President Norman S. Mitroff, Ph.D.
President Elect Joice Beatty
Secretary Jim Smith
Treasurer Warren Warner
Past President John Muhlner
Community Services Director Charlotte Williamson
Vocational Service Director Rod Ellison
Club Service Director Suzan Rada
International Service Director Michele Neumann
RI Foundation Director Christine Hayne
Membership Director Ted Bystrowski
Public Relations Director Matt Endriss
Ombudsman Steven Ebersole
Fundraising Director Cindy Warren
Program Chair Donn Black
Sergeant-at-Arms Dick Gourley
Greetings from Saint Helena, The Heart of the Napa Valley Wine Country!

Service Above Self

We meet Tuesdays at 12:15 PM

Native Sons' Hall

1313 Spring Street
PO Box 211
St.Helena, CA 94574
United States

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Posted on Mar 25, 2015

Reporter: Cindy Warren

​"Happy St. Patrick's Day"​
Speaker: Jay Greene
​  "Last manStanding" or e pluribus unum
Jay Greene, a history and archaeology professional, gave us 6,000,000 million years in 30 minutes. Human/ape lineage separated 6 million years ago. 4 million years ago human bi-peds emerged, though as early as 10 million years ago there were some apes who were bi-pedal. 
In the last 50 years archaeologists have made major discoveries. In 1974 "Lucy" was discovered putting her remains at 3.2 million years ago. Other discoveries have produced foot prints and  a tibia confirming that Lucy was bi-pedal.​
Home erectus' started moving out of Africa 1.8 million years ago. Around 900,000 million years ago a larger brained species emerged- Neanderthals. 200,000 years ago homo sapiens emerged in E.Africa. As the homo sapiens  moved out of Africa, they encountered the Neanderthals. Neanderthals used cruder tools, lived further north and had short, robust skeletons. Their brow was extremely pronounced. Homo sapiens were leaner, didn't have the large brow and had a chin.
Jay Greene has been hosting a lecture series at the Library.
Guests:  Paul Slawson, guest of Jay greene. Vi Bottaro, guest of Christine Hayne. Bob Distad, guest of Joice Beatty
Birthday: Helen Hendrick
Club Anniversary: Cynthia Kee
  • Jim Smith announced Interact's food drive. Please​ bring non-perishable items to the next meeting.
  • President Norm Mitroff announced a thank you letter form Napa State Hospital.
  • Rotary is dark on Tuesday March 31 as we are having a Social that evening 5:30 -7:00 at the WellNow Center on Main Street. St. Helena Hospital will be providing appetizers. There will be lots of wine, food and fellowship. 
Raffle Winners: Joice Beatty, Tim Doran, Michelle Neuman, April Duge
Bell Ringers: 
  • Rob Andreae's daughter Caitin has been working on a film in England and and the opportunity to meet Kate Middleton when she visited the set.
  • John Muhlner said Jennifer and their son walked/ran the LA Marathon.Congrats!
Finemaster: Suzan Rada grilled us on St. Patrick's Day Trivia​
Posted on Mar 24, 2015

Reported by Alan Galbraith

Speaker of the Day

Suzan Rada introduced Eric Chesky, managing partner at Health Spa Napa Valley since 1997.  Eric and his wife Cathy came to St. Helena 22 years ago to open and direct the spa at Meadowood.  Eric entitled his talk “It’s worth the Fight” which he took from a book by ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, “Everyday I fight.”  Eric began by noting that “we are all where we are at” but that should not preclude us from doing more and becoming better.  He recited numerous examples of mostly ordinary people largely in their later years with extraordinary athletic accomplishments -- including an 80-year old who summited Mt. Everest, a 70-year old male who ran a marathon in 2 hours and 54 minutes (6.40 minutes/mile) and a 70-year old female who did so in three hours and 45 minutes (8.35 minutes/mile).   Eric talked of his wife, the family’s triathlon champion – and described the stages of a triathlon (swimming, cycling, and a marathon), with maximum times at each stage required to avoid disqualification.  Eric then went over the cardiovascular benefits of exercise.  He stressed the importance of choosing the exercise that you like, but then sticking with it three or four times a week for a minimum of thirty minutes.  More is better.  Some stress is also beneficial; the body adapts.  Eric quoted famed basketball coach John Wooden:  “Don’t permit what you cannot do to interfere with what you can do.”  One needs to overcome one’s internal “interferences.”  You will feel better when you sweat.  Go for it!

