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Scroll - August 2016

Paul's Place - Friday, July 29th, 6:30 am

President Bob Casey opened the meeting, introduced guests and sought announcements: By a unanimous vote, the proposed Operations and Charities budgets for 2016-17 were approved. Don Barclay announced this Vocational Visits Survey to determine the members’ preference for venues at which we will hold this year’s vocational visits. Members were asked to respond.


  • Shelly was “rewarded” with a bell ringer for her month long visit to Peru, a birthday and first anniversary of her membership in MSR.

  • Pope was levied a bell ringer for the celebration of his 29th wedding anniversary.

  • Kyle also paid a $50 fine for newspaper recognition of accomplishments at UC Merced.

Program Speaker -- John Derby

  •      Mike Cuchna introduced member John Derby, newspaperman for more than 50 years and founder of Mid Valley Publications (publisher of 5 central valley newspapers). John retired as its Publisher in 2004, but is still actively involved in many of the company’s operations. John prides himself in the fact that his newspapers provide the “Power of Positive Press” by striving always to report on the positive aspects of newsworthy events in the community.

  •      John recently attended the Rotary International Convention in Seoul, South Korea. Part of his motivation to attend stemmed from his abiding interest in Rotary, but in larger measure he wanted to re-visit some of the sites he had involuntarily visited during his military service in the early 50s as a Korean War Correspondent. John spent considerable time discussing how the landscape had changed since his former visit. He remarked at how clean the environs were and how friendly, helpful and accommodating the Korean people were.

  •      His program was embellished with a video depicting street scenes, the RI convention venue, the Korean DMZ (once a single building and now an amusement park) and a couple of war memorials held dear by the Korean people. He pointed out that no American bodies were left in South Korea and that the U.S. still has 31,000 troops stationed on the peninsula.

  •       John reported that there are 41 million people in Seoul, that there are 6 subways buried beneath the city and that for $50 one can buy a ticket that can be used for trains, busses or taxis throughout the city. Overall, except for a bad experience with RI’s inability to recover his registration documents, the trip was very rewarding and enjoyable. He encouraged the membership to visit South Korea whenever the opportunity arose.

 (Trivia: There were 33,741 U.S. battle deaths among the U.S. service members serving in the war theater.   Another 2,835 died of non-battle causes, bringing the total dead to 36,576.)

  • At the close of the meeting, Steve Benner was a big winner of the Marble Game by taking home the sizeable pot of $379.  He generously donated the same amount to the Merced SPCA.



Paul's Place - Friday, August 5, 2016, 6:30 am

President Bob Casey opened the meeting, announced that full football practice sessions had begun, introduced guests and sought announcements: 

  • Mike Cuchna announced that September is Literacy Month and to render our support, he asked for volunteers to sign up for the book drive scheduled for September 10th. The venue was not announced, but a signup sheet was circulated to identify members who will support this project.

  • Bob announced that some of his FB players are having a rough time finding a place to live. Members were asked to notify him of any available space for rent.

  • Bob auctioned off a donation from Hank to Mike Cuchna, who opened his prize and found some nonmedicinal “pot.”

  • Hank paid $20 for his spouse’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Christine!

  • Bob announced that the District Foundation Seminar is scheduled for August 27. Registration is open until August 19th.  Anyone interested should contact Bob no later than next Friday.  


     Galen introduced member Sam Traina who is currently serving as the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development at UC Merced. Sam’s program provided an extensive explanation of the University’s 2020 Project, an ambitious expansion plan that will nearly double the physical capacity of the Merced campus by adding 1.2M square feet, thereby permitting an enrollment of 10,000 students. Groundbreaking is scheduled for later this fall with anticipated completion by 2017.As part of the 2020 project and to extend the campus’ Urban Core, UC Merced will also add space downtown at the corner of 18th and N Streets that will accommodate space for a staff of 370. At 18th and N, a Venture Lab will be built and will nurture knowledge-based economic activity. It will be shared with the local Small Business Administration. Many other details about this exciting project can be accessed at the University’s website www.ucmerced.edu/.

  • Steve Benner was a repeat winner of the Marble Game, but the pot was empty because he cleaned it out last week. He did get a $1 refund for one of the tickets that he purchased. 


Paul's Place - Friday, August 12, 2016, 6:30 am

President Bob Casey opened the meeting, introduced guests and sought announcements: 

  • Dewayne accepted a double bell ringer for a belated birthday announcement.

  • Bob auctioned off a donation from Rich Miller. Stewart was enlisted to help with the auction.

  • For recently celebrating 52 years of wedded bliss, John Barnhart was recognized for a double bell ringer.

  • Stewart paid $50 to commemorate his daughter’s 3rd birthday.

  • Bob announced that the District Foundation Seminar is scheduled for August 27. Registration is open until next Friday, August 19th.  Rich Miller announced that he planned to attend and would drive if anyone wanted to ride with him.

  • Don Barclay announced that today was the last day to vote for the preferred venues for our vocational tours this year.

