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Judy Neveau on Mar 23, 2014

District 5280 Humanitarian Trip to Medellin, Colombia

Rotary District 4271 (Medellin, Colombia) hosted 106 District 5280 Rotarians, Interact and Rotaract Club members and their families -- Including our own adventurous travellers PP Judy Neveau, PE George Collins and wife Pat Collins, and Director Russ Warner -- for our annual District Humanitarian Trip  March 19-24, 2014. During days packed with project site visits, Colombian Rotary Club hosted events and sight-seeing, we directly interacted with project grant recipients and saw projects which our Rotary funding supports.

These projects included delivering backpacks filled with school supplies to children in the agricultural small town of Alejandria; funding a new washing machine and other supplies for a remote medical clinic staffed by one doctor plus volunteers which serves over 4,000 rural families; providing wheelchairs and other equipment to an urban center serving babies and youth afflicted with spina biffida which also provides maternal health education and outreach; funding a remote locale river-water reclamation project; and providing equipment and supplies to an urban dental clinic and senior center. We experienced many very special "Rotary Moments". These continue to be reminders of why "Service Above Self" matters, and why we chose to be Rotarians.

In addition to fellowship and service, we had fun with other District 5280 Rotarians rafting, horseback riding, and visiting the National Heritage site town of Santa Fe de Antioquia. Columbian Rotarians were warm and energetic hosts, led by their gracious District Governor Monica Uribe. We were able to tour the impressive public transportation network of Medellin, including riding their cable cars which take rich and poor alike from the train stations high up into the surrounding hills - truly to be envied, especially from grid-locked Southern California.

Why not be part of this amazing Rotary experience of hands-on giving and cultural exchange next year? The 2015 Humanitarian Trip has been announced for February 1-5, 2015 to enchanting Guatemala and the World Heritage site of Antigua and the Lake Atitlan region, with a fabulous post-trip opportunity to Tikal to see the ruins of a major site of Mayan civilization being excavated in the jungles close to Belize? Mark your calendar for an unforgettable time, doing hands-on Rotary service while extending international friendships and learning about the culture of Guatemala?

District 5280 Humanitarian Trip to Medellin, Colombia Judy Neveau 2014-03-24 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Janie Yuguchi Gates on Mar 23, 2014

Rotary Reads

Myles Pritchard at Grant Elementary School

Vince Muselli

Recap - Rotary Reads Janie Yuguchi Gates 2014-03-24 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Mar 23, 2014


Program Chair Laurel Rosen,
Speaker Bert Upson, and
President Nat Trives

Image Rotarians with the
New York Fire Department
Rescue 5

Gita Runkle opened our meeting with a Rotary invocation, and Roger Davis led introduction of guests and visiting Rotarians, including two repeat visitors Abbey Fernandez (RC-Ybor Florida) and from Michael Reinprecht (RC-Vienna).

In celebration of spring, Tom Larmore led an up-beat Simon and Garfunkel's "The 59th Street Bridge Song."

"President's Pick" Santa Monica Fire Captain James Altman brought one of the two Rescue Mission trucks for us to view. This is the  New York Fire Department Rescue 5 vehicle, which was the Staten Island sole rescue vehicle. On September 11, 2001, NYFD Staten Island received call to respond just as shift change was occurring. The six firemen going off shift and six fireman coming on shift jumped on this vehicle  to respond to call. Unfortunately, all 12 lost their lives rescuing others in the towers. To build awareness among younger generations too young to remember horrible events, two Chicago firemen acquired and restored this and Rescue 4 (NYFD-Bronx) vehicles. Santa Monica Fire Department is the first to host Rescue 5 and take it to schools. Other local Fire Departments already committed to hosting the vehicle include Culver City, City of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County. It is intended that the vehicle will travel up the west coast and into Canada before moving eastward to return to Chicago.

Laurel Rosen introduced 9/11 survivor Bert Upson, who detailed his observations of the traumatic day. Life coach Bert was preparing to lead a seminar ironically entitled "Taking Charge of your Future" to an audience of fourteen sales consultants on the 78th Floor of the World Trade Center's South Tower (the floor that was hit second). Fortunately Bert got out of the building in time. He remembered complete pandemonium in the streets and the smell of burning steel, concrete, and flesh. At the end of his speech, Bert reminded us to "never forget 9/11."


Please keep positive thoughts for President Nat who will be receiving a defibrillator implant on Wednesday, March 26, 2014.

