Sunday, June 24, 2012

Irvine Rotary Club Meeting Notes, June 20, 2012

Club member Mike, provided a craft talk.  He currently teaches economics at the Community College Level.  He was born in Iran, near the Caspian Sea area.  From 1967-1978 his father traveled in Eastern Europe and behind the Iron Curtain.  In1979 the family came to America, and that is where Mike save a Camel for the first time.  He served in the US Army from 1991-1995, and upon his return went to college, then worked for a bank as his first job, a week before the SIC closed it.  He took the closing as an opportunity to travel to Mexico and backpack.  He moved to Japan in 1995 where he taught English in elementary and junior high schools.  It's there he learned Kabookie, and became a Buddhist.

He returned to the US in 1998 and went to graduate school.  He got a job in China teaching accounting, marketing to MBAs in China.  This is where he met his wife.  He started teaching in the US in 2004, where his philosophy in Economics is "You Are the one to learn".  His non-traditional teaching methods actually provide interest and direction to his students.  Mike says he can also do the boring classes, too!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 13 Irvine Rotary Club meeting notes - Rotary Paradise Found in Fiji

Congratulations to Dale Ford, he made his Paul Harris.  And Doc made Paul Harris plus 5!

Gene Calvert, a rotary club member from Savusavu, Fiji Islands, talked about doing rotary service in Fiji, where he is developing land.  Fiji is pretty remote, and is part of Rotary District 9820 which includes Toga, French Polynesia and other remote islands between Hawaii and Australia.The club has 18 members, mostly women!

The club members work with the local people to teach them a trade, it's mostly bush, and mostly very small business.  The island has one foot in the old world and barely a foot in the new world.

The club is 15 years old, and has recently completed three potable water projects providing filtration systems.  The club also renovated a school. Additional projects there include:
-Educational Projects:  Books donated to the island and the club distributes the books, first sorting and cleaning them up.
Community Projects:  Donating wheel chairs; installing a Solar water heater for the local hospital, they never had hot water there before this.  Decorating the hospital.

The main focus of the club now is installing flooring for schools, the kids use to just sit and learn in the dirt floors.  The average family has five kids and makes less than $3,000 annual income, most a subsistence living.

They also built a bus shelter, when it's hot or raining it's well used by the locals waiting for the bus.

Fiji is paradise.  If you plan to attend the 2014 Sydney Rotary International Conference, stop over in Fiji on the way!  You'll be welcomed by the club, and probably put to work on one of  their projects.

June 5, 2012 Irvine Rotary Club meeting notes

Welcome to our newest member and now blue badger, Kathleen Mellon.
Annabell also received all of her rotary accouterments--hat, jacket, etc.  She's a red badger now!

Member Eric McGrath Craft Talk
"The journey of 1,000 steps starts with a swift kick", a quote from Eric's dad.
Eric's grandfather was a North Carolina Rotary Club president, that was Eric's introduction to service.  Eric grew up in Raleigh, N.C.  As a kid, soccer was his passion and played it through high school and college. 

He's a business minded guy, and started a company while in college in the 1980s, a home bottled water treatment program.  It was so successful, he built a sales team that went house-to-house testing water.  He left college in pursuit of building the best company in his class.  He moved to New Jersey, joined the top company, and expanded his role there to training sales staff around the country.  While living in Des Moines, Iowas, he married, and together with a newborn, he and his wife moved to Las Vegas for his wife's job.

In LV, he started Spider Advertising, which he eventually moved to Southern California.  His passion is his son, now 13, "he's the love of my life."  The marriage ended, and he sold his company and went to work for the Rapport Leadership International company, where he met Mary, his bride of two years.  Together, they started "Driven for Life", a training and motivation business catering to large companies.  They help companies grow their culture, developing team, not just making money. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

May 29, 2012 Irvine Rotary Club Meeting Notes--Learing More About Social Security

Frank Van Nostrum presented a program on the Five Biggest Myths About Social Security.
Myth #1-SS is only a retirement program---not a pension or savings program.  It is an insurance program, insuring American workers against work loss.  70% of the checks go to retirees.  12% goes to widows and orphans.  It is the largest source of income for children under age 12.

One of three workers die or are disabled before they become retirement age.  Is is equal to $200,000 in insurance policy for most retirees.  $300,000 insurance policy for widows and children.  Many kids are afforded college thru these monies.

Myth #2--SS won't be there when I need it.  One of five Americans get SS checks.  Boomers will get it as promised.  Too many Americans depend on SS, it will not go away completely.  But will change for our kids and grand kids, anyone under age 40.

