High Gear Bulletin


Wednesday, May 22, 2024

High Gear Editor: Paul Watermulder

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It was an ordinary day in May—average weather; morning news reports of conflicts, crashes and chaos; student protests ebbing; resort communities (hello, Half Moon Bay) gearing up for the season. 
Last Wednesday was ordinary excepting that just before noon Rotarians started heading for the Burlingame Community Center by foot, by Uber, by car, by bike.  Look closer:  Yes, these were ordinary people, each facing their own issues and “stuff.”  But each believing in something extraordinary:  That in Rotary they could find fellowship and friendship, lively gossip and dependable rhythm of reports, insights, hopes and dreams.  As well as food as good as any they might eat all week. 
The ordinary opening themselves to the extraordinary: not beaten half-dead by the cup being half empty.  Enlivened by the evidence of the cup half full.  Here they were—the architect featured on the front page of  yesterday’s local newspaper.  The professional violinist turned Rotary president.  The new mother with her (new!) baby.  The prominent real estate broker.  Marilyn, our steadying presence through thick and thin.  There’s the entrepreneur responsible for more visionary ventures than one can count.  We were all there—people willing to take the lead on one aspect of life or another to make it better.  People pondering as they walked in the door:  How did I put service above self last week?  How can I put service above self this week?  Ah, Rotary!
President Cary Koh asked for the pledge to our flag be led by Rotarian Paul Watermulder, and thus our meeting started. 
Rotarian Doug Person was prepared with “thoughts for the day” by presenting sayings from one of the well-loved characters of Apple+ TV:  Ted Lasso, who reportedly said, A) “Living in the moment is a gift; that’s why they call it the present.”  B) “Be curious, not judgmental.” [based on advice from Walt Whitman]  C) “The happiest animal on earth is the goldfish which has a memory of 10 seconds.”  There were other quotes, and your editor semi-murdered a couple of those above, due to being slow of pen, but all were well delivered thoughts for our day by Doug.
Jim Shypertt gave the Sunshine report with two parts:  The service for past Rotarian Jim Nantell’s wife of forty plus years (Chris) was last week, and a sympathy card was circulated and is being sent to him in Windsor.  Second, Rotarian Mike Horwitz has significant pain and would appreciate words of encouragement.
Guests:  Rotarian Marc Friedman introduced SMUHSD trustee and BIS principal, Greg Land, also the reporter/photographer for the high school paper Burlingame B
Announcements:  In two weeks (June 6) we will meet on Thursday, NOT Wednesday, and we will meet in a joint meeting with the Lions Club, at their clubhouse (Lion’s den?) one hundred yards up this street (Burlingame Avenue). In one week (May 29) we will meet in our usual place, day and time, but the difference will be that Past Rotary President Marilyn Orr will be leading the meeting.
Monday, May 27 we are invited to report to the Hillsborough Town Hall to jump (?!) onto the Vintage Recology Truck that will feature Rotarians as it takes its place of honor in the Memorial Day Parade.  Dress warmly and smile broadly! 
Next year our Club celebrates its 100th anniversary, and all Rotarians are asked to submit at least one idea each to President-elect Phil Siegle, who is organizing a committee to plan the event. 
If you fail to submit an idea by June 30, you will be have your choice:  Pay for one of the planes in the US Navy flyover by the Blue Angels, pay for the Bay dinner cruise, pay for anniversary book to be published (limited edition) the (unconfirmed), pay for every Rotarian to receive a copy of the Burlingame newspaper front page from the day our club was begun (100 years ago), organize a tour of at least five commercial buildings that existed 100 years ago in Burlingame.  Or join Phil’s committee.  (P.S.  This paragraph was not approved by Phil—it is purely a motivational tool of fiction to get you to actually think of a good idea to submit for our club birthday.)
Rotarian William Li presented a recognition award of the Distinguished Citizen Award to Rotarian Al Royse which came from Scouting America (aka the old Boy Scouts of America) for his many years of leadership in the Pacific Skyline Council of that organization.  The festivities had included a video tribute to Al, which was held recently.  Rotarian Christine Krolik was one of the leaders in the tribute.  Congratulations and kudos to you, Al.  Rotarian Jim Shypertt found the obituary for another Burlingame Rotarian who has been a leader also in the scouting movement in our town:  John Chiapelone.
Rotarian Jerry Winges was nicely honored by President Koh for his picture on the front of the Daily Journal at the rededication of Central Park in San Mateo where he was the lead architect in the redesign efforts which took a multi-year effort by several civic and governmental groups.  Jerry designed the arbors for the roses in the noted and expansive Rose Garden which is one of the beauties of nature to be found and enhanced here in our community.  Congratulations and kudos to you, Jerry.  The arbors are both handsome and beautiful (and without doubt, well-constructed!).
This day was the day for annual awards to go to the local educator of the year as chosen by their respective schools:  one for Burlingame Intermediate School and one for Burlingame High School.   Rotarian Marc Friedman took over the mic and invited forward first, the Superintendent of the Burlingame Elementary School District (Rotarian Marla Silversmith) and the Principal of Burlingame Middle School, Greg Land (who also is an 8-year Board member of SMUHSD).  They invited forward the awardee, Jessica Yen, who was presented with a plaque and check certifying the award.  Very nice things were said about her by the Superintendent and Principal, and then she gave a wonderful talk:  The Power of Connection.
