Run Walk 2020 Announced! 2019-10-02 07:00:00Z 0
We were thrilled to present a check for $6,000 to Growing Grounds Farms. Our annual Run-Walk for Mental Health held on April 27th this year was a resounding success thanks to all the participants and club members who made it happen! Half of proceeds raised went to Growing Grounds to help them with their mission, the other half goes to our local Rotary Foundation and will be used for scholarships, local and international projects. Thank you to everyone!! Mark your calendar now for the next one! It will always be the last Saturday in April - so the date next year will be  April 25, 2020!
Run-Walk Success! 2019-03-26 07:00:00Z 0
Rotarians sharing the love on Valentine's Day! 
Every month we have the opportunity to provide a hot meal and some kindness at the Salvation Army. February's dinner fell on Valentine's Day - and the Rotarians showed up in force to share the love!
Service Above Self is truly a privilege! Want to join us? Check out our events for the is typically the 2nd Thursday of every month.
Sharing the Love Lisa Long 2019-02-15 08:00:00Z 0
Bob Ogden receiving recognition Joe Gruba 2019-01-22 08:00:00Z 0
Christmas with Santa 2018 Joe Gruba 2018-12-16 08:00:00Z 0
Posted by Joe Gruba on Oct 03, 2018
Bob Nelson; Chief of Staff for Peter Adam, 4th district supervisor takes control of the Rotary bell from President Nicolette Reeves.
President Nicolette having fun Joe Gruba 2018-10-03 07:00:00Z 0
Picture this - It's the 1920's/1930's. You've received a special invitation to visit "The Enchanted Hill" as guests of  William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies! On your way from Southern California you've been invited to stop at an exclusive cocktail party at The Santa Maria Inn before continuing on the next day to Hearst Castle. Choose a character for the are some ideas to get you started! Choose someone - google a photo - have fun becoming that character for the evening!
Hearst Castle halloween wine raffle
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Halloween Party/Wine Raffle 2018 Lisa Long 2018-08-23 07:00:00Z 1 Hearst Castle,halloween,wine raffle
Two new Members Joe Gruba 2018-03-25 07:00:00Z 0
2018 Walk / Run for Mental Health Bob Peters 2018-03-19 07:00:00Z 0
District Governor John Weiss / club visit Joe Gruba 2018-01-09 08:00:00Z 0
Dec 2017 - Christmas Party with Santa Bob Peters 2018-01-08 08:00:00Z 0
Rotarians and guests enjoy food and fun at David and Nancy Bixby's home.  It was a festive occasion indeed, as the mixer coincided with David's 69th birthday.
Nov 20 - Rotary Mixer at Bixbys Bob Peters 2018-01-08 08:00:00Z 0
June 2017 - President Georgia Shore Step-down Bob Peters 2017-07-17 07:00:00Z 0

President Joe Gruba presents Eva Macias, executive director of CET, with a $500 donation for scholarships

On behalf of the Rotary Club of Santa Maria South, Vicki Conner presents two scholarships of $250 each to students Sara Luz and Maria Rocha.


Touring CET 


Housing inspectors ...

June 12 - Center for Employment Training Bob Peters 2017-07-17 07:00:00Z 0

The 10K/ 5K Run/ Walk was held on Saturday, May 6, 2017 to benefit Growing Grounds. Growing Grounds Farm in Santa Maria combines horticultural therapy and vocational training to provide employment to people with mental illness.  The farm provides a supportive environment where personal growth can be realized. Growing Grounds Farm Santa Maria was launched in October 2000.

Frank Ricceri (center), head of Growing Grounds Farm, accepts a $3,600 check from Santa Maria Rotary South.  Pictured from left to right are committee members Vicki Connor, Fran Hutchinson, Robert Ogden, Mr. Ricceri, committee chair Leticia Soto, and Peter Garcia.  The funds were raised at the club's 10 K Run/Walk for Mental Health.  
2017 10K/ 5K Run/ Walk for Mental Health Bob Peters 2017-06-19 07:00:00Z 0

Jim Clark, supervising probation officer of Los Prietos Boys Camp, spoke to the club about teaching the boys personal integrity.  The goal of the camp is to return young men, now wards of the state, to the community as responsible and productive members of society.  "Discipline, respect and responsibility" is the motto of the facility.  The Santa Maria South Club helps sponsor the work of the camp.

Feb 6 - Los Prietos Boys Camp Bob Peters 2017-03-06 08:00:00Z 0
Feb 13 - Rotary Mixer at Rooney's Bob Peters 2017-03-06 08:00:00Z 0

Members were fascinated by the predator birds brought to the Feb. 20 meeting by Craig Golden, owner of Safari Depredation.  Safari Depredation provides hawks and falcons to attack and scare away invading seagulls from local area landfills.

Hawk and falcon trainer Craig Golden helps JD Collier control a hawk


Feb 20 - Safari Depredation Raptors Bob Peters 2017-03-06 08:00:00Z 0

Dr. Cheryl Decker, M.D., director of Survivorship and Supportive Care at Mission Hope Cancer Center along with nurse Kim Neace (MRNC), provide a presentation on palliative care, which is offered by Mission Hope.

Mission Hope Cancer Center Bob Peters 2017-02-20 08:00:00Z 0
Our 2016 Halloween party/ wine raffle at Rooney's Irish Pub was a big success. We raised money for community projects and we had fun. Our pictures show Rotarians Phil Sinco and Paul Moe checking in guests. Next we have Ron & Leticia Soto along with Will & Leigh Collier. The last picture shows our James Dean look alike Dick Best.   
Halloween Costume Party 2016 Bob Peters 2016-11-04 07:00:00Z 0

Cristina Martins Sinco up-dating our club on Ovarian cancer awareness, and The Teal Journey Foundation.
Ovarian Cancer Presentation Joe Gruba 2016-09-22 00:00:00Z 0
Rotarians willing to be of community service as pictured below. (L to R) Andrea Curiel, Andrea's son Manny, Dick Best, and Bob Peters.
(2nd photo)
Former member Jo Grande with past president Peter L. Garcia
Good Sam feed 2016 Joe Gruba 2016-08-25 00:00:00Z 0
Good Samaritan Shelter meal served by Rotary Club of Santa Maria South members, (L to R) Kevin Hightower, President Georgia Shore, past member Sandi Miller, and Paul Moe.
125 people enjoyed a good meal because of the generosity of these Rotarians. 
Good Samaritan Shelter feed Joe Gruba 2016-08-25 00:00:00Z 0
Rotary Club of Santa Maria South club members with Mission Hope Medical Director, Robert A. Dichman M. D. (3rd from left)
Tuesday, August 2nd found Rotary Santa Maria South members and guest treated to an overview and tour of Mission Hope Cancer Center, the state-of-the-art facility designed to offer Central Coast cancer patients the latest treatments, advanced technology, sophisticated imaging, coordinated care and support services, as well as clinical trials and physicians from the nation's top medical schools. A one-of-a-kind center serving as a nexus for testing, diagnosis, chemotherapy, radiation, and after treatment support, Mission Hope is comparable only to the centralized cancer services found at sites such as UCLA, or Stanford. Mission Hope is a UCLA affiliated cancer center featuring 30 currently active clinical trails/ study drugs, and is the first non-academic center to boast the Varian Truebeam linear accelerator, a $2.5 million piece of equipment enabling high precision radiation, which is less damaging to patients. In addition to cutting edge equipment, Mission Hope has now recruited two new physicians, Christopher Lutman, M. D., a gynecological oncologist, and Cheryl Decker, M. D., FACEP, cancer risk and survivorship.   
Mission Hope Cancer Center Visit Joe Gruba 2016-08-06 00:00:00Z 0
L to R: Jeff Shaffer and Chuck Flacks, C3H, with Rotary Santa Maria South club president Georgia Shore
C3H Shares Its Vision with Rotary Club Members
On Monday, July 18th, Chuck Flacks, Executive Director, and Jeff Shaffer, Community Coordinator of the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness  (C3H) presented an informative talk on countywide coordination of services to individuals in our area who are without housing. C3H is a program of the United Way of Northern Santa Barbara County, which serves as fiscal agent for the organization. C3H is funded primarily by Santa Barbara County, countywide cities, Cottage and Marian hospitals, with other funding sought from nonprofits and the private sector. The main purpose of the organization is to (1) house the homeless and (2) minimize the impacts of homelessness on our communities. C3H is not a direct service provider, but rather coordinates the services and programs for others on behalf of Santa Barbara County homeless individuals.
Their purpose is to identify the homeless residents of the county by name, know their needs and their desires, and find them the appropriate services. C3H performs a survey of homeless individuals every two years, which may offer club members an opportunity to provide voluntary outreach and interview support. While the latest survey identified 1500 homeless in the county, it is estimated that the true number is three or four times greater. C3H is working to have Care & Referral Centers where caseworkers would be able to work with the chronically homeless to reduce “harm” and assist with information and referral. The organization is planning the first of these centers to be in Santa Maria.
July 18 - Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness Joe Gruba 2016-07-27 00:00:00Z 0
What a proud moment for our club president Georgia Shore! Not only did she conduct her first meeting as president of the Rotary Club of Santa Maria South, but she had the honor and privilege of adding her daughter, Leigh Collier, as our newest club member. Dr. Hurdle helped with the induction ceremony by giving a brief history of our Rotary group, and Dick Best gave Leigh the formal Rotary club membership documents. Congratulations to our newest member!
New Member of our Club Joe Gruba 2016-07-14 00:00:00Z 0
Rotary Club of Santa Maria South President Georgia Shore and president elect Joe Gruba at President Shore's first official meeting of her tenure.
President Georgia Shore's 1st meeting Joe Gruba 2016-07-14 00:00:00Z 0
In the last week of August 2015, Rotary Santa Maria South International chairman Joe Gruba, club president Peter Garcia and past president David Bixby traveled to La Paz, Mexico.  There, they met with Rotario de la Paz club members to discuss our current joint project,  the support of the La Paz village schools,  La Escuela Diana Laura and La Escuela Guadalupe.  In addition, the three purchased and delivered school supplies and textbooks for school children attending these schools. 
Feb 15, 2016 - La Paz International Project 2016-07-10 00:00:00Z 0

The step down audience celebrates the many accomplishments of out going President Peter Garcia.
The Rotary Club of Santa Maria South feted outgoing President Peter Garcia with the "Top 10" highlights of his life plus his Rotary year set to pop music from the 1970's to 2015. With Peter's Rotary sponsor Alain Hurdle applauding his accomplishments and calling him the "club troubadour", Diane Balay highlighting his prodigious musical talents, and humor. Phil Sinco pointed out his "calm" and unflappable demeanor, and Bob Ogden complimented his thoughtful, nostalgic side; Peter was duly honored by all. While Rotary Santa Maria South supported a number of causes and organizations during the year, highlights of 2015-2016 included; start up funding for The Teal Journey Ovarian Cancer Foundation, a "Walk for Mental Wellness" that included support for the Growing Grounds subsidized employment program, water filtration systems for use in La Paz, Mexico, a "Pedal for Polio" fundraiser, a Santa Claus party for youth from the Boy's and Girl's Club, a veterans recognition night, sponsorships for high school students to attend Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp, plus scholarships for students attending college and vocational school.   
Rotary Santa Maria South 2015-2016 President Peter Garcia and club secretary Dick Best presenting President elect-nominee Joe Gruba with a club Paul Harris award for board support, grant support, and international service. Joe raised several thousand dollars for water filtration efforts in La Paz, Mexico.
Incoming President Georgia Shore presents outgoing president Peter Leandro Garcia with a presidential plaque featuring his gavel and term of service. 
President Garcia Step Down Joe Gruba 2016-07-01 00:00:00Z 0