  • President Bob announced the sad news that Theresa Cesar will be stepping aside from Rotary activities for a while.  Theresa states that she needs some time and space to herself and plans to return after some time off to refresh and regroup. Meantime, President Bob will be seeking a member or members to provide leadership for the Field of Honor coming up in November.


     Mike Altomare introduced his friend, John Bedell, who is the Senior Director of Agriculture Operations for JS West and Companies.  John grew up in the valley and has been involved in the chicken industry for most of his life. John discussed the myriad environmental issues that all farmers face, and with considerable specificity, he amplified the seemingly countless environmental challenges that chicken farmers face. He showered us with statistical information, e.g. McDonalds uses 23 billion eggs/year and Walmart uses 11 billion eggs per year, just to mention two.


He went through a litany of store names, merchants and restaurants that market or use eggs and explained that, in the context of the progressive increase in human population and their demand for eggs, when coupled with the mounting number of environmental concerns germane to chicken farming, the increased cost in chicken production will be $28-$33 per bird to the farmer. This translates to approximately $6 billion nationwide in aggregate costs to chicken farmers. John closed by highlighting some of the nutritional benefits of eating eggs. Eggs according to John, are an all-natural source of high-quality protein and a number of other nutrients, all for 70 calories an egg.

Paul's Place - Friday, August 19, 2016, 6:30 am

President Bob Casey opened the meeting, introduced guests and sought announcements: 

  • Rich Miller reported on the public hearing that was conducted by the City Council last Monday and read a portion of the resolution that was unanimously adopted.  See this  Link for details.

  • President Bob announced that we were somewhat behind, but preparatory work was in play for the 2016 Field of Honor.

  • Bob called on Galen to confess his recent real estate dealings. Galen paid a bell ringer for having purchased a home in Frank Reed’s neighborhood and for having sold his current home within seven days of publishing the listing.

  • Captain John announced he was turning 80, paid an $80 fine and invited everyone to his birthday party.  John told a story of a close up photo he took of John F. Kennedy at Castle Air Force Base back in the early ‘60s. Gary Hogston’s son is an artist and will make a panting of the photo that will be displayed at his birthday party. See this  Link for details.


        Galen introduced Ken Testa, the Director of Facilities for the Merced City School District, who shared with us many facets of the numerous construction and modernization projects he has managed during the summer months at nearly every school within the district. He adroitly supplemented his presentation with 22 PowerPoint slides. He took time to explain that most of the funds to support the projects were derived from the Measure M bond that the community recently passed.  

        In executing these projects, every effort was made to meet the current and future needs of students, teachers and support staff while simultaneously placating the concerns of the taxpayer. Classrooms, lunchrooms and restrooms were modernized. Parking facilities were upgraded and surveillance cameras were installed in myriad places to enhance safety as well as to thwart theft and vandalism. Water fountains were upgraded to comply with current health and safety standards. In closing, Ken pointed out that even though the summer is over and school is now in session, not all aspects of the projects are complete. Work will continue until all of the bond monies are expended to improve the educational facilities of the Merced City School District.


Paul's Place - Friday, August 26, 2016, 6:30 am

President Bob Casey opened the meeting, introduced guests and sought announcements: 

  • Bob announced that the board had approved the release of up to $30K to support the Honoring Veterans project.

  • Bob announced that the board had approved the release of $3K to pay for two eligible veterans to participate in the October Honor Flights.

  • Don Barclay announced that the vocational visits for this year will be to Foster Farms, UC Merced Facilities, UC Merced Electron Microscope and City Firehouse. He also suggested that he would initiate a 180s program whereby members would report on an induvial who had inspired them in choosing their particular vocation.

  • Bob reminded members of the coming DG’s visit on September 1st and 2nd.

  • Three members each paid a $50 bell ringer fine, Doug for his first grandchild, Rich for another grandchild and Gina for her husband’s recent appointment as Vice Principal at Tenaya Middle School.

  • Frank announced that he had volunteered to be RI Foundation Chair for this year. Carolyn had a birthday and they both had an anniversary. His $20 fine was paid by Tim.

  • Hank paid $40 for the goodies that Mike Cuchna brought back for the auction from his recent Prague and Rhine River tour.


     Mike Cuchna introduced Chris Vitelli, Vice President for Student Services at Merced College. Chris reported on a myriad of activities that characterize the extracurricular activities that are available to the student body at Merced College. What’s currently happening for students include as search for the new College President, the renewal of WASC accreditation for the college and the challenges inherent to the growth mode they are currently in. He also highlighted three facets of facility modernization on tab for this year, namely the Veterans Resource Center, the Cafeteria and the Tutorial Center.

     Chris spent considerable time displaying charts and reporting on statistics pertinent to student graduation rates at community colleges when correlated with the number of units undertaken. The statistics demonstrate that students who enroll in at least 15 units per semester have greater success and higher graduation rates than students who enroll for less than 15 units. He elaborated on the emphasis currently being placed on counselors to interface with high school students to service their educational needs as fully as possible.

     Judging from Chris’ energy and enthusiasm that he brings to his multi-faceted job, the student population at Merced College is being well served insofar as its extracurricular activities are concerned.


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