Yen held that the most important power for students to experience in the classroom is that of being connected to the teacher.  This calls upon the teacher to not only be a master of his/her subject matter, but to bring the gift of empathy to the students.  She makes a point of greeting each student individually at the classroom door when school begins, and thus becomes aware of bubbling joy, family traditions as well as tensions, students who have not had breakfast, etc.  When class is in session, the students know they are loved no matter what, because their teacher has an active connection and relationship with them each, which she notes can cause the classroom to become like magic.  Attendance was near perfect for her classes, for example, and there were zero referrals made to the office.  The children feel supported.  Then a cascade of good results are due to follow:  a) children will feel safe and their confidence will grow; b) with the added confidence, the students will take more risks;  c) with risk comes failure [as well as success], and the d) failures give the student the chance to learn from their mistakes and to e) accept guidance, f) thus turning failure into learning.  When the students are long gone from Middle School, g) they will have confidence to become leaders, and h) when they experience being wronged they can show grace because that is what was shown to them when they had their failure in Middle School when they finally had the confidence to try new ways of doing things, and they were loved, not judged by their teacher.  Brilliant! 
Next, BHS Principal Rotarian Jen Fong introduced Cindy Skelton, a Drama teacher for 31 years and counting.  Ms. Skelton told of her journey to the influential position she now holds for helping students bloom.  In her high school years, she was involved in lighting and costume work with the Drama department.  College was a chance to study classic and contemporary Drama and included off campus internships.  She participated in a prestigious program in New York City one summer and found that there were a number of her peers who saw all the other interns as competitors rather than partners in the creative arts, and she watched too many of them willingly step on others to get ahead for their self-gain.  She sought a better and higher vision of what Drama can be, and realized she wanted to dedicate her life to teaching teenagers in high schools about Drama as an exploration and revealing of great depth and height of human experience and relationship.
Ms. Skelton also teaches an AVID program, which is Achievement Via Individual Determination.  This program specializes in working with youngsters from historically underrepresented groups and, crucially, it teaches them the values of collaboration between workers and leaders to produce successes.  Rotarian Jennifer Pence has been instrumental in helping this program become a positive force for its students at the high school.
Rotarian Bobba Venkatadri introduced our speaker of the day, Dr. Kathleen A. Kenney, MD, a clinical associate professor of medicine at Stanford specialing in stroke care and prevention. 
Dr. Kenney got our full attention as she noted that 800,000 people have a stroke every year in the US, and ¼ die in a year; 1/8 die in the first month.  And all of them emerge with a higher risk of a subsequent stroke, and about 1/5 immediately have complications that can cause long term disability.  Yikes—Spoiler alert:  Speed of getting to the ER at a hospital is the most important factor when a stroke is suspected. 
Strokes are caused by a sudden loss of blood to the brain, or a hemorrhage in the brain itself.  Indicators include:
  • Weakness or paralysis on one side of face/arm or leg
  • Numbness on one side
  • Slurring of speech or difficulty understanding speech
  • Blindness (one side of visual field) or double vision
  • Vertigo or coordination/balance problems
  • Less common: nausea/vomiting, headache
Time matters!  Here is the “Fast Rule of Four” --
 F = Face Drooping
 A = Arm Weakness
 S = Speech Difficulty
 T = Time to CALL 911
Hope is on the way:  Mobile Stroke ambulances are in our community.  Apple watch and similar devices can give warning of stroke, and provide data first responder can use immediately.  Eliquis, Pradaxa, Xarelto and similar drugs for atrial fibrillation are helpful in reducing the amount of damage a stroke causes.  Bedside MRI units reduce valuable in-hospital time to get the brain scanned in first hour or less of treatment.  Self care will reduce chance of a stroke:  stop Smoking, Exercise: moderate 10 mins 4 x per week or intensive 20 mins 2 x per week.  Reduce alcohol intake if drinking more than 1-2 per day.  Weight reduction if overweight.  Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea with CPAP.
Final comments:  A Mediterranean diet is the single most effective way to lower one’s chances for a stroke.
President Koh thanked our presenter and we all especially appreciated not only the medical doctor but also the several educators who were with us and inspired us with comments about high quality, high impact teaching of our youth.
Meeting adjourned, as we all have been inspired and instructed well, and now we can find ways to put service above self:   Ordinary people becoming extraordinary in belief, attitude and behavior, all week long.  Ah, Rotary!

Our very own Burlingame Rotarian, Mark Lucchesi has started a podcast for the Burlingame Historical Society called "Burlingame is a Small Town." He has interviewed a number of Burlingame Rotarians as well as other prominent folks in our community. You can check out his YouTube podcasts here.
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High Rates and Power Outages: What’s Going on and What is Peninsula Clean Energy?

The California energy system is undergoing a dramatic transformation towards cleaner and more efficient energy sources. At the same time, residents and businesses are seeing challenges like high rates and outages. How are these related and what is Peninsula Clean Energy doing about them? Peninsula Clean Energy is San Mateo County’s locally-led, not-for-profit electricity provider. Founded in 2016, the agency provides electricity that is 100% clean at a lower cost than our area’s investor-owned utility.

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Member Birthdays
Greg Mendell
May 5
Scott Williams
May 5
Marla Silversmith
May 6
Michael Mahoney
May 17
Mike Matteucci
May 17
Nimisha Melag
May 24
Bobba Venkatadri
May 9
Marc Friedman
Madalyn Friedman
May 26