Rotary SM South club member Chet Prezkop being recognized by District Governor Wade Nomura (2011-2012) for fifty years of perfect attendance in Rotary!  
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Chet Prezkop, long time Rotarian from Santa Maria South, who passed away this week on June 28. We encourage all club members and friends to honor Chet's amazing Rotary spirit by attending his upcoming memorial service to be held Saturday, July 9th at 11:00 am at Dudley Hoffman Mortuary. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial gifts be sent to Santa Maria South Rotary Foundation, P. O. Box 89, Santa Maria, CA 93456.
Chet Prezkop /Music
With fellow club member Ken Parker (l) and son Glen Prezkop (r). Chet in 2011 at the microphone with his famous pitch pipe, leading club members in song. 
Chet was known for his extraordinary love for and commitment to Rotary, as well as an unmatched attendance record. He was also known for his serious commitment to keeping our club a "singing club", leading the opening song every week by starting us off with his pitch pipe. Even when he began to use a walker, Chet attended our Winter Wonderland event to show his support, cheering from the sidelines decked out in his Santa hat. In 2011, just after Chet had moved to Merrill Gardens, we invited him back to a Rotary club meeting where he got quite a surprise. Not only did he enjoy leading the club in song once again, but District Governor Wade Nomura, who was visiting that evening, surprised Chet with a Rotary "Transformer" pin honoring him for 50 YEARS of perfect attendance in Rotary!!! Rest in Peace Chet.
Chet Prezkop Rememberance Joe Gruba 2016-07-01 00:00:00Z 0

What a wonderful meeting we had on the 20th of June for president Garcia's last official meeting! It was a night of singing requests that were turned in prior to the performance, or were simply asked for that night. President Garcia played every request from memory. From the Beatles to Brahms, from Jazz to Joplin (Scott or Janis), Peter played them all. We all had a chance to sing along and to give a final salute to our out-going president.
"Piano Man" President Peter Joe Gruba 2016-06-23 00:00:00Z 0
Pictured above are: Club President Peter Garcia, club Interact liaison Nicolette Reeves, RYLA attendee and Interactor Keona Pablo and OAHS Interact Advisor Alyson Chavez
On Monday, June 14th, Rotary Santa Maria South was treated to a RYLA presentation by Keona Pablo, Interactor from the Orcutt Academy High School Interact Club who attended the 2016 "Rotary Youth Leadership Awards" camp in Ojai. OAHS Interact advisor Alyson Chavez was also in attendance. Nicolette Reeves, club Interact liaison and RYLA scholarship coordinator was also present. Each year, Rotary Santa Maria South supports local students with scholarships to attend the RYLA conference.
RYLA Presentation 2016-06-22 00:00:00Z 0
On Monday, October 19th, District 5240 Governor Jim Bell joined members of Rotary Santa Maria South for both a Board meeting and a club meeting, sharing resources from Rotary International with Board Members, inspiring stories from Rotary with club members.
Board members shared information about recent the recent trip to La Paz for a needs assessment and follow-up, as well as current fundraisers and community service activities.
Encouraging members to stay committed to Rotary whatever their level of engagement and contribution, spoke about not only the importance of the thousands of projects Rotary directs, but the thousands upon thousands of “acts of kindness” generated by those projects around the world. Each Rotarian plays a role in bringing that to pass, according to Bell. Promising a free dinner to each charter member if his speech was too long or too boring, Bell was happy to hear that the charter members wanted to buy HIS dinner after his presentation.
Charter Members Joe Gallas and Alain Hurdle time Jim Bell's Presentation
Rotary Santa Maria South past president Bob Ogden announced a Paul Harris recognition for President Peter Garcia, in gratitude for his mother’s returning health after a cancer diagnosis. DG Bell congratulated the two of them and explained the Paul Harris recognition program for the guests in the audience. Governor Jim was also delighted with the country music provided by Peter and Bob in his honor and enthusiastically joined in the singing of the weekly club song.
District Governor Jim Bell, President Peter Garcia, and Bob Ogden
Bob Ogden, Peter Garcia and Jim Bell Jammin'
Oct 19 - District Governor Visits Rotary Santa Maria South! 2016-04-11 00:00:00Z 0
On November 9, Rotary Santa Maria South honored club member and guest veterans in attendance with a complimentary bottle of wine. Veterans introduced themselves and described their service history. The evening's program was about the Veteran Success Center at Allan Hancock College, presented by Dean of Student Services Rob Parisi.

Club member Joe Gruba, chairman of the International Committee, showed club members the water filtration system being recommended for use in La Paz villages. Rotary Santa Maria South Board will be discussing a possible donation for sending some of the filtration systems to La Paz. Systems are available at $50 each and can transform hundreds of gallons of water into drinking water.
Nov 9 - Santa Maria South Celebrates Veterans Day! 2016-04-11 00:00:00Z 0
Four intrepid Rotarians, Dick Best, Vickie Conner, Paul Moe and Bob Peters, boarded the SOS mobile food wagon and drove out to the project apartments on W Alvin Street to serve the needy. 
The Rotary Club of Santa Maria South cooked up some delicious chicken verde in the SOS truck to serve to residents of a nearby apartment complex. Our guests enjoyed the tasty meal!
Aug 31 2015 - Central Coast Rescue Mission Outreach 2016-04-06 00:00:00Z 0
Sept 14, 2015 - Santa Maria Aegis Substance Abuse Treatment Center 2016-04-06 00:00:00Z 0
Joyce Ellen Lippman, Executive Director of Central Coast Senior Citizens/Area Agency on Aging, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties, was the presenter Monday, October 5th, for Rotary Santa Maria South. As she explained to club members, the organization’s mission is to help keep seniors safely and happily at home. Providing periodic senior needs assessments for the two counties, the Area Agency on Aging is able to prioritize needs and help fund programs and services to address the most pressing needs. Priorities from most recent senior survey showed that “understanding Medicare” was the most often cited need, with food and nutrition being number two on the list, indicating that economic factors are now impacting seniors’ abilities to provide adequate and healthy food for themselves. Transportation was also identified as an ongoing need. Lippman also expressed hope that recent legislation requiring both home care agencies and workers to register might help professionalize the industry, although, because it will also increase home care costs, it is likely to engender a larger underground home care industry, as well. Lippman encouraged those with seniors in facilities or in home care to make periodic, unannounced visits, and evaluate first-hand how the providers are doing. Protection of seniors is an increasingly difficult task as thousands of baby boomers each year now retire and enter the “Golden Years”!
Chris and Joe Gallas join President Peter at the piano and other club members in a weekly singalong.
Oct 5 - Central Coast Senior Citizens/Area Agency on Aging 2016-04-06 00:00:00Z 0
Rotarians Hard at Work ...
The Best Man for the Job ...
Vicki and Fran Slaving in the Kitchen ...
Bob Stirring Things Up ...
There was lots of work done by some excellent Rotarians.  Thanks (alphabetically) to David Bixby (minus a dog with 4 names), Vicki Conner (chair of the event), Peter Garcia, Joe Gruba (and his new knee), Fran Hutchinson, Paul Moe, and Bob Peters.  We got to do extra because the lady doing the first feeding was supposed to have 20 kids helping her, none of whom showed up.  Our menu was chili dogs (David did not get to repeat his star performance from a few months ago because the in-house supervisor insisted on heating the dogs in the oven, so they wouldn't split [which they did, any way], but he regaled us with stories of cases past, present and future), cole slaw, strawberries (brought by the lady from the first group -- packaged by Naturipe, out of Salinas, huge, bright red inside and out, juicy and sweet), cheesecake (also from the first feeding) and sodas.  Ask Bob Peters about the can of extra-light soda he discovered; it will be on display at next Monday's meeting for those who might want a taste treat.  If you weren't there, you missed a good time.
March 28 - Good Sam Outreach 2016-04-04 00:00:00Z 0
Central Coast Rescue Mission (CCRM) Director Larry Cooney was the featured speaker at the club’s August 10th meeting. In addition to describing CCRM history and residential rehab program for 18 men recovering from drug or alcohol abuse, Cooney shared plans for the organization’s new “hot breakfast” program, which will include the CCRM mobile van traversing Broadway in the a.m. to distribute hot breakfasts and coffee to addicts and homeless individuals on the streets of Santa Maria. CCRM Residential program participants Kevin McGowan (left of Cooney in photo) and Dmitri Milyaskiy shared their touching stories of their descents into abuse, their current activities in the program, and their hopes for a bright future. It was an inspiring and interesting program night at Rotary Santa Maria South!
CCRM - Kevin McGowan (L), Dir. Larry Cooney (C), Dmitri Milyaskiy (R)
August 10 - Central Coast Rescue Mission 2015-09-13 00:00:00Z 0
The last week of August will find Rotary Santa Maria South International chairman Joe Gruba, club president Peter Garcia and past president David Bixby (pictured above left to right) in La Paz, Mexico, reviewing past joint club projects and meeting with the Rotario de la Paz club members about future joint projects. In addition, the three will be purchasing and delivering school supplies and textbooks for village school children.
On Monday, August 24th, the club held an internal club fundraiser to raise funds for the school supplies.
The fundraiser, a replay of the seventies game show “The Match Game”, featured club members in period costume, contestants, “celebrity” players and crazy, “fill-in-the-blank” questions:
“Celebrity Panel” members (pictured above left to right) at the game table included club members Pat Haley and Bob Peters, as well as PCPA celebrity Kitty Balay.
Contestants included club members Phil Sinco and Fran Hutchinson (pictured above far left and second right), Karen Gruba (second from left) and game show champion and club president-elect Steve Wagner (far right).
The “Match Game” fundraiser garnered well over the funds needed for the school supplies and a good time was had by all!
August 24 - Match Game Fundraiser for La Paz School 2015-09-13 00:00:00Z 0
Rotary Club member Victoria Conner presented an overview of the Economic Alliance of Northern Santa Barbara County.
Rotary Santa Maria South club members sing at the end of every meeting. Here (from left) Fran Hutchinson, Joe Gruba, David Bixby and Georgia Shore lead the club in "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime" accompanied by Club president Peter Garcia on piano (not shown).
August 3 - Victoria Conner,  EconAlliance 2015-09-12 00:00:00Z 0
Peter Gilli, Planning Division Manager, City of Santa Maria, shared information about the Proposed Revisions to the Downtown Specific Plan.  He invited club members to participate in the July 23rd  Downtown Plan input-gathering meeting in Shepard Hall at the City Library.
July 20 - Peter Gilli, Santa Maria Planning Division Manager 2015-08-03 00:00:00Z 0
On July 6th, new Rotary Santa Maria South president Peter Garcia shared priorities and suggestions for the year amid a rousing, music-filled evening of enthusiasm, laughter, and camaraderie. Starting off the evening with the club singing “God Bless America” in honor of the recent Independence Day, Peter also introduced a musical motto for the year. His choice? Everybody Loves Somebody Sometimes. (Two verses were sung by club members!)
Bob Ogden, Ken Parker singing - Peter and Nicolette at computer
On a more serious note (no pun intended), Peter shared information on meeting costs and logistics, community service opportunities, monthly activities, fundraisers, and key dates to calendar.
One highlight of his talk was the announcement, made with Joe Gruba, that the Foundation had approved the Rotary Santa Maria South travel grant for two club members to travel to La Paz in August on a fact finding and service mission to determine previous project status, future needs, and to deliver school supplies to rural village schools. Including other club members planning to go, Peter is guessing that there will be four or five club members participating in the visit this year.
Peter finished his remarks by introducing his 2015-2016 board members to the Club:
David Bixby, Immediate Past President
Stephen Wagner, President-Elect and Membership Director
Richard Best, Secretary
Paul Moe, Treasurer
Joe Gruba, International Service Director
Susan Ziemba, Vocational Service Director
Nicolette Reeves, Youth Service Director
Victoria Conner, Community Service Director
Other leaders announced included Phil Sinco, who will lead the Foundation and handle programs; Bill Thompson, taking charge of public relations; and webmaster Bob Peters, who also coordinates Central Coast Rescue Mission community service opportunities.
July 6 - New Club President Peter Garcia Announces Foundation Grant for La Paz Travel and Shares Plans for Upcoming Year! 2015-07-13 00:00:00Z 0
First Service Opportunity of New Rotary Year 2015-16 2015-07-13 00:00:00Z 0
Santa Maria Rotary South’s first meeting of 2015 was highlighted by a talk from Noelle Tolentino, daughter of club members Ken and Diane Parker, who gave the club an overview of the history of wine grape growing and winemaking in the Santa Maria and northern Santa Barbara County area. Club members were delighted to enjoy a wine-tasting with the presentation, courtesy of Riverbench winery, which provided tastings of its Estate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.
Club president David Bixby and event co-organizer Jane Kokkinakis gave details on the club’s upcoming “Community Walk” benefiting “Growing Grounds”, a program supporting employment and recovery for local residents with mental health issues.  Zoran Sajovic gave an overview of the fundraiser he is working on and members were encouraged to participate in both to help the club support local causes.
January 5 2015 Meeting - Wine Tasting! 2015-02-02 00:00:00Z 0
Santa Maria South Rotarians supported the Central Coast Rescue Mission meal for homeless individuals on Monday, June 30, at the Foursquare Church in Santa Maria by serving meals and helping with setup and clean up.  Thanks to our club members who volunteered:  David Bixby, Peter Garcia, Fran Hutchinson and granddaughter Alyssa, Bob Peters and Georgia Shore - A great way to end the 2013-2014 Rotary year!
Rotary South Serves Homeless Meal June 30 2015-01-21 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Victoria Conner on Aug 20, 2013
2013-2014 Membership Chair Jane Kokkinakis has designed a new membership category to accommodate the special needs of young professionals often still engaged in family obligations and expenses. Young professionals will only have to pay for meals of meetings they attend and will be asked to participate in occasional service projects, but will not be held to the same level of fundraising, service or attendance as regular members. Young professionals interested in joining Rotary Santa Maria South under this new program may contact Jane Kokkinakis:
Rotary Santa Maria South Institutes New Member Category for "Young Professionals"! Victoria Conner 2013-08-21 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Victoria Conner on Aug 12, 2013