Meeting Recap - March 21, 2014 Jillian Alexander 2014-03-24 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Julia Miele on Mar 23, 2014
District 5280 High School Arts Competition Finals

Quinn Charles with Art Finalist Jared Valesquez and Music Finalist Elliot Sorgen  

Rotary Club of Santa Monica sponsored Santa Monica High School Sophomore
Quinn Charles
received 3rd place in Dance at the District 5280 High School Arts
Competition Finals
held on March 1, 2014 at Loyola Marymount University. Quinn
performed modern ballet dance and currently studies dance at the
Debbie Allen Dance Academy
. Congratulations Quinn!

District 5280 High School Arts Competition Finals Julia Miele 2014-03-24 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by David Snow on Mar 23, 2014

Job Shadow Day

When: Friday, April 4, 2014
Where: At your place of work!
What: Demonstrate to an SMC Rotaract
    student your exciting career!

Rotaractors will spend the morning job shadowing you at your office
and then join you for lunch at the Riviera Country Club. The students
will then participate in the Rotary Day of Service on Saturday, April 5, 2014!

For more information please contact David Snow
at or (310) 383-4028.

Job Shadow Day - April 4, 2014 David Snow 2014-03-24 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Charles Follette on Mar 23, 2014

Rotary Day of Service


Saturday, April 5, 2014
We're going to fix up St. Anne School!
Come out and do a hands on project!

Click here for details.

Rotary Day of Service - April 5, 2014 Charles Follette 2014-03-24 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Mar 18, 2014


Daniel Bennett presented a $500 Community Youth Grant check to Brian Part of Humble Athletics. The money will be used to purchase new modern and safe workout equipment for student athletes, 80% of whom are either Santa Monica residents or Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District students.


We learned a lot about club members Julie Thomas and Tom Woods! Julie Thomas was a youngster in West Virginia, then moved to Detroit, Michigan with her family. One of her favorite memories was putting together a Heath Kit.

Julie loves to read and spent a lot of time at the Detroit Library when she lived in Michigan.

IT Is no suprise Julie studied Mass Communication in college and wanted to become a broadcast journalist on 60 minutes or
NPR or a journalist with the Detroit Free Press. Julie proudly shared that she paid for college as a well-paid unionized worker scooping ice cream and serving in a bakery.

Throughout her career, Julie has worked in the non-profit social services sector. After college, she met her husband through a co-worker at the National MS Society. In 2012, Julie became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the American Red Cross of Santa Monica.


Surprisingly, John Bohn and Eric Schmutter sponsored a self proclaimed "dork," Tom Woods.  (Tom, if you hadn't told us, we would not have known.)

At 7-months-old, San Diego-native Tom moved to Santa Monica. Being of Midwestern stock, Tom's fondest sports memory is of attending the 1995 Aloha Bowl football game in Honolulu, HI when Kansas University beat UCLA 51-30. *boo hoo*

Community service is in Tom's blood and his spirit. His grandpa Ralph was a Rotarian and our member Bob Moore is the father of Tom's sister-in-law. Before becoming a Rotarian, Tom started his service by joining Boy Scouts Troop 1 ½, then graduating to Troop 2 and has earned the Boy Scouts rank of Eagle Scout.

After Boy Scouts, Tom went to college at the University of California San Diego. Although he studied Cellular Biology and Visual Arts, Tom chose to apply what he learned as a General Contractor. Today, Tom owns Woods Construction.

Meeting Recap - March 14, 2014 Jillian Alexander 2014-03-19 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Daniel Bennett on Mar 18, 2014

Rotary Networking Hour


Last Wednesday (March 12) our Rotary Networking Group met to get to know each other professionally, build our referral networks, and become resources for each other.

We met and discussed many topics ranging from real estate to estate planning issues, where several of our Rotarian attorneys chimed in, including Lisa Alexander, George Collins, Bret Carter, and Connolly OylerTom Woods gave us a good background on his general contracting business, which was also tied in to several issues surrounding contracts.

  We also discussed referral relationships, where we get them, and where we give them.  As might be expected, it was universally agreed that the best leads come from referrals from strong relationships, as opposed to general marketing.  This was a strong validation of the importance of have a tight business community, like Rotary, to whom we can refer to for strong business partners.

Recap - Rotary Networking Hour Daniel Bennett 2014-03-19 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Janie Yuguchi Gates on Mar 16, 2014

Rotary Reads


Rotarians, please come out and read to kids! We will be reading in the eight elementary schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District on Wednesday, March 19 and Thursday, March 20, 2014! This is such a great effort each year, bringing in members to read to students in Kindergarten-Grade 2 classrooms.  We've also purchased a set of 24 newly published, award-winning books for each of the school's libraries. Each reading slot is 30 minutes.  We need you!

