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Of The Gold Country

Grass Valley, California




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Changing The Community One Child At A Time Serving The Children Of The World  ™
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Guest Speakers

January 2013 thru Today
These folks gave a talk at our lunch meeting

For other dates:    08 thru 12 2012    01 thru 07 2012    07 thru 12 2011    01 thru 06 2011

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Micheal O'Brien

June 27th, 2013

Our Guest Speaker this week was Kiwanian Michael O'Brien

Michael, a retired engineer, talked about the Robotics Program he has been doing at Nevada Union High School. He gave an excellent slide show, with examples of the robots, the "boards" that make up the guts of the robot, as well as showing us examples of the workshops needed to complete the work.


Michael reminded us the need for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education. Motivating and teaching future generations, to show them how exciting, and just plain fun, these things can be. Michael's class seems to be popular, because each time he gives the class, the number of students applying for his class, keeps increasing. His class consists of young men and young women.

Thank You Michael, for sharing what you do at Nevada Union High School. You are making a difference !

Joanne Drummond

June 20th, 2013


Our Guest Speaker this week was Joanne Drummond from the Fire Safe Council of Nevada City.

Some of the things that Joanne talked about was the importance of being fire ready. Planning what to do in case of a fire emergency, planning how to make your home property fire safe, preparing your family members on what to do.


She also told us many of the things that the Fire Safe Council does here in Nevada County. Take a look at their web site, click on Fire Council Web Site.

Thank You Joanne for reminding us about the importance of fire safety here in Nevada County.

Rocci Basotti

June 6th, 2013


Our Guest Speaker this week was Rocci Basotti. Rocci is the Chair for the California-Nevada-Hawaii District Eliminate Project. Kiwanis will help eliminate MNT, maternal and neonatal tetanus, in a global campaign that will save or protect millions of mothers and babies.

Rocci talked about our club, and clubs like ours, that can create new projects to help eliminate MNT. He had several suggestion for possible fund raisers.

Thank You Rocci for sharing your thoughts on how Kiwanis can help eliminate MNT from the world

Dave Schmall

May 30th, 2013


Our Guest Speaker this week was Dave Schmall, Publisher of our local Union Newspaper.

For those of us curious about the difference between the Publisher and Editor of a newspaper: The Publisher is the CEO & President. The Editor is responsible for the daily operation of the newspaper. Reporters, photographers, and the staff report to the Editor. The Editor reports to the Publisher.


Dave has been in the newspaper publishing business for over 22 years. He has been at several newspapers over the years. He is now happy to be in a small town…our Grass Valley.

The priority of the Union is local news. Other major newspapers emphasize state and national events. Most of us get the state and national news from The Bee, The Internet, national Magazines and TV. The Union's goal is to keep us informed about local news and events.

Some of the things Dave has been working on: Getting an editorial board, upgrading the Union's web site, and creating new local interest columns. Dave has created a new weekly video feature
Word On the Street. Word On the Street are short videos of interviews from local folks you can watch on the Internet.

Thank You Dave, for sharing your newspaper knowledge and things that are happening at the Union Newspaper.

Peter Van Zant

May 23rd, 2013


Our Guest Speaker this week was Peter Van Zant, Field Director of Sierra Watch, Nevada County.

Peter talked about the mission and some of the accomplishments of Sierra Watch. Sierra Watch has hundreds of volunteers that participate in the public planning process, to uphold state law. Most important, Sierra Watch sat down with our conservation allies, Martis Valley landowners, and local political leaders to collaborate on creative resolutions to some of the pressing planning / land use issues.


In the 2000s Martis Valley faced development pressure due to its proximity to Truckee and Northstar Ski Resort. Developers initially obtained approval to build 6,000 homes on 25,000 square miles, which would have more than doubled the population of Truckee. In response Sierra Watch filed lawsuits to prevent the development. The lawsuit resulted in scaled-back housing projects, as well as preserving and providing more than $100 million for various wildlife and historic preservation initiatives. One major result was the preservation of the historic Waddle Ranch, a property of 1,500 acres, dating to the 1850s

To find out about the history of Sierra Watch, click on Sierra Watch History.

