Club Information

Welcome to our Club!


Service Above Self

We meet Mondays at 12:15 PM
Hilton San Francisco Airport
600 S. Airport Boulevard
Burlingame, CA  94010
United States
Venue Map
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Director/Foundation Chair
Past President
Who knew? April 25 is National Malaria Day!  Your reporter is excited, how about you?  We’ll be twitching in our seats before this High Gear sunsets. Actually, it is also reportedly National Penguin Day, but seems a bit out-of-season to your reporter, even though Christmas Day is just eight months from today.  Moving along…
President Barry called the meeting to order.  Pastor Paul led the pledge.  Father Mike invoked that God loves the Warriors and especially Steph Curry.  I’m pretty sure that’s what Mike said.  Couldn’t agree more.
Barry mentioned that some ladies are designing a new banner, much in the spirit of Betsy Ross methinks.  We look forward to seeing it!
Ouch!  Walt Ramseur’s Mary Griffin fractured her back.  We were  somewhat relieved to hear Walt say Mary should be home as soon as this week.  Our love and concern is with you, Mary!
Jay Doker received his round badge and became the most important Rotarian on the planet.  Reportedly, Jay and our own Barry Parker bicycled 100 miles or some such last year.  I say reportedly because who can believe anyone would do such a thing.  All for benefit of Best Buddies.  It is hereby documented that Barry admitted that Jay beat his butt.  There’s always next year, boss!
The excitement builds for Rotary Fiesta.  Joy Huettman needs some help setting up on Saturday afternoon.  Give her a call if you are available.  Keep in mind that  cocktail hour doesn’t start until 6:00, kids!
Dress is casual…like really casual, as in beachwear.  Try to employ good judgment in this matter.  Mary Murphy is thinking one sombrero should do it.    That does take care of one side anyway.
       Rotary Fiesta, Saturday, April 30 – 6:00 – 9:00P
Mariachis and a DJ, too.  Mexican hat dance most probably!!!  Auction items include Virgin America tickets, a Mystery Dinner at Joe LaMariana’s home on August 21.  No indication of the nature of the
“mystery” aspect of the evening.    Unsettling.
Paul Nieberding announced that we will be planting a tree in memory of Rotary Legend Dave Carr.  We will witness the planting when we assemble in the park on an unspecified Monday just before  our lunch meeting.  Trickster President Parker is trying to pass off the cost to Stan Moore’s reign.  Dave Carr would love it!
Joe Galligan introduced another overachiever, Megan Caldwell, MPH of the San Mateo County Mosquito & Vector Control District.  Megan is the Public Health Education and Outreach Officer.   This County office has been protecting public health since 1916; it says so on her card.
Again, who knew?  The first Mosquito Abatement District was formed for Burlingame-Hillsborough-San Mateo.  Today being World Malaria Day, it was noted that Malaria was eradicated in the U.S. in 1951. 
Here’s where the twitching starts:
  • Birds transport mosquitos
  • The Zika virus has been found in Menlo Park and Atherton
  • Ticks are well-established in biomes similar to Fresno
  • There are cases of tick-borne disease discovered every day in
San Mateo County
  • Rodents carry plague, humans not affected…lately
  • Don’t touch caterpillars. Yucky. Just don’t do it.
  • Raccoons are cute, but transmit Rabies
  • Harborage is the habit of raccoons to use the bathroom, as it were, over and over in the same place.
  • Rats get mites and deserve them.
  • The Mosquito Abatement District has 21 full-time staff members
  • The Four Seasons in  insects:  ticks in winter, mosquitos in summer, rodents in spring, and wildlife in all seasons.
  • Mosquitos have been developed in Brazil and Central America that produce offspring that expire immediately. 
Mosquito fun remains. Lage Anderson wanted to know how a mosquito might discern an appropriate sex partner if one were a mosquito.
  • Don’t touch yellowjackets or remove nests yourself.  Call WASP control.
  • Good question, Mary Murphy:  Are mosquitos good for anything?  The politically correct Megan says they are part of the ecological system.  But, she also admitted – they’re not exactly good for anything.
  • Any rain brings mosquitos.
  • Most of the work of the Mosquito Abatement District is preventative.
Burlingame Rotary is donating a book in your name to the Burlingame Library. Megan was giving away these 'tick keys' which remove ticks the right way. Rotarians were endlessly amused by the 'tick keys' we received from Megan.  We amuse easily. Thanks so much, Megan, for all you do. 

