Branch 8 History Report – 2014

Big SIR Report: Leo Barrella

The year 2014 was another successful year for Branch 8 in a long line of successful years. This success, in a great part, is due to the Branch’s ability to maintain its membership year after year. I’m delighted to report that while we didn’t meet our new member goal, we exceeded our total membership goal by 1…and that’s a great performance.
Having the membership the size of our Branch allowed us to have more participation in all aspects of the Branch, on The Board, on Committees, in Activities and in general participation. In March, we had a first “State of the Branch” presentation. The members seemed to appreciate learning about our accomplishments and opportunities for improvement.

The Branch Executive Committee started the year with a new Big Sir, Leo Barrella and a new Little Sir, Ed Benson. Erland Persson continued as Secretary as did Bill Peterson as Attendance Secretary, Bob Barnes as Membership Secretary, Larry Yarberry as Treasurer and Ron Cassano as Assistant Treasurer. The Board of Directors was made up of returning members, Larry Lang, Darryl Sweetland and Gary Plisco. New members for 2014 are Stan Johnson, Rob Laaback, Phil Trapp and Jack Waddell. This Board did an excellent job and finished the year with a positive balance in the treasury. There was also a change in asking for a donation for operating revenue to a mandatory dues.

The Activity Committee was headed by Phil Trapp with the assistance of Jock Mackaig and Don Atwatwer. The amount of activities increased from 41 to 47 in the year. There were several innovations instigated by the committee. An Activity Leadership Succession Plan was developed to insure that all activities will have a chairman to continue the activity. Activity Management System and Hotline article submissions were also modified and put into place as was a Web Activity Sign-up. These helped to make sure that our Activities program remains strong because the activities are the backbone of the Branch. This year the Activities Breakfast was well attended and the Tools, Participation, Succession and Communication portions were well presented to aid all Activity Chairmen. The Branch also took over the sponsorship of the Carmel Golf Trip as well as the Don Atwater Invitational. The Annual Bar-B- Cue was put on by the SIRs in the Kitchen. Ed Benson, Walt Schick, Jim Sowell and company did a bang up job on this one. It was very well attended and an outright success. Both the Ladies Day and The Christmas Luncheons were again a success, thanks to the on-going efforts of Chairman Jack Waddell and his able assistants.

The Member Relations Committee was chaired by Stan Johnson and he did an excellent job. The word “Participation” is most evident here because the MRC has 14 members in various capacities. The New Member 6 Month Workshop, Applicant Orientation, Recruitment Committee and Publicity Committee are all part of the MRC. They were all valuable tools in the ability of Branch to be so effective. The MRC also developed the Three Year Plan to reach the goals of each of these committees through the next three years and beyond. Some of the actions of the MRC were a bottle of wine if you bring a guest, a $15.00 off the luncheon for first time guests, a free lunch drawing for an attendee who had a signed reference card in his possession. The Recruitment Committee also spent days at the Farmers Market in Walnut Creek order to help increase membership. Another effort the MRC is making is to include the participation of members’ partners in Branch functions. A flyer was given to all partners at the December LDL and a Quarterly Family Newsletter is being distributed to the member’s partner to inform them of possible activities they can be part of. The Couples Golf being a good example of a coed activity.

One of the ongoing problems at the Luncheons has been the unreliable sound system. Dick Brooks headed up the effort to come up with an excellent solution and with the assistance of Hans Pable, installed a new microphone and sound cord that seems to have solved the problem. This has made the Luncheons much more enjoyable now that all are able to hear.

The Speaker Committee, enjoyed its first full year by providing a fine list of speakers for the year. Two of those speakers were our own members, Dan Franklin and Bernie Rosner. They spoke of their personal experiences during World War II. Both were most moving experiences.
The Form 27, Monthly Branch Membership Form, explains a great deal about the membership and attendance of the Branch. It cannot be reproduced here but it must be noted the all of the goals were meet or exceeded for the year 2014.

Our Hotline crew of Dan Weller, Ekk Keller, Jim Ripley, Barry Brown, Chuck Joyce and Rob Laaback did a bang up job of publishing and distributing the Hotline. They also established a Hotline Coordinator to resolve problems in the operation of publishing the Hotline. They also established guidelines for submission of articles to the editors.
It must be noted that our Director and Area Governor, Gary Plisco was unable to complete his duties because of personal difficulties. We thank him for all his work as a member and officer of the Branch and wish him a rapid return.
Since this is the Big Sir History of the Branch it must include the fact that the Big Sir cannot possibly record all that transpired during the year 2014. He can tell that a lot of people did a lot of work in order for this Branch to be as successful as it was in the year. This history only noted some of highlights of 2014. Most of the effort goes unnoted but is truly appreciated.

Little SIR Report: Ed Benson
With the significant help of the speaker committee – Sirs Pumphry, de Losada, Cohn and Nelson, we put on ten luncheon programs based on a survey conducted by the Little Sir asking members what topics they were interested in. All in all, we think that the majority of our members found our ten offerings to be interesting and enjoyable.
In January, our speaker was economist Jay Tontz, PhD. We felt that his topic was especially relevant at the beginning of the year – “What will 2014 bring; will the expansion continue?” Now that we are at year end, it seems that his projections of continued growth were spot on.
Our February speaker was one of us, Dan Franklin, and he spoke his experience on Omaha Beach on D Day. We began by running a clip depicting the horrors of the day from Saving Private Ryan. Dan indicated that it was a particularly accurate portrayal. The presentation was sobering, yet enjoyed by all.
In March, we featured several of our Branch 8 members. For the last couple of years, we’ve been kicking around the thought of having a “State of the Branch” program; well we did it. The program featured Branch 8 officers at the Branch and State level and we explored the opportunities both the Branch and State face in the upcoming years, and what our members can do about them.
Tony de Losada took over from the Little Sir and introduced our April speaker, Bob Rose, the Director of Public Relations for the Oakland A’s. Bob has a terrific resume over the last 30 years which includes Cal (go Bears), Stanfurd (BOO) as well as stops in the NFL, USFL (remember them) and the Olympics. Bob was an excellent speaker, and although our 2013 Division winning Oakland A’s didn’t advance far in the 2014 playoffs, it was interesting to get Bob’s perspective prior to the season beginning.
Our speaker for May was Larry Beil, ABC News KGO Channel 7 sports anchor at 11:00 pm, as well as sports anchor at 9:00 pm on TV20. Prior to joining KGO Larry was sports anchor at ESPN and before that he worked at KTVU as weekend sports anchor and sports reporter. Larry gave us some very interesting sports perspectives and his presentation was one of the best we’ve had in recent years. Should he give up telecasting, he’d be a great stand-up comedian.
Our July speaker informed us about the critical resource that dramatically impacts all of us – California’s water supply. John Coleman is President of the Association of California Water Agencies, but perhaps more important to us he is currently a long term member of the EBMUD board of directors representing those of us with EBMUD service in Contra Costa County. He’s served the Board as both President and Vice President, and, oh yeah, he’s Sir Don Allen’s son in law. He was spot on in his prediction that an $8.5 billion bond issue would be passed to address California’s water shortage.
In August, our speaker was Paul Epstein, the Director of Sales for the San Francisco oops, Santa Clara oops, oh what the hey, the Niners. Paul spoke about all things Niners, with particular emphasis on the move and occupation of the new Levi Stadium. His recruitment as a speaker directly led to our new activity, Sirs at the Games and the group’s trip to explore the new stadium.
In September, we had our Dan Franklin speak to us about his experiences at Omaha Beach on D Day. I think that everyone will agree that it was fascinating to hear about the invasion from a guy we know who experienced it first hand. We are followed that vein in September by having our fellow Branch 8 Sir Bernie Rosner speak to us about his experiences as a youth in Hungary who along with his family was swept up in the Holocaust, and how he rose above that traumatic experience to become truly successful in life. It was a moving and uplifting presentation.
Our speaker for October was Norma Bishop, the relatively new Executive Director of the Lindsay Wildlife Museum here in Walnut Creek. She spoke about the museum’s history, new initiatives and the preservation of our local wildlife. There’s a lot going on at the museum, and Norma brought us up to date.
In November, we had a change of pace. Instead of a speaker, we celebrated Veterans’ Day with a musical program from one of our fellow Area Branches, 146. Their singing group, the SongSirs, entertained us with a number of rousing selections including all the armed forces songs and some old favorites. These guys have been singing for years, and they have entertained many groups. We were fortunate to get them to one of our meetings.
So that’s a wrap for 2014. All of us on the Speaker’s Committee found the job to be enjoyable and would recommend that others join us in the fun.

Membership Relations Committee: Stan Johnson
• Preparation and mailing of the quarterly “family” activity newsletter—November, 2014 (consisted of sealing, adhering address labels, return address labels, and stamps to pre-folded letters and mailing
• Development and start of pre-meeting slide shows (starting January 12, 2015)
• Met year-end branch goal for total members
• Developed free lunch contest for those carrying Branch 8 business cards
• Monthly Hotline articles and announcement at meetings promoting finding and bringing new guests
• Monthly meetings with potential members prior to each luncheon meeting
• Meetings with new members approximately six months after induction
• Short articles in local newspapers alerting potential members of each of our meetings
• Placed a couple activity chairmen at the 6 Month New Member Workshop
• Attempted to get Activity Chairmen to greet new (red dot) members prior to meetings

Astronomy
Bill Hunter, Chairman
Leary Wong, Assistant Chairman
This year we made three field trips (NASA- AMES & Moffit Field, the Lick Observatory and the Chabot Space and Science Center). Field trip participation includes guests and averaged about 25.

We had outside guest speakers at four of our meetings; Jeff Adkins on Kepler’s Laws, Marni Berendsen twice on Extra Terrestrial life and on Gravity, and Stephen Jacobs demonstrating and discussing his solar telescope.

Attendance at the meetings varied but was typically around 30. We have a total of 67 SIR members who attended at least one regular meeting this year. Of this total 61 were from Branch #8, 4 from Branch #174, and 2 from Branch #171

Branch 8 BBQ
Ed Benson, Assistant Chairman
Walt Schick, Assistant Chairman

For the last six years, Sirs in the Kitchen has held the Branch 8 BBQ in June. This year two changes were made – the event was moved from Castle Rock Park to Concord Community Park, and the food was catered by a Branch 8 member and his crew.

Typically around 110 Sirs and guests enjoy BBQ’ed steak, beans, salads, desserts and copious amounts of wine, beer, soft drinks and even some water. The party typically begins around 3:00 p.m. and the last dog dies around dusk. A great time is had by all, and it is looked forward to each year. First come, first served sign-ups are typically first taken in March and spaces tend to go fast. Come join us!

Bargain Bites

Ron Smith, Chairman
Ed Benson, Assistant Chairman

Bargain Bites is the newest activity to be formed in 2014. Our goal is to seek out small, out of the way restaurants with good food at moderate prices. The plan is to have an event every other month.
Our first event took place on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at DJ’s Bistro in Concord. We had 22 people attend (SIR and spouses). This is a good start for a brand new activity.

Bocce Ball League Play

Bob Barnes, Chairman
Danny Rinaldi, Assistant Chairman

Chairman Bob Barnes and Assistant Danny Rinaldi organized the team to compete in the Concord Bocce Federation league. Our team (SIR Bocce) played on the Baldwin Park BB Courts in Concord. There were10 players (5 SIR members and 5 partners) who played on our team. Our team played on Tuesdays 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. during the May – September months.

Bocce Ball Open Play

Bob Barnes, Chairman
Danny Rinaldi, Assistant Chairman

Chairman Bob Barnes and Assistant Danny Rinaldi organized the competition at Newhall Park BB Courts in Concord. There were 17 different participants during the season (April to September). This weekly activity on Fridays 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. usually attracts 8-10 players.

Book Exchange

Tom Kerns, Chairman
Assistant Chairmen: Rob Laaback, Ken Main, Stan Orlik

The Book Exchange was kicked off in January 2008, so we are approaching our 7th anniversary. From the beginning it was a success and has continued to be one of the high-participation activities that SIR Branch 8 offers. At every meeting scores of members surround the two tables going through the boxes of exchange books. We estimate that we exchange over 200 books each meeting.
This activity was originally started by Ed Benson in 2008, Ken Main took over as chairman in 2011 and Tom Kerns became chairman in late 2012. The number of books have grown from a couple of boxes to over 40 boxes. In 2013 Tom and his co-chairs, Rob Laaback, Stan Orlick and Ken Main, had two “weeding” parties to reduce the number of books down from 50 boxes to 40 boxes. The local libraries and the Diablo Valley Assistance League benefited from our discards.

Book Group

Steve Tiller, 2104 Chairman
Nick Maufe, 2015 Chairman

The group met on a Bi-Monthly basis at the home of Steve Tiller in Martinez. We have split down the middle between fiction and non-fiction.
Fiction Author
Saturday Ian McKewan
Gone Girl Jillian Flynn
The Orchardist Amanda Coplon
Nonfiction
Empire of the Summer Moon S. C. Gwynne
J. Robert Oppenheimer, a life at the Center Ray Monk
In the Garden of Beasts Eric Larson
We going to take some steps in the New Year to get a better turnout, as this has been a rewarding activity.

Bowling

Dan Weller, Chairman
Jim Erickson, Assistant Chairman

Bowling continues to struggle with a lack of Branch 8 participants. We have only two members who regularly participate in the SIR Bowling League and in the SIR State Bowling Tournaments. Two additional Branch 8 members participate in the tournaments but not in league bowling.
We lost member Tom Baker in late 2013 when he moved to Arizona. However, we picked up Jim Erickson when he joined Branch 8 in January 2014.
One of our league bowlers, Dan Weller, was the anchor man on the “Eight-Balls” team that won the Fall league session. The team then won a playoff with the winning team from the winter session and claimed the overall championship of the SIR 2013-2014 season.

Bridge, Basic

Rod Spicer, Chairman
The Basic Bridge format has open dealing of the hands at all of the tables. Each table will have a coach. There will be a review discussion after the hand has been played. These sessions are a non-competitive, learning environment with review sessions for all of the players. Players are invited to ask questions at any time.
The sessions are co-ed. Basic Bridge is held on the first Thursday of the month from 1:00 – 3:00 PM at Chateau III, 175 Cleveland Road, Pleasant Hill. (There is no lunch available). Call Rod Spicer, 935-5306, to be added to our reminder list.
Call for details about 4 Free bridge lessons: Thursdays Jan 16 – Feb 6 from 2-4pm.m Bring family and friends!
2014 attendees were:

Bill Cooke Mike Paster
Brenda Cooke Dave Perkins
Don Cvietusa Erland Persson
Al Hudgens Al Reichard
Ann Hughes Glen Renk
Rod Hughes George Schulze
Marv Kreitz Charlene Schulze
Stan Johnson Lee Schneider
Roger Lockwara Dan Smith
Mardi Lockwara Ernesto Tong
Ken Main Al Welch
Maureen Main May Welch
Nick Maufe Ernie Scherne
Shirley Maufe Rod Spicer
Don Moller MaryAnn Spicer

Bridge, Couples

Bob Pate, Chairman
Ken Main, Assistant Chairman

Bob Pate took over the leadership of the couple’s bridge activity in February 2014.
The couple’s bridge activity meets on the 3rd Monday of each month at Roundtable pizza restaurant in Concord. We have met 11 times (as of 12/1/2014) in 2014. There are 19 active members (including regulars and substitutes) and average participation is 8 couples or 4 tables. Although we keep score, we play “rubber bridge” for fun only and announce top three winners each month.

Bridge, Duplicate 1

Bob Kahl, Chairman
Dick Long, Assistant Chairman
The group meets on the second Friday of each month at 9:00AM at Chateau II in Pleasant Hill. Play consists of 4 tables of Duplicate Bridge and we play 21 hands or “boards” at each session, which lasts about 3 hours. Each player contributes $3.00 toward prize money which is awarded to the top 3 teams. We have 16 regular participants and have another 12 or so players that substituted one or more times. The competition is keen yet friendly. While some pairs tend to score above average, the play is not dominated by any one pair.
This group started many years ago and rotated the play between the members’ homes. The play was limited to 4 tables as that is all the typical home could accommodate. When one of our members moved into an assisted living facility, we found a place where we could play regularly. This works well as the set-up is minimal and refreshments are provided. We are still limited to 4 tables because of space. However, due to the constant need for substitutes, many more than the regular 16 members get to play.

Bridge, Duplicate 2

Max Creamer, Chairman
Jerry Milano, Assistant Chairman

Duplicate Bridge II/III has 20 regular monthly users; there are another (roughly) dozen SIRs who substitute as needed when one (or more) of the regular players is unavailable for our monthly contest. Jerry Milano and I are the co-chairs for this Branch 8 activity. We meet each month (except December) on the fourth Friday in the month at the Greenery Restaurant in Walnut Creek, starting at 9:00 AM.

Bridge, Rubber

Rod Spicer, Chairman
Al Welch, Assistant Chairman

All are invited to our game which meets on the first Thursday of the month at 9:00 AM. We meet at the Round Table Pizza on Treat and Oak Grove in Walnut Creek. Be sure to contact Al Welch to save a seat. The last man to contact him may be eliminated if the tables are full.
2104 attendees were:
Don Atwater Buddy May
Bob Barnes Jerry Milano
Tom Brandsford Mike Paster
Rich Burke Bob Pate
Don Cvietusa Judd Rogstad
Raleigh Davis George Schulze
Dennis Fitzpatrick Bob Sherman
Mysore Gopal Ernie Scherne
Bud Grisante Rod Spicer
Steve Greytak Jim Sowell
Al Hudgens Dean Steichen
Bob Kahl Bill Sullivan
Larry Lange Ernesto Tong
Al Welch

Computers & Technology (Area 2)

Bill Phelon, Branch Chairman
Hans Pable, Branch 8 Assistant Chairman

This Area 2 activity is led by Neil Schmidt (Branch 116) and Derek Southern (Branch 8) Co-Chairs.
The Branch 8 leaders for this activity are Bill Phelon and Hans Pable. Bill also serves as the membership chair for the CAT (Computers and Technology) group. Meetings for CAT are held on the third Thursday of the month, except for June and December. The meetings begin at 9:15 AM at the Walnut Creek Elks Club. The usual monthly programs are either guest speakers or activity members presenting information on the latest in computers and technology, including software developments and consumer electronics. Some of the subjects covered in 2014 included presentations on Windows 8.1, “Cloud” services, personal finance programs and Security and Identity Threats. The CAT Web site can be found at: http://a2cat.sirinc2.org/
During 2014, between 43 and 58 Area 2 SIRs attended each monthly session. There were 43 Branch 8 members that attended at least one CAT meeting.

Cribbage

Herb Hellsten, Chairman
Ron Draper, Assistant Chairman

The Cribbage Group meets twice a month on the first Wednesday and the third Tuesday at Round Table Pizza on Treat Blvd. at 1 PM. We had thirty different branch members participate in the twice-monthly cribbage games during 2014.
A total of 1,950 games have been played over the 21 sessions (no games were played on January 1) with an average attendance of seventeen members on Wednesdays and fifteen members on Tuesdays. Tuesday attendance again is lower due to four members attending SIRS in the Kitchen. Twelve of the thirty members have participated in over 75% of the games played.
Year-to Date Cribbage results find Greg Ryan leading the average score per games played with 30.94 points per game followed by Jack LaSalle with 25.94, Stan Johnson with 25.17 points and Steve Strobel with 24.95. The winners of a game receive 25 points for the win plus the difference between scores. If the winner beats his opponent by more than 30 points this is deemed a skunk and the difference in points is doubled when added to the 25 points for winning.
The high score for a game during 2014 went to the team of Dan Franklin and Steve Strobel with 281 points (double skunk) followed by Greg Ryan and Jack LaSalle with 273 points (double skunk) and Dennis Mierzwa with 145 points. High scorers for a day were Dan Franklin with 573 points, Greg Ryan with 475 and 392 points, Jerry Ward with 374.
Any branch members who have played cribbage or would like to learn the game are encouraged to join us.

Digital Photography

Bill Phelon, Chairman
Dave Davis, Assistant Chairman

The group meets the third Friday of each month at locations that rotate between member’s homes. Coffee, tea and snacks are provided, for which we ask a $1 donation. All levels of photographer, from point and shooter to sophisticated DSLR users are welcome.
The group has occasional field trips and the December meeting, to which spouses are invited, is often held at a restaurant. There were 17 active members in 2014 with attendance ranging from six to twelve per meeting. The average attendance was ten people.

Dominoes

Dan Rinaldi, Chairman
Alan Schulze, Assistant Chairman

The group has increased to 9 members (with 1 new member thinking about it). The Group now plays at Round Table Pizza located in Walnut Creek at Oak Grove and Treat Blvd on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. Time of play is 11:00am – 2:00pm. Each member contributes $5.00 for the prize money at the end of the day.
Current members: Dan Rinaldi (Chair),Jim Ogle, Bob Weber, Al Kapp, Jerry Foot, Larry Mersmann, Joe Kelly, Alan Schulze (Co-Chair) and Bob Roche

Explore and Eat

Larry McEwen, Co-Chairman
Ron Woods, Co-Chairman

January 30th Sinbad’s Dinner and Bay Bridge Light Show. ~ 30 attended (Woods, McEwen, Persson, Grisanti, Cohn, Laaback, Price, Brooks, Sherne, Keller, Grisanti, Mierzwa, Bailey, Sweetland, Koski, and Barnes including wives)

March 4th Georgia O’Keefe / Stackpole Exhibits at the DeYoung Museum (8 attended including Lockwara, Woods, Sherne and McEwen)

March 21st Day at the Races (approximately 30 members and wives in attendance)

April 16th Western Railway Museum / Wildflower Train Ride (24 attendees: Johnson, Rinaldi, Karg, Hall, Hopkins, Olson, Nelson, Jasmann, Schultze, and others)

April 29th Black Diamond Mines / New Mecca Cafe Lunch and Tour of Mines (approx 30 members including Bailey, Barnes, Bybee, Cohn, Doll, Greytak, Grisanti, Hall, Jasmann, Stan Johnson, McEwen, Nelson, Orlik, Olson, Sherne, Shumway, Spicer, Sutton, White and Woods)

August 21st Alcatraz Island Tour – lunch at Alcatraz Landing Cafe. (Woods, Persson, Yarberry, Cohn, Morse, Sutton)

October 17th Multi-Branch Day at the Races (33 attendees) Woods, Maciak, Mackaig, Phelan, Grisanti, Hagler, Main, Ripley, Anthony, Warner, Lamont, Greytak, Pearson, W. Johnson)

NOTE: Planned for Angel Island Tour postponed until 2015 due to construction work. Although not formally E & E events, our Branch 8 calendar included the July 30th Sonoma Tour of the Naked Wines Facility, a Sept 24th Oakland A’s game, and a very popular Levi Stadium Tour Oct. 29th

Fishing

Carl Moyer, Chairman
Romano Gnusti, Assistant Chairman

The year 2014 saw the addition of quite a few new members to our fishing group, and they brought new adventures and enthusiasm with them. The salmon season was disappointing. We did catch a lot of trout on well attended trips to San Pablo Reservoir and Shadow Cliffs. However, it was a good year for rockfish and ling cod. Sturgeon were not as obliging, with the unending winds being a prohibiting factor. Fall striper fishing was productive and many of our group caught many nice stripers. We had good luck with some large summer catfish from San Pablo Reservoir. Quite a few of us went to Alaska and Canada, catching delicious halibut and salmon. Our annual backyard barbecue and Christmas party were notable for great camaraderie and fine food. We had three fish fries, including our annual get together with the Branch 8 Sirs in the Kitchen. We made farther trips to Oregon, Mexico, the Klamath River, Lake Davis, and the upper Sacramento River. We hope for less wind in 2015, more salmon, and lots of fun.

Golf, 18-Holes

Mike Hennessey, Chairman
Bill Hunter, Assistant Chairman

Many of our golfers can look back at one or more events where they played at or above their performance index as recorded by our handicap statistician, Gordon Batesole. Among the high achievers were: Bob Ryan, Bill Bargenquast, Jack Schweitzer and Stan Johnson who qualified in the Area 2 Team Scramble hosted by Branch 8 at Diablo Creek GC. They also performed well in the State Team Scramble held at Rancho Solano GC. Stan Johnson also placed well in the Division 4 Individual Qualifier and went on to play Poppy Hills in October. Buddy May and Kevin Roberts took the honors for Branch 8 Low Net and Low Gross Champions, respectively. Also among the Branch 8 star performers were: Harry Hubinger, Dave Platter, Jack Schweitzer and Jack Stack, all of whom shot their ages one or more times.
Some of us, however, must accept the reality that we didn’t quite reach the pinnacle of success we had hoped for but hung in anyway and battled the golf demons all the way to the 19th hole. Still, after a few drinks it was easy enough to conclude that we actually played quite well, and ‘no big deal’ if we didn’t. We had another enjoyable golf outing in Carmel where the ladies added some much needed elegance. In between partying and shopping we managed to get in two rounds of golf. One at Rancho Canada GC and another at Pacific Grove GC, and as far as I know, we left no one behind.
Many thanks to our outgoing committee members: Alan Ensign (treasurer) John Hayes (marshals) and Wally Freeman (tournaments) for their outstanding contribution to the Branch 8 golf. The program they nurtured for many years is a fitting tribute to their appreciation for the game and service to our organization.

Golf, 9-Holes

Phil Philpot, Chairman
Barry Brown, Assistant Chairman
Dick Brooks, Advisory & Statistics
Advisors: Bill Bargenquast, Mike Anderson

NINE HOLE GOLF CLUB
Our golf year per our stats guy, Dick Brooks, included 52 different SIR players and approximately 12 guests exploring two different nine hole courses. Most of our outings included a contest ranging from closest to pin (CTP), fewest putts (FP), greens in regulation (GIR), and blind boggy. The winner of the contests had a choice out of the “gift box”, an accumulation of mostly donated golf balls and stuff. Our highest turn out of players was 36 and the fewest were 10 playing in light showers. We had only two total rain outs for the year
The NINE HOLE GOLF CLUB had their 2nd annual championship tournament comprising of three divisions. We had teams made up by a random computer program, an individual low gross champion and an individual low net champion. The team winners were, and scoring a team net of 24. Individual low gross was Jack Stack with a 40 and individual low net was Bill Bargenquast with a 32. We had several low net ties which the winner was determined by his score on the #1 handicapped hole. Our winners were awarded custom certificates designed by Barry Brown.
Nine hole golf accepted as our event the Don Atwater’s Invitational (DAI) and we held our first tournament (the 28th overall) at the Las Positas executive course in June. We have designated this annual event “The DAI” in honor of Don and his many contributions to our branch. We not only have individual winners, but also team competitions. At the conclusion of golf we gather for an awards dinner/presentation. The DAI event is co-ed with significant others joining in. The couple’s only golf contributed many of the players helping make the event a success.
Another special event is sponsored by Dick Brooks, our annual Turkey shoot. This year the bird was captured by Jack Stack.

From January 1st to December 1st we played a total of 1077 (9-hole) rounds as follows;
• Our home course is Diablo Hills Golf Course (DHGC) where we played 914 rounds.
• We had two Hole in One’s recorded by Ken Rader on Hole #4 and Stan Johnson on Hole #3
• There were 58 birdies and 923 pars. Our low gross scorer was Barry Brown with a 37.
• Pine Meadow Golf Course (PMGC) was our away destination where we played 139 rounds scoring 6 birdies and 149 pars. Low gross scorers with 35’s were Barry Brown, Don Allen, Bill Cooke and John Hayes.
2015 Committee:
Chairman: Barry Brown
Assistant chairman: Phil Philpot
Advisory and Stats: Dick Brooks
Advisory: Bill Bargenquast and Larry Lange

Golf, Couples

Paul Derby, Chairman
Joe Dell’Orfano, Assistant Chairman

Golf for couples had another great year of participation, friendship and fun. 11 of our 12 games were played at Diablo Hills. This year, for the 1st time, our group was invited to participate in the Don Atwater Invitational, which was played on the executive course at Las Positas.
Our group has grown significantly (over 20%) and our average turnout per game was 11 couples. As of the 1st of December, our roster consists of 22 SIR’s (attached). This compares to 13 SIR’s 2 years ago and 17 last year.
“Marshal Creativity” continues to be encouraged and we had some spectacularly creative play formats. During 2014 we played formats such as “3 Club”, “Scramble”, “Best Ball” and in October it was “Steichen’s Surprise”.
At the end of last year the Batesole’s hosted a year-end/holiday gathering at their home, but this year our group has “out-grown” the Batesole’s home, so we had our year-end party at Boundary Oak in late October.
Margaret Batesole continued to do an outstanding job of preparing our monthly activity reports and generating enthusiasm. We tried to make her the official Assistant Chair Person, but she was disqualified because she is not a SIR. In her place, the group has nominated Joe Dell’Orfano to the Assistant Chair.
Thanks to the efforts of Dan Weller, Golf for Couples has been integrated into the Activity Management System.

Heads-Up Walkers
Dan Weller, Chairman
Erland Persson, Assistant Chairman

The Heads-Up Walkers Activity had a very good year. We lost five participants and gained ten participants for a net gain of five participants in 2014. Our ending active participants count was twenty-four.
We had 49 weekly walks in 2014, missing only three holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day). We have over twenty different walking trails. There were 304 member walks and 83 guest walks.
The walks are always exactly for one hour. Assuming that the average walking speed was 2.8 miles per hour, the Heads up walkers covered 1,083 miles in 2014 !! (304 + 83) * 2.8
The most active walkers were:
MEMBERS GUESTS
Name Walks Name Walks
Daniel Weller 38 Treva Peterson 26
William Peterson 35 Lois Tenzer 24
Raymond Tenzer 33 Mardi Lockwara 10
Austin Prindle 25 Jackie Raaka 9
Erland Persson 23 Beth Norton 7

Hikers

Dave Davis, Chairman
Martin Simmons, Assistant Chairman

Hikers Activity December 2013 through November 2014
Each month we have two categories of hikes. EASY and HARD. Easy hikes are typically short (at the lower end of the 3-5 mile target distance) and level with less than 500 feet of Accumulated Elevation Gain (AEG). Moderate hikes, bridging between EASY and HARD, are on good trail with roughly 500-1,000 ft of AEG at the upper end of the 3-5 mile target distance, and may have a few very short, steep sections. HARD hikes fall into the “Moderate-Strenuous” or “Very Strenuous” level of difficulty. They are longer hikes (over 5 miles) with approximately 800 to 2,000 ft AEG on a trail that may be rough and has many short steep sections or fewer, but longer steep sections. These hikes require excellent fitness. EASY hikes are scheduled the 2nd Tuesday of each month. HARD hikes are planned the last Tuesday of each month. At the end of each year member hikers are assigned to plan and lead the EASY and HARD hikes for the following year.
There were 25 hikes in this 12 month period with attendance ranging from 3-16 hikers (not including guests) each hike – or an average of 11 hikers per hike – 10% more hikers per hike than last year.
Total Miles Hiked Average Miles Hiked per Hike Longest Hike in Miles Total AEG* in Feet Average AEG* in Feet per Hike Greatest AEG* in Feet
EASY Hikes 46.25 3.85 5.8 3,215 278 500
HARD Hikes 116 4.63 9 10,291 858 1,696
*AEG Accumulated Elevation Gain
The hiking group gained 8 new hikers this year and lost 3 (none while a hike!).
The Hikers group encourages hiker families and friends to join us. The Hikers group enjoyed our second annual Hiker Dinner this year on January 29th at Zio Fraedo’s restaurant in Pleasant Hill. HAPPY TRAILS!

Ladies Day Luncheon
Jack Waddell, Chairman
Assistant Chairmen: Ed Dijkman, Paul Laderer
VENUE: We held two luncheons this year. The spring event was held at the Contra Costa Country Club on 6/11/2014, while the Christmas event was at the Round Hill Country Club on 12/8/2014.

The Contra Costa Country Club continues to prove excellent in terms of service and price, with the terrace proving to be a desirable feature for the June event. The entertainment for this lunch was Paul King and his group “Jump in”, making their second performance, having first entertained us in 2011.

The informal survey taken of our membership indicated that a return to Round hill Country Club for the Christmas event was preferred over Crow Canyon. This luncheon was a great success, having Matt Helm for the entertainment as a Dean Martin impersonator.

We have not received any significant negative feedback concerning either of these locations. Absent new developments, we will probably seek to return to both for 2015

ATTENDANCE: There were 204 paid attendees at the June luncheon, 4 “no shows” for a total of 200. At the December luncheon, paid attendees was 285, with 12 “no shows” for a total of 273. The attendance at the spring luncheon has always been about 70% of the December luncheon. As the size of our Branch increases, it may be necessary to look for additional venues or put a cap on the number of attendees. That, however, is not an immediate concern.

FINANCIAL: Over the past five years we have been able to hold down the price of the luncheon to about $34 at Contra Costa and $37.50 at Round Hill. Other venues where we have inquired (including the Hilton) are more expensive and lack the ambience. Included in the cost of the luncheon is the price of candy, centerpieces for the tables and door prizes, as well as the entertainment. This year, as in past years, we have always managed to break even or return a small unintended surplus which is then applied to the purchase of door prizes for next year. Paul Laderer has submitted financial summaries to the BEC for both 2014 luncheons.

Let’s Dine In 1
Ron Cassano, Chairman

This is a couples activity. We meet every other month at a member’s home. The host provides a main dish and other members round out the dinner with accompanying sides. We each add a favorite wine to be shared. SIRS participating are: Ron Cassano, Ed Benson, Stephen Deness, Dan Franklin, Joe Karg, Walt Schick, and Jim Lunn.
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Let’s Dine In 2
Ed Cohn, Co-Chairman
Bob Price, Co-Chairman

The SIR “Dine in 2” gourmet group meet at our volunteered members’ homes once every three months, with our next dinner in January 2015. We are ten strong (five couples) and unfortunately, the membership is closed for the time being. The burden would be too great on the host and hostess to entertain more than 10 guests.
Each month that we all get together, the host home chooses the entree and then assigns each member different dishes to bring that will enhance the main course. The get-togethers have produced some incredible gourmet meals for us to enjoy.
It has worked very well and Dine in 2 is a flourishing activity that we all look forward to every quarter.
A new group can be started whenever there are 7 members interested in starting a new group. Contact either myself or Dan Franklin and we will maintain the names of interested players until there are enough to form a new group. This is an activity open to all other Area 2 branches.
A bi product of this event is that a great camaraderie has been established with the participants. I think that the bonding that has ensued makes me want to see many more dine in groups in the Branch to further that end.
When we have an opening we will advise the group and I am sure it will be filled quickly.
Yours in great dining, Ed Cohn Chairman

Let’s Dine In 3
Jim Ripley, Chairman
Tommy Thompson, Assistant Chairman

A new activity added in 2014 due to the popularity of Dine In # 1 & 2 which both have waiting lists. This is a couple’s activity. We meet every other month at a member’s home. The host provides a main dish and other members round out the dinner with accompanying sides. We each add a favorite wine to be shared. SIRS participating are: Jim Ripley, Dave Davis, Tommy Thompson and Jim Whitsett. Additional alternative members are being sought.

Let’s Dine Out 1
Ken Main, Chairman
Mike Brown, Assistant Chairman

After many years of leadership, Don Wesdorf retired as activity chairman of the Let’s Dine Out1 activity. Ken Main is the new chairman and Don Allen is co-chair. Sir’s and their guests enjoyed the following events in 2014:
Jan – Chef Chao Chinese Restaurant (Wesdorf’s host)
Feb – Black Angus Restaurant (Marv Kreitz host)
Mar – Spaghetti Factory (Allen’s host)
Apr – Outback Restaurant (Lockwara’s host)
May – Dragon 2000 (Spicer’s host)
Jul – Crow Cyn CC brunch (Perkins host)
Aug – Boundary Oak GC buffet (Batesole’s host)
Sep – Brass Door Restaurant (Ripley’s host)
Oct – Massimo’s Restaurant (Hughes host)
The Let’s Dine Out1 activity continues to search for new restaurant choices (e.g. boundary oak golf course buffet). We also are trying to improve our communications of our events via timely emails in addition to the info in the branch website.
Ken Main Chairman

Let’s Dine Out 2
Don Atwater, Chairman
Jerry Milano, Assistant Chairman
“Dine Out 2” is another opportunity to socialize with fellow Sirs and their spouses. To retain a more intimate dining experience a table for 8 (or less) is encouraged. To host a “Dine Out 2” event you may select the restaurant, date, time and arrange for separate checks per couple. This will then be promoted as a branch activity and as host and hostess you can enjoy the friendly companionship with Branch 8 friends and ladies. Sign up with Chairman Don Atwater to host a Dine Out 2 event or be a guest.

Poker
Ekk Keller, Chairman
Dan Franklin, Assistant Chairman

There are now 55 players in 7 separate poker groups of 7 players each. An 8th group, the 4th Monday group, is active, but needs a 7th player. Each group has its own “coordinator” and meets monthly on a scheduled day and time at a member’s home. The venue rotates to a different player each month. You can see the days of the week and the times each group meets in the monthly Hotline.
Pub Games
Bill Cooke, Co-Chairman
Al Welch, Co-Chairman

We started this new activity in September. We now meet on the second and fourth Thursday in each month at Artie’s Lounge in the Countrywood shopping center in Walnut Creek. At the pub we can throw some darts and play pool for the price of a beer or soft drink. As far as the darts go we are only playing 301 not 501 games for scoring and not beginning and ending in a double like the pros. With the pool those games are mostly one on one pick-up games.
During September we had six and seven attendees. During October we had six on the second Thursday but only four on the fourth Thursday because October had five Thursdays which I assume confused some. We think that those present have a good time. I told Jack Stack about our new activity and he gave his set of darts which he had brought from England which I much appreciate. We appreciate Don Atwater’s help in getting this new activity started.

Single Sirs Dine Out
Bon Wadors, 2014 Chairman
Jack Stack, 2015 Chairman

Our group enjoys getting out the house once in a while to share a good meal and some lively conversation. Each month, one of the group acts as the host and chooses a restaurant in the area with reasonable prices. We meet at 5:30PM and are usually oout by 7:30PM. The conversation includes the latest events in the news and our new ailments. In past year we had a net gain of 2 members for a total of 15.

SIRs at the Games
Steve Schramm, Chairman
Assistant Chairmen: Tom Kerns, Jack Schweitzer

SIRS at the Games was created in July 2014. As a new branch activity, we formed a planning team, and organized a couple of initial events during the fall months. A tour of the new Levi Stadium and attendance at an Oakland A’s game were the first two events.

Activities

1) The Levi Stadium Tour and SF 49ers Museum Visit was arranged through Golden Gate Tours for 100 members and their guests. The Tour was conducted on Wednesday, October 29, at a cost of $60 per person for the bus and the tour. We received very positive feedback about the Tour, the bus transportation, and event communications.
2) A SIRS Branch 8 group of 28 attended an Oakland A’s Game against the LA Angels on Wednesday, September 24. The ticket price of $33 represented a $7 group discount. Transportation was not provided, and members took BART or drove to the Coliseum.

Current Issues

1) Finances – Most sporting events require a deposit to reserve tickets for group attendance. Consequently, we must define a funding and reimbursement process for these group deposits and final purchase of tickets. BEC approval is necessary for the funding process. In addition, we will identify a Treasurer for this activity so that all funds are carefully managed.

2) New Activities – The SIRS at the Games planning group is exploring possible games of the Golden State Warriors, San Jose Sharks, and California Golden Bears basketball for attendance during the winter months.

3) Innovation – An important objective of the planning group is to identify other events that may appeal to Branch 8 members. Perhaps professional golf, high school sports, and short field trips may be organized.

SIRs in the Garden
Tony de Losada, Chairman
Assistant Chairmen: George Schulze, Greg Ryan

Established in May 2014 SIRS IN THE GARDEN (SIG) was formed with two important contributing 2014 Co-Chairs: George Schulze and Greg Ryan. We had good fortune in attracting and coordinating a record number of sign ups, twenty eight (28), and were looking for a suitable meeting place to inform such a large group. We settled on the Walnut Creek Main Library and worked together on three initial meetings held there. Ensuing meeting were held at the Boundary Oaks Library and eventually at Markham Nature Park and Arboretum. I as a Member of the Board of Directors met the insurance and liability requirements to hold meetings there, where we agreed to limited exchange volunteer help. SIG learned how to put down and work on the fine gravel paths called the “Yellow Brick Road”, we learned how to spread City donated & delivered compost around the Nature Park Section specimen trees and also how the Nursery propagation people planted , nurtured and cared for plant starts. The Propagation Section of Markham donated 24 hand grown specimen Tomato starts to SIR Branch 8 members at our July Luncheon. Jack Sagen of the SIR Membership Desk handed out the plants. We helped fellow SIR Jim Sowell and Sandy Xeriscape their garden by removing approximately 180 Hemerocallis, Daylilies, 90 Iris, and a few Roses, all valuable specimen cultivars. We had 16 Volunteers make three visits in August and September.
For starters in 2015, we announce a new Co-Chair for Sirs in the Garden; former New York State Park Superintendent (“one of many”) he says, Tom Mohrman. Tom will formerly become a member, at our January 2015 luncheon. Tom, as well as Steve Schramm Chair of “Sirs at the Games”, are excellent examples of new members who immediately stepped up engaged and contributed to a branch activities, by spear heading a new and necessary Branch 8 MRC goal, which is to involve new members as early as possible in the membership and leadership our many great activities! Tom will add much to the teaching of good gardening practices of SIG. We are also announcing a new association and meeting place at The Gardens at Shade lands for 2015. We will meet there once a month starting in April or May through November. This association will help us to have attractive speakers and demonstrations at the Gardens premises. Brian Larsen Gardens Manager will give us monthly tips all this; a beautiful place to meet at, demonstrations, SIR Volunteer Garden, in exchange for some volunteer work! Brian Larsen has planted and dedicated a large “Prize Day Lily display specimen area” on a prominent part at the start of Garden Tour Path you can’t miss it and it is going to be a major Springtime Garden attraction. It will be dedicated to Jim and Sandy Sowell, who so graciously donated these Specimen Plants on behalf of SIR Branch 8.

SIRs in the Kitchen
Ed Benson, Chairman
Jack Sagen, Assistant Chairman
Jim Sowell, Assistant Chairman

Now in its ninth year, this popular group of 47 meets on the third Tuesday of each month at Sir Executive Chef Ed Benson’s home to cook and eat lunch, drink wine, tell lies and engage in fellowship. It is not necessary to have cooking skills to join the group. Every attendee has a job – from sous chef to set up, clean up and take down. Typically 24 members attend a meeting.
Once a year, we put on the Branch 8 BBQ and include spouses at two well attended Christmas Gala Dinners. Each September, a joint meeting is held with the Area Fishing Group where the fishermen contribute the catch and the Sirs in the Kitchen prepare it. Participation at this event is usually 40 or so.

Sums in Retirement (Area 2)
George Schulze, Branch 8 Chairman
Leary Wong, Branch 8 Assistant Chairman

The Sums in Investment activity met 11 times in 2014. There were as many as 55 to a low of 34 depending on the speaker or the subject. Our branch had 25 attendees.
Leary Wong and Dave Sutton made up two thirds of the leadership for this activity.

Table Pool (Area 2)
Jerry White, Branch 8 Chairman
The Table Pool is an activity sponsored by SIRs Branch 146. Because their Luncheon and Golf activities are not on a Monday date, they choose to play Table Pool on Mondays. Other branch members are welcome to join them at Masses (2721 North Main, Walnut Creek). The playing start at about 11:15. There is a $5 charge by Masses (which is a discount) and you can play for as long as you want (most play for about 2 hours). The group plays partner 8 Ball (four to a table) or if an odd number of players show up then a unique three-player game of “Crazy Eights”. We always rotate after ever game so you do not play with the same partner every time. If you have not played for a while don’t be bashful. Come on down and join us and get some practice. We welcome new pool playing and potential pool playing members.

Traveling SIRs
Ed Cohn, Chairman
Jim Lunn, Assistant Chairman

Traveling SIRs will next meet on 26 January 2015. The subject will be a discussion regarding a format for the year and a superficial study of nooks and crannies of various countries that members have visited and will recommend us visiting.
We all want to thank SIR Dick Schally for his past several years of being leader of this group. A job well done. We embark on a new year with a new direction and we hope that it will measure up to the expectations of our group.

Wine Bargains
Ed Benson, Chairman
Jim Warner, Assistant Chairman

The Sir Bargain Wine activity entered its fourth year in 2014, and it has proved even more popular growing from 31 Sirs in 2013 to 48 in 2014. The objective of the group is to let members take advantage of BevMo and Grocery Outlet (as well as Safeway, Trader Joe’s etc.) major wine sales; therefore, the meetings are called on an ad hoc basis, usually four or five times a year. Wines purchased are in the $10 and less price range.
The Chairman notifies members of the meeting, and he and volunteers purchase wines, and the participants meet, sample and decide if those wines purchased are candidates for further purchase. Usually a cheese and cracker selection accompanies the tasting. The tasting is followed by a group dinner. All costs are shared on a pro-rata basis.
The tastings are either held at a member’s home or one of the retail outlets; the dinners are held at either a restaurant or the home of the Sir volunteer where the tasting was held. Results of the tastings are published to all Branch 8 members through email.
By far, the highlight of the year was the bus trip to NakedWines.com in Kenwood. 55 members, spouses and partners enjoyed the day with a BBQ provided by NakedWines.com, wine tasting and shopping stops at Cornerstone and the Sonoma square.

Wine Finders 1
Bob Price, Chairman
Tony de Losada, Assistant Chairman

SIR BRANCH 8 WINEFINDERS original was formed some 5 or 6 years ago as an off-shoot of our Branch 8 WINE TASTERS group with the intent to be more informal, stressing value and quality wines under $15.00. Growth spurts from 2008 to present resulted in splitting the membership (almost 40) into thirds, to better match size of group (12) to size of members’ homes. This “trifurcation” occurred midyear of 2012, with additional leadership provided by Ron Cassano WF-2, and Larry McEwan (WF-3). We have identified true “buys” via the value approach, by finding high scoring wines at low prices. Our membership has remained relatively constant with new members balancing losses due to attrition.
This is an informal wine tasting occurring every even numbered month (February, April, etc.). Although this is a group that encourages couples participation, single SIRs are invited and can come stag or pair-up with a SIR whose spouse is unable to attend. A wine type is selected by each Winefinder sub-group, followed by a blind tasting and ranking of all wines. Each couple brings a bottle of their wine priced under $15 and an appetizer to serve six or eight that complements their wine selection. We meet at 6:00PM at rotating host’s homes, usually on the second Thursday of even numbered months. Each attendee also brings his/her own glass.

Wine Finders 2
Ron Cassano, Chairman
Joe Karg, Assistant Chairman

This is a couple’s activity. We meet every other month at a member’s home. The host selects a wine to taste costing under $15.00. Each couple brings an appetizer to share. The wines are rated on a blind tasting.

SIRS participating are: Ron Cassano. Ed Benson, Joe Karg, Bill Eich, Derrick Southern, Tommie Thompson, and Jim Lunn.

Wine Finders 3
Larry McEwen, Chairman
Gene Paschal, Assistant Chairman

February. The entire contingent of 14 Winefinders III convened at the home of Larry & Holley Yarberry on Thursday, February 17 to sample red wines from South Africa. While some members were challenged to come up with 7 different wines from the region, thanks to the advanced planning of our hosts who brought back 3 different Pinotages from a recent trip to Arizona, the requisite number of wines were finally assembled. The winner was a 2012 Spier Stellenbosch Pinotage supplied by the Yarberrys.
April. Depleted by illness and schedule conflicts, only three hard core members of Winefinders III, together with their wives, convened at Larry McEwen’s home on April 17th to sample the white wines of France. Because of the low turnout it was decided to dispense with the ratings and just relax around the kitchen table (as it was a little cool outside) and enjoy one another’s company, good wines and great food.

The wines included a Louis Latour Grand Arbeche Chardonnay @ $10 provided by Gene and Mary Lou Paschal; a Brut de Vanmer sparkling white @ $7.50 compliments of Ed Cohn and Era Blumberg; and a Le Grand Caillou Sauvignon Blanc @ $7.75 furnished by Larry & Kathy McEwen. Complementing the formal tasting, the hosts provided a Machi Torrontes from Salta, Argentina $20 (white) and a Laurent Miquel L’Artisan from Languedoc $18 (red).

June. A grand time was had by four members of our esteemed group and their wives and we again eschewed the formal tasting in favor of visiting and exchanging sea stories of our respective adventures. Our hosts, Sandy and Jim Sowell entertained us with a tour of their home with its gorgeous new floor and grounds. Unfortunately, Jim’s prodigious assortment of home grown tomatoes had not yet come in and we had to rely on the store bought kind for the salad. Sandy showed us her collection of art, both inside the house and outside, as well as her studio where it was evident that there were about a half dozen more pieces in the works utilizing various mediums. .

The wines of choice were Gewurztraminers and the Sowell’s Okanagan from Washington (available at Grocery Outlet for $8.00) and the Borgerson’s VINTJS (available from TJ’s for $6) were especially noteworthy. Ed Cohn, Era Blumberg and the McEwen’s presented us with a vertical tasting of the 2009 and 2012 Fetzer available at BevMo for around $7. As usual, the wines were accompanied by an impressive collection of goodies including not one, but two shrimp dishes, chicken pieces and a camprese salad.

August. Winefinders III were invited to join with the other two groups at Bob and Sandy Price’s for a joint celebration of the Winefinders featuring white wines. Among the wines featured for the evening were a 2013 Lay of the Land, Marlborough Savignon Blanc provided by Jim Sowell, a 2012 Cupcake Chardonnay brought by Gene and Marylou Paschal, and a Villa Bianca Pinot Grigio supplied by Larry & Holley Yarberry.

October. This event was held at the home of Roger & Mardi Lockwara and focused on champagne. Included were a Domain Chandon Blanc Noir ($14.99 BevMo) provided by the McEwens, a Dom Pierre ($5.99 Grocery Outlet) brought by Ed Cohn and Era Blumberg, a Korbel Brut ($9.99 Costco) provided by the Yarberrys and a Gloria Ferrer ($17.99 BevMo) supplied by our hosts. As only four members were able to attend it was decided to again dispense with the formal tasting and just imbibe while sitting outside on our host’s great deck. After the champagne, we were all treated to a scrumptious chunky chocolate cheesecake compliments of Mardi Lockwara.

Writing Your Life Stories
Roger Sperling, 2014 Chairman
Dick Brewer, 2015 Interim Chairman

In the midst of our 9th year of encouraging one another to write down the stories we would love to tell our children and grandchildren we have entered into a crisis of sorts. Our founder, leader, guide, and all around guru, Roger Sperling, is stepping down as Chairman. The group is recognizing and thanking Roger for his gift to us with a luncheon meeting in November. We will reassemble on the fourth Tuesday in January to determine the future of our activity. Over a year ago, Roger enlisted Dick Schally and me to aid him in leading the sessions. We are both playing a leadership role in the transition. I have agreed to serve as temporary chairman until the group decides its fate in January.
Roger Sperling’s gift to us is the guidebook he put together. It is essentially a ten month course on how to get started and continue to enlarge each member’s collection of life stories. We write both outside and inside of our gatherings. We share our stories and have fun doing so. The numbers who participate varies from a low of four to a high of ten in attendance. There are sixteen on the mailing list.

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