The Rotary Club of

Ojai Rotary Reminder Newsletter
October 1st, 2021

Carl Gross, Editor
October is Vocational Service Month
Are you an established professional who wants to make positive changes in your community and the world? Our club members are dedicated people who share a passion for community service and friendship. 
Our 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.
In the beginning…
President Betsy Watson opened the meeting with a warm welcome to all.  After the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Michelle Sherman and an insightful invocation by Andy Gilman, the meeting was called to order. 
A special round of Thank-Yous were given to:
Suzanne and Michael Scar and Andy Gilman for setup of the room.
Deirdre Daly ably performed Desk Duty, dutifully.
Fern Barishman was our Official Greeter
Michelle Sherman who led the Pledge of Allegiance
Tony Thacher, our Finemaster extraordinaire.
Carl Gross for the photography and being Reminder Editor
And last but not least, Jayne for the tasty victuals.
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
Brian Whitacre, from the Ojai West Club, was introduced and presented their upcoming event.  Brian is a Civil Engineer and Project Manager for GHD, designing water and wastewater facilities. He has been a member of the Rotary Club of Ojai West for the past 2 years and is President Elect. The event will consist of a $30 ticket booklet for wine tasting at local venues.  The booklets are not available online but may be purchased at The Attitude Adjustment Shoppe.
It was so nice to see Sid Cohen in the audience with his caregiver, Deborah.
Welcome to all!!!
This Day in History…
In 1891, Stanford University opened its doors, founded by Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane.  He donated $40 million in 1891 dollars in memory of their son.  The first graduating class included the likes of US President Herbert Hoover.
Upcoming Programs:  Andy Gilman
October 8th—Mayor Protempore, Bill Weirick to discuss updates of the Go Ojai Demonstration Project on Ojai Avenue and the Maricopa Highway.
October 15th—John Krist, CEO of Farm Bureau of Ventura County to discuss the state of agriculture in Ventura County and the challenges Ojai faces.
October 22nd—Kevin Davis, First Amendment Foundation
October 29th—Fifth Friday (Dark)
For futher information on upcoming programs go to:  Calendar | Rotary Club of Ojai (
Cindy Frings announced a meeting of the Taste of Ojai Committee on October 9th at 5 PM.  Please contact Cindy for further details.  There also will be a Sponsorship Meeting on October 12th.
Sue Gilbreth needs volunteers for a Rotarian Workday on November 13th at 9:00 AM at the Meadows Preserve.  Bring your gloves.  Tools will be provided.
Fining and Confessions:  Tony Thacher
Tony opened the session with a Grammy Award for the Best Get Acquainted Talk of the Year.  The award was shared by Sue Gilbreth, Kathy Yee, and Cindy Frings for their video presentation of California Girls, poetry slams, and live music.   You can watch this tour de force at: Ojai Rotary Get Acquainted Program - YouTube  Thanks to Bryant Huber (their sideman!)
There was a plethora of October birthdays:  Deirdre Daly, Janet Mahon, Bob Davis, Christine Golden, Mike Malone, Bill Hatch, Therese Brown, Randy