Lots of bright, shiny faces on this beautiful day! 
President Barry Parker called the meeting to order at the stroke of 12:15.  The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Dave Behling.  President Barry noted that the victims of the 7.8 earthquake in Ecuador are in our thoughts as are the folks in Japan. 
Bob Doerr introduced Bill Chiang, Visiting Rotarian from Chengdu in China.  Flags were exchanged.
Rosalie McCloud introduced Guest of the Club and being-proposed as new member Cheri Carr. Cheri would be a second-generation Rotarian as she is the daughter-in-law of our beloved Dave Carr who left us recently.   Your reporter was trying to introduce her to some folks, but she already knew a bunch. She is going to be a great addition.   Jennifer Pence introduced her guest, John, from the Sentence Center in her building.   He’s about grammar, not incarceration.
Our Rotary Fiesta will happen on April 30, 2016 from 6:00 to 9:00 P.M. at the Coyote Point Yacht Club.  Here’s the deal:  This is a command performance.  You pay whether you attend or not, so see you there!!!
The Samaritan House Safe Harbor facility needs help serving meals to overnight guests, especially on April 28, May 26, and June 3.
Jeanne Berube introduced over-achiever Bryan Neider of Gatepath.    That’s just plain, fabulous Gatepath.  Community Gatepath no more.
Bryan was with Electronic Arts for 25 years in every important position they have, including but not limited to, CEO and CFO of their dot-com site. Bryan received his undergraduate education at  University of Santa Clara, and a Masters from California State University East Bay.  His family includes wife Katie and four children.  He enjoys  mountain climbing and backpacking. For some reason USF alum Mark Johnson and Bryan knew each other in their youth.  We need more scoop on these choirboys.
The work of Gatepath is well known to us, as we had the pleasure of the membership of Sheryl Young for ‘lo those many years until she recently retired.  Pierre Bouquet remembers painting the Trousdale facility which is now the Learning Links Preschool.   I remember the gift shop, buying books then donating them back. 
Sad to say, the California State Government ranks 50 of 50 for states participating in the capital funding of nonprofits.  Bryan acknowledged the help of our local legislators, Jerry Hill and Kevin Mullin for their great help. 
  • Gatepath wants to be known as the best agency in San Mateo County
  • Gatepath encourages the public to Accept/Respect/Include folks with disabilities.
  • Inclusion is what it’s all about
  • 85% of folks with disabilities suffer depression and loneliness
  • Mission, Vision, Values
And the “Winners” are:
Monday, April 25, 2016, the program from the “District” is timely topic with all this rain!
The Panama Canal opened in 1914
(Butch Taylor’s wife Betty Lou’s grandfather, Carl E. Grunsky, was an engineer who worked on the Panama Canal)

The Rotary Fiesta is coming April 30, 2016.  Get your tickets now!

By special invitation, members of the Rotary Club of Burlingame gathered for a "Happy Hour" at Atria Burlingame on February 17.  Many thanks to Atria Executive Director Kris Waluszko and Atria Sales Director Victoria Haket for hosting a warm and inviting wine and cheese reception on a dark and stormy night!


October 9, 1931 - January 22, 2016

Rotarian David Charles Carr of Burlingame CA, surrendered to his battle with congestive heart failure and Parkinsons disease on January 22, 2015, age 84. His larger-than-life personality, kind eyes and loving smile will not be forgotten by his wife of 60 years, Jane Beel, daughter Marilyn, son Michael and wife Chéri, son Jeffrey and wife Lori, and grandchildren Allison and Austin, who lovingly called him Papa.
A service will be held for Dave Thursday, February 4, at 1:00pm at First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame, 1500 Easton Dr. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Parkinson's Institute or Mission Hospice of San Mateo, CA.
Read complete obituary here

And the Round Badge Goes to Stephanie Liccha!
And the President Elect, Elect for RY 2016-17 is
Michael Horowitz!
What did she say?