Be sure to sign-up at our Friday luncheon meeting or contact Janie Yuguchi Gates at or (310) 569-2668 as soon as you can!

Rotary Reads - March 19 & 20, 2014 Janie Yuguchi Gates 2014-03-17 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Mar 10, 2014


The head table included "President's Pick" David Rosenfeld; Scott Ferguson, who gave a wonderful invocation about the importance of family; Mitchell Kraus, who introduced our guests; and Avo Guerboian who introduced our speaker Natalie Crawford.

Member Avo Guerboian with Speaker Natalie Crawford

Pardee RAND Graduate School Professor and Former Vice President and Director of RAND Project AIR FORCE Natalie Crawford told some amazing stories about her life and her journey to RAND and shared her thoughts about current events. It was evident that Natalie approaches all decisions and forms beliefs with considerable thoughtfulness and intelligence.

Natalie has repeatedly been recognized for her contributions, including being recognized with lifetime achievement awards from the Air Force Analytic Community, the National Defense Industrial Associations Combat Survivability Division, and the Air Force Association for contributions to advancements in aerospace, science, and technology. In addition, she was recently awarded the Thomas D. White National Defense Award given annually to civilians who have contributed significantly to the national defense of our country. Other recipients of this award include Ronald Reagan, Colin Powell, John McCain, and Condoleezza Rice. Natalie is the second female to ever receive this award.
We were truly honored to kickoff National Women's History Month with such a spectacular guest speaker. Thank you Natalie!

Meeting Recap - March 7, 2014 Jillian Alexander 2014-03-11 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Lisa Alexander on Mar 09, 2014
Rotarians for Healthy Living
Mount Hollywood & Griffith Observatory Hike


Rotarians and friends met at the Charles Turner Trailhead bright and early last Saturday (March 8) morning.

We ascended the trail and at every turn the views were gorgeous. Almost immediately we were treated to a close up view of the Hollywood Sign, the closest many of us had ever been. Farther along, we looked back to see the Griffith Observatory framed against the backdrop of Downtown L.A. and the entire Los Angeles Basin. Approaching the top we enjoyed a panoramic view of Glendale and Burbank. We took our time to enjoy the beauty. Atop Mount Hollywood we devoured refreshments -- bagels and cream cheese, and orange juice and relished in being at the top of the world!

On the way down we took a wrong turn, but quickly recovered and made our way back to the Observatory. Everyone had a great time!

To view photos from the hike click here.

Recap - Healthy Living Hike Lisa Alexander 2014-03-10 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Karim Jaude on Mar 09, 2014

First Friday Tennis


Last Friday, 20 Rotarians and their friends showed up to play tennis and 12 others joined for dinner! Melissa Dagodag charmed everyone with not only her beauty and elegance, but also her racquet skills. Mike O’Hara drove everyone crazy with his heavy slices, spins, and dropped shots.

Join us for the next fun social and competitive event!

Recap - First Friday Tennis Karim Jaude 2014-03-10 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Nicholas Goehner on Mar 03, 2014


In honor of Black History Month, Dr. Williams spoke a little bit about Fisk University, in Nashville, Tennessee, and how it began in 1866 with the need to educate freed slaves.  It was very fascinating.

Pictured left-to-right: Past President David Bohn,
Speaker NPR “Morning Edition” co-host Renee Montagne

Vice President - Programs Scott Ferguson,
Member Billy Howard, and
President Nat Trives

We were so honored to have NPR “Morning Edition” co-host Renée Montagne speak at our meeting.  Renée has quite an incredible journalistic resume and had some amazing stories to tell.  Between major political moments in history and some seemingly near death experiences, Renée had quite inspiring stories to share with our club. 

One of her most fascinating stories was her experience being at the inauguration of Nelson Mandela, and how she knew at the time how important that moment in history really was.

Meeting Recap - Febraury 28, 2014 Nicholas Goehner 2014-03-04 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Feb 25, 2014


Landscape Architect Charlie Follette delivered a rock solid, earthy invocation.
1960 US Olympic Volleyball Team and club member Mike O’Hara not only was this week’s President’s Pick, but also asked for help re-branding four-person volleyball played on sand. Mike’s championing a new league to teach and encourage youngsters to play which has launched as a Girls’ league in Venice, California. The sport uses the same short courts as two-person beach volleyball and is not only intended to be fun, but also will prepare athletes to play team volleyball at the High School and Collegiate level.
Rosemary Regalbuto received $100 fine in absentia (Honorary Rotarian Tish Tisherman accepted fine on Rosemary’s behalf) for being recognized by the Lions Club of Santa Monica for her contributions during 27 years running Meals on Wheels West. President Nat Trives agreed to the Club’s recommended $200 amount as a fine for being the one to emcee the February 27, 2014, Lions Club event honoring Rosemary.