Special Speakers:

Jenny Ocun of the Upvalley Valley Family Centers briefly summarized the work of the two centers (St. Helena and Calistoga).  She noted that their clients came from Lake County to Yountville.  They served 4,000 clients last years, from the youngest to the oldest.  The centers connect clients with resources.  Jenny noted that at this time of the years the centers are providing free tax services to low income residents through 25 trained volunteers.  They served 451 clients last year with refunds totaling $675,000

Suzan Rada briefly described the work of St. Helena Travel, a full service firm (sea, rail, private rail, “complicated air”, and more), which has been in business in the Napa Valley for 26 years.  They also arrange group travel in the Napa Valley. The agency consists of Suzan and four agents who work from home.  Their objective is to create a “seamless journey” for their clients.  Suzan is off to Cuba in June.

The Interact Club:  The leadership of the Interact Club, led by its president Aaron Cronin, reviewed its activities in the last year, aided by a slide show display.  The Club engaged in fundraising (e.g., sales of water bottles at Farmers Market, Tips for Treats (Halloween), in various activities (e.g., overseeing recycling at the Dia De Las Muertos Celebration, plantings at Wappo Park, Food Drives, and Project Hope (home building in Baja Mexico).

Thought of the Day :  Matt Endriss, recalling that Elvis Presley on this day 60 years ago became a private in the U.S. Army, fondly remembered a quotation of Jonny Carson: “If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead.”

Induction: Jordan Bentley, in a short ceremony led by John Muhlner, received her red badge, in the presence of her mother, Robyn Bentley, her brother Ross Bentley and his wife Erin Bentley.  Jordan recalled fondly that the Rotary Club sponsored her year abroad in Finland in 1998-99, and that she has been back many times in subsequent years.  As she noted, she is passionate about international exchange programs.  Jordan is in real estate marketing, and works with her mother.   Jordan also presented a bell with a lovely ring to the Club.


  • Vi Bottaro, photographer, guest of Christine Hayne
  • David Hollister, U-Minn. professor, guest of son Jon Hollister
  • Jenny Ocun, Executive Director, UpValley Family Centers, guest of Christine Hayne


  • Joice Beatty, based on her recent trip to Ukiah, advised that the new president was going to insist on more online involvement.
  • Christine Hayne (with the Rotary financial year drawing to a close) asked that members not taking the automatic monthly deduction be sure that they have made their annual contribution to the Rotary Foundation. 
  • Jim Smith noted that the Interact Club Food Drive had one more week to go.
  • Ted Bystrowski noted that the Club was growing, with more potential members in the pipeline.
  • Suzan Rada stressed the need for more participation in next Tuesday’s (March 31) special event at Wellnow Showcase.  She advised that Shannon Kuleto would talk briefly about the Vine Trail.
  • Andy Bartlett, past co-chair of the Interact Club, introduced its president Aaron Cronin (see above), with John Muhlner noting that the Club had 30-35 members

Bell Ringers: The Bell Ringers came on so quickly that your reporter was not able to keep up!  But at least the following rang the bell: Joel Toller, in honor of GIVE BIG (which benefits the Public Schools Foundation), Rob Andreae (in honor of Jordan Bentley’s induction), Bryan Remer (with the car loan paid off), April Duge (for the Interact Club), and Don Thomas (also in honor of Jordan Bentley’s induction).

Finemaster:  It was short: Alyssa Samrick assessed a $10 fine against all those who advised by show of hands that they had filed their income tax returns and $20 against those who had filed for extensions.