"A year from now you may wish you had started today."     -----Karen Lamb



Quote of the Week Victoria Conner 2013-08-13 00:00:00Z 0
Posted on Oct 07, 2012


On Monday, October 8th, Santa Maria Rotary South hosted Dan Cashier, President of the Central Coast Senior Citizens Foundation, for a presentation on the growth of the local senior population and the needs they have for community support. Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens director Joyce Lippman accompanied Cashier for the presentation, describing some of the financial and hands-on service opportunities available to our club.



Also in attendance were the Rotary District 5240 Group Study Exchange members from Sri Lanka as well as the newly elected Board members of the Orcutt Academy High School Interact Club.


Oct 8th Meeting Presentation: Central Coast Senior Citizens' Foundation 2012-10-08 00:00:00Z 0
New President David Bixby Roasts Ken Parker at June 29 Stepdown Dinner 0
July 21 Meeting - Rudy Gutierrez Presents on Special Olympics 0

Interact faculty advisor Phil Norton is requesting two Rotarians to serve as judges for the Interact club-sponsored Orcutt Academy High School Speech Contest May 19th. Contact Vicki Conner if you are interested. She did it last year and claims it was great fun to see what the students included in their speeches. Please consider volunteering, as we want to support our Interactor projects!

Interact Club Needs Speech Contact Judges for Orcutt Academy High Speech Contest! 0

At the May 5th clu b meeting, President Ken Parker announced that the club's collaborative international project to provide a computer lab for the village school in the mountains above La Paz has reached a major milestone. The "Computer Salon" as they call it, is now open, featuring a 21 computer for the instructor and 20 for students (with capability of serving two students at each computer). The computer lab project is a joint effort led by Rotary Santa Maria South, with partners being The Rotary Club of Santa Maria and the Nipomo Rotary in cooperation with Club Rotario de la Paz. Rotary International provided additional funds for the project.

In addition to the computer stations, a projector, large screen and internet capability were installed.

As Ken says, "It's amazing what a small group of international Rotarians can accomplish when they work together as a team!"

"Computer Salon" at La Paz Village School Now Open! 0


Caption: Rotary SM South club president Ken Parker, Talent Show Winner of First Place Coast Hills $1000 prize Isaiah Guerrero and Bob McIntyre, representing Coast Hills Federal Credit Union


Isaiah Guerrera, First Place (r), Melody McCormack 1st Runner-Up (l) and Emily Rich (c) 2nd Runner-Up

Area teens took most of the top honors in Saturday’s "Santa Maria Has Talent!" competition, directed by Rotarians Georgia Shore and Diane Balay.

Fourteen-year-old Santa Maria pianist Isaiah Guerrero walked off with an armload of trophies when he won first place for his performance of his original composition Sonata in G minor as well as the “Outstanding Teen Instrumentalist” award.  Guerrero was presented the first place $1,000 Coast Hills Talent Award by Dr. Bob McIntire, representing Coast Hills and Santa Maria Rotary South club president Dr. Ken Parker. Rotary Santa Maria South and Coast Hills Federal Credit Union have co-sponsored the talent event for five years.

Twelve-year-old Lompoc dancer Emily Rich won double awards as 2nd runner up with her authentic Flamenco and also took the “Outstanding Achievement in Dance” award.   Adult Santa Maria singer Melody McCormick also was a double award winner when she was selected 1st runner up and winner of the “Outstanding Achievement  in Singing by an Adult”.

Santa Maria teen sisters, Kristina and Isabella Melsheimer, won “Oustanding Achievement in Singing by Teens” and took home the coveted people’s choice award as “Santa Maria’s Favorite”, as well.  The Favorite award was presented in honor of Jeff Kuster, who stage managed the event for the past four years.


Caption: Sisters Isabella & Kristina Melsheimer took home "Santa Maria's Favorite" honors

Santa Maria soprano Bridget Lee, 11 years old, won “Outstanding Achievement in Singing by a Child”.


Caption: Bridget Lee won the "Outstanding Achievement in Singing by a Child" award


Caption: Roxanne Ventriglia and Ryan Miller served as hosts for the event, also performing the opening act

Co-hosts for Santa Maria Has Talent! were business owner/community leader and performer Roxanne Ventriglia, and Ryan Miller, executive editor of the Sun and New Times, who also took home a runner-up trophy from the 2012 talent show with his foot-stomping, entertaining performance of "Trouble" from The Music Man.



Caption: Saturday night judges: (l to r) Peter Garcia, Cynthia Valenzuela, Joe Payne, Amy Curti and Judge Jed Beebe

The talent winners were selected by a panel of judges out of more than 100 contestants of all ages over a three-night period, May 8, 9 and 10. Rotarian and judge Peter Garcia, local psychiatrist, has a degree in Music Education and studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Santa Maria attorney Cynthia Valenzuela is a part-time dance instructor for Allan Hancock College, and for eight years directed the Nutcracker Ballet. Joe Payne is a professional music teacher and the Arts editor of the Santa Maria Sun. Trained in piano and voice, Amy Curti teaches music for the Artist-in-Residence program at Joe Nightingale Elementary and leads Glee Clubs at St. Joseph's High School and the Orcutt Arts Academy. Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Jed Beebe, president of the Santa Maria Philharmonic Society, plays violin for the Philharmonic and the Lompoc Pops orchestra and plays viola, cello, piano and organ, sings tenor and directs a church choir, as well. Attorney Matthew Guerrero of the San Luis Obispo firm of Maguire & Ashbaugh, not pictured, served as a judge Thursday and Friday evenings. He serves on numerous local boards and is an avid supporter of the arts in both Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo County.

Santa Maria Has Talent is sponsored by Santa Maria Rotary South.  Proceeds support charitable causes in the Santa Maria area and provide partial support of two elementary schools in La Paz Mexico.

"Santa Maria Has Talent!" Winners Announced! 0

A dozen Rotary Santa Maria South club members turned out March 21st at the Madonna Inn to celebrate the club's first female member (Anne Green, inducted in 1988 as the first woman Rotarian in Santa Maria), as well as all the other women pioneering the "women in Rotary" wave. The District dinner benefited the Rotary Foundation, and also celebrated Rotary's quarter century of polio eradication worldwide. Dinner speakers were representatives of the Rotary Foundation's current and previous programs, e.g. Group Study Exchange, Rotary Exchange Student, Ambassadorial Scholarships. Keynote for the evening was Dr. Sylvia Whitlock, first female Rotary president, second woman inducted into Rotary. Dr. Whitlock described the eleven year process of legal efforts to allow women in Rotary, an effort culminating in a Supreme Court decision that also opened the way for women in all service clubs. Dr. Whitlock's club is in Duarte, California, and had only fifteen members when it challenged Rotary International.

Rotary Santa Maria South's Anne Green was also the club's first female president. Her sponsor into Rotary was Dr. Robert (Bob) McIntire, retired Air Force colonel and Cal Poly professor.

Anne, who now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, flew in for the "Women in Rotary" dinner and celebrated her role as the Santa Maria South club's first female member with club president Ken Parker and wife Diane, other longtime friends, and newer club members.



25 Years for Women in Rotary and Rotary's Worldwide Polio Eradication Initiative! 0

Rotary Santa Maria South's Club President Ken Parker and President-Elect Nominee Peter Garcia presented an overview of the Club's Rotary District grant project in La Paz at the January 27, 2014 meeting. Rotary South has been partnering with the Rotario de la Paz Club for ten years now, providing a shade structure, classroom paint and supplies, sports equipment and sewing machines and fabric for village single moms. Last year, the Club spearheaded a joint La Paz project to build a 20-station computer lab and provide software and other school support. Rotary Club partners in the grant effort include the Santa Maria Rotary Club, Nipomo Rotary, Rotary Club of Redondo Beach, and the Rotario de la Paz Club. In October, Ken and Peter travelled to La Paz to monitor grant progress. Computer stations had been installed, but needed still to be bolted to the ground and the fiber connection had been lost due to an "errant tractor" incident, but all was being ameliorated and the project was moving forward.

As part of the program, Peter recognized the Orcutt Academy High School (OAHS) Interact Club which provided $500 for school supplies to the school, supplemented with $250 from Rotary Santa Maria South. Students had raised the money from Orcutt Academy High students donating for school supplies for the La Paz village students. Ken and Peter had received two Rotary club banners from the Roario de la Paz club and presented one of the club banners to OAHS Interactors Christian Fernandez and Jordan Bashline. OAHS instructor and Interact Club Advisor Phil Norton attended the Club meeting with the Interactors.




Interactors Attend Jan Club Meeting to Receive Appreciation Club Banners for La Paz Project 0
Rotary Santa Maria South members collected and donated several "tubs of love" for the Central Coast Rescue Mission warm clothing drive. The club also helped distribute several bins of warm winter clothing to two organizations for the homeless. Clothing in the bins were collected by Orcutt Academy high schoolers. The warm winter clothing drive for homeless individuals at Orcutt Academy High School was organized by the OAHS Interact Club's Community Service Committee.
Club Rotarians and OAHS Interactors Contribute Winter Clothes for Homeless 0
January 13th Program: Superintendent/President Kevin Walthers, PhD, Allan Hancock College 0

With Club President-Elect David Bixby presiding for Ken Parker who was out of town, Rotary Santa Maria South club members were presented a program January 6th by Matt Murphy, president of Presqu'ile Winery. Matt described how the winery evolved from the purchase of 72 acres of county land on Clark Road, east of Hwy 101, to the opening of the tasting room in June 2013. The winery is named after the Murphy family compound in the Mississippi Delta, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.  "Presqu'ile" means "nearly an island" in French. While Matt believes that Santa Maria is "the best place on the West Coast, or possibly in the new world" for pinot noir, the winery also produces sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and syrah wines. The family's 2013 production was 5000 cases, with lots of room for growth, as the potential volume could be around 18,000 cases one day. Matt, who is a board member of the Santa Barbara Vintners Association, spends much time on the road promoting the Santa Maria Valley AVA and Santa Barbara County wines. As he says, he isn't trying to put Santa Maria on the wine map, because it's already there, he's just trying to make the dot a little bigger!