Thank You Peter, for sharing what Sierra Watch does, to help preserve the beauty of our Nevada County.

Sheriff Keith Royal

May 16th, 2013


Our Guest Speaker this week was Sheriff Keith Royal. Sheriff Royal is the Sheriff-Coroner-Public Administrator of Nevada County.


Sheriff Keith is serving in his fourth term as Sheriff of Nevada County. He is currently the President of the California State Sheriffs Association.


Some of the things Sheriff Keith talked a little about were: marijuana , local crime, domestic violence, staffing of Sheriff Deputies and some of the responsibilities of the Sheriff, Coroner, and the Public Administrator. He also gave us some examples of the calls the Sheriff's Department makes over the year.

Although we do have crime here in Nevada County, it is considered low compared to other California Counties. Last year there were about 22 thousand 911 calls. Out of all those, only 3500 were crime related.

Thank You Sheriff Royal for enlightening us on the duties and responsibilities of the Nevada County Sheriff.

Chris Enss

May 9th, 2013


Our Guest Speaker was Chris Enss, a local author, scriptwriter and comedienne. Chris has written over 30 books.


Most books and stories about the Old West, tell of the men in that era. Chris writes about the women during that part of American History, around the 1840's, 50's and 60's.


Chris shared several stories from some of her books. She included how research was done to find what really happened during this time period in American History. As with stories about men, the lives of women varied... just as today

On her web site, you can listen to several commentaries about the women of the Old West. Fun stuff. Go to her web site and listen.

Thank You Chris, for sharing your thoughts about Women of the Old West.

toby Nelson

April 25th, 2013


Our Guest Speaker was Toby Nelson, The Disaster Pastor.


Toby Nelson has been a pastor for more than 39 years. Over the years he has had many roles, from being the Disaster Pastor, giving aid and comfort to people that find themselves in catastrophic situations, to riding along with officers from the Nevada County Sheriff's Department, accompanying them into domestic violence situations, drug busts, and helping with taking DUIs off the streets.


Toby has assisted people in the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster, serving as a Chaplain with the Red Cross for nine months. He was also in the Super Dome during the Katrina Hurricane and in Haiti the day after the earthquake.

At today's meeting Toby talked about setting up Orphanages in Sudan, in Africa. He talked about the poverty and ignorance he encountered when attempting to help the children of Sudan.

Seven YouTube Videos with Rev Nelson: YouTube Videos

Thank You Toby, for all that you do for the children of the world. You are making a difference !

Lindsey Dunckel

April 18th, 2013

Our guest speaker today was Lindsay Dunckel from First 5 of Nevada County

First 5 Nevada County creates, fosters and supports programs that promote health, wellness, and child development for children ages 0 to 5 and their parents.

Lindsay spoke about the "And how are the children?" campaign. It's based on a Masai community greeting, showcasing the importance of children's welfare; the rates of childhood poverty and abuse in Nevada County are rising.

The Community Support Network of Nevada County and the Child Abuse Prevention Council provide a network of support and resources for families under stress. There is an upcoming UC Davis workshop that will address how child abuse trauma affects children. Kiwanis are partners with these agencies at the Halloween book giveaway.

2013 is the Year of the Child. April is child abuse prevention month with various activities and radio talks.

Thank You Lindsay for your support of the children in our community.

Joanne Moore, Master Gardener

April 11th, 2013


Our guest speaker today was Joanne Moore, one of the Master Gardeners of Nevada County. Joanne has been a Master Gardener for over 16 years. Joanne talked about:

Their mission is to help home gardeners.
They get advice from the University of California Davis.
Master Gardeners workshops:  Calendar
Plant your garden when there are 3 consecutive days of 55 degree weather at night.
Master Gardeners are the people who planted all of those daffodils along the freeway.
The Master Gardener Hotline is available on Tues n Thurs, 273-0919, 9 AM to Noon.

