Posted by Frank Wooldridge on Feb 11, 2021
Ladies and Gentleman welcome to this week’s edition of The Beacon. This week’s bulletin is nothing for the squeamish or faint of heart. Why you ask? Well, at the meeting we had tales of Streakers, Sleepers, Winners and Losers, Past President Ron Nelms with one glove with zip ties…Yikes, and Darkness. See I told you, this meeting was something else. So, I hope if you went and survived at Skyline Cabinet from seeing all of this unfold in-person, or through Zoom, you came away the better. If you haven’t been to a meeting lately, come and see us Wednesday morning and join in with the fun of being a Breakfast Rotarian. (But not on the 17th – we are dark!)
 
Our Invocation was delivered by yours truly, and America’s Pledge of Allegiance led by Mindy Wilmot. Past President Denise Haynes serving as songstress led us in singing an old favorite, Daisy, Daisy. The song written in 1892 is a Valentine Tail for an admirer of a valentine and a bicycle built for two. Fun song Denise, thank you and Happy Valentine’s Day to all Breakfast Rotarians.
 
We did not have Visiting Rotarians, but we did have Visitors! Tom Pasek was with us along with perennial Bakersfield College Cheerleader Mary Jo. Mary Jo brought a guest.   Her guest was Eric Sanders, Executive Director of Jason’s Retreat. It’s Eric’s second visit. If you haven’t met Eric yet, welcome him to our meeting your next opportunity.
 
Thanks to our morning greeters Jeff Haynes, Dan Johnson and yes, Mary Jo Pasek.
 
The Streaker –President David Spalinger said according to Webster’s Dictionary, Streaker is to run naked through a public place. The Prez said when watching the Super Bowl last weekend there was a man from the grandstands who bolted onto the football field partially dressed. The Prez brought up the matter because he was concerned over the incorrectness of the media describing the man as “a streaker” when he was just partially dressed. The Prez took exception to the misstatement. He remembers, in his day, that a “true streaker” performed in full birthday suit attire. With that said, The Prez said the man who performed the stunt received a $374,000 from a wager he made which tempted him to perform the stunt. The Prez said he was tempted to match the stunt as well. I wonder if he will perform the Webster’s Dictionary version…
**Featured Program**
 
The Sleeper – Pete Leveroni barely awake from his beauty sleep had enough morning joe to introduce Laura Wolfe, the Executive Director of the Kern Literacy Council. Pete tells us since 2015 Laura has served as Executive Director. Prior to moving to Kern Literacy Council, she worked in local positions in higher education including California State University Bakersfield. Laura brings experience and knowledge to Kern County’s literacy needs.
 
Laura tells us that Kern Literacy is aimed at Transforming Lives through reading, particularly through reading programs that provide teaching English as a second language. It is through validated research that Laura has learned the gaps in the local educational environment exist in a number of areas. She said one of the largest segments of illiteracy exist with women of our Hispanic community. She said it is critical Kern Literacy respond to this gap. There are a number of tasks Kern Literacy has implemented to reverse Kern’s high statistics in rates of illiteracy. Before I mention these tasks, Laura said the motivation behind her tireless work is that ONLY 43% of Kern County 3rd graders meet state standards of being able to read at their grade level. She said a child is 4 times more likely to drop out of high school if they were not reading at grade level when they were in 3rd grade. The levels of those children that become incarceration statistics is equally staggering.
 
The tasks Laura is using with her staff and volunteers is to place emphasis upon Hispanic women. Thus, Laura has instituted programs directed at these women and their families. It has been found that when women are encouraged and taught to read to their children, yield positive results. Laura says, “The number one indicator of success is the level of a mother’s education…twice as much as the father”. Merely having reading books in the home, particularly for children, can improve the poor illiteracy numbers so that more children graduate from high school and go on the careers. Promoting Hispanic women towards attaining a GED and career paths further accelerate the advance of families. The good works of Kern Literacy makes those dreams reality.
Kern Literacy’s Dual Generation Program is empowering to women, states Laura, because in addition to reducing illiteracy, recipients of the program enjoy the benefit of learning “The Dress for Success” campaign, open paths towards becoming United States citizens, receiving high school diplomas, and job preparedness. Laura told us program recipients grow and display “What Success Looks Like”. Ultimately, Laura’s vision is the have their program recipients become successful contributing citizens. There are no limits!
 
At the conclusion of Laura’s presentation, she acknowledged gratitude towards her dedicated volunteers who perform the face-to-face mentoring with those in need of Kern Literacy’s services. These volunteers are heroes. As a Breakfast Rotarian you know what it is like to give and feel hero status. If you, OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW would like to make a difference to another person changing their life and perhaps a whole family, you might be a candidate as a mentor with Kern Literacy. To learn more contact Laura at (661) 324-3213 or visit KernLiteracy.org
 
By the way, Laura is seeking donations for children’s books. Thank You Laura for your service and love of Kern families.
 