Matt Murphy of Presqu'ile Winery - January 6th Presenter 0

Rotarians from the Santa Maria Rotary South club supported the Central Coast Rescue Mission meal for homeless individuals on Monday, December 30th by volunteering to serve the meals and help with set-up and clean-up. Thanks to Community Service Chair Bob Peters for coordinating and volunteering for the event with other club volunteers: David Bixby, Peter Garcia, Fran Hutchinson and grand-daughter Alyssa, and Paul Moe. A great way to end a year of service!


Rotary South Serves Homeless Meal December 30th 0


On Sunday, December 15th, Rotary South club members gathered at Russco with Central Coast Rescue Mission (CCRM) volunteers to wrap hundreds of toys destined for CCRM's Christmas toy give-away. Children served include those from families at risk, homeless or severely disadvantaged. Toys included Barbies (lots of them!) educational toys, stuffed animals, games, puzzles, art and science and sports equipment. Dozens of volunteers scotch-taped their way through the afternoon, with singing and talking and laughing all part of the game. Thanks to Jane and George Kokkinakis for hosting this worthwhile effort!





Rotarians Wrap Toys for Central Coast Rescue Mission Christmas Giveaway 0
Santa Maria South Rotarians and Interactors Volunteer at Christmas Parade of Lights 0

Once again Santa Maria South Rotarians participated in the community-wide bellringing for the Salvation Army, with the club providing volunteer bell ringers in front of Walmart all day Saturday, December 14th.



Club Members Ring for Salvation Army at Walmart 0

Santa Maria Rotary South club members enjoyed a performance of "Christmas Belles" at the Santa Maria Civic Theater December 8th. Two former club members (Roxanne Ventriglia and Jo Grande) had roles in the play, making the performance especially fun for club attendees. A comedy set in the South around the challenges of putting on a Christmas pageant with more than enough family involvement, the play offered a very funny look at small town life, family relationships, and the humor in holiday traditions gone awry. Pat Haley organized the successful event, with intermission refreshments provided by Mike and Saundra Clark. A surprise find on stage at the end of the play had club president Ken Parker beaming!




Civic Theater Fundraiser Supports Club's Community Efforts 0

What could be better than a holiday dinner at the Santa Maria Inn with Christmas carols and a visit with Santa? A holiday dinner, Christmas carols, a visit with Santa AND gifts!! That's what a group of Boys and Girls Club youth enjoyed Monday, December 2nd, when Rotary Santa Maria South once again entertained some Boys and Girls Club young people accompanied by the organization's executive director Bill Libbon. Club members also brought children and grandchildren to the event, providing their own gifts for their family's children. Club member and family photos are shown below:






Boys and Girls Club Invitees Enjoy a Christmas Dinner with SM Rotary South 0

Casa Dumetz Winery's Sonja Magdevsky presented at the Monday, December 9th meeting of Santa Maria Rotary South. Sonja shared information about the life experiences that led her to the Central Coast and shared her vision for Casa Dumetz as a gathering place for new thought, cultural exchange, social engagement and camaradie. Photo below shows Club President Ken Parker shaking hands with Sonja after her talk.


Casa Dumetz Winery Chief Shares Vision 0

On October 27th, Rotary Santa Maria South club members and friends gathered at Trattoria Uliveto's in Old Orcutt to celebrate the end of ticket sales for the club's annual wine fundraiser and hold the drawing for wine winners. Susan Rees, Steve Wagner, Shay Hutchinson and Valery Good were the four big wine winners, but the entire club celebrated, costumes and all! Nearly $4000 was raised for club projects, thanks to club members. Good thing they didn't try to sell tickets in these costumes!




October 27th Wine Raffle Raises Funds and Celebrates Camaraderie! 0

The regular club meeting of Rotary Santa Maria South on November 4th in the Kent Room of the Santa Maria Inn featured both a Club Assembly and a new member induction. For the Club Assembly, President Ken Parker asked members to gather around one of the five "Avenues of Service" flip charts and brainstorm activities they would like to see before the end of the year in that "Avenue". Members were also asked to sign up to help with those projects identified. 

The evening closed with a new member induction by Rotary Santa Maria South charter member Joe Gallas. Rotary South's other charter member, Dr. Alain Hurdle participated as sponsor of new member Steve Wagner, of the South Broadway law office of Comstock & Wagner. Steve's remarks centered around his new affiliation with Rotary Santa Maria South. He stated that coming to the evening Rotary meetings for the camaraderie and service fellowship was something he looked forward to as a truly enjoyable part of his week. Welcome, Steve!


November 4th Meeting Features Club Assembly and New Member Induction 0

Rotary Santa Maria South Club Members attended the Interact Installation of Officers Monday, October 21, 2013 held in the Orcutt Academy High School Multi-Purpose Room and provided refreshments for the new Interact Board and attendees. Program was emceed by Interact Faculty Advisor Phil Norton and speakers will include David Bixby, Rotary Santa Maria South President-Elect. Bixby introduced the new Interact officers and new Interact President Enzo Stagnaro gave a brief overview of past Interact club activities. Other incoming Interact officers gave overviews of their plans for the 2013-14 year and Faculty Advisor Norton conveyed a message from Dr. Ken Parker, who was visiting the Rotary Santa Maria South project in La Paz. Dr. Parker wanted the audience to know that the funds generated by the Interact Club and contributed to the La Paz village school had paid for an entire year of school supplies!

Interact club committee chairs (Community/Campus and International) will give overvies of their ideas, and all Interact members will be given their membership pins for 2013-2014.



Rotary Attends Interact Installation of Officers at Orcutt Academy Monday Oct. 21st 0
Why were so many Rotary Santa Maria South and Orcutt Academy High School Interactors seen at Klondike's Pizza on Wed, Oct 16th? It was the cheese (and pizza) and dollars raised for the OAHS Interact Club! Rotarian Bill Thompson and club president Ken Parker cooperatively organized a pizza night at Klondike's to benefit the OAHS Interact Club. 15% of proceeds and tips went to the high school service club to support their 2013-2014 activities. The event was the Thompson/Parker strategy implemented for "Rotary, Inc.", a fundraising effort encouraging entrepreneurial spirit in raising club funds.
"It's the Cheese!" 0
Dr. Paul Murphy, Director of the Allan Hancock College STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Center, provided an overview of the Center at the Rotary Santa Maria South meeting October 14th. Funded by a combination of public funding and some private support dollars, the Center offers STEM students support, resources and mentoring, connecting them to student colleagues and STEM instructors as well as support to ensure their continuing their STEM education.
Dr. Paul Murphy Shares Info on the Allan Hancock College STEM Center 0

Maureen Ryan, International Chair of the Bahia de la Paz Club Rotario, sister club to Rotary Santa Maria South, was the featured speaker at the club's regular meeting on Monday, October 7th. Ryan described her entry into the Bahia de la Paz Rotary club, how she met Ken and Diane Parker at the District Poverty Conference, and the situation in much of the villages their club serves. She also shar the progress made to date in the joint grant effort of the two clubs (plus the Nipomo Rotary and The Rotary Club of Santa Maria) to provide a computer lab for a village school in La Paz. The history of the two clubs goes back ten years, at which time Rotary Santa Maria South provided shade and paint for a La Paz  elementary school after meeting onsite with the La Paz Rotary Club to assess village needs.



Update on La Paz Grant Project Presented October 7th 0
Posted by Victoria Conner

Captain Jane Kokkinakis led a club team of Rotarians and family members for the "Walk to End Alzheimers" at Waller Park on Saturday, September 28th. The Walk, which advocates for research and Alzheimers awareness, drew hundreds of Santa Maria volunteer walkers, with the Santa Maria Rotary South team among them!


Photo Captions - Left photo: Jane and Bob P with new friends! Photo right: Nicolette with her son on the walk!

Rotary Santa Maria South Walks to End Alzheimers! Victoria Conner 0

As part of the "Rotary, Inc." fundraising project, Santa Maria South Rotarians will join with Orcutt High School Academy Interactors in co-hosting a fundraiser Wednesday, October 16th at Klondike's Pizza in Santa Maria.

Rotarians and Interactors are asked to bring the family, bring the neighbors, bring a stranger! to help Rotary SM South and OAHS Interact raise money by gorging on great pizza!

The club will receive a portion of food sales profits, tips and a raffle.

This fundraising project is the joint "Rotary, Inc." effort of Bill Thompson and Ken Parker. The brainchild of Bill, this project promises to be a tasty way to make money for both Rotary Santa Maria South and Interact!

Klondike Pizza Fundraiser Night 0
As part of the $25,000 District grant project that Rotary Santa Maria South is leading, annual review visits of the project site are required. To comply, President Ken Parker and President-Elect Nominee Peter Garcia will be traveling to La Paz from October 16-22 to see the project's computer lab and evaluate grant progress to date. A joint project with Rotario de la Paz, the Nipomo and Santa Maria Rotary clubs, the grant project leverages joint club funds to $25,000, providing funding for a computer lab at a La Paz village school, as well as other school/youth support.
President Ken Parker and Pres-Elect Nominee Peter Garcia to Visit La Pax for Grant Project 0

On Monday, September 30th, Santa Maria Rotary South members were invited by Community Service Co-Chairs Bob Peters and Mike Clark to help serve dinner for our community homeless individuals at the Four Square Church in Santa Maria.



Rotary SM South Serves at Four Square Church 0

Focus for the September 23rd club meeting of Rotary Santa Maria South was on young professional Rotary prospects! The club's youngest Rotarian, Nicolette Reeves, worked with Past President Jane Kokkinakis and PP/New Generations Chair Victoria Conner to create a three-fold program for the evening. Rotarians were requested to bring potential new members that may be interested in the new "Associates" Rotary membership the club is offering. Several potential prospects attended and a few are interested in joining!


Former president Jane kicked things off with an overview of the new program. It requires payment of Rotary International dues, but meal charges are only incurred when the person attends a meeting. Associate members are asked to participate in one fundraiser and one service project per year.

Nicolette followed Jane at the podium, providing an overview for guests of the club's service and fundraising activities and its international project in La Paz. She also discussed why she joined Rotary and the benefits she sees from it.


Jose Huitron, a young professional and principal of his own firm Hub81, was the program speaker for the evening, providing an overview of the growth and benefits of social media (senior citizens/grandparents are among the fastest growing segment of social media participants!). He took questions (there were many!) about the new media and shared how his nascent business has already received amazing publicity from his social media engagement.


Caption: Speaker Huitron with President Ken Parker and Rotary SM South's Nicolette Reeves


New Generations Meeting Features Social Media Program 0

Kim Davis, executive director of CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates - gave a passionate presentation September 9th to Rotary Santa Maria South on the value of the CASA "voice of the child". Giving a brief history and describing the breadth and scope of the organization nationwide, Davis then shared anecdotal stories of CASA successes. A boy she called Jake, a 10 year old, was placed in a permanent home because of the persistence of his CASA, for example, despite his age and the difficulty of placing older children.

While Davis gratefully acknowledged all the various kinds of support provided by Rotary Clubs to CASA, both locally and elsewhere, Davis emphasized the ongoing need for volunteers. Over 100 children in the area are awaiting a CASA  to be his/her "voice" in  child welfare system. In the photo below, President Ken thanks Kim for a great presentation and for working on such a great cause.


CASA Presenter Kim Davis Showcased the Value of Being "The Voice of the Child" 0
Rotary Santa Maria South to Participate in Alzheimer's Walk September 28th 0
Cristina M. Sinco on Ovarian Cancer September 16th 0

 District Governor Jack McClenahan was Rotary Santa Maria South's honored guest on Monday, August 26th. DG McClenahan met with the Board prior to the regular club meeting, emphasizing the opportunity each club has to earn District awards, sharing how his award process will work.