Changes must be made to SS.  Under age 40, they'll need t collect later, pay in longer, take less.
SS has changed drastically over the decades to meet our needs.

Myth #3-SS wouldn't have financial problems if Congress had kept it as a retirement program, the way it was originally intended.  SS started in 1935, during the depression, as a way to keep seniors out of poverty.  Today less than 10% of seniors are in poverty.
1956 Congress enacted disability insurance under SS.
1965 Congress enacted Medicare.
1973 Congress enacted long term disability under SS.
Each program had taxes enacted to cover it.

SS challenges are demographic.  The boomers are the single largest population in the US ever.  Currently there is a record increase in disability claims.  Record number of retirees, 10,000 boomers are retiring each day.  We've flooded the retirement program.  We are the Baby Bust generation, with less than two children per family.  Thirty years ago, five workers pad for one retiree in SS.  By 2035, two workers will be paying in for one retiree.  Less people will be paying into SS.

There is an increase in longevity; there's a challenge in how to pay for the boomers on the backs of the younger generation.

Myth #4 -- As a personal investment plan, SS is a raw deal.  The truth is most people don't take enough risk.  It's not about deals and investments.  It's an insurance program, insuring you won't live in poverty.  Existing seniors don't live in poverty, they have food on the table and have a place to sleep.  The more you pay in, the longer you work, the more you take out.  Everyone gets to retire sometime.

Myth#5-- I don't have to plan for my retirement, SS will take care of me.
SS is not enough to live on.  It replaces 40% of income for the average worker.  It's one leg of a three legged stool--pension, savings and SS comprise Retirement Income.  26% of seniors working cause they didn't save enough to retire.

You have to plan for retirement.  You can retire online at  Visit it's the #1 rated government website.

May 23, 2012 Program Notes -Irvine Rotary Club welcomes new member Beth

Beth, owner of Paradise Perks coffeehouse, is the newest member of IRC.  Lucy introduced her to the club.  She;s an OC local and graduated from UCLA in Political Science, and has an MBA from Claremont Graduate School.  In 1984, she worked for the LA Olympics and from there became the special events coordinator for the City of Long Beach.

Beth parlayed this experience into a job at the Cityof Monterey Park as the assistant manager.  After 4 1/2 years she ran for public office in 1992 and won.  She administered the Cable Communications as public affairs maanger for Jones Intercable in Alexandria, VA.  Her next stint was at Legg Mason and worked in the investment arena.  While in VA she started fthe first Drumming Circle. 

As the eldes daughter, she chose to move back to OC a few years ago to care for her mom.  Needing more to do in her life, she began Paradise Perks, where "all my nerdiness comes out", says Beth.  She's inflected some cool things into the coffeehouse including board game nights, networking and bringing people together, holding special events, participating in community events, and hosting a Comedy Night.
Please welcome Beth to our club!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Irvine Rotary Club meeting notes - RYLA

Two Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) recipients brought us up to speed on the latest RYLA weekend in Idlewylld.  Aly and Chelsea, granddaughters of IRC club member Ed, were apprehensive about attending, because their grandpa said they had to.  But now they are delighted they attended, and have a new respect for "family","it was the best day of my life," says Chelsea.

The theme of this year's RYLA was "You Can Do It", and they shared with us the Boojum Institute of climbing trees to zip lining, bungee cord jumps and more, enabled them to "Do It".  Their RYLA family of 10 became lifetime buddies now.  The activities and family unit taught them how to trust each other, do things they never thought they could do, and be happy with others.  The only downside, was the sad ride home.  Chelsea and Aly plan to return to RYLA next year as leaders of the program.  This was a great investment of our resources!

Irvine Rotary Club meeting notes - Laguna College of Art & Design

Jonathan Burke, President of Laguna College of Art & Design brought us up to date on the amazing work this accredited four year college is doing.  LCAD holds regional accreditation and national accreditation for its art programs, not all art department in colleges receive this level of accreditation.

The school follows classical tradition of art, with a vast range of representation of students of all economic strata.  Each student must master great illustration, then be able to take an idea and make meaning of it. 

The hottest curriculum at the school is a new major-Game Art/Entertainment Illustration and Art.   It was a strategic move for the school, the majority of Game Art companies are located in Southern California. The students learn character design, background painting, storyboarding, environment design, animation.  Gaming is story driven through animation.  The faculty have worked at Disney, Warner Brothers and major studios in LA.  Every second of animation takes 24 drawings.  Graduate project is a 5-6 minute film.  Students team with IT students at UC schools to be able to team to totally develop a game.