Dead Man Walking or Not! See Program

Maki, James and Peter making peace with a gift robe from sister Club – Edogawa Japan
Next Program – August 24, 2015 –  My Experience Defending a Death Penalty Case – Charles Voltz, Esq.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led with perfect diction and timing by funny man Professor Kimball
The Invocation was presented by straight man Dr. Paul Nieberding: “God help President Parker, ‘cause he needs it!”  -AMEN- exhorted the Club!  
Sunshine Report:  All sun, no rain! – J. Shypertt 
Guests of the Club (More in PROGRAM below)
1. Deadline to Pay Invoices for Annual Rotary Club Dues –  August 14th!  Please pay or President Parker will be calling on you!  J
2. All Club Members needed Labor Day (9/7) for BCE Foundation Spirit Run 8:00 – 11:00 am.   Contact Dave Behling now!
3. Rotary Peace Concert featuring Brett Dennan and Crystal Bowersox –Sat. Nov. 14th, 7:30 PM The Herbst Theater – S.F.  Prices: $50, $75 and $125. Tickets on Presale to Rotarians to Aug. 15th!   Use Presale Passcode: RI5150  For info, go to: For tickets: 
4. Sign-up and get your sponsors! – 4th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament – Monday, October 5th at Peninsula Golf & Country Club (Mike Horwitz)
5. District 5150 Grants and WCS Training  - Sat. Aug. 15th at the Recology Center, San Francisco.  Sign-up on District website:
6. August is Rotary Membership Month.   Get some!
7. Board Meeting on August 19th, Conf. Room, Burlingame City Hall, 4:30 – 6:00 pm. 
To allow additional time for the Day’s Program, Jennifer Pence graciously postponed the delivery of  the newscast. Stay tuned!  
Next Program:  August 17, 2015 – Mike Mitchell – The Power of a Soccer Ball

The Pledge was orchestrated by Back Table “Fine Me” Master Duffy Offield (a/k/a “Grumpy,” no “Happy”)
An emotional start for what would prove to be an emotional scholarship recognition meeting.
Pierre Bouquet whipped out a first in the annals of the Rotary Club of Burlingame – The Wallet Card Invocation! 
Give us strength my friends.  Amen! 
Sunshine Report by James “All B. Well” Shypertt. 
Distinguished Guests of the Club
•Ms. Lori Friel, College and Career Counsel, Burlingame High School
•Mr. Tom Jung, Photographer, San Mateo Daily Journal
•Ms. Carolyn Livengood, Columnist, San Mateo County Times  (1,600 columns written!)
•Mr. Brad Vaughn, Son of the the Late Great Dave Vaughn (Back Table Leader)
•Student Scholarship Award Recipients 
BHS Principal Di Yim, Carolyn Livengood and Lori Friel feeling good for scholarships.
Brad Vaughn and Peter Camaroto standing tall and looking good for the Dave Vaughn Memorial Scholarship!
•Annual Dues Due! The majority of Club Members are answering the call to pay their Annual Dues. Only 38 to go before the deadline of August 14th.  A mere $225 for a year’s worth of fellowship and entertainment! Bring your check or credit card to the next meeting. Please & thanks!
•President’s Club:  Pres. Parker thanked all the early birds who joined his President’s Club! You are a gift to the world!
•Japanese Student Exchange Program:  Join Past. Pres. Bob Doerr to roll-out the “Welcome Home” red carpet to the students returning from Japan on August 4th, 10:45 am at S.F. Airport.  Contact Bob to car pool!
•Volunteers Needed!  BCE Spirit Run – Sept. 7th 8 – 11 am.  Traffic Control, Water Aid Station, Booth Attendants! Contact Dave Behling
4th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament:  October 5th – Peninsula Golf & Country Club. Sign-up! $275/player.  Dinner only/$85.   Hole Sponsor: $150. Silver Sponsor: $1,000.  Gold Sponsor: $3,000.  Platinum Sponsor: $5,000.  Diamond Sponsor:  $10,000.  See Club flyer for details. Website coming soon!
Newsletter Editors!  Step-up or the Newsletter is no more.  Last call.  Don’t make me beg.  Please, please, please.
Special Recognition
Jennifer Pence and Mike Heffernan were presented with “Jefferson Community Service” awards by Burlingame High School at the 2015 Senior Awards Ceremony. 
Congratulations Mike and Jennifer!
Thank you for your untiring leadership, dedication and commitment to “Service Above Self” in support of the next generation. You are a shining example of the definition of Rotary.
The Few, The Proud, The Superheroes!
Club Member and BHS Principal Di Yim accepting the Teacher of the Year Award plaque updated with two BHS Teachers of the Year, Heather Johnson and Kent Robie.
Mike Heffernan and Special Guest Brad Vaughn presenting the Dave Vaughn Memorial Scholarship
The Program
Student Scholarship Recipients Interviewed Live!
By Michael Heffernan and Jennifer Pence
You should’ve been there. That’s all I have to say.
Photos courtesy of Tom Jung. © 2015 San Mateo Daily Journal.  All rights reserved.  
Next Program – August 3, 2015 – Community Choice Energy Program presented by San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine (District 1).