In his club presentation, DG Jack spoke about the entrance of women into Rotary, the Rotary Foundation, the upcoming District Conference in San Luis Obispo and other topics of interest to members.

 Photos: District 5240 Governor 2013-2014 Jack McClenahan with wife and Past District Governor Jane McClenahan; Club President Ken Parker introducing DG Jack to the club.




August 26th: District Governor Visit 0

Rotary Santa Maria South members will once again be traveling to villages in La Paz, Mexico to assist students there in their scholastic endeavors. From October 17 - 22, 2013, RSMS Club President Ken Parker, champion of the club's international service project in La Paz, and President Elect Nominee (PEN) Peter Garcia will visit La Paz to see the set-up of the computer lab Rotary Santa Maria South sponsored as a joint project with other clubs, including the Rotary Club of Santa Maria, the Nipomo Rotary and sister club Bahia de La Paz Club Rotario, located in La Paz, Baja Mexico. The $25,000 Rotary grant also supported related software and internet licenses, bringing internet to the Colonia Diana Laura School for the first time.


The Bahia de La Paz Club Rotario will accompany Ken and Peter in a review of the grant project's progress and an evaluation of further needs. Thank you, Ken Parker, for leading this wonderful club effort for so many years now!

Photo captions: La Paz Rotarians who will be hosting Ken and Peter; students in La Paz



Rotary SM South's Ken Parker and Peter Garcia to Visit La Paz 0

On Monday, August 19th, Rotary Santa Maria South was treated to an informative presentation on the "Trilogy at Rice Ranch" housing development in Orcutt. Three speakers representing builder Shea Homes explained that the development was purchased from the original owner in March of 2013 and at build-out will include 755 homes, 325 acres of open space, 12 miles of hiking and biking trails, all the parks now in operation, and hopefully clubhouses, as well. Presenters stated that Rice Ranch is a hybrid community, with home plans appealing to both families and empty nesters, with prices from the mid $300,000s to the mid $600,000s. The development was planned for a 7-10 year buildout, but may end up being only 5-10 years, as sales have accelerated. Shea Homes, an award-winning builder which started building in 1888 and is known for projects as famous as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam, operates in California, Arizona, Florida, the Carolinas, Washington and now Texas.


Trilogy representatives pose with Club president Ken Parker after their presentation. Left to right: Gianni Scangarello, Stephanie Winford, Ken Parker, Cassidy Nicholls.



August 19th Presentation on Trilogy at Rice Ranch 0

Rotary Santa Maria South club members met at 5:30 pm at Rotary Centennial Park on August 12th to enjoy a well-prepared meal of burgers and hot dogs with grilled onions (yummm!) The off-site program and catering were both provided by Central Coast Rescue Mission (CCRM). Larry Cooney discussed with Rotary Santa Maria South members the purpose and routes of the outreach mobile food truck, as well as the challenges in habilitating or rehabilitating men in our community with addictions. Central Coast Rescue Mission offers its male meal guests an opportunity to rebuild their lives through "refuge, recovery and restoration". CCRM provides three dinners a week, two at the Foursquare Church, one near the Mission. In photos below, club members wait to order their burgers or dogs and enjoy a fulfilling meal similar to what is served on the mobile foodservice truck's rounds about town.


According to the "One night count" performed by the County in March of 2013, northern Santa Barbara County has a homeless population of 750 men, women and children. An estimated 40--50% of those live in a car or periodically in a motel, 15% are working but cannot pay both food and rent, and about 20% are on the street.

Central Coast Rescue Mission houses 10 men at a time, and of the 10 program graduates, approximately 50% are hired and retained. CCRM starts with the men "where they are", whether that be with or without a license, a high school degree, a social security card or whatever. Step by step, the organization helps them get back on their feet. The goal of CCRM is not to enable homeless individuals in our community, but to give them hope. Participants are often referred through the court or self-identify. They are generally lacking in basic life skills and vocational skills. The first 30 days of a participants eight month program is "restoration" - they complete obligations they have agreed to such as seeing the dentist, obtaining a license or ID - activities that restore dignity. According to Cooney, though "Eight months is often not enough time for lifetime addicts to beat addiction."

CCRM is seeking mentors for graduates of their program, as well as a roundtable of employers who can help program participants identify key employment skills they need to work on. No program exists yet for women (who are referred to a women's shelter and the Lighthouse Program in Ventura), but a woman's program is an ultimate step for the organization.

Cooney mentioned some interesting data points:

        Years ago, 70% of inmates did not return to prison, now 70% of inmates DO return.

         The average business person with normal life skills makes 180-200 decisions a day. Inmates only make 25 decisions a day, making the transition to normal life very difficult upon their release.

Left to right: Club President Ken Parker with Larry Cooney of Central Coast Rescue Mission and club treasurers keeping things on track!


  RSMS members line up for a food truck dinner at left and enjoy camaraderie with the meal at right!


Club Meeting at Rotary Centennial Park for Central Coast Rescue Mission Dinner 0
 Club members are invited to contact Jane Kokkinakis ( if they are interested in participating in the Club's team walking as part of the Alzheimer's Walk in Waller Park on September 28th. The Alzheimer's Association supports individuals and families impacted by the debilitating disease of dementia-related Alzheimers.
Rotary Santa Maria South to Walk for Alzheimer's Assn 0
On Friday, August 2nd, Rotary Santa Maria South representatives attended the Center for Employment Training's annual graduation ceremonies. Part of the program was the Club's presentation of checks to ten graduates supporting their need for interview clothes, work shoes, tool belts or other career start-up expenses. This donation was made possible through a District matching grant. CET is a local workforce education and training nonprofit institution providing hands-on career training in Business Office Technology, Medical Assistance, Construction and Truck Driving.
Friday, August 2nd CET Graduation and "Dress for Success" Presentations 0

Immediate Past President Jane Kokkinakis, who has volunteered to serve as new President Ken Parker's Membership Chair, presented an overview of club membership development activities being planned for this year. Opportunity for input as to how to get to 35 members, the magic number triggering President Ken's head shaving, was voluminous! Kokkinakis outlined suggested efforts targeting past members and their family members and categories of membership not yet represented in the club (e.g. dentists and mechanics and hairdressers and plumbers!) A special program for 25-45 year olds wishing to "try out" Rotary club membership at a reduced cost with more flexible attendance expectations was described, with details to be firmed up. All members seemed "on board" for getting to 35 and seeing President Ken with a head clean-shaven!


August 5th Club Meeting Focus:Club Membership Development! 0

July 29th found Rotary Santa Maria South Club members assisting the Central Coast Rescue Mission in providing meal service to over 60 homeless and needy community individuals at the Foursquare Church in north Santa Maria. The same night, President Ken Parker and Foundation Treasurer Paul Moe presented Central Coast Rescue Mission Chaplain David Bickham with a $1000 check to help support CCRM homeless outreach efforts - food products and mobile food delivery to homeless members of our community.



Rotary SM South Supports Central Coast Rescue Mission's Outreach to Homeless 0


New Pres Ken's first club meeting of the year took place Monday, July 8th. "Having Fun Getting Things Done!" is the word of the day! President Ken introduced a new raffle format, a new fundraiser and discussed service and club opportunities for the year. Unfortunately, he barely made it through the meeting before his bell was stolen!

One of the year's highlights mentioned was the desire for 8 new club members, which, if achieved, will result in Ken's shaving his head! We have until March to make this happen....everybody give Membership Chair Jane ideas for new members!

Tony Cravello suggested a new format for the raffle, which Sgt. at Arms Mike Clark will implement next week. The meeting featured small group break-outs around the $25 which Ken will give each member to leverage as a contribution. Club members can work separately or together with two winners being announced in September, one for most funds raised, one for most creative idea. See Ken if you missed getting instructions.

George Kokkinakis was recognized with a plaque featuring the Ripley's Believe It or Not Largest Kidney Stone, which was awarded to commemorate his recent kidney stone issue.




New President Ken Parker's First 2013-2014 Club Meeting! 0
First Board Meeting of President Ken: "Having Fun Getting Things Done" 0

Speaker for Rotary Santa Maria South's June 24th meeting was Santa Maria's mayor, the Honorable Alice Patino. The Mayor spoke enthusiastically about Santa Maria's opportunities and successes and shared her perspective on what should guide City priorities, citing the City's General Plan which garnered input from hundreds of residents.


The Honorable Alice Patino Shares Perspective on Santa Maria Successes & Priorities 0

At the Orcutt Academy High School Awards Ceremony in May, Rotary Santa Maria South's Scholarship Chair Pat Haley and Mike Clark presented two outstanding students with $500 scholarships. Marisa Zubiate and Melissa Segura both plan to attend Allan Hancock College.

Club Vocational Chair Dr. Susan Ziemba presented a $500 scholarship check to club essay contest winner Sharon Kealm.

Congratulations to all three outstanding students!


Rotary Santa Maria South Awards Three Scholarships 0


Come eat ice cream Thursday night and help Rotary International eradicate polio worldwide! Doc Burnstein founder Greg Steinberger is partnering with several Central Coast Rotary clubs to support RI's global polio eradication effort. Rotary Santa Maria South will have volunteers at the Doc Burnstein's location in Orcutt, welcoming ice cream patrons and sharing information about Rotary's amazing worldwide project to end polio in every country on earth. A portion of the evening's profits will go to Rotary's polio fund. Join us in Old Orcutt at Doc Burnstein's between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.! See event flyer under downloads on the club website.


Doc Burnstein's "End Polio Now" Rotary Night Thursday, June 20th 6:00 - 9:00 pm 0

Program is TBD, but it is a sure thing that fun and frivolity will be on the agenda for Rotary Santa Maria South's regular club meeting Monday, June 24th, 6:00 p.m. in the Kent Room. President Jane is expected to go out with a bang, so don't miss the last meeting at which she still has the authority to shoot out fines, fire one-liners, and trigger controversy!




President Jane's Last Meeting Scheduled for Monday, June 24th! 0

On Monday, June 17th, Frank Kalman, founder and executive director of the Kids Cancer Research Foundation (KCRF), provided Rotary Santa Maria South with a touching presentation about the organization and the family struggles with pediatric cancer which inspired it. A result of years of dealing with the medical bureaucracy surrounding cancer diagnosis and treatment led Kalman to found an organization to help fund pediatric research and assist other families in navigating the medical and social services systems so critical to the pediatric patient.



Club Introduced to Kids Cancer Research Foundation 0

Seventeen members of Rotary Santa Maria South showed up June 10th to help with the Good Sam meal prep and serving. This community service activity, which was held in place of the Club's regular Monday night meeting, served over 100 people - men, women and children. Four varieties of pizza, plus salad, ice cream and drinks were the order of the day, so no one went away hungry! Thank you, Bob Peters, for organizing this service activity!


June 10th Good Sam Meal Prep/Serving 0

Those interested in attending DG Frank Ortiz' Step-Down should mark their calendars for Saturday, June 29th. Event will be held beginning at 5:00 pm at the Radisson. Program will include District Club and Rotarian awards, a retrospective and installation of new District officers for 2013-2014. Club members wishing to attend can sign up at the District Rotary site:

Please sign up early, as all Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo and other local clubs plan to have tables and seating is only around 300, with Rotarians from 72 clubs invited. Let Vicki Conner know if you have signed up if you want to sit at the Club table.

Best wishes, Frank!



