President Norman S. Mitroff, Ph.D.
President Elect Judd Howell, PhD
Secretary Jim Smith
Treasurer Christine Ramos
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
Sergeant-at-Arms Dick Gourley
Overall Director of Everything Joice Beatty
Ombudsman Steven Ebersole
Fundraising Director Cindy Warren
Program Chair Donn Black
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 Aug 19, 2014

Reported by Alan Galbraith

Speaker of the Day:  Pam Simpson, CEO/President, St. Helena Chamber of Commerce

Jim Smith (a Chamber Board member) introduced our speaker of the day, Pam Simpson, CEO/President, St. Helena Chamber of Commerce.   Pam grew up in an agricultural community in downstate Illinois.  She first came to Jim’s attention in the tasting room of Chase Cellars where she impressed Jim with her “incredible” knowledge of the product she was selling.  Pam joined the Chamber in May 2011.  As CEO, Pam moved the Chamber from its old location to its new location on Main Street.  With this move, the number of visitors calling on the Chamber more than doubled, from 4,535 in 2011 to 10,024 in 2013.  Pam provided a whirlwind overview of Chamber operations and many activities.   She noted that the Chamber’s budget has increased from $300,000 to $600,000 in the past three years.  The City provides funds primarily to operate the Visitor’s Center.  This is about $110,000 in the current fiscal year.  In addition, the City provided this fiscal year an additional $50,000 to augment the Chamber’s budget for marketing St. Helena.

The Chamber is currently bringing in a consultant to define what is needed in the downtown for it to remain “vital.”  Pam wants the business community to embrace an economic vitality vision that it can then share with the City and the public for further discussion.  Pam stressed that St. Helena was far behind its immediate neighbors in TOT (hotel tax) revenue, but that St. Helena had recently authorized a significant increase in new beds (126, bringing the total to 331) that, when the projects come on stream, will improve significantly TOT revenue. Pam discussed “low impact tourism", and asked that we have an open mind about future Wine Train operations; if passengers could stay overnight, that could assist in helping occupancy rates in our hotels.  Pam closed with some “quick facts” about the Napa Valley, including that we attract nearly 3 million visitors, that 92% state they plan to return, and only 4% consider traffic to be a problem.     

Thought of the Day:  Otty Hayne, noting that harvest season was already upon us, recited a prayer for agriculture: “Bless those who are in the fields; give us seasonable weather, and grant that we may all share the fruit of the earth, rejoicing in your goodness.”  


  • Matthew Gamble, guest of Ben Hill.  Matthew is the spiritual leader of the Haven, at St. Helena Hospital.
  • Keith Arnold, guest of Mike Thomas.  Keith works for the Nature Conservancy in Washington, D.C.
  • Alexa and Skye Hollister, daughter guests of Jon Hollister.


  • Andy Bartlett read touching letters from Mavi, our exchange student (now back home) from Sicily, and Tesa Kelly, our returned student from Spain.
  • Pam Simpson announced the Napa Valley Film Festival (November 12-16) and made note of the Clif Family Bruschetteria Truck (at Velo Vino, 790 Main Street)

Anniversaries and Birthdays:

  • Christine Hayne, one year Club anniversary
  • Michele Neumann, three year Club anniversary
  • Tim Doran, birthday

Bell Ringer: Andy Bartlett rang the bell for himself, Alan Galbraith, and Mike Thomas for their completion of a 35 mile Napa bike tour on Sunday.  

Raffle Winners: Michele Neumann (no black marble), Wendell Dinwiddie, and Ben Hill

Finemaster: Michael Layne

Michael’s topic was Robert Louis Stevenson.  Wendell Laidley was on the top of his game: he identified that the great author’s favorite musical instrument was the finger flute.  Mary Sikes also did well: she correctly responded that Stevenson and wife spent their honeymoon in a silver mine bunkhouse.  Jack Neal also did well: he correctly identified Fresno (one out of five) as the one California City that Stevenson had not lived in.  Jon Hollister (no doubt aided by information in a prior question) correctly responded that Stevenson died in Samoa.  