Leading the Pledge was
Harvey Newcomb III,
Rotary Club of
Evanston Lighthouse, IL and
Director of Principal Gifts, The Rotary Foundation. 
We exchanged Club banners!
Basil Emery knocked out an Invocation for the ages.
Leadership by example!
Guests of the Club:
Alex (middle) showing off son and future Rotarian Miles Kent (right) with Charlie “King Kahuna” Rosebrook (left).
Reagan Lee, Rotary Club of S.F. Chinatown, and Harvey Newcomb told
Bob Doerr they like the energy of our Club.  They didn’t know our
President’s bicycling nickname is “Magnet!”
New Round Badger!
After months of perfect attendance, Jeanne Berube received
the “Gift of Friendship” - her “Round Badge” from Pres. P.
Club Treasurer Mike Heffernan presented the Rotary Top 10 List
10 things only 2 Club members wanted to know about Club Finances
and the rest of us really enjoyed consuming a lot of pie (charts).
We’re good and balanced!
Derby Style!
"Club Disassembly"
presented by
Pres. B.J. Parker, Esq.
Next Program - July 27, 2015:
Scholarship Recipients Interviewed – Live!
Hosted by Mike Heffernan and Jennifer Pence

Pledge: Past President Ted Kruttschnitt started
the Pledge and the rest of the Club finished it with…
“…with Life, Liberty and Justice for All!”
Invocation:  Michael Horwitz blessed the food and the room and then reminded the Club of the date of the 4th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament:  October 5th
Looking for a few good golfers and sponsors!  See announcements.
Stay Tuned – a Fun Fairies Party is coming!
Straight from the Rotary International Convention is Sao Paulo, Brazil, President Parker presented Marilyn Orr a keepsake gift made of “Golden Grass” in appreciation of Marilyn’s gift to the Club of Annual Dues Invoices.   30 days to pay members!
Mark Friedman needs you!
To staff the cafeteria at Samaritan House  Safe Harbor Homeless Shelter  - 4th Thurs of every month!
295 N. Access Rd., So. San Francisco, CA
Peter Comaroto and Maki Kobayashi updated the Club on the Japanese Student Exchange Program and announced a Student and Family Dinner  - July 21 at 6 pm – 102 S. El Camino Rd.  RSVP to Peter or Maki.  JSEP Committee members requested to donate $100 to cover costs.  Thanks!
Frederick (Rick) Gilbert, PhD
Next Program:  “Club Disassembly.” – Pres. Parker, et. al.

Invocation:   Newish dad Flavio Silva gave us some thoughts about motherhood in honor of the weekend’s maternal holiday.
Announcements:   Jim Shypertt provided our Sunshine Report:   According to Jim’s quick telephonic check-in with a power higher than himself we’re all good.  We had a variety of guests and visitors including a whole table of local educators.  
President Mary announced that the recent Derby event, chaired by Joy Huetteman and Sean Williams, made the projected fund raising goal of $15,000.  Thank you to the entire committee.   See Marilyn Orr or John Delaney and give them $75 if you haven’t already done so.
Mike Horwitz made a golf tourney pitch.   This annual event raises scholarship money for Burlingame kids and is a lot of fun.     An organization meeting is coming up Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at Boston Private Bank & Trust.  Please come help out to make this tournament another in a string of successful Rotary functions. The event will again be held at Peninsula Golf and Country Club in October.
Mike Heffernan announced our Teacher of the Year/Vic Mangini Awards.   Amelia Ramos is a middle school teacher who helps out emerging students.   She has a heart of gold and BIS is very lucky to have her.    Two Burlingame High School teachers, Heather Johnson and Kent Robie, are being recognized this year.   They were introduced by BHS principal Di Yim.   Kent and Heather spoke to the value of the service aspect of their jobs and they feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work with our kids.  We are fortunate to have them in our midst.    
Rotary Means Business (RMB) is May 27th.   A flyer is delivered with this bulletin.   RSVP at
Program and Speaker:  Bill Dawson is the immediate past President of Belmont Rotary and a local attorney.   Bill gave us his impressions of Syria based on a trip he took there in 2007.   Syria is a poor country with a very young population (what could possibly go wrong? – ed.).   Bill’s presentation included a summary of part of T.E. Lawrence’s time in “Arabia.”  Syria has a diverse population and many intriguing historic sites but not much of a tourist industry. Bill enjoyed his trip.
Upcoming Speaker:  Betty Ann Boeving is the Founder and Executive Director of Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition.  She will address our club on May 18th.
Invocation:   Maggie MacIsaac gave us inspirational words:  “Life is like a camera; focus on what’s important and capture the good times.   Develop from the negatives; if things don’t work out just take another shot.”   Great advice.  We’ll try, Maggie….thank you.
Announcements:   Jim Shypertt quickly gave our Sunshine Report: All good.
Throughout the years, weddings and birthdays have happened in May and Prez Mary told us all about them.
Mary’s meeting schedule allowed for two very nice opportunities for fellowship.  Well done and cheerio, President Mary. 
Our Club’s Japanese Student exchange program is going strong and we received an update from Peter Comaroto and Maki Kobayashi.   Applicants have been interviewed from BHS.    Four candidates have been chosen.   Next up is a twelve hour course to review culture and customs. 
Joy Huetteman and Sean Williams gave a Derby update.   We had a very successful and fun event and it looks like our fundraising goal will be met.   Even President Mary’s husband (who reportedly hates Rotary events) enjoyed himself.     A cast of thousands helped create a very special day.  Pay John Delaney $75 if you haven’t already done so.
Rotary International is a “second responder” in times of disaster.   The April earthquake in Nepal caused widespread devastation.   Rotary is providing shelter kits and teams to help the displaced.  
Rotary Means Business (RMB) is May 27th.   A flyer is delivered with this bulletin.   RSVP at
Program and Speaker:  Kaylie Milliken is the producer of the documentary Billion Dollar Bully which is a film in production that considers Yelp.   Yelp is a very influential review site.  Yelp has a variety of review processes and attempts to get advertising in heavy handed manners according to Kaylie.   Choose not to except Yelp’s offer to advertise with Yelp at your company’s risk. Yelp makes businesses an offer that they can’t refuse. Exploring Yelp’s business practices provided ample fodder for Kaylie to envision and create what looks to be a compelling documentary.     The documentary is about 20% complete so stay tuned for updates.  You can also look here:
Upcoming Speaker:  Betty Ann Boeving is the Founder and Executive Director of Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition.  She will address our club on May 18th.