Posted on Mar 24, 2015

Reported by Jonathan Hollister

Speaker of the Day:  Larry D. Myers gave the St. Helena club an inside look at the war against polio from a survivor’s point of view.  Larry was stricken with polio at the age of 6 and hospitalized for one year.  He explained this terrifying experience to us but also showed us how he and our fellow Rotarians are combating this horrible disease worldwide.  Larry is a Charter Member of the South Ukiah Rotary Club, former president of the club, and earned Rotarian of the Year in 1980.  He has an impressive list of accomplishments as a Rotarian.  He is also a graduate of the University of Southern California College of Pharmacy and used his expertise in medicine to attack Polio at every opportunity.  His wife Jill Myers also came to our club meeting and she has also been a fierce warrior in combating polio worldwide.  Thank you Larry and Jill for sharing your knowledge and experiences with us and inspiring us to continue this important Rotary mission!

Thought of the Day: It came from Kelly Crane who reminded us “If you don’t like what you are getting back in life, take a look at what you are putting into it.”

Visiting Rotarians: Larry D. Myers our Speaker from South Ukiah Rotary Club, Jill Myers, his wife and John Prescott of the Napa Rotary Club.

Guests: Jordan Bentley (former Rotary Youth Exchange Student 1998-1999), guest of Don Thomas.  Gabby Gomez, selected for the outbound youth exchange to Switzerland, 

Birthdays / Anniversary:  Steve Yost and Orville Hammer each celebrated a birthday and Jonathan Hollister had a club anniversary.

Special Speakers:  John Prescott, Napa Rotary Club and two students from New Tech High School, Ethan Schuler, grade 12 and Lorory  Fitzgerald, grade 9, participated in a mission to Jinotega, Nicaragua last June to teach English to impoverished children.  They are planning to returning this summer and are conducting a fundraiser by selling coffee and olive oil.

Dr. Richard Hyde gave us a glimpse into his passion as a Movement Educator and Core Values Consultant.  On the physical side, he enjoys teaching others about the benefits of a yoga regimen.  He also helps others with soft tissue manipulation and massage.

In the words of Dr. Hyde, “I am a movement educator, whether the movement be of the mind, the body, the spirit or the body politic.  We are in constant motion, physically and metaphysically.  Every atom and cell of our bodies pulses with motion and moves in harmony with uncountable others.  As we move about on the earth we are moved by various forces both internal and external.  It is the challenge of a lifetime to gain some comprehension and control of this constant sea-change sweeping within us and without us.  Thus, the goal of movement education, for individuals and for groups, is to move fluidly, harmoniously, and with purpose.”  “Core Values Consulting” is the name of my consulting practice. I help people to identify, celebrate and promote their core values. My basic instructional tool is a series of illustrated lectures on public monuments, the great objects of public art that have resulted from great crises in the lives of nations. Through these periods of crisis, the core values of a people come clear.

Announcements:  Suzanne Rada reminded the club that eggs are 5 dollars per dozen so please remember to pay for the eggs.

Raffle Winners:  Lester Hoel, Brad Bowles, and DeWitt Garlock

Bell Ringers: Donn Black had a paperwork dispute with the IRS that he won, inspiring him to donate 25 dollars to his Paul Harris, and Wendell Laidley decided not to return to his home country of Canada for a vacation, instead going a little more wild with a four week trip to the African Congo, and donated 20 dollars for this remarkable experience.

Finemaster:  Joice Beatty fined David Brotemarkle, Suzanne Rada, DeWitt Garlock, John Sales and Jim Smith with questions related to Rotary meeting history

Posted by Polly Keegan on Mar 05, 2015

Reporter: Cindy Warren
Speaker: Rev. Denise DeSimone, Author, Singer, Speaker and Ordained Minister. 
Denise shared her story of overcoming a diagnosis of Stage IV throat and neck cancer and a prognosis of 3 months to live and how she began her spiritual journey towards healing. 
Upon her diagnosis of cancer Denise knew she had to find unique solutions and think outside the box. That she had to "live for the moment". Instead of dwelling on what she did wrong, she made peace with her illness and put her energy into a loving place. She surrendered to cancer.
When confronting obstacles in life, she recommends the following:
1. Stop wasting your time beating yourself up. Challenges are opportunities to look inside and see what you are.
2. Bring more light in, so the challenges and baggage you carry have no more room.
3. Take a look in the mirror and see if you love yourself enough. 
4. Forgiveness is key.
5. At the end of the day, ask yourself:
  • Did I live?
  • Did I love?
  • Did I matter?
Just 22 months after being told she would never sing again, she sang the National Anthem to a sell-out crowd of 37,000 Red Sox Fans at Fenway Park. Her story is an inspiration to all. She is the author of the book  From  Stage IV to Center Stage.
Guests: Jordan Bentley, guest of Don Thomas. Dr. Bret Johnson, Susie Felder, Rose Ann Kronmark, Sara Hickman, Janice Berry- Griswold, guests of Cynthia Kee
Visiting Rotarians: Kathi Polachek
The Rotary Singers sang a rousing " For He's a Jolly good Fellow" to Dick Gourley for his amazing job of cleaning up the storage room. Thanks Dick.
Vocational Commercial: Rob Andreae -,Finance, Real Estate and Investment Consultant.
Rob is currently "retired" but has not stopped working for our financial community. He currently works for The Advisory Group, SF which helps non-profits in their investments. Rob's focus is on Napa Valley projects.
  • Joice Beatty announced the SHHS Ag Program Rib Feed on March 25 at Native Sons Hall. Tickets are $35. Visit for tickets an info. This is a great opportunity to support our local high school kids.
  • Warren Warner apologized for sending out so many February bills. The LAST bill you got from him is the correct one.
  • Suzan Rada has fresh eggs to sell $5 a dozen
  • Norm Mitroff encouraged members to sign up the the Rotary Social for March 31.

Raffle: Ben Hill, Rod Ellis and Natalie Klug were the big winners.

Finemaster: Justin Meyers quizzed us on SF Giants Trivia

Bell ringers: Steve Yost thanked Rotarians for their support for helping him since his health issues started. Steve, you're on the mend!

Posted on Mar 03, 2015

Reported by Jonathan Hollister

Speaker of the Day:  Joanne Hatch, R.D., and Catherine Haas gave the club a presentation on healthy eating and diet facts.  We were reminded that, “The greatest wealth is health.” Joanne is a registered dietitian and has worked at SHNV for 18 years, she has 40 years of experience in the field of dietetics, and is currently the Director of Nutritional Services at SHNV. She earned a BS Degree from UC Davis in Dietetics and a Masters Degree in Clinical Nutrition from Rush University in Chicago. She taught the chef students at the CIA their nutrition course for approximately 3 years. A little known fact about Joanne: she tap dances in her spare time! (She’s not quitting her day job!)  Catherine Haas, the next generation of registered dietitians who received her BS degree from Pepperdine University, and recently completed her internship and MS degree at Tufts University in Boston. She has recently joined the staff at SHNV. A little known fact about Catherine is: she speaks Mandarin Chinese!

Thought of the Day: It came from Andy Bartlett who reminded us that Yogi Bera once said, “If you don’t know where you are going you will end up somewhere else.”

Visiting Rotarians: None.

Guests: Kerry Forbes, guest of Doug Ernst; Dr. Michael Cleaver, guest of Norm Mitroff; Jordan Bentley (former Rotary Youth Exchange Student 1998-1999), guest of Don Thomas.

Birthdays / Anniversary:  None.

Special Speaker:  Cynthia Kee gave a short presentation on her occupation as a reverse mortgage specialist.  Cynthia has over 30 years of experience in Real Estate Finance. She joined the mortgage industry working for FinanceAmerica, a subsidiary of Bank of America. Twelve years later, she started her own mortgage firm California Capital Group, which she ran for seven years before moving into the wholesale mortgage industry. Now, Cynthia focuses exclusively on Reverse Mortgages.


  • President Norm Mitroff announced that the club will be sponsoring a fundraising event in May which will involve organizing some Rotarians to host a group of 6-10 people at their home for a gourmet dinner with wine.  The cost will be $100 per couple and Norm is looking for a few more hosts for this evening event.  Stay tuned for more details.
  • Susan Rada introduced Sharie Renault from the Calistoga Theater Company and treated the club to a brief performance of the upcoming play “Last Gas” which opens March 12 at the Calistoga Art Center, Fairgrounds Cropp Building, at 1435 N. Oak Street in Calistoga.  Visit for performance dates and ticket prices.
  • Kerry Forbes, guest of Doug Ernst encouraged all Rotary members to attend “The Peacemakers” benefit concert for trafficked children which will take place Friday, April 24 at 8:00 pm at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville.  Tickets can be purchased online at or call (707) 944-9900.
  • Cynthia Kee reminded all members to attend next week’s regular Rotary meeting to hear Reverend Denise DeSimone present to our club.  Denise is an author, motivational and inspirational public speaker, and workshop leader, with an extensive background in Interfaith Ministry, and a wide range of holistic healing practices. These healing practices include: Sound Healing, Reiki, Polarity Therapy, Reflexology, Shamanism and Process Therapy.  Denise's first book, From Stage IV to Center Stage is an extraordinary story of courage, strength and inspiration.  She travels extensively throughout the United States speaking and teaching.
  • Susan Rada announced that she will have more eggs for sale at upcoming meetings.

Raffle Winners:  Charlotte Williamson, Tim Doran, and Brad Bowles

Bell Ringers: 

  • David Moreland made another financial contribution earning a second Paul Harris.
  • Jack Neal attended the Daytona 500 in Florida and had a wonderful time.  He paid $22 to the Rotary Foundation.
  • Kelly Crane took our Youth Exchange Student David Jen to the Warrior game versus the Spurs.  He paid $20 to the club.​

Finemaster:  Roxanne Schaubhut quizzed the club about “Animals in Movies” trivia, stumping Justin Meyer; Cindy Warren and Mary Sykes.


Posted by Polly Keegan on Feb 04, 2015

Reported by Alan Galbraith

Speakers of the Day:

The speakers of the day, introduced by Rob Andreae, were two experts on Alzheimer’s disease, Laurie White, a specialist in dementia (and Rob’s sister-in-law), and Shelley Dombroski, the North Bay Regional Director (with offices in San Raphael and Santa Rosa) for the Alzheimer’s Association.  Laurie was first presenter.  She reviewed key points in the Association’s pamphlet, Know the 10 Signs, Early Detection Matters. The hallmark of the disease is memory loss disrupting daily life.  But there are other key indicators, such as “Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships” and “Missing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.”  Laurie showed a brief video with 2014 facts and figures.  The key statistics were that one in three seniors die with Alzheimer’s disease and two-thirds are women.  Alzheimer’s is the leading type of progressive dementia (Lewy Body Disease is second).  Shelley then followed on with a description of the resources available for help in the North Bay, including several fine treatment centers in the Bay Area.  She stressed that there was hope for the future; the science suggests that early detection before the disease becomes symptomatic may be key.  Shelley asked Rotarians to join a march against the disease in Yountville on September 12.

Special Speaker:
    Steve Carbone gave a short talk on his career as an advisor who helps clients work through financial problems, insurance, IRAs, and taxes.  He helps at multiple levels.  

Thought of the Day:
    Charlotte Williamson recited from Nelson Mandela: “To be free is not merely to cast one’s chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

    Dr. Ron Light, guest of Donn Black
    Lily Rada (just back from Bali), guest of mother Suzan Rada

Rotary Anniversary:
    Roxanne Schaubut
(one year)

Blue Badge:
    Ben Hill received his blue badge from President Norm Mitroff.  Ben stressed the importance of new friendships, and also that his superior at the hospital was looking for ways that hospital staff could become involved with Rotary.


    Suzan Rada advised that 45 had signed up for the Valentine Day dinner at the High School at 5:00 p.m., with wine at the Warrens at 4:00 p.m.
    John Muhlner advised that Margo Kennedy was coming along well.

Bell Ringers:
    Ted Bystrowski, in celebration of the Seahawk’s loss.
    Steve Carbone, in celebration of a weight loss.

Raffle: No prizes and hence no raffle.

Finemaster:  Matt Endriss took his theme from Super Bowl XLIX.  He went by table.   Examples: who were the announcers (from a list of possibilities), what special task fell on the designated home team (selecting the uniform colors); what was the half-time score, what was the name of the Patriot player who intercepted the ball at the goal line as time was running out.    

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