Spring Plant Sale on May 11 at the Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden.
The Western Nevada County Gardening Guide book was written by 21 local Master Gardeners.

Thank You Joanne for telling us about the Nevada County Master Gardeners.

Cristine Kelly - MIM

March 28th, 2013


Our guest speaker today was Cristine Kelly, Executive Director of Music in the Mountains.

Some of the things Cristine talked about:

Classics for Kids – Giving some Nevada County students a first-time opportunity to see and hear a live orchestra concert.

Family Music Faire – A free concert, lunch, and just plain fun things to learn and know about classical music. Cistine shared a video of one of these event from last year.
Music In The Mountains is committed to bring music education to Nevada County children.

Thank You Cristine for sharing how Music In The Mountains supports the children of our community.

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Dianne Marshall

March 14th, 2013


Our guest speaker today was Dianne Marshall, President of the California Collaborative Justice Courts Foundation.

The CCJCF helps people that find themselves in a drug court, who are homeless, jobless, or otherwise find themselves in a precarious situation. They provide small grants to participants to help bridge the gap, to help these people have success in their drug programs. The CCJCF does not receive any funds from government agencies.

In l995 Dianne was a planning consultant, working on an adult drug court. She was then hired and became responsible for the implementation and expansion of judicially supervised treatment services for adult and juvenile offenders and mentally ill offenders in Mendocino County. She is the Founder of both the Mendocino County Friends of Drug Court Fund and the California Collaborative Justice Courts Foundation.

Thank You Dianne, for all you do for our community.

Linten Daniels

February 28th, 2013


Our guest speaker today was Linten Daniels. A Shriner and a Mason. Linten strongly supports the Shirners Hospitals.

A few facts about the Shriners Hospitals:
  1. Provides medical care to children regardless of the family's ability to pay
  2. Accepts children from anywhere. Anywhere means anywhere on the planet
  3. Knowing a Shriner or a Mason is not a requirement to be admitted
  4. Pays for the transportation to the hospital
  5. Pays for lodging family member when needed. Ronald McDonald or Kiwanis family House.
  6. No co pay or insurance necessary

The Sacramento Shriners Hospital has the best Burn Care facilities for children… anywhere. The Sacramento Hospital has provided care in many different medical areas, for over 60,000 children in the last 17 years.

Thank You Linten, for enlightening us on The Shriners and all they do for the children of the world.

Author Jan Westmore

February 21st, 2013


Our guest speaker today was Kiwanian and Author Jan Westmore. Jan talked about her book, Colfax (Images of America) a history of the Sierra Foothills town Colfax, California.

Jan shared some of her extensive research about Colfax, including many old photographs. The town is named after Vice President Schuyler Colfax (1869–1873). There were over 10,000 Chinese laborers that helped build the transcontinental railroad (completed in 1869). This included many tunnels thru the Sierras. These Chinese laborers braved freezing temperatures, blizzards and many hazardous conditions to complete the tunnels and the railroad.

At the start of WWII the narrow gauge railroad cars were repainted green and used in the war. Later the tracks were dismantled. The NCNGRR ( Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad ), was never rebuilt.

Jan's interview on KNCO and Web site.

Thank You Jan, for a most interesting perspective on our neighboring community, Colfax.

Dan Germain n Rita Beall

February 7th, 2013


Our guest speakers today were Dan Germain Executive Director and Rita Beall Director of the Kiwanis Family House. The KFH is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing temporary housing for families of seriously ill or injured patients being treated at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento or at the Shriners Hospital. The Kiwanis Family House is a home-away-from-home for families who must travel at least 35 miles from home to seek medical treatment.