Director of Vocational Services Julie Miele and Committee Chair Pam Brady introduced the three Rotary Club of Santa Monica High School Arts Competition finalists who will advance to the District 5280 competition:

Dance Finalist: Quin Charles - Santa Monica High School Sophomore – performed modern ballet dance. She currently studies dance at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.


Art Finalist: Jared Valesquez -Santa Monica High School Senior - exhibited an intricate metaphorical pencil drawing symbolizing one’s struggle between hedonism and wisdom, with civility winning by the mind-body-spirit alignment for infinity.
Music Finalist: Classical guitarist Elliot Sorgen - Santa Monica High School Senior – Audience listened intently as Elliot played a modern, classical-style song on acoustic guitar accompanied by Tim Beckman. Cannot recall anytime that our members have been so quiet. Elliot’s applying to the Berkeley Academy of Music.
March 1, 2014, District 5280 High School Arts Competition Finals will be held at Loyola Marymount University.

Meeting Recap - February 21, 2014 Jillian Alexander 2014-02-26 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Feb 25, 2014

Rotarians for Healthy Living
Mount Hollywood & Griffith Observatory Hike
Saturday, March 8, 2014 -- 8:30 a.m.

Rising high at the heart of Griffith Park stands 1,625-foot Mount Hollywood with its amazing vistas of Los Angeles. We will hike the most popular route, starting at the Charlie Turner Trailhead at Hollywood Trail. After hiking north 1.5 miles to the summit, we will be rewarded with an amazing 360-degree panorama of Los Angeles. We will finish with no-host refreshments at the Café at the End of the Universe, after which you are free to stay and enjoy the observatory on your own. 

Meet at the Charlie Turner Trailhead (north end of Griffith Observatory parking lot).  Bring a hat, water, sunscreen, and binoculars. The hike is moderately strenuous.

For carpooling or questions please contact trip leader Lisa Alexander at or (310) 656-4310.

Mount Hollywood & Griffith Observatory Hike - March 8, 2014 Jillian Alexander 2014-02-26 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Feb 25, 2014

Rotary Club of Santa Monica Board of Officers & Directors have allocated funds to match member contributions toward Typhoon Hiayun and southwest Illinois Tornado disaster relief efforts. The Club will match all member contributions up to cumulative $2,500 for Typhoon Hiayun and $2,500 for Tornado.

Please contact Treasurer Alan Glick at or (310) 392-5970 regarding your contribution.

Typhoon and Tornado Relief - Member Challenge Jillian Alexander 2014-02-26 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Nicholas Goehner on Feb 09, 2014


Orchestra Santa Monica Woodwind Quintet

Ricardo Escobar wowed us with his classical guitar performance

Our meeting began with a wonderful performance by the Orchestra Santa Monica Woodwind Quintet.

The head table consisted of "President's Pick" Stan Bots; Invocateur Ken Waltzer, who shared a wonderful quote; Patricia Farris, who introduced meeting guests; and George Collins, who introduced featured entertainer Classical Guitarist Ricardo Escobar.

We also sang happy birthday to all of our Rotarians with birthdays in January and February. They received gifts and a Rotary hat! Happy Birthday Rotarians!

We were all touched by an amazing Classical Guitar performance by Ricardo Escobar.  He played some songs from all over Latin America and showed off the speed and skill that his fingers had on his guitar.  Thank you Orchestra Santa Monica and Ricardo Escobar!
Meeting Recap - February 7, 2014 Nicholas Goehner 2014-02-10 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Feb 02, 2014


Invocateur Linda Teixiera shared lovely and concise message to kick-off our meeting. Michael Cates  introduced the meeting’s guests, followed by Ken Waltzer keying a deliberately-paced rendition of "What a Wonderful World" on the piano. President Nat Trives fined himself once, although it should have been for Portugal mischief rather than being eer-so-slightly less sharp than normal due to cold meds.  

Mitch Kraus presented a check to Claris Health CEO Talitha Philips to buy furniture for the Teen Pregnancy Outreach and Parenting Program. And, visiting Rotarian Anna-Lissa Lavila (President of Hamina-Vehkalahti (Finland) Rotary Club) presented a cookbook and photo guidebook of Finland to President Nat Trives.