Excellent attendance as President Mary called the meeting to order at the appointed time.
The meeting was called to order at 12:18 p.m.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, Rosemary Rayburn gave the invocation.
Alden Cunningham was introduced as a visiting Rotarian, but objected to the characterization. He is a Burlingame Rotarian & he don’t need no stinkin’ badge.
Mario Flaheraty attended as a guest of the club. Mario is the new General Manager of the tennis center which was recently built along Highway 101 in Northern Burlingame. It is a community based facility with no membership.
Jean Berube joined us from Community Gatepath as the guest of past-president Cheryl Young.
Jim Shypertt reported that the club is full of S*******. You know, SUNSHINE! Yep, we are all well. Jim faked a telephone call from the Almighty when giving his report. Or was it His report? This reporter would investigate, but is afraid of lightening strikes.
It was announced that our website needs a FAQ page. Anyone who has any questions about Rotary, submit your questions to the website committee. My question is, "Who is on the website committee?
The Kentucky Derby fund-raising event organizers need auction items. How about an autographed copy of this High Gear? Oh, what’s that? Nevermind. Apparently the auction items need to have some VALUE. Anyway, bring your items to Jennifer Pence.
Burlingame Rotary is also participating in an exchange student program with a Japanese club. Maki, Bob D., Kelvin, John D., and Rosemary are all involved. They are hoping to raise funds and need sponsors for the visiting students. The student participants from here are going to be taking lessons about Japanese "culture and manners." Meanwhile, the Japanese exchange students will presumably take lessons about how to survive in a place that has neither.
Francis announced the Borneo project has raised $29,400.
The Burlingame Community for Education Foundation is selling tickets to their BCE Goes Hollywood fund-raising event. Hmmm. Somehow sounds familiar. . . Anyway, tickets can be purchased on-line:
Marc Friedman stood up to provide comic relief and proved once and for all that the newscast has gone to the dogs. Indeed, Marc had the whole club laughing at various jokes involving our canine friends. There was one about a dog who jumped through a hoop and out the window ala There’s Something About Mary as well as one about a talking dog who used to work for the CIA—or did he? Marc even provided definitions from the doggy dictionary, including a big laugh about a Jewish dog known as the "Goldman Retriever." You had to be there.
Our speaker was famed Burlingame attorney Joseph Cotchett of Whereishe, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP. Besides being renowned as one of the top trial attorneys in California, Joe apparently is also an amateur magician. For a spectacular introduction, he purportedly attempted to magically appear out of thin air at the podium at exactly 1:00 p.m. Unfortunately, there was an unanticipated occurrence in the netherworld (i.e. the murky place where trial lawyers reside) that prevented his appearance.
Joe is famous for fighting for Consumer Rights. Ironically, the Consumers Legal Remedies Act lists many unfair and deceptive acts such as "Advertising goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised." (Civil Code section 1770, subdivision (a)(9).)
By the way, the program committee is currently looking for a lawyer to take the case. Word is, about a half-dozen former defense attorneys who lost cases against Joe are lining up to take the matter on contingency. The program committee has promised these eager barristers 40% of the speaker’s fee that was paid to Joe. Fortunately, since they are all former "big law" lawyers and are therefore not very good with numbers that are not divided in one-tenth of an hour increments (Pierre, that’s a "billable hour" joke) none of them know that 40% of nothing is nothing.
With luck (i.e. if no-one shares this High Gear) we can reschedule Joe down the road. He is a dynamic speaker and was missed.
In his stead, the program committee played old episodes from the Scott McGrew show Press Here about drones and A.I. In America (unlike the rest of the civilized world) there are currently very few laws regulating drones, and Google has recently bought-out many companies developing A.I. (Pierre, drones are little remote controlled helicopters with video cameras on them and A.I. is an abbreviation for "artificial intelligence" and Google is—oh, forget it my fingers are getting tired typing.)