Posted on Aug 14, 2014

Reported by Alan Galbraith

Speaker of the Day:  (Terri Mehorado of the California Veterans Home at Yountville)

Donn Black provided his usual informed introduction, this time of Terri Mehorado, the Public Information Officer at the California Veterans Home at Yountville.   Terri’s prior position was Director of Marketing at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in Fresno.  She began her current position in February of this year.  Terri began with an overview of California Veteran Homes.  There are eight in all.  The homes are funded by the State of California.  They are not part of the VA system.  Honorably discharged military veterans who are California residents for at least a year are eligible for admission into a California Veteran Home.  The Yountville Home, with more than 1000 beds, is by far the largest Veterans Home in the California System.  Unlike other facilities, the Yountville Home allows for all levels of care, from independent care (the veteran needs no assistance) to skilled nursing and memory care.  It is the only facility with a PX.  It provides a wide range of services and activities.  It has its own Veterans Service Officer, who assists veterans in presenting their claims to the VA. 

Terri especially stressed that veterans like to get out in the community and they also like for the community to come to them.   She noted that there were plenty of volunteer opportunities at the Yountville Home – including, for example, assisting veterans in writing letters to their loved ones.  Veterans devote a percentage of their income to their support at the home but the support is capped at $1200 a month.  Most interesting, if a veteran is there with his spouse, and the veteran passes away, the spouse can continue to live out her life at the Home.  This is a source of great comfort to veterans.  Most of the veterans at the Yountville Home are men.  There are approximately 200 women out of a total population of just above 1000.

Thought of the Day:

            DeWitt Garlock presented a moving thought of the day inspired by Matthew 18:3.  It urges a life of no pretense, like a child.  “Embrace the lowliness and wonder of the child who lives each moment as a gift, not as a stepping-stone for social status.  It is to those who live in childlike simplicity that the Kingdom of heaven belongs.”

Visiting Rotarian:

            Alexis Padis from the San Ramon Rotary Club.   Alexis will likely be running the newly opened jewelry store on Main Street.


  • Dr. Stephen Sunseri, guest of Donn Black; prior to retiring, Dr. Sunseri was for many years chief of medical services at the Yountville Home.
  • We had two rebound students (Kelly Ebersole, back from Chile, and Tessa Kelly, back from Spain), one outbound student (Sara Ebersole, on her way to Germany) and one inbound student (David Jen, from Taiwan), guests of Andy Bartlett.​

Announcements: (John Muhlner, presiding)

  • John Muhlner announced that the Board was giving consideration to a bocce fundraiser, with details to follow.  He asked that members with organizational ideas for such a fundraiser email Joice Beatty,
  • John Muhlner noted that Jill Munson’s mother had recently passed away; Joice Beatty circulated a card.

Birthdays:  Christine Hayne, Jim Smith, and Charlotte Williamson

Wedding Anniversary: Michael Layne (114 years)

Rotary Anniversary: Rod Ellison

Raffle Winners: Alexis Padis (no black marble), Mike Thomas, and Matt Endriss

Bell Ringers: Mary Seitz in honor of her uncle, a World War II veteran, who recently passed away.

Finemaster: Father Mac thought that he could raise some serious money through questions on the world’s religions, only to find that in many cases his targets were well informed.  Charlotte Williamson, for example, rattled off the world’s five largest religions in impressive fashion.      

Posted on Aug 12, 2014

Cindy Warren, Reporter

Meeting was run by Joice Beatty who was standing in for president Norm Mitroff.

Guests: Mary Lou Wilson, St. Helena Unified Superintendent, guest of John Muhlner

Birthdays: Christine Hayne, Jim Smith

Anniversary: Chuck Meibeyer


  • Ted Bystrowski: Orientation for Red Badgers is Aug. 6th.
  • Christine Hayne: Fresh eggs are for sale.
  • Andy Bartlett asked Rotarians to consider going on the Rotary Exchange raft trip the weekend of Aug. 22. Our exchange student is David Chen.
  • Joice Beatty reminded Rotarians to bring in their raffle prizes- 2 prizes at $25 each. If you don't bring them in you will be charged $50 on your bill.
  • Joice asked everyone to update their Club Runner info page. She also asked that people don't sit in their regular seat. 