     Erik Jorgensborg with speaker Marcos Guillen

Erik Jorgensborg gave a touching introduction to our speaker Marcos Guillen. As a high school freshman, Marcos was forced out of his childhood home  and spent the next two years on the streets where he found "family" in a local gang and began selling drugs to survive. He was arrested at a gunfight, then sentenced to eight and one-half years in prison.

While incarcerated Marcos prioritized completing his education and preparing to re-enter civil society. He overcame poor literacy, earned his GED, learned to be a dental technician and was trained in substance abuse counseling.

Shortly after his release, Marcos realized he needed to obtain basic computing skills. He went to Chrysalis where he gained computing and other job skills, preparing to re-enter the workforce. His first job was with the Salvation Army. As someone who has gone through the justice system and struggled with addiction, Marcos is passionate about helping others who are in similar situations. Due to his determination, Marcos eventually landed a position as a Client Supervisor at Passages Recovery Center in August 2012.


Marcos now lives in a house with his wife and eighteen-month old son and four-month old daughter. Marcos' goal is to earn his Masters degree in Clinical Psychology.

Meeting Recap - January 31, 2014 Jillian Alexander 2014-02-03 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Feb 02, 2014

Magic Show Featuring Derek Hughes


Rotarians and guests are invited to a special performance by accomplished magician Derek Hughes!

Thursday, February 6, 2014
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Click more for details.

Magic Show - February 6, 2014 Jillian Alexander 2014-02-03 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Nicholas Goehner on Jan 26, 2014



Rotarian Mel Powell speaks about Membership, and cajoles Santa Monica Rotarians
to begin focusing on bringing in new members. Steve Alexis laughs while Connie Maguire
and President-Elect George Collins take the pledge.

The head table consisted of President Nat Trives’ "President’s Pick" Nora MacLellan; Melissa Dagodag, who led the Invocation; RoseMary Regalbuto, who introduced the meeting’s guests; and Bret Carter, who introduced speaker Mel Powell (Rotary e-Club of the Greater San Fernando Valley).

We watched an amazing video about how Vision to Learn works. After the video, Nora MacLellan was given a check from our Club to assist in funding free eye exams and glasses for The Boys and Girls Club of Santa Monica and Upward Bound House.

Larry Mortoff announced Friday was a special day. The Clean Water projects at orphanages throughout Myanmar that J.T. Waring (LA5) has been championing (and our PP Jim Dyer got our Club involved) led to the Myanmar government considering allowing Rotary Clubs to organize and form within the country. After 20 years, Rotary is again official in Myanmar.

Two visiting Rotarians attended last week's meeting, including Vision to Learn Outreach Coordinator Nora MacLellan (Rotary Club of Westchester), and Japanese Rotarian Ari Tanaka. Other guests included Ethan Brown, Scott Heelee, and Vision to Learn Program Manager Carissa Waldriff.

Meeting Recap - January 24, 2014 Nicholas Goehner 2014-01-27 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Jan 26, 2014

How to Propose Person for Membership

All of us want ours to remain the BEST Rotary Club in the BEST Rotary District, right?

Recruiting civic and globally-minded professional, business and government leaders whom live by the Four-Way Test will help us do so.

Below is our simple four-step process to propose new members:

1. Invite the person to a Rotary Meeting and other Rotary Club events.
2. Introduce the person to fellow Rotarians.
3. Complete and submit application form to Savi.
4. Be discrete and patient. 

How to Propose Person for Membership Jillian Alexander 2014-01-27 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Jan 14, 2014

Healthy Living Boot Camp

Physical Therapyworks' Justin “J.R.” Razeghian, CPT, coached Donna Byrd, John Dravillas,
Iao Katagiri, and Connie Maguire through a fun Boot Camp-style workout at Stoner Park!

Connie and Donna did push-ups, sit-ups, ran laps around the park, and more,
while John and Iao, claiming to be recovering from winter colds, cheered, took photos, and sneezed!

Thank you John Dravillas for organizing this Healthy Living activity.

J.R. Kicked Booty January 10 Jillian Alexander 2014-01-15 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Jan 13, 2014


The head table at the first meeting of the new year consisted of President Nat Trives’ "President’s Pick" and President-Elect Designate Tom Loo; Andrea Gressinger, who led an Invocation about love and healing; Myles Pritchard, who introduced the meeting’s guests; and Susan Annett, who introduced the meeting’s speaker RAND Senior Sociologist Chloe Bird.