The meeting was called to order by Queen Mary Murphy at 8:16 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (12:16 Pacific Standard Time).
Marianne Kristofferson, CPA led a quaint little local ritual of pledging allegiance to the flag of the Colonies. Apparently, the ritual has something to do with a small squabble about taxes that occurred in the Eighteenth Century. Those accountants are so zany!
In honor of the Chinese New Year, Alex recited the following Chinese Proverb:
If you want happiness for an hour then take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day then go fishing.
If you want happiness for a month then get married.
If you want happiness for a year then inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime then help others.
Visiting Rotarians were John Manning from San Francisco II and Eric Sevin from Peninsula Sunrise in Redwood City. This was John’s second recent visit and he was sporting a bandage on his chin. Apparently, Pierre is trying to "convince" him to join our club. If anyone knows of any other Rotarians who might want to transfer to our club, have them bring their insurance card and sit at Pierre’s table next week.
A guest of the club was also present. The guest of the club had a name. This reporter just doesn’t know what that name was. It sounded like "Fabio" so we will go with that. However, if you come looking for Fabio next week and it turns out Fabio is not at our meeting, don’t be disappointed. You will have learned a valuable lesson about not believing everything you read.
Victoria from State Farm was a guest as well. Does State Farm sell insurance for defamation?
Chuck Voltz and his "life partner" Mary attended with Chuck’s son Thomas. It was also Thomas’ birthday. Just what he wanted—a Rotary meeting. Thanks Dad!
February Birthdays were announced. Dave’s birthday is on the 10th, Jay’s birthday is on the 17th, and Chuck’s birthday is on the 24th. If you need last names, you have been away from the club to long and should drop by to get to know your fellow Rotarians.
Jim delivered the sunshine report and I am happy to report we are all fine.
Sean and Joy reminded us that our Kentucky Derby fundraising event will be held May 2 between 1pm and 4pm in Woodside. Dress Code: Hat. Is that all? Ask Sean and Joy, sounds like they could use some help pulling this one off (so to speak).
Rotary Club of San Mateo is having a community yard sale on March 14. Call Mike Wong at (408) 245-4239 and he will schedule a time to stop by your home and pick up your junk—ur, I mean in-kind contributions. As a famous tax lawyer once said, Rotary contributions are tax deductible to the full extent of the law as long as you are not audited.
Peter is doing a great job as Interact Coordinator. Peter is moderator of the Serra club. Barry is moderator of the Burlingame club. And Peter is looking for someone to help out to launch a new club at Mercy High in Burlingame. Volunteers call Peter Commaroto at 650-787-6767 or speak to him at the next meeting.
Kelvin visited a club in Japan during a recent business trip and brought us back a flag to prove it. Visiting a foreign club is always an interesting experience and great way to meet other Rotarians. If you are planning an out-of-town visit, get a Burlingame flag before you go from Queen Mary and download the Rotary App to find the meeting time and place at your destination. For those of you who do not know what an "App" is, please sign-up for the Burlingame Rotary Technology Committee. Next week’s lecture: Guest Speaker Mike Harvey will speak to the topic, "Is the Horseless Carriage Just a Fad?"
Queen Mary announced Pakistan is now requiring polio vaccinations for all people in the country. Yea! Unfortunately, it is due to a recent outbreak of polio. Boo! Anyone who refuses to vaccinate will apparently be subject to arrest. Yikes! That’s worse than what happens if you don’t read the rest of this High Gear.
Mark Johnson announced he is charge of our annual March Madness College Basketball pool. Trademark lawyer Barry, is that a fair use? Anyway, Mark reassured us that it does NOT constitute gambling to buy a square for $20, and that six squares can be purchased for $100. Our Banker Marilyn who coincidently is used to handling all cash transactions in that approximate amount quickly realized that means you get six squares for the price of five and bought six squares. Everyone bring your Benjamin’s next week!
Mentioning something about a rebellious plot to improve introductions during the next regime, Charles Voltz introduced the day’s speaker: Ralph Neilsen.
Many of us know Ralph as the owner of the Copenhagen bakery and café on Burlingame Avenue. However, on this day Ralph recounted his personal story of racing around the world in a sail boat.
Rather than giving a speech, Ralph was question by Bob Doerr doing his best imitation of Charlie Rose/Larry King.
Upon turning 70, Ralph decided he wanted to have a little adventure and "get in touch with nature." In a self-described "moment of insanity" Ralph paid about $70 to $80 to sign up with a Clipper firm in England that provides a few weeks of training and then takes amateur sailors on trips around the world. The firm was founded by the man who made the first solo non-stop sail around the world in 1968.
The fleet consists of 12, 70-foot sail boats. The crew had a professional sailor captain with 15 to 20 amateur sailors. 10 of the sailors were "around the worlders" and the others came and went on different parts of the eight-leg journey. He was typically required to man to watches, including a 6 hour watch during day time and a 4 hour watch at night.
The voyage started in London and progressed to France, across the Atlantic to Rio, including weeks stuck in the doldrums where they had to ration food and water. (Although many Rotarians associate the world doldrums with the hour and a half period on Mondays between noon and 1:30, apparently there is an alternate definition that includes the equatorial region of the Atlantic Ocean affected by the Intertropical Convergence Zone which is a low-pressure area with calms, sudden storms, and light unpredictable winds".) Ralph went from 170 pounds to 145 pounds during that period.
From South America the crew sailed back across the Atlantic to the Cape Town, South Africa and then on to Australia where Ralph and his crew took first place in one leg of the race. From Down Under, Ralph sailed to Asia, making stops in Singapore and China.
Then it was across the Pacific (where waves can reach 25 to 30 feet high, and the trough below can be equally deep). Ralph piloted the ship much of the way, where he was reminded of the old sailing adage that "helm-men breath—they don’t talk." The winds were very challenging. After making the long journey across the Pacific, Ralph came to port in San Francisco. Ralph denies that he was tempted to abandon the journey in San Francisco.
From San Francisco, Ralph sailed through the Panama Canal, up to Jamaica ("no problem"), and then to Ireland, Scotland, and Holland before finally returning to London.
During the trip, one person on another boat fell overboard, but was rescued. If it had been night, the person would have gone the way of ex-Rotary presidents and never have been seen again. Ralph hurt his back when he fell below deck. Others suffered a broken leg and broken ribs. Having survived the ordeal, R
alph said the trip "made him feel alive." However, he indicated that he doubts he would do the whole trip around the world again no matter how much encouragement to do so he gets from his wife.