District Governor Step-Down To Be Held Saturday June 29th 0
President Jane Kokkinakis brought sodas, waters and about a dozen pizzas for the final meeting of the year of the Orcutt Academy High School Interact Club sponsored by Rotary Santa Maria South. Students were congratulated on a dynamic second year and Interact club advisor and faculty member Phil Norton was presented a placque for his service to the club. Fellow Rotarians Victoria Conner, Rotary club liaison to the OAHS Interact club, and Dr. Ken Parker, founder of OAHS, were on hand to applaud.
Final OAHS Interact Meeting of the Year Includes Pizza Party Hosted by Rotary SM South! 0
District 5240 grant funders were duly pleased to see that Rotary Santa Maria South submitted the first grant application under the District's new grant model. The "Dress for Success" concept allows Rotary Santa Maria South to partner with the District on a $1500 matching grant to provide interview and/or work clothes for graduating students from the Center for Employment Training (CET) located in Santa Maria. CET provides training in four major program areas: Construction, Truck Driving, Medical Assistance, and Business Office Technology. Graduates recommended by CET for the grant program will receive $150 stipend for work-appropriate clothing.
Local CET Grads to Benefit from Rotary SM South "Dress for Success" Grant 0
Rotary Santa Maria South, in cooperation with the Rotary Clubs of Santa Maria, Nipomo and Bahia de la Paz, spearheaded concept and development of a joint grant application to support junior high attendance by at-risk La Paz sixth graders from the Escuela (School) Primaria (Primary) Diana Laura Reyes. The $6000 contributions by participating club were leveraged to $25,000 with the funding and grant approval received for the joint effort by The Rotary Foundation. Funds will begin flowing July 1, 2013 and will cover student uniforms, shoes and backpacks, as well as professional development for teachers and school technology enhancements such as computers and internet services. The five year joint club initiative is especially pleasing to The Rotary Foundation, as it is in the process of transitioning its world-wide grant programs to a model that will require more collaboration and sustainability.
Joint Rotary Club Int'l Effort Garners Rotary Foundation Award 0

Thursday, January 31st found five Rotary Santa Maria South members (Bob Peters, Ken Parker, Susan Ziemba and Peter and Audrey Garcia) volunteering to serve meals for a very special Central Coast Rescue Mission event. The Mission was hosting a recognition for its recent program graduates, who had completed a year-long program to help them re-establish themselves, learn enhanced living skills, and become productive members of the community.

Club members participating offered to help in the kitchen or "wait" tables for Central Coast Rescue Mission volunteers, graduates, and families of graduates.

The Rotary Club of Santa Maria South participates regularly in Central Coast Rescue Mission outreach to homeless and needy individuals and families in Santa Maria, providing kitchen and serving staffing every two months or so for the Mission's free meals to the neediest in our community. Club volunteer serving opportunities are coordinated by Community Service co-chair Bob Peters.

Rotary SM South Volunteered for Central Coast Rescue Mission Event January 31st 0

Rotary Santa Maria South, as it does every year, took to the sidewalk in front of Walmart, Santa Maria on Saturday, December 8th, to bellring and raise money for the Salvation Army. Funds raised support the Salvation Army's worthy projects for our needy neighbors all year long. Club members, friends of club members and Orcutt Academy High School Interactors all participated in this joyful activity benefiting a local charity.


Club Members and Friends Holiday Bell Ringing for the Salvation Army 0

On Monday, December 3rd, Rotary Santa Maria South hosted its annual family holiday party with Santa. Some 10-14 year olds from the Boys and Girls club were special guests, and club members brought their kids and/or grandkids. Santa made sure all kids received presents, with club members providing for their own. Musical program was provided by club members Bob Ogden and Dr. Peter Garcia.




Rotary SM South's Family Holiday Party 2012 0

As one of four local Rotary clubs helping with the Christmas Parade of Lights, Rotary Santa Maria South members served on the parade committee, assisted as parade marshals and judges, and helped put together the Parade tabloid. The club also recruited Orcutt Academy High School students as parade volunteers.

A little moisture did not dampen the spirit of the parade or the volunteers and a big "Bravo" to those who braved the elements in setting up during drizzles!


Rotary Santa Maria South at Christmas Parade of Lights 0
Santa Maria South Rotarians will be serving pizza, salad and cookies on Thursday, Nov 29th at the Good Sam Shelter. Rotarian volunteers will show up at 6:00 pm for prep and meal service will begin about 6:30 p.m. The Club thanks Joe and Chris Gallas for covering meal costs for the Good Sam meal serving.
Rotary Santa Maria South Serves at Good Sam Thursday, November 29th 0
Rotary Santa Maria South Dark Dec 3, 24 and 31. 0
On Monday, Dec 10th, Santa Maria Rotary South will host its annual kids dinner party with Santa for member children/grandchildren and participants from the Boys and Girls club. Event begins at 6:00 pm at the Santa Maria Inn Kent Room with holiday music and gifts for young people. Rotarians are asked to bring gifts for their family's children, with the Club buying gifts for the Boys and Girls Club attendees.
December 10th: Santa Holiday Party 0
On Saturday, December 8th, from 10 am - 6 pm, Rotary Santa Maria South members and Orcutt Academy High School Interactors will join forces to collect money for the Salvation Army. By ringing bells outside Walmart in Santa Maria, the two organizations will help assure Salvation Army support for thee neediest among us. Rotary Santa Maria South last year, with the help of the Interactors, raised more money for the Salvation Army than any of the Santa Maria Rotary clubs - and we're the smallest!
Rotary Santa Maria South to Defend Title as Champion Bellringers for Salvation Army 0
Santa Maria Rotary South to Participate in Christmas Parade of Lights Dec 1st 0
Board Meeting and Small group meetings in Tap Room Nov 26th 0

On Monday, November 19th, SM Fire Chief Dan Orr briefed Santa Maria Rotary South on Measure U's positive impacts on our local Fire Department. Enabling the department to add 3 firefighters, Measure U allowed the department to staff the newly completed Station 5, rounding out the organization's citywide coverage. Chieff Orr also gave serious statistics about disaster readiness and survival, telling us that in a large quake or other emergency, it might be two weeks before families could count on a retur-n to normalcy, and that each family should prepare for such. With grocery stores stocking only a 3-day supply of food, emergency stores of food and supplies should be kept, as well as plenty of water and small provisions in cars as well as homes. Chief Orr mentioned that our firefighters respond to 20-25 calls a day, with 70% being emergency rather than fire related.


Santa Maria Fire Chief Dan Orr on Measure U Impacts on SMFD 0

On Monday, November 12th, Interim Chief Ralph Martin shared with Rotary Santa Maria South club members the current activities and near-term goals of the Santa Maria Police Department. Community policing best practices and cross-training of department leaders were two of the recent priorities established by the Santa Maria Police Department under the new direction of Interim Police Chief Ralph Martin. Martin had a long and successful career with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department prior to his retirement and his leadership position with the City of Santa Maria.

Interim Police Chief Ralph Martin Provides Update on Santa Maria Police Dept. 0

Now that Rotary Santa Maria South, in cooperation with Nipomo Rotarians and the Rotary Club of Santa Maria, has submitted a District grant for its La Paz efforts, it was time to expand its local community service efforts, as well. President Jane held a Club Assembly to garner ideas for local hands-on efforts as well as worthy organizations to which to contribute. The list engendered was long, but interesting, garnered by asking "To what organizations do you as a member currently contribute?", "What organizations do you volunteer for?" and "What would you help with if you had time?"

Organizations/Causes for Potential Funding included:

Beautitude House in Guadalupe (medicine, shelter, etc.); Orcutt Children's Art Foundation; SOAR (Supporting Orcutt Academy Resources); sponsorship of a classroom; Robotics sponsorship; Salvation Army $5 gift certificates for distribution to their clients; Central Coast Rescue Mission sponsorship of something for their rehab program; Good Sam donation of socks, underwear at the holidays and other times; room sponsorship for Domestic Violence Solutions; Community Partners in Caring; hosting a "Rotary Day" for free entry to Discover Museum; sponsor 4 CET students ($250 ea for eyeglasses, shoes, other needs); funding for CASA volunteer training; sponsorship of a third grade Spelling Bee or Math Bowl; sponsorship of a motivational speaker for at-risk kids, to be organized as a signature event for Rotary Santa Maria South. Also mentioned: funding Christmas bags for CASA kids, providing laundry soap for Good Sam (100 people x 2 loads/week).

Activities to support:

Gently-used handbags and toiletries for women of Good Sam or Domestic Violence Solutions; respite care to support Community Partnars in Caring or Central Coast Commission on Senior Citizens; work day at Domestic Violence Solutions; possibly packing CASA Christmas bags.

A committee was established to review suggestions and make recommendations: Tony Cravello, Joe Gallas, Pat Haley, Maria Harshbarger, Ken and Diane Parker, Bob Peterson volunteered.



Club Assembly Garners Local Community Service Ideas 0
 Rotary Santa Maria South is now dark every fourth Monday to give members a chance for committee meetings and  Board meetings. On fifth Mondays, the Club plans community service activities. The fifth Monday of October of this year found several members of the Rotary Club of Santa Maria hard at work helping serve meals for the Central Coast Rescue Mission dinner. Approximately 75 individuals, including some children, were served piping hot spaghetti, salad, bread and dessert, with Rotary Santa Maria South acting as wait staff and helping with prep and clean-up.
October 29, 2012: Club Members Serve with Central Coast Rescue Mission 0



On October 15th, after club singing and club business, County of Santa Barbara children's psychiatrist Esteban Fuentes presented an overview of the "Foundation for Indigent Families", an organization on which he serves as a board member. Developed to assist families with expenses in staying nearby or with their seriously or terminally ill children, the organization has helped hundreds of families in its decades-long existence.


October 15th: "Foundation for Indigent Families" 0
Joe White gave an interesting presentation on Monday, October 1, speaking on "A Year of Peace", an initiative he spearheaded with Santa Barbara City College student support. An expanded idea inspired by another group's "Day of Peace", "A Year of Peace" is providing promotion and support for a worldwide network of people dedicating their efforts to advocating peace for one year. Through a website, bumper stickers and social media, the core group of "early adopters" is hoping for an eventual U.N. resolution in support of the cause and is celebrating early successes in reaching thousands of supporters.
Oct 1 Presentation: "A Year of Peace" 0
On Friday, September 7th, several Rotary Santa Maria South club members donned their Rotary aprons and either worked the kitchen serving line or served dinner guests of the Central Coast Rescue Mission. President Jane, who worked the event running trays, would like to thank Bob Peters for organizing the service opportunity, and the following club members for helping out: Fran Hutchinson, Lynn Melville, Victoria Conner (and husband Jay) and Rick Kuchenig. Club members expect to participate in several of these service Rescue Mission opportunities this year. 

Rotary Santa Maria South Serves at Central Coast Rescue Mission Friday Night Dinner 0
Over 40 students signed up for the Rotary Santa Maria South-sponsored Orcutt Academy High School (OAHS) Interact Club this year at the first Interact meeting of the school year, according to Interact Chair Sue Lampton. At that meeting, President Jane provided students with an overview of Rotary International and Rotary Santa Maria South, featuring the activities of the start-up of the OAHS Interact Club last year. The second meeting of the year featured an overview of the duties of Interact Officers, with members nominating candidates for the 2012-2013 board. On Thursday, September 6th, candidates gave short election speeches and Interact Club members elected the following officers:Enzo Stagnaro as President, Maddy Cross as Vice-President, Belinda Rodriguez as Secretary, and Kyle Sewell as Treasurer. Others who will be taking OAHS Interact Board seats will include: Eduardo Moreida as chairman of the International Understanding committee, Community and Campus Service Committee Chair Jacky Sharpe, Club Service Chair Danielle Sweeney and Finance and Fundraising Chair Adam Johnson.

