President Top Gun kicked off what seems to be the 37th meeting of his second term! Our Rotary International President is, of course, Holger Knaack, and the theme for this year is “Rotary Opens Opportunities”. April is Maternal & Child Health month.
Barry Toby was our greeter and, introducing his thought of the day in a trivia game fashion, asked everyone to guess which popular TV celebrity said, “If you look at what you have in life, you'll always have more. If you look at what you don't have in life, you'll never have enough.” Nobody had the answer, which was the famous Oprah Winfrey. L 
We welcomed guest and former grant recipient, Erika Williamson, who aptly noted, “I feel like I’m at a comedy club”. Chris - have you ever thought of doing standup? Barry gave us a quick update - he mentioned that there’s not much new with him. But they are expecting a 5th grandchild, due in June! Congrats, Barry!
 
 
Now, on to everyone’s favorite part - news you may have missed:  
  • Giant lizard sneaks into 7-Eleven, sends customers into hiding
  • Dog steaks Russian TV reporter’s mic during live broadcast
  • Company offers three people $2400 to watch 24 hours of true crime
  • Mafia fugitive caught after YouTube cooking show accidentally reveals his identity And then, Top Gun posed an important question to us all:
  • If you had to choose between drinking wine everyday or being skinny, would you choose red or white? (We know Gary Sloan loves his wine).

 Announcements

Colette Lay introduced our grant recipients and the Director of Community Engagement for We Care Services for Children, Erika Williamson. We Care supports families and children from birth to six years old with a wide range of early childhood education and mental health programs. Erika mentioned that they have been assisting children as much as possible with distance learning, but the best way to support the children they serve is in person.
Chris reminded her that if she’s looking for some cheap fun, she can come back to the ol’ San Ramon Rotary Comedy Club. We hope to see Erika again!
Chris and Karen McNamara provided an update on the Trinity Center online fundraising drive as well as the Don Jones sock drive (to honor the project begun by our late Rotarian Don Jones). The fundraiser brought in $3550 and over 1300 socks were contributed! Trinity Center staff is appreciative of our club. Amazing work, Rotarians.
Also, Colette Lay mentioned that a Relaxation with Rotarians event is coming up on
Thursday, April 15th, from 6-7pm. This is our joint social with East Bay Community Rotaract and Danville/Sycamore Valley Rotary, so please join to support our newest Rotarians! It’s okay if you cannot stay the whole time. 

Relaxation with Rotarians event

Meeting ID: 869 3683 8521, Passcode: 989863

Recognitions / Reminders

  • Chris Gayler had a birthday, for which he kept it mellow and picnic-ed in Sonoma.
  • Barry Toby was at Lake Eleanor for his birthday. He can’t remember much about it (which obviously means he had a great time) besides a nice crab dinner. 
  • Sharon Harvey was also recognized for her birthday
  • Marv Remmich was reminded of his wife’s (Susan’s) birthday on the day of the meeting (she had left Marv to be at a horse show, and was probably having a grand time) 
  • Julie McKinny reminded us that her favorite Gallagher (all of our favorite - Renee) was having a birthday coming up on Saturday 
  • Tom Port had a birthday, and ALSO didn’t remember it (everyone’s having such a good time!) 

Program: Michael Roberts, Golden Gate Fields  

Our good friend and prospective Rotarian, Michael Roberts, provided us an interesting and educational program on the Golden Gate Fields. Michael was the Former Group Sales Manager at Golden Gate, and he actually courted his wife at the race track!
He talked about: 
  • A general overview of facility 
  • The Tapeta footings racing surface 
  • History of Fleming Point 
  • How did Covid effect Golden Gate Fields? 
 
Many very interesting facts were shared, including: 
  • There are 140 acres of total plant area
  • Max capacity = 14,750
  • There’s a one mile oval main track surface
  • There’s a breathtaking view from the men’s restroom 
History of Fleming Point (Michael shared some really cool pictures): 
  • Original owner was Jose Domingo Peralta - owner of Rancho San Antonio 
  • In 1852, Fleming purchased property as trans-shipment point for his cattle
  • On February 1, 1941, the first inaugural meet occurred             
  • During WWII, the fields were used as a Naval Landing Force Equipment Depot
  • Japanese interns were NOT kept at Golden Gate Fields during WWII
  • 1950-1989, Kjell Qvale acquired the property 
  • 1989-1999, UK-based Ladbroke Racing acquired the property 
  • 1999-2011, Magna Entertainment/MID Developments owned the property
  • The Stronach Group acquired the track on June 30, 2011 from MID Developments & is current owner 
How did COVID affect live racing? 
  • When the pandemic began, the track was soon closed to spectators, but maintained live racing on and off
  • 300+ employees tested positive 
  • Feb 4, 2021 -- part of the area was designated for drive-through COVID testing 
Shout out to Michael for this terrific overview! We used to have a retired jockey, George Luna (Michael’s sponsor for Berkeley Rotary), talk to us about Golden Gate Fields, and we are lucky to now have Michael! 

Raffle and Ending Announcements  

Ana Dominguez won the raffle, but a blue marble was selected!!! Everyone groaned. Only a few marbles left. To conclude, we all had a lively chat about Gary Sloan’s healthy tan and unhealthy arm/hand.
 
Scribing by the Lovely and Talented Priya Jhingan