It was a big day for our Community & Youth Grants Committee:

  • Red Kettle Day committee co-chair Myles Pritchard announced that our club collected $6,000, sadly losing to Kiwanis International which raised $9,000. The competing local Service Organizations raised a whopping $25,000!
  • Director Sharon Perlmutter-Gavin presented a check of $2,500 to Connections For Children Executive Director Patti Oblath. Connections For Children is the non-profit Child Care Resource and Referral agency serving child care providers, educators, and parents in the West Los Angeles and South Bay communities.
  • PP Jack Gregory presented a check of $2,500 to Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation Chairman Linda Gross. The mission of the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation is to engage the community to invest in a vibrant educational experience for all students in the Santa Monica and Malibu public schools.

President Nat prematurely announced that Gita Runkle will be Santa Monica College's Acting Associate Dean - Emeritus College. It's official TODAY! Brown-noser Nat waived Gita’s fine since she is now his boss...power has privileges!

Michael Reinprecht, a visiting Rotarian from Rotaract Club Wien-Stadtpark (Vienna, Austria) attended last week's meeting. Other guests included Rotaractor President Manny Ramirez; Rotoractors Pavel Bokarev, Rafael Solari, Esther Park, and Demetrius Polychron; Grant Recipients Connections for Children Executive Director Patti Oblath and Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation Chairman Linda Gross, Faculty Advisor Aileen Huang, Meals on Wheels West Executive Director Chris Baca (guest of Tish Tisherman), Abby and David Wisen (guests of Tom Loo), and Ethan Brown (guest of Charlie Follette).

Reminder - We are dark Friday in celebration of Martin Luther King Day!
Meeting Recap - January 10, 2014 Jillian Alexander 2014-01-14 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Jan 13, 2014


RAND Senior Sociologist, Pardee RAND Graduate School Professor of Policy Analysis, Associate Editor of Women’s Health Issues, and Deputy Editor of Journal of Health and Social Behavior Chloe Bird spoke about the gender differences in the quality of care for cardiovascular disease and diabetes in California.

Gender stratified reporting is necessary to be able to gain insights and understanding so that treatments can be developed and delivered.

When it comes to the two health issues which are the significant causes of death -- cardiovascular disease and diabetes -- there is a large discrepancy in the proportion of men versus women who are screened and receive treatment as well as a significant difference in the outcomes. For example, in California the gaps in screening are much smaller than the gaps in treatment. More than 50% of women's heart disease is microvascular, while men's is coronary artery. The symptoms are different and often ignored. As a result, since 1984 more US women die from heart disease than any other cause each year.

Three things to do:
(1) Enjoy a Mediterranean diet. People following this regime have lower instance than others of heart disease.
(2) If you have pain anywhere in body between nose and hips, even if it goes away when you relax, get checked by health provider!
(3) If you have heart disease, get your LDL cholesterol checked annually.

Having heart disease is not a death sentence. In recent years, treatment guidelines have changed. Once heart disease is present, very often doctors will prescribe statins. Just watch those interactions.

Speaker Chloe Bird Shared Insights About Gender Inequality in Healthcare Treatment and Outcomes Jillian Alexander 2014-01-14 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Jan 07, 2014



District 5280
2014 Rotary Youth Exchange
July 24, 2014 to July 26, 2014 Guest Abroad
July 26, 2014 to August 17, 2014 Host at Home

District 5280 is offering a short-term Rotary Youth Exchange to all students 15- to 18 1/2-years-old as of June 2014.

Each student will travel abroad to one country (Austria, Brazil, England, India,  Italy, Spain, Taiwan, or Turkey) and stay with a Rotarian host family for three weeks. A child-member from the foreign host family will return with the U.S. student and stay in his/her home.

District 5280 Rotary Youth Exchange Jillian Alexander 2014-01-08 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Dec 25, 2013

President Nat Trives returned looking well and presided over our annual Holiday Luncheon. Michael Cates delivered a heart-felt Invocation recognizing those serving in the US armed forces abroad and Barbara Bishop led us in the Pledge of Allegiance and singing God Bless America.
We were joined by visiting Rotarian Mike Moult (Teignmouth) and his wife visiting from the United Kingdom.



Carlthrop Choir comprised of Grade 1 through Grade 6 students sang 10 Christmas, Hanukkah and Kawanzaa holiday songs and played Bells previously donated by Rotary Club of Santa Monica at the direction of Laura Bickel. Each song was announced by Hayden Hill. Each performer was presented with a candy cane by Elf Savi as they exited.

A special visitor from the North Pole arrived late, bringing gifts for all the nice guest girls and boys.