Rotary Santa Maria South and the OAHS Interact Club are jointly planning the first board meeting of Interact Club officers for the week of September 10th.
Rotary Santa Maria South-Sponsored Orcutt Academy Interact Club Elects New Officers 0
Rotary Santa Maria South is buying out the house - that is, the performance of "Dearly Beloved" taking place Sunday, Sept. 23rd at 2:00 p.m. at the Santa Maria Civic Theater. 100 seats are being sold, a few sponsorships have been secured and net proceeds will go to support Rotary Santa Maria South's service activities and contributions for 2012-2013...check with event chair Ken Parker for tickets and details!
First Rotary Santa Maria South Fundraiser of 2012-2013: Civic Theater's "Dearly Beloved" Sept. 23rd 0
ImageJane Kokkinakis, co-owner of Russco Interiors, began her term as president of Rotary Santa Maria South at her first meeting July 9th. Dressed as a Rotary cowgirl, with "Sheriff" John as her Sergeant-at-Arms, she espoused "Cowboy Logic" as the theme of her term (If it's broke, fix it, etc.) At a high-spirited and inspirational meeting, Jane outlined plans for her year, raised $200 in fines and raffles and generally got the year off to a good start!
New President Jane Kokkinakis Takes Reins of Rotary Santa Maria South for 2012-2013! 0
Posted by Victoria Conner
Rotary Santa Maria South completed the year's vocational activities by awarding one $500 university scholarship to a university-bound student (Megan Taylor), one to a community college-bound student (Kory Sewell) and one to the 2011-2012 Essay contest winner (Yanelly Rodriguez), with all three students graduating from Orcutt Academy High School. In addition, the club provided two $250 awards to the Center for Employment Training to give to worthy CET graduates.

Rotary Santa Maria South Finishes Year with Several Scholarship Awards Victoria Conner 0
Just before the end of the Rotary year, Rotary Santa Maria South squeezed in one last meal serving at the Good Sam Shelter. Nancy Bixby, renowned chef of Talent Show kitchen fame, reproduced her delightful concoction in the Good Sam kitchen, with help from husband Dave, president-elect Jane Kokkinakis, and a few other sous-chefs.
Interactors joined the set up and serving teams, for the first time helping with a Good Sam service project.
Interactors Join Last Shelter Meal Serving of the Year 0
At the StepDown for Vicki Conner's term as Rotary Santa Maria South president, new District Governor Frank Ortiz and his wife Scottie joined the celebration, with DG Frank honoring the club by helping to present Conner's Paul Harris recognition of a few club members.

Incoming president Jane Kokkinakis was awarded her first Paul Harris for her unbelievable work on the Wine Fundraiser, two rummage sales, co-chairing of Community Service, starring in the Murder Mystery, helping with the Talent Show and a hundred other supportive activities.

Longtime member Diane Parker was awarded her first Paul Harris club recognition for her years of service with husband Ken Parker, both in the community and on the La Paz project, her managing of the club's literacy effort to donate books to local schools as speaker recognition, and her taking over of secretarial duties this year, as well as her longtime support of RI's Polio and Annual Fund programs.

Club member Steve Dastic was honored with his second Paul Harris for managing the two-year Zambian RI multi-club grant.

District Gov Frank Ortiz Participates in Paul Harris Presentation for Rotary SM South! 0
On Sunday, June 24th at the Santa Maria Country Club, Santa Maria Rotary South club president Vicki Conner was duly roasted, toasted and applauded, and new 2012-2013 club president Jane Kokkinakis was warmly welcomed with "hail to the chief" honors as she takes over the gavel (or in this case possibly a pink hammer). President Jane's first meeting will take place on Monday, July 9th at 6:00 p.m. at the Santa Maria Inn (Kent Room).

Jane has some great plans for the coming year, as described at the Club Assembly, she hopes to have scheduled meetings only the first three Mondays, leaving the fourth, and sometimes a fifth Monday for Board meetings, committee meetings and community service work.

Conner was feted with a "Rotaropoly" skit commemorating her year's accomplishments and snafus, a Paul Harris from husband Jay, a basket of Rotary and other goodies and a hearty "standing O"!

She presented framed photo certificates and gift cards to her Board members and committee chairs, with special recognition to Diane Balay and Georgia Shore, the Gallases and Jane and George Kokkinakis (and daughter Alex!)

Conner Steps Down, Kokkinakis Steps Up - Club Dark 7/2, First Kokkinakis Mtg 7/9! 0
Incoming club president Jane Kokkinakis presented a powerpoint overview of some of the issues and priorities she has been identifying as potential focus areas for her Rotary year (2012-2013). Topics presented to and discussed by members included club meeting frequency, committees, meal plan policy, fundraising, community and international service and membership development. Members presented Jane with ideas from other clubs for consideration, as well. Key consensus was built around trying a "3x/month" weekly dinner meeting, with the fourth Monday being free for Board and committee meetings, or possibly community service activities. Fifth Mondays would be designated for community service. The club's 40th anniversary celebration was also discussed as a key activity for 2012-2013.
President-Elect Jane Kokkinakis Shares Vision, Facilitates Club Discussion 0
Marian Regional Medical Center hosted the Monday, May 14th meeting of Santa Maria Rotary South, treating club members to dinner, overview presentations about the new facility and small group tours of all three floors! Marian chief Chuck Cova provided a history of the project and described the medical and economic benefits of the hospital to our community.
Rotary South Tours New Marian Regional Medical Center 0

ImageOn April 30th, the two students Rotary Santa Maria South sent to RYLA camp shared highlights of their experience at the club's Monday night meeting. Jordan Bashline and Enzo Stagnaro described the personal benefits of RYLA to their understanding of themselves and others, and Enzo provided a day-by-day recap of RYLA activities. Both students indicated that RYLA was a life-changing experience. Rotary Santa Maria South is proud to have sponsored them both and wishes them all the best in putting what they learned into practice!
RYLA Students Share Rotary Youth Leadership Camp Experience! 0
On Monday, April 23rd, City Manager Rick Haydon provided club members with an overview of Measure U, the City's upcoming ballot initiative. Designed to address the City's funding shortfall due to property tax and other income decreases, the measure provides for additional police and fire staff, as well as unfinished levy repair. Thank you, Rick, for your presentation, and for staying after the meeting to address club member questions!
City Manager Rick Haydon Provides Overview of Measure U 0
Jane and George Kokkinakis prepared authentic Greek appetizers and entrees for a Rotary Santa Maria South group of 25 on Monday, April 16th at Russco, their office interiors business on Thornburg. The off-site visit included dolmas and spanokopita, hummus and tzatziki among the hors d'oeuvres, with two entrees of Greek lamb, moussaka, and a variety of other sides making up the buffet offerings.  A platter of baklava sweets finished off the meal.. George's family once owned a Greek restaurant in Los Angeles, so the meal was not only delicious, but authentic! A huge thank-you to Jane and George for a week's work of cooking and a great night of camaraderie!


Kokkinakis Dinner at Russco Introduces Club Members to Authentic Greek Cuisine 0

In an event at he Orcutt Academy High School Multipurpoe center on January 30th, Rotary Santa Maria South was pleased to present the new Orcutt Academy High School Interact club its charter from Rotary Internaonal, its bell for opening and closing meetings, and its first president's gavel. The OAHS Interact Club, part of the internationa Interact program of Rotary to mentor 14-18 year olds in leadership and community service,  is being sponsored by Rotary Santa Maria South. Remarks by District 5240 Governor Wade Nomura  and District Interact Chair John Weiss highligted the importance of the occasion and the commitment of service being made by the students. Videos showing amazing work of other Interactors were shown, and as a leadership exercise, Interact students introduced the speakers above as well as Phil Norton, Interact faculty advisor; Jane Kokkinakis, Rotary Santa Maria South's Interact liaison and Victoria Conner, Rotary Santa Maria South Club president. OAHS Principal Ted Lyons provided opening remarks thanking the Rotary club for its sponsorship of the campus Interact. Dr. Ken Parker, whose efforts with OAHS started the Interact club deveopment process, led attendees in the Star Spangled Banner.

Interact Board members Jacky Sharp (president), Haylee Thomas (vice president), Yanelly Rodriguez (secretary), Itzel Barrara (Treasurer), and directors Judith Sanchez (community service), Enzo Stagnaro (club service), Jordan Bashline (finance) and Maddy Cross (international understanding) were inducted and President Jacky Sharp provided remarks on what plans the club had for community service. Adam Johnson read Interact club member names as the new club members came up to receive their Interact pins.

Photos of the Interact's participation in Winter Wonderland and  Salvation Army bellringing were shown and the new Interact Club was honored with a start-up $100 donation from the Interact Club of Nipomo.

Rotary Santa Maria South and Interactors brought items for a dessert silent auction and the Club will have a total of $500 with which to open its first account.

Congratulations to all Interactors!

Orcutt Academy High School Interact Charter Night a Big Success! 0

Official charter celebration of the Interact Club of Orcutt Academy will take place January 30th. The new club is being sponsored into Rotary by Rotary Santa Maria South. Speakers at the charter celebration include Rotary District 5240 Goveror Wade Nomura, and District Interact Chair John Weiss, as well as Rotary Santa Maria South club president Victoria Conner and President-Elect Jane Kokkinakis, who serves as the club's Interact liaison for 2011-2012. Orcutt Academy principal Russ Lyons and instructor Phil Norris, Interact Advisor, will also be presenting. Interact students will not only receive their membership pins and congratulations from Rotarians, but they are hosting a small silent auction to earn funds for their first club bank account. Interact officers Jacky Sharp, President; Haylee Thomas, Vice President; Yanelly Rodriguez, Secretary; Itzel Barrera, Treasurer; and the club's four directors - Enzo Stagnaro (Club Service), Jordan Bashlne (Finance), Judith Sanchez (Community Services) and Maddy Cross (International Understanding) will be installed and will practice leadership and public speaking skills by introducing the evening's speakers.

Interact students from Nipomo and St. Joseph's High Schools are also partcipating in the program. 

Rotary Santa Maria South Charters Orcutt Academy High School Interact! 0

In mid-January of 2012, a group of four SM South Rotarians and three of their family members set off for La Paz to identify how best to further educational and economic development of the mountain communities of Diana Laura and Via de Guadalupe. The club first became acquainted with these communities as a result of Ken and Diane Parker meeting members of now sister-club Bahia de La Paz Club Rotario at District 5240's first Poverty Conference in San Diego. Rotary Santa Maria South first went to La Paz in 2005, following up with trips to provide shade and paint for the Diana Laura school and the first sewing machines and micro-loans for mothers in the community.

Eight sewing machines were taken down to La Paz this trip, enabling more mothers in the mountain communities to engage in micro-enterprise. Once again, club members were welcomed by sister club members who served as both guides and partners for the journey. Needs at the Diana Laura school were significant, but the happy news was that progress had been made since the previous visit. Needs at the Via de Guadalupe school were much greater...only two classrooms, eighty students and no electricity. But the students were learning, the teachers were dedicated and hardworking and the Bahia de La Paz sister club was doing amazing work. In addtion to the sewing machines, some school supplies and soccer ball were provided for the students, with lots of ideas generated on what needs doing next time!

See the  full trip journal in our International Service section and take a look at the photos with this article. Thanks to all who particpated in the La Paz trip...Ken and Diane Parker for organizing the trip, President-Elect Jane Kokkinakis and husband George, daughter Alex, as well as Diane Balay and grandson David, for all their support of the club's project!Image

SM South Rotarians Serve Mountain Communities of Diana Laura & Via de Guadalupe 0
Posted by Victoria Conner
Saturday, December 10th seemed like a normal bellringing day for Rotarians of the Santa Maria South Club...but who knew they were making history? For the 2011 holiday season, local Rotarians and Kiwanians were issued a bellringing challenge by the Salvation Army - which club could garner the most in donations with their bellringing skills? Turned out, it was Santa Maria Rotary South, overtaking the closest competing club by about $27! Thanks to all the Rotarians who participated and also to the new Orcutt Academy Interact students who gave up a few hours of Christmas shopping ring the bell!
Rotary Santa Maria South Wins Salvation Army's Rotary/Kiwanis Challenge! Victoria Conner 0
Rotarians of Santa Maria South Serve at Good Sam Shelter December 4th! 0

Each year, the Santa Maria and Nipomo Rotary Clubs co-sponsor the Christmas Parade of Lights in Santa Maria and collect canned foods for the Salvation Army as part of the festivities. It is estimated that six months of the Salvation Army's food supply comes from this one event, so it is a huge community service. It is also tons of hard work and lots of fun for all involved. With over 100 parade entries, several street closings, thousands of viewers and judging and parking and publicity and fundraising issues, Parade co-chairs Mike Gibson and Dave Wright and their committee have their hands full! Warm thanks to the City for its support of the event and to all the Rotarians who make the event so appreciated by local families, we salute you! Happy holidays to all!