LCAD is located in Laguna canyon with vast housing, senior studios, teaching studios, main campus, administration, galleries, MFA Building.  They are land banking for future growth of the students coming to the school.

The goal of teaching is each student has a comprehensive ability to design.  For students, the most challenging is grants and paying for school.  44% of students receive Pell grants, which maybe reduced in the next round of state budget cuts.  The school partners with corporations like Nike for internships and service clubs and others to provide grants.

We got to see our contributions in action, with Charlene-The Designing Machine, a graduating student who has received a scholarship from IRC, presented her variety of art projects including an App for volunteerism, package design for lighting, and a Game for kids in Haiti.

Irvine Rotary Club Meeting Notes-May 2, 2012--Irvine Police Department Public Safety Awards

IRC has a partnership with the Irvine Police Department.  For two years, on a Quarterly basis, the club recognizes and awards Irvine citizens that assist the police with solving crimes and catching criminals.  We have the pleasure of hosting the police officers, police chief, and the citizens during a rotary meeting and presenting checks as their just rewards.

The latest award program presented tennis instructor Chuck Brymer with a check for $125 each for their involvement in solving a string of burglaries that was occurring around the South Lake Tennis Club during the daytime, over a four month period of time.  A keen tennis instructor made the initial identification that a strange car was driving around the lot, and noticed his trunk was open.  Chuck ran out to the car and tried to grab the suspect, wrestling with him.  Police were called by other tennis members, but things moved quickly.  When the suspect jumped in his car, with his three year old son in the car, the car jumped the curb and died.  The suspect grabbed his son and started running away.   Vested community members witnessed this, stayed a safe distanced and followed the suspect.  The final outcome, the suspect was arrested for robbery, burglary and receiving stolen property.  Wallets, jewelry and computers in his car trunk were identified from other burglaries in another community. 

Chuck donated his check back to the rotary!  What a great guy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

IRC Meeting Notes - April 24, 2012 - Meeting Notes

Club member Tammy works at Grant Thornton International, and has traveled the world for her work as an accounting audit manager.  Born in Taiwan, and raised in Hawaii, she graduated college from U of Michigan and moved to Washington DC in 2004where she began her work with GTI.  She obtained a double major in economics and International Studies and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.  She conducts audits for international companies including the US Marine Corps, she's travel around the world to Marine bases.  In 2008 she moved to Hong Kong and lived in Asia for 6 months working with GTI, then moved to Beijing where she lived for 3.5 years.  She shared her South Africa travel photos with us, what a treat.  Where will Tammy go next?  Welcome our Red Badger to the club.

April 17, 2012 Meeting Notes - IRC Supports Epilepsy Alliance

IRC member Diane Braasch advocates on behalf of children with multi-seizure epilepsy through the Epilepsy Alliance.  Diane's granddaughter, Katlyn, has the disease.  The statistics are staggering:  1 of every 50 children and 1 of every 100 adults are diagnosed with it.  More than 50,000 people die annually from seizures.  The Alliance provides support groups, community education, referrals to specialists, and education to empower people with epilepsy.  Surgery may help relieve some or all of these symptoms.  IRC made a donation to the alliance.  Diane, we admire your perseverance.

The club also supports Cystic Fibrosis Society.  Ed's grandson has CF, but he plays baseball, and deals with the disease.  The test for CF is a sweat test.  People with it do not absorb enzymes, mucus clogs up the body.  The last two years there has been a big advance in drugs being approved by the FDA to affect the underlying causes. 30,000 Americans are impacted by CF.  Lucy, Tom and Ed presented a $1,000 for CF research.

Richard was a teacher and today works in development for the Irvine Valley College.  He's been a long time resident of OC, a resident of Signal Hill, and the last five years has worked at Mt. Sak College before coming to IVC.  IVC has 45,000 students, with programs all around OC.  12,000 FT students at IVC with a diverse mix, 41% are Irvine residents.  They offer 62 different degrees, and is the #1 transfer rate college in OC where students with an AA are able to transfer to a four year college to complete their Bachelor's degree.  They acquired 62 acres in Tustin, being cleaned up now and will build the Advanced Technology Park, 50,000 sq. ft park where courses will be taught in high tech, clean tech, R&D, with corporate offices too.  It's the College of the Future, right in OC.