There are many stories about grateful families who stayed at the KFH. Dan & Rita talked about one family, Baby Erica and Jennifer. Each month there are about 150 families that stay at the Kiwanis Family House. They now have 32 guest rooms and an area that has space for 7 RV hook ups.

To learn more about KFH, click on KFH Mission. There are many ways you can help. Click on: Wish List, Buy-A-Brick, Donate or Other Ways.

Thank You Dan and Rita for all you do !

Ed Scofield

January 31st, 2013


Our guest speaker today was Ed Scofield, Supervisor District 2 Nevada County. Ed talked about the project of The Sages Among Us – Harnessing the Power of Civic Engagement, a book about Sages here in Grass Valley and Nevada City. ( Sage: A person characterized by wisdom, prudence, and good judgment). One hundred Nevada County residents participated in the project, 50 senior leaders (ages 56-90) and 50 emerging leaders (age 25-55).

Ed talked about some of the people participating in the project. Many of these people had experiences in the early part of their lives, that had changed or molded their attitudes. Each of the Sage leaders was interviewed in-depth on key questions about: their life history, motivations for civic engagement, views about their own leadership and that of others, and their thoughts about the role that wisdom plays in community affairs.

The book was sponsored by The Center for Nonprofit Leadership.

Thank You Ed, for sharing your thoughts and insight on the The Sages Among Us !

Ted Robinson

January 24th, 2013


Our guest speaker today was Ted Robinson. He is a member of the Kiwanis Suburban Sacramento Club. Most of his career was with Pacific Telephone. While serving in the Navy during WWII, Ted was commander of PT 118. He and his team rescued JFK from a remote island after JFK's PT boat had been rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer. "I was the first person to talk to Jack Kennedy after he lost PT 109, and we became good friends". After the rescue, Ted and Jack Kennedy shared a tent for three months.

Ted gave an energetic and dynamic talk, sprinkled with a bit of humor and a lot of history. He told several stories of the time he spent in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. Wanting to let people know the truth of what really happened, Ted has written a book, Water In My Veins, and has done many speaking engagements.

The bottom line: John F. Kennedy was a real hero.

Thank You Ted, for sharing your experiences during World War II with John F. Kennedy.

Reinette Senum

January 17th, 2013


Our guest speaker today was former Nevada City Mayor, community organizer and change agent, Reinette Senum.

Reinette talked about the homeless in Nevada City. There are many myths regarding the homeless. Some people want to have the freedom of being homeless. It is not true that homeless people don't want to work. There are many factors why many of them can't find employment. Some of these people lack basic skills. Skills that most of us take for granted.

Reinette said that each of us can help by just going down to Commercial Street in Nevada City… and just hanging out. Taking the time to have conversations with some of the people that are on the street. The people there need a little guidance. Something that many of us have received over the years, whether if it was from our parents, our peers, or the people we have worked with over the years. Some of the people on the street have not had some of the opportunities we've had. Even just spending an hour a month can make a difference. Think of a small group of retired people spending just one hour a month … that would make a difference in the life of many of the people now on the street.

Thank You Reinette, for a sharing your passion to help the homeless and needy in our community !

Sandy Schmidt

January 10th, 2013


Our guest speaker today was Sandy Schmidt Founder and Executive Director of Women of Worth of Grass Valley. This is the 12th year for Women of Worth, founded by Sandy after an abusive relationship, and nowhere to turn. They assist families in crisis and domestic violence victims to increase self-reliance and improve quality of life by helping them rebuild their lives with dignity, hope and safety.

Last year a new place for families was opened, Kelly's Cottage. In addition to their other shelter, Hetty's Haven, which is a safe haven for 15 women and children. Women of Worth is making a difference in peoples lives.

There are many stories about the people who have been helped by W.O.W. What can you do ? You can make a cash donation, or you can donate some of the items on their Wish List.

Thank You Sandy, for sharing your passion to help women and children in need in our community !

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