Special congratulations to this year's Grand Prize Parade Entry from the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), for its amazing float...we recognize one our own in the driver's seat! Rotary Santa Maria South is partnering this year with NAWIC to provide funding for holiday gifts for foster teens. Watch for parade photos soon!

Santa Maria-Nipomo Rotary "Christmas Parade of Lights" and Canned Food Drive a Big Success! 0

Saturday, December 3rd saw children and families both at the Abel Maldonado Center for Rotary Santa Maria South's Winter Wonderland and the City Recreation & Parks' "Winterfest", as well as all along Broadway, as the Santa Maria and Nipomo Rotary clubs brought the "Christmas Parade of Lights" to town.

A huge thank you to Henri Adantz (artificial snow), Engel & Gray (tranport), Halsell Builders (snow-movin Bobcat) and Will Collier and Trevor Crandall (Bobcat drivers) for their support of Winter Wonderland. Three truckloads of "snow" made this year's "magic mountain" a true joy for sliding down! Despite some snow-packing issues, Will and Trevor were able to make three runs down hill, translating to a smooth ride for hundreds of Santa Maria kids.

Special appreciation Bill Thompson for securing the snow, the transport, the snow mover and the drivers, as well as for attending every Parade meeting! As one of the "Three Amigos" who did the bulk of the Winter Wonderland planning, he deserves a round of applause! Julie and Jeff came through with voluneers, trees, shovels, trucks and hot coffee to help the day go off without a hitch. Many thanks to Julie's husband and son for pitching in to help - especially for the coffee!!

Bravo to the volunteers (photos comin soon): Georgia, Paul, Rick, Sue, Susan, Fran, Audrey and Peter! To our new Interact Club students (Interact Club at Orcutt Academy now in formation), you were awesome as Winter Wonderland volunteers! On behalf of hundreds of happy children who have now experienced snow sliding, we thank you!


Winter Wonderland and Parade of Lights Bring Holiday Spirit to Santa Maria! 0

A group of Rotary Santa Maria South club members donned their red, white and blue on Friday, November 11, and stopped by Country Oaks and Merrill Gardens to sing a few rousing patriotic numbers and old favorites to residents and veterans in honor of Veterans' Day. Individual flags were given all veterans. Guitar accompaniment and a vocal solo were provided by Ken Parker, with Diane Parker, Paul Moe, Sue Lampton, Fran Hutchinson, Jane Kokkinakis, Georgia Shore, Julie Lewis and Victoria Conner leading the residents in both traditional classics and popular tunes. The "Rotary Singers South" were even asked to return for the holidays or another occasion! Thanks to all Rotarians who participated in brightening the day for some of our local senior veterans and their friends and neighbors, especially Ken for his guitar skills and to Jane for organizing our visits! The Veterans Day "caroling" was a project addressing our Community Services support for seniors.    


Seniors Treated to Veterans' Day "Caroling" by Santa Maria South Club Members 0

On October 22nd, an audience of community members and friends of Rotary Santa Maria South arrived at the Addamo Estate Winery for a gourmet dinner and a little mystery. Dressed in 1920s attire representing characters they had selected from a list of famous "Roaring 20s" personalities, audience members wore costumes and accessories that hinted at who was in attendance. Guests included the likes of Cocoa Chanel, Geroge Gershwin, William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies, Mae West, Ernest Hemingway,  English Channel swimmer Gertrude Ederle, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, golfer Bobby Jones and others "invited" by the Conte Marcello de la Vino and the Contessa for a very special dinner party.

"Death in Tuscany", a murder mystery fundraiser written and directed by SM Rotary South club member Diane Balay, was performed by a cast of Rotary Santa Maria South club members and friends who played either estate owners, staff or other guests invited to the dinner party:  Conte Marcello de la Vino - Bob McIntire; Contessa Elena de la Vino - Jane Kokkinakis; Anna Freud - Nancy Amidon; Her Royal Highness Anastasia of Russia - Victoria Conner; Lord Sherringham ("Sherry") - Bob Ogden; Lady Sherringham - Georgia Shore; Nurse Maude - Pat Haley; The Honorable Harriet Markham - Libby Kelly; Chef Francois Vichysoisse - Ryan Miller; Chef Bice - Liz Addamo; Merriweather the Butler - David Bixby; Inspector Antonio Addagio - Robert Burns; International Detective Reginald North, and Hollywood star Vanessa Summers - Roxanne Ventriglia. Sound was handled by Davd Genge, lighting by Ken Parker, with the assistance of Giovanni Addamo. Diane Parker held book and Peter and Audrey Garcia assisted the director.

Special thanks to Liz and David Addamo for the use of their estate for the fundraiser! Liz is also much appreciated by the cast for feeding the perfomers every night for the week of rehearsals!

Kudo to Diane Balay, whose creativity and directing made the play such a pleasure to perform and to watch, and to Fundraising Chair Georgia Shore, who came up with the idea of the club doing another murder mystery similar to one done a few years ago as a fundraiser. A huge thank-you to Jane Kokkinakis for managing not only the reservations, but also for coordinating the names (and sometimes suggesting costumes!) fo attendees coming as famous 1920s personalities.

Much appreciation to the sound and lighting crew mentioned above, as well as the terrific actors (Roxanne Ventriglia, Nancy Amidon, Ryan Miller and Robert Burns) who, though not currently Rotarians, donated their time and talent to put on a great show and raise dollars for good causes!

Rotary Santa Maria South is proud to say that its fundraising goal for the event was achieved, and a good time was had by all!Image












Sold Out Crowd Calls "Bravo!" and Generously Provides Funds for Club Service Projects 0

Team Leader Bum-Soon Lee and Team Members Yeong-Mi Kim, Huan-Ju Choen, Ji-Eun Lee, In-Suk Jang and Kwang-Won Choi, with Group Study Exchange Group 12 escort Bill Pucciarelli and a few others were all guests of Santa Maria Rotary South on Monday, October 24th. The Group Study Exchange (GSE) program is conducted by the District to foster international understanding and enlighten participants about the way their professions might differ in another country. This year, District 5240 in California partnered with District 3690 in South Korea. The South Korean GSE Team Leader exchanged pins and flags with Victoria Conner, Rotary Santa Maria president.


Santa Maria South Rotarians Host Group Study Exchange Participants from South Korea 0
Posted by Nicolette Reeves

District Interact Chair John Weiss, also past president of Rotary of Morro Bay and founding president of he Eco Rotary Club of Morro Bay, gave a dynamic overview of Rotary Internaional's Interact program for youth 12-18, providing insights garnered from the Rotary Club of Morro Bay's start-up of an Interact Club on the Morro Bay High School campus. There are currently about 200,000 Interact participants in 109 countries. Interact clubs, which are sponsored by individual Rotary clubs, provide service and leadership opportunities to their members, as well as mentoring and introduction to Rotary. The Morro Bay Rotary's recent experience in starting an Interact Club was important for Santa Maria Rotary South as it embarks on its effort to launch a high school-based Interact club this year. There are currently three other Interact clubs in Group 12, one at Righetti High (Rotary SM South founded, Rotary Breakfast has sponsored now for years), one at St. Joseph High School (The Rotary Club of Santa Maria sponsors) and one at Nipomo High (Nipomo Rotary sponsors).

John Weiss was recognized last year by District Governor Deepa Willingham as the District's Rotarian of the year. 

John Weiss District 5240 Interact Chair Nicolette Reeves 0

Santa Maria Rotary South supported the September 1st Boys & Girls Club "Back a Youth Nite" with a check to help with tee-shirts for all participants big and small, as well as the attendance of five club members.  Community Service co-chair David Bixby, Bill Behrens, Victoria Conner, Peter Garcia, and Fran Hutchinson all donned bright blue tees and joined their young person for a night of games, raffles and Panda Express at the Boys & Girl Club on Railroad Avenue. Had you been there, you might have seen our club volunteers, with their young parters competing in a basketball toss, a rubber dart contest, a harmless "bullet" target game, a putting match, a pingpong toss, a word scramble or a beanbag toss, among others. We all did pretty well, despite the physical agility needed for some of the contests! Thanks to all of our club volunteers and congratulations to all the Boys & Girls Club winners!Image

Santa Maria Rotary South Supports Boys & Girls Club "Back A Youth Nite" 0
Posted by Nicolette Reeves

Our Young Professionals Night was a success.  Thank you to all the young professionals who came out to support and see what Rotary is doing in your neighborhood. 


 A big thanks to Diane Auten of Competent Communications, for additional website check out her website at

  We also had Cal Skate Roller Derby come out and support our event, visit the girls of Cal Skate Roller Derby at

For those interested in what Rotary has to offer young professionals please email Nicolette Reeves at 

Young Professionals Night 9/12/11 Nicolette Reeves 0

Victoria Conner is founder and president of Strategic Vitality, LLC, specializing in meeting/retreat facilitation, strategic planning and creative consensus-building. She is currently also serving as co-chair of the Economic Alliance of Northern Santa Barbara County (EconNSBC). Conner has over a decade of experience in facilitating meetings and retreats working with Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 company executives as well as senior government officials, and chief administrative officers from education, workforce and the nonprofit communities. Her doman expertise includes innovaion, economic and workforce development, education, space enterprise, technology development, manufacturing/suppliers, hospitality/tourism, and nonprofit organizational development.

As Rotary Santa Maria South president for 2011-2012, Conner hopes to increase the club funds for community service, help foster a more strategic approach to determining club contributon priorities, introduce new Vocatonal Service activities for youth, support establishment of a new Interact Club for high schoolers, and finalize the transition to electronic billing and financial statements, as well as strengthen club fellowship.

Meet Victoria Conner - 2011-2012 Club President 0

Rotary Santa Maria South donated $1000 toward the purchase of animals raised by local students for the Santa Barbara County Fair. Club members contributng to that amount incuded Joe and Chris Gallas ($500) and Jane Kokkinakis ($300) - thank you! Funds were used July 16th, as a team of local Rotarians representing all clubs contributing purchased animals of kids who had participated in the months-long animal raising project teaching farm, animal health, ranch and business principles. The same FFA and 4-H programs that foster the raising of farm animals also teaches leadership, public speaking, business writing and community service skills to local youth.

Support for Ag Students First Rotary SM South Donation of the New Rotary Year! 0

Community Service Co-Chair David Bixby and other service chairs shared their goal and plans for the year at the first meeting of the Rotary 2011-2012 year. The club will once again contribute $200/month to the Food Bank and donate one work day; members will organize three feeds at the Good Sam Shelter, and several youth and senior outreach/support activities are in the planning stages.

The club's International Service committee, which has spearheaded the drilling of five water wells in Zambia, will monitor progress on this effort an will identify and fulfill basic school needs of a village school adopted by the Rotary Santa Maria South' sister club in La Paz.

Vocational Service goals include offering members an opportunity to share information about their vocations, hosting three vocational-related offsites,and organizing an essay contest/scholarship around Rotary's Four-Way Test.

Sponsoring a new Interact Club at the Orcutt Academy as well as helping to collaboratively establish a community-based Rotaract Club are the key goals of the New Generatons Avenue of Service. 

Bixby at Podium
Club Goals and Activities for 2011-2012 Announced 0
Membership Co-Chair Bob McIntire invites those interested in Rotary South membership to contact the club through this website or through a Rotary South member. The process for engaging a new member is as follows ---Prospect is provided with basic Rotary info ---Prospect is asked to attend three Rotary South club meetings to meet other Club members ---Membership Committee take the prospect to lunch for further orientation, answers to the prospect's questions ---Sponsor of the prospect submits proposal form to Membership Chair ---Board approves the request ---Prospect is suggested to club members with 10 days for comments ---Approved prospect is inducted and given Rotary New Member Packet
New Members Welcome at Rotary South! 0
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