Visiting Rotarians/Guests of Club:
  • Visiting Rotarians:
  • Ken Housley, from the San Mateo Sunrise Club, Ken is a former Burlingame Rotarian.  Ken announced the “Community Yard Sale” on Saturday March 14th at 2555 Flores Street, in San Mateo. Ken left us the attached flyer for the Community Yard Sale.
  • Scott Hart, past president of the San Bruno club.
  • Guests of Rotarians:
  • Doctor Jo Whitehouse, the guest of her spouse, Mike Heffernan
  • Mary Griffith, guest of her spouse, Walt Ramseur
  • Guests of the Club:
  • There were no Guests of the Club this week.
  • Jennifer Pence announced that she will pursue us to gather auction items for the May 2nd Kentucky Derby Party.  Jennifer passed out an auction item donation sheet and a letter to be given or sent by Rotarians to business owners soliciting donations or auction items.  A copy of Jennifer’s letter and the auction item donation sheet are attached to this High Gear.
  • Joy Huetteman and Sean Williams asked for volunteers to serve at the May 2nd Kentucky Derby Party, and the following Rotarians volunteered for service:
  • Mike Kimball - Horse Betting
  • Rose Camarena - Corporate Sponsor’s
  • Marylyn Orr, John Delaney, and Barry Parker - Welcome Table
  • Cheryl Fama, Lisa Goldman and Linna Golodriga - Drink Ticket Sales
  • Rose Camarena - Trophy Coordination
  • Peter Comaroto, Duffy Offield, Ricardo Ortiz, and Mary Murphy - Judging
  • The next meeting of the Kentucky Derby Party committee is at Mary Murphy’s office at 4:00 p.m.
Maki Kobayashi announced the Board of Directors has approved the new summer student exchange program with our sister club in Edogawa, Japan.  This year 4 students from BHS and Mercy High School will be hosted by the Edogawa club in Tokyo from July 24th thru August 2nd.  The students will have 12 hours of enrichment classes for introduction to Japanese language and culture before departing for Tokyo.  Peter Comaroto announced that Mercy High School is looking for volunteers to host Japanese exchange students this summer.
Jo Whitehouse and Frances Boscacci announced that donations to the Borneo Project are still a few thousand dollars short of the $30,000 goal.  Jo Whitehouse told us that, enough money had been raised to build the hospital, and that the hospital project broke ground in June.  Frances is looking for a few more donations from Rotarians to reach our $30,000 goal.
Sunshine Report:
  • Jim Shypertt was pleased to report that Chuck Voltz has returned to good health after surgery to implant a pace maker and a defibrillator hooked up to Chuck’s heart.  Welcome back Bionic Chuck!
Rotary President-In-Waiting Barry Parker gave a Newscast entitled The Future Is Coming! (Some of you may have been aware that the future is coming, but it certainly surprised this Reporter.)  Barry’s Newscast consisted of a series of really bad predictions and skeptical statements by knowledgeable people that new inventions, such as the automobile, the radio, the copy machine, and the computer were unlikely ever to be useful to anybody.  Barry called for us to apply our imagination to make the coming Rotary year successful for our club.
Program and Speaker:  
  • Emily Mathews introduced our speaker, Ricci (pronounced “Richie”) Graham.
  • Mr. Graham is the Northern Regional Informational Officer for the High Speed Rail.  Mr. Graham’s talk was entitled “High Speed Rail: A Transformational Investment in California’s Future.”