We recognized the Riviera head chef, his sous chef, and our special dessert pastry chef Sheila Cutchlow. Sheila not only makes scrumptious desserts who works on Venice Boardwalk, but is a SAG member and producer.


For the second Spirit Competition, Timur Berberoglu won the ugly sweater contest. VP Programs Scott Ferguson presented the award.

Meeting Recap - December 20, 2013 Jillian Alexander 2013-12-26 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Dec 15, 2013

Greg O'Brien Named District Governor Nominee Designate

District Governor Nomination Committee selected Greg O’Brien (Palos Verdes Peninsula Rotary Club) to serve as our 2016-2017 District Governor.

Congratulations Greg!

Greg O'Brien - 2016-2017 District Governor Jillian Alexander 2013-12-16 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Dec 15, 2013

Ugly Sweater Contest


Come to Friday's Rotary meeting dressed in your ugliest holiday sweater!
Most outlandish holiday sweater model will win the meeting's spirit competition!

Ugly Sweater Contest - December 20, 2013 Jillian Alexander 2013-12-16 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Dec 15, 2013


Scott Ferguson presided over a hilarious meeting and launched our Spirit Competition. The previous week Scott encouraged members to attend dressed in flower child, Rasta-style, or other 1960s clothing to keep with the program topic marijuana legislation. Club Director Larry Mortorf won our very first spirit competition!

Matt Williams gave a soul-full Invocation; Judy Iriye introduced our visitors and guests; and Pat Bofird led a rousing rendition of "Let's Go Smoke Some Pot" to the tune of "Let's Go to the Hop."
Mitch Kraus presented a check to Santa Monica Fire Chief Mark Bridges. The funds will be used to buy stuffed animals to carry on the fire trucks and give to children!

Iao Katagiri along with a humorous video starring "doped-up" Avo Guerboian and
TJ Montemer introducing the meeting's speaker.


Speaker Beau Kilmer and VP Scott Ferguson


The group singing "Let's Go Smoke Some Pot"

Our speaker Beau Kilmer, as a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and RAND Drug Policy Research Center co-director, focuses on developing public policy. His research lies at the intersection of public health and public safety, with a special emphasis on substance use and the economics of commercial and illicit markets, law enforcement, and correctional facilities. Kilmer discussed the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana and informed us about the current marijuana legalization in Amsterdam, Colorado, Washington, as well as past and anticipated future efforts within California. 

We also held the Club Elections for 2014-2015 officers and directors. View the winners below!

One visiting Rotarian attended the meeting, art gallery owner Martin Suppan (Rotary Club of Vienna). Other guests included photographer and trainer Fabian Lewkowicz (guest of Scott Ferguson), Tish Tisherman (guest of John Bohn), Upward Bound House Director Christine Glasco, and Jessica Rice (Jillian Alexander's assistant).

To view photos from the meeting click here.

Meeting Recap - December 13, 2013 Jillian Alexander 2013-12-16 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Dec 08, 2013

2014 Friendship Exchange Program

Have you ever dreamed of traveling to Japan? Well, here is a great opportunity!

The Friendship Exchange is for Rotarians and their spouses to stay 7 days with Japanese host Rotarians in their homes, then host the same Japanese Rotarian and spouse in your home for a week. All it costs is airfare plus hosting guests here.

Deadline to apply is December 31, 2013.
If you want to go, sign up today!

 If you have any questions, please contact 2014 Friendship Exchange Chair
Makiko Nakasone
at or (818) 523-2866.     

To view the flyer click here.
To view the application form click here.

2014 Friendship Exchange Program Jillian Alexander 2013-12-09 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Dec 08, 2013

First Spirit Competition - December 13, 2013


In keeping with the spirit of our program on marijuana legislation,
on Friday, December 13, 2013
come to the Rotary meeting dressed in your flower child, Rasta-style or other 1960s clothing.

The Club Member who expresses their ‘60s style best will win our first spirit competition!
(The spirit competition will continue throughout the year.)

First Spirit Competition - December 13, 2013 Jillian Alexander 2013-12-09 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Dec 08, 2013


Elections will take place Friday, December 13, 2013.

George Collins 

Tom Loo

(in alphabetical order)

VICE PRESIDENTS: (2 to be elected)
Lisa Alexander   John Dravillas   Leonard Lanzi   Larry Mortorff

SECRETARY: (1 to be elected)
Suzan Allbritton   Scott Wagenseller

TREASURER: (1 to be elected)
Ken Waltzer   Janie Yuguchi Gates

DIRECTORS: (4 to be elected)
Daniel Bennett   Pam Brady   Charles Follette   David Rosenfeld
Barb Bishop   Roger Davis   Andrea Gressinger   Julie Thomas

Timur Berberoglu   Sharon Perlmutter Gavin

Good luck to all our candidates!
To vote using Absentee Ballot click here.