Raffle : Winners were John Muhlner, Polly Keegan and Mary Sikes

Bell Ringers: Kelly Crane visited the #7 Rotary Club in Boston

Finemaster: Dave Moreland quizzed us on our English skills.

Craft Talks:
Doug Ernst:
Doug's parents ( WWII Immigrants) raised him to be a liberal. His path took him from San Jose State, where he started in journalism, and eventually to the Napa Valley. He told us of the San Jose State Spartan paper being the leaders in the Patty Hearst story.  After a stint in Amador County, he came to the Napa Register where he was a reporter for 10 years. He eventually became Editor and in 2004 became the Publisher of the St. Helena Star. He is currently working as a free-lance journalist.

Gene Armstead:
Gene spent a great deal of his life in Nebraska. In 1963 he joined the Lincoln, NE Police Department as a Beat Officer and was eventually promoted to Cruiser.  He went back to school at University of Nebraska and earned a BA in Psychology. He was promoted to Sgt. then  became a Training Officer and also the Polygraph Operator. He eventually became the Planning Officer and then the Asst. Chief.  In 1987 he went to the Mayor's office as an Administrative Director.

In 1987 he came to St. Helena as the first City Manager, which he held for 9 1/2 years. He is active in the Cameo Cinema and Rianda House. Currently he is a licensed Professional Fiduciary and the Accounting Manager for the St. Helena Catholic School.

Posted by Alan Galbraith on Aug 01, 2014

Reported by Alan Galbraith

Speaker of the Day: John Sales - Historical Perspective on St. Helena Housing

Donn Black started off with a rousing introduction of our speaker of the day, 30-year plus Rotary veteran and past Club president, John Sales. John’s topic was housing in the context of a changing St. Helena.  John presented in slide form extensive historical data juxtaposed against our present situation.  He examined not just changes in population and housing stock, but also broader trends that were affecting the mix of business over time.  In agriculture, we have lost the diversity of crops as vineyards and wineries have become dominant.  In retail, hospitality businesses (such as restaurants, hotel rooms, tasting rooms, art galleries, and jewelry stores) have grown at the expense of local serving stores (plumbing outlets, variety stores, auto dealers, and a sporting goods store).  

The key housing trend was the relentlessly increasing unaffordability of homes in St. Helena for professional workers – and not just skilled and unskilled workers.  More moderately priced housing stock is going into second homes as smaller homes are replaced with upscale houses.  John cited the example of the recently built home at 1338 Stockton Street on sale for $2.9 million.  He pointed out the habitable home with the lowest price currently on the market is listed for sale at $515,000 – with only 744 square feet.  The next lowest, with 1176 square feet, is listed for $575,000.  John also referenced short-term vacation rentals, which are chewing into existing housing stock,

In summary, John noted that each year, as housing prices rise, fewer people working in St. Helena can afford to live in St. Helena, that this trend makes it more difficult for businesses to find qualified employees and increases morning traffic into St. Helena and evening traffic out of St. Helena, and, most importantly, that the trend is changing our town’s character, as more homes are not occupied by residents committed to the community.  John noted that the City’s desire to increase revenue, especially TOT revenue, had the side effect of increasing jobs in the service sector but without housing to service the workers.  John did not present solutions, but posed potential alternatives if funding for housing could be developed.

Thought of the Day: Alan Galbraith recited two thoughts from the writings of John Muir: (1) “Keep close to Nature’s heart . . . and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain in the woods.  Wash your spirit clean.”  (2) Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

Visiting Rotarian:  Paul Dohring from the Calistoga Rotary Club.  


  • Tony Matiaca, with Native Select Foods, guest of Norm Mitroff, and introduced by Margo Kennedy.
  • Marylou Wilson, superintendent of the St. Helena Unified School District, guest of Ted  Bystrowski,

Birthday and Club Anniversary: Warren Warner (in absentia, in Alaska)


  • Joice Beatty, president pro tem presiding, announced that:
  • Vera Trinchero Torres, a wonderful community leader, had passed away; 
  • we are in need of raffle prizes;
  • all members should review Club Runner and update their information – a plea in which your reporter also joins!  
  • Joice welcomed back Doug Ernst.    