  • The title slide of Mr. Graham’s presentation said that it was given to the “Rotary Club of Burlington” at the “San Francisco Hyatt.” (One can only hope that more attention to detail will be applied to the construction of the High Speed Rail project itself.)
  • Mr. Graham began with a macro view that California is the 8th largest economy in the world, and the land between San Francisco and Los Angeles is comparable in distance, and population to the northeast corridor from Boston through New York down to Washington D.C.  He suggested that the High Speed Rail system would be transformational by connecting poor economic areas in the Central Valley with the economies of the Bay Area, The Central Coast area and the Los Angeles area.
  • Mr. Graham said that “transformational projects are never easy.” 
    • For example, the Golden Gate Bridge had more than 2,000 lawsuits filed to try to stop it.
    • BART was referred to as “the train to nowhere.”
    • The University of California system and the California State Water project were both approved by a margin of only a single vote in the California Legislature.
  • Mr. Graham said that High Speed Rail would curb congestion. At this time, one of six flights in the San Francisco Bay Area goes to L.A.  Six of the top 30 congested areas are located in California and California’s population is expected to expand by 50,000,000 people by 2050.  High Speed Rail would improve air quality by getting people off the roads.  Mr. Graham said that the High Speed Rail system would be equivalent of an additional 4,300 miles of new highway lanes, and 115 airport gates.
  • High Speed Rail has reached these key milestones:
  • Funding of $8,000,000,000 ($3,300,000,000 from the Federal Government and $4,700,000,000 from California Proposition 1A).  This amount of funding will only fund the “Initial Construction Section” from Merced to Bakersfield.
  • Funding of 25% of “Cap and Trade” proceeds, expected to be $250,000,000 per year.
  • Environmental clearances
  • Construction Contract #1 for 30 miles of track between Merced and Bakersfield, was signed in August of 2013.  Construction Contracts #2 and #3 for the construction of the rail line from Fresno to Tulare County are scheduled to be signed in June of 2015.
  • Ground has been broken and work is underway.
  • The High Speed Rail system is to be constructed by working on multiple unconnected segments concurrently.  The early work is expected to be done on these sections:
  • San Francisco to San Jose
  • Fresno to Bakersfield
  • Burbank to Los Angeles
  • The total cost of the High Speed Rail system is currently estimated to be $68,000,000,000. Mr. Graham said that one goal of the project is to provide jobs for Californians, including small businesses and the economically disadvantaged.
  • Questions from the Rotarians focused on the impact of High Speed Rail on the Peninsula and particularly in Burlingame.  In general, the questions from Rotarians were hostile to High Speed Rail.
  • Chuck Voltz questioned Mr. Graham on the lack of funding for elevating or undergrounding the 42 grade crossing on the Peninsula.  Mr. Graham provided no specifics, but said that High Speed Rail will work with local communities for solutions to community concerns.  Mr. Graham said that the “CBOSS/PTC” system would prevent accidents at grade crossings.  The acronym CBOSS/PTC stands for “Communications Based Overlay Signal System/Positive Train Control.”
Mr. Graham gave his email address and offered to provide information and attempt to answer questions: which is
The High Speed Rail website is


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