Absentee Ballots must be received by
Savi Labensart at Rotary Club of Santa Monica office no later than
Thursday, December 12, 2013.

Club Elections - December 13, 2013 Jillian Alexander 2013-12-09 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Dec 08, 2013


The head table at last week's meeting consisted of Nat Trives’ guest and "President’s Pick" Dale Bell, who gave tribute to Nelson Mandela; Lisa Alexander, who led our Invocation; Roger Davis, who introduced the meeting’s guests, and Mitch Kraus, who introduced the meeting’s speaker.

Instead of joining together in song, we viewed the “Electric Car” music video from Grammy Award Winning artists They Might Be Giants. For those of you who missed it click here.

In addition, Director-Community & Youth Service Sharon Perlmutter Gavin presented $2,300 check to the Clare Foundation. The funds will be used to purchase new kitchen equipment, as the Clare Foundation serves over 150 meals per day to homeless men.


President Nat Trives with Speaker Paul Scott


Director Sharon Perlmutter Gavin
with Clare Foundation's Tamara Pompey

Mitch Kraus introduced Speaker Plug In America (PIA) co-founder Paul Scott, a lifelong environmental advocate who actively promotes wide adoption of Electric Vehicles and plug-in hybrids to reduce both environmental damage and America’s vulnerability due to dependence on petroleum. Paul emphasized that
to protect our oil interests, in the last 10 years the U.S. Government has spent $2.1 trillion on wars in the Middle East plus U.S. Defense agencies $80 billion in non-war regions.

However, not all Americans embrace the shift to electric and hybrid vehicles. Paul pointed out that 14 states have passed laws that prohibit the sell of Tesla vehicles, which he attributes to existing dealers lobbying against competitively superior products.

For those concerned about the toxicity of disposed electric vehicle batteries, Paul mentioned that utility companies are reviewing obtaining the used batteries, placing them in facilities, where electricity generated from clean energy sources (e.g. wind) could be collected overnight and stored in those cells for use during peak hours during the following day. This could replace use of natural gas.

Two visiting Rotarians attended last week's meeting, including Noel Develter from Rotary Club of Menen (Belgium) with a classification of Finance and Stockton Gaines from Rotary Club of Pacific Palisades with a classification of Computer Technology. Other guests included Matt Wolf (guest of Scott Ferguson), Dale Bell (guest of Nat Trives), Tamara Pompey (guest of Sharon Perlmutter-Gavin), Dennis White (guest of David Bohn), Jessica Wyeck (guest of Tod Lipka), and Elza Ruhman (Lionel Ruhman's wife).

Meeting Recap - December 6, 2013 Jillian Alexander 2013-12-09 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Dec 02, 2013

Rotarians show appreciation by serving
Santa Monica Police & Fire Departments on Thanksgiving


Dee Menzies and Jim Menzies arranged for the Jonathan Club to donate a traditional Thanksgiving feast, procured pies and beverages, brought serving equipment and decorations, and organized team of Rotarian and their family and friend volunteers to serve the Santa Monica Police officers, Fire and support personnel on duty Thanksgiving Day.

More than 60 SMPD personnel enjoyed a full meal, and our volunteers delivered desserts to each fire station.

Thank You to our VOLUNTEERS:

Jillian Alexander
June Doy
Monte Herring & friend Len Rolenta Sibarani
Alonzo, September, Hayden & Autumn Hill
Judy Iriye & daughter Saya Feldman
Iao Katagiri
Mitchell & Zack Kraus
Dick Lawrence
Paul Leoni
Dee, Jim & Jamie Menzies
Con Oyler & friend Oscar
Irene Passos
Dave Potter
Myles Pritchard
Linda Teixeira

Click here to view photos from the event!

Serving Santa Monica Police on Thanksgiving 2013 Jillian Alexander 2013-12-03 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jillian Alexander on Dec 01, 2013

UCLA Trounces USC 35-14


George Collins led a fearless crew of Bruins and Trojans to the LA Live JW Marriott for a spirited pre-game lunch headlined by former head coaches John Robinson (USC) and Terry Donahue (UCLA, the winning-est coach in Pac-10 history). They were quite entertaining.

No one expected UCLA (ranked #22) to beat USC (ranked #23) by three touch-downs!



UCLA Trounces USC 35-14 Jillian Alexander 2013-12-02 00:00:00Z 0