**Announcements Announcements**
 
Okay back to Sleepers, President Dave is checking to see who read The Beacon and knows the Beacon Clue. Clearly, catching Pistol Pete Leveroni on the ZOOM nod, The Prez woke up Pete from LA-LA Land to ask him…several times…what the clue was. Slumbering Pete replied that he had not read The Beacon, as The Prez leveled a $10 fine. Next came Past President Travelin’ Neil Walker, Mary Jo, Michele McClure all of whom could not come up with the answer. Past President Ron Nelms made a valiant attempt but was only to come up with ½ the answer, so he was fined $5. Then came Carol Smith who did her homework. She completed what Ron “Buford” Nelms could not by answering the clue, which was, what is Connie Bensusen talented at? Painting (artwork).
BBRC Birthday included only “Dirty” Harry Bryant celebrating yet another BIG ONE! Denise Haynes led us in singing the birthday song. Carol Smith is recognized for her 22 years as a Rotarian and she proudly announced her Happiness achieving that endeavor. $25 dollars happy that is, which was matched by another $25! And let us not forget our little Mindy Wilmot who has been a BBRCer for 2 years. We honor our fine Rotarians!
 
Sadly, Cheryl Rydia is moving to Idaho Falls, Idaho, so we will be missing her friendly smile and Rotarian kinship. We thank you Cheryl for giving of yourself unselfishly to others through Rotary. It is our hope that you will not soon forget us and perhaps visit us again.
 
Jeff Haynes tells us that there are logistical obstacles, because of COVID, working with Interactors to complete the Annual 4-Way Essay Contest. He said he has spoken to Bree Goodmon about coordinating this year’s event. The show will go on and help is needed for volunteers from our club to serve as reviewers of essays. To volunteer please reserve the date of March 1st and contact Jeff so that he can bring you up on details.
 
Past President Mike O’Doherty has informed us that Frank Tripicchio and he are discussing prospects for a future Rotary International Project in Israel and Palestine. Mike said there is much more to come on this project.
                  
The Prez told those members who serve on our Board of Directors that there will be a Board meeting February 23rd. Stand by for further details.
 
**Happy Spots**
 
The Winners and Losers – I think the Haynes Family is pretty darn good at wagering their bet on Super Bowl Pools. Between Denise and Jeff at a Super Bowl party at the ranch home of Past President Jackie Maxwell they won three out of the four quarter’s winnings. Jeff won two of the largest for a $400 take home, not to mention he won our pool at Rotary in the same week. The Prez generously accepted a $50 surtax from Jeff. Michele McClure is not getting away either, as she too was at Jackie’s, but remotely had side bets on the game in a separate pool. She won $650 on her separate pool! She happily donated $50 to The Prez. We are not done yet! The Prez in all his modesty relented that his stars were lined up Sunday as well because at the party he went to, he came away with a grand…literally…$1100! He offered a $50 token for his trouble, but was quickly brought back to reality by Mike O’Doherty. The Prez reached way back in his pocket to come up with $100 donation to Rotary.
 
Harry Bryant sure is getting popular these days and why shouldn’t he? He purchased a new heavy duty pickup truck with ’35 trailer, just like brother Neil Walker. For that Mr. Popularity a $35 dollar fine! Good sport Harry offered another contribution of $100 to Rotary Foundation. Nice Harry! Beacon Clue is, How Long is Harry Bryant’s trailer? And Mary Jo is Happy because Bakersfield College is slated to become another COVID vaccination spot within their gymnasium. Thanks for the info Mary Jo…and the fine!
The Ron Nelms with one glove with zip ties – Ron “Buford” returned from the King of Hammers event last weekend without making the local news, but what he did do is approach The Prez’s podium with some very strange gifts that would alert any crime detective’s curiosity. Ron explained to The Prez the prizes he gave to him and added that he found these artifacts (evidence of a crime) while hiking in the sandy desert. Aren’t there bodies out there? The gifts included zip-ties, a single glove, the butt and nose of an exploded bomb and a rock. HeyRon did you ever play the game CLUE as a kid…who done it? I dunno Prez, I would be afraid to fine this guy $20…He He.
 
Past President Cheryl Scott appeared in The Community Partners section of The Bakersfield Californian and was fined accordingly.  Tom Burke, Bakersfield Community College District Chancellor quickly swept in and requested the damsel in distress by paying her debt. Nice work Tom!
Pat Thompson was just plain $20 happy to be hanging out with his little grandson. Joy Joy Joy!  
If Mary Jo Pasek hasn’t been all through this Beacon edition, I don’t know what. The girl was given a bottle of Conundrum for her “We are BC” mask by The Prez.
 
It was not a Haynes who won the drawing so I think their luck is now dry. Winner was Mike O’Doherty! $40 bucks richer.
 
Oh yes, The DARKNESS-We are DARK next week so sleep-in OKAY Pete…
Peace and Humanity Through Rotary,
By Frank Wooldridge
Beacon Writer