Raffle WinnersKathleen Patterson (two weeks running), Michael Thomas, Matt Endriss, and Charlotte Williamson

Bell Ringers:

  •     Jack Neal in appreciation for successful medical treatment
  •     Alan Galbraith in honor of daughter Kate’s recent engagement
  •     Doug Ernst, in appreciation for recovery from his slip-on-tile accident


Wendell Laidley, compelled to improvise, came up with a new format.  His “open-ended” or, more precisely, “yes/no” questions centered on the Middle East  with a final one on Myanmar (Burma).  He asked whether his targets (Gene Armstead, David Moreland, Orville Hammer, and Doug Ernst in turn) favored or disfavored U.S. intervention in the Israel/Palestine conflict, in Iraq, in Syria’s civil war, and in internal strife in Myanmar.  He then asked for an up or down vote from Rotarians.  It seemed like we were all of essentially the same persuasion.  Democratic centralism prevailed, once again. Wendell then elicited full support for the new format – democratic centralism again.


Posted by Jon Hollister on Jul 27, 2014

Reported by Jonathan Hollister

Speakers of the Day:  Carol Trivett Williams with Napa Valley Hospice and Adult Day Services, and Karen Rowland, Shopkeeper at La Boheme in St. Helena.
Napa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services, a non-profit organization, provides life-affirming care with remarkable compassion during life’s most challenging transitions.  For the past 35 years their programs have served more than 10,000 families in the Napa Valley, and provide an important support service within our community.

Hospice is a complete system of care and support for persons facing the end of life.  Their team provides comfort, symptom management and specialized end-of-life services to all those affected.  Hospice works with patients and families to learn their goals of care, enabling patients to experience the highest quality of life possible.

NVH programs also include: Mind Boosters, designed specifically for people experiencing changes in memory, or people with the diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment or Dementia; Caregiver Resources, designed for caregivers to coordinate the many facets of a loved one’s care; Alzheimer’s Resource Center, providing resources to those who have concerns, questions, or need guidance about a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease or another dementia; Adult Day Services, which is a diverse program of health, social and rehabilitation services which promote the well-being, dignity and self-esteem of  individuals; Transitions Palliative Care, working with seriously-ill patients and their families to manage symptoms, navigate health options and the healthcare system while providing other practical, social and spiritual support; and Grief Support Services, which offer expert and professional counseling in dealing with grief and loss in a healthy way. Anyone from the community can participate in our counseling and programming at little or no cost.

Karen Rowland invites all Rotarians to visit La Boheme at 1428 Main Street in St. Helena, and to visit the new store called Act 2 T and consider donating items to the store. The Act 2 thrift shop offers the community a much larger selection of items than will fit in the smaller La Boheme store.  All donations are tax deductible, and help support the agency’s mission of providing compassionate care.

Thought of the Day: It came from Alan Fowler

Visiting Rotarians: None

Guests: Tony Matijaca of Nature Select Foods store in St. Helena.

Birthdays / Anniversary:  There is a new “Birthday Board” located near the entrance which shows birthdays and anniversaries for the members.


  • The Rotary Clubs of Napa Valley will be participating in the development and fundraising, as well as bike safety education, for the Vine Trail. Please join us this Sunday, July 27th, at 10 am for a celebration of the Ridge Trail-Vine Trail Junction at Bothe Park and show Rotary support.
  • President Norm Mitroff will be away on vacation for the next three weeks.  John Muhlner and Joice Beatty will substitute in his place.
  • Eggs are for sale at 3 dollars per box.
  • Ted Bystrowski met with the owners of the Rutherford Grove Winery to discuss the possibility of holding a Rotary fundraising event which could possibly be a classic truck and tractor themed event which could draw attendance from the vintner and grape grower business community.

Raffle Winners:  Kathleen Patterson, April Duge, Jack Neal
Peach Auction:  Joice Beatty and Christine Hayne
Bell Ringers:  None

Finemaster:  Dick Gourley fined Norm Mitroff for not knowing the influence of German immigrants in the Valley, Leter Hoel was fined because he did not know the number of appellations in the Valley, April Duge understood the timing of veraison; John Muhlner was fined for talking about pink cowboy boots and Polly Keegan was fined for not summarizing the effect of the water shortage on the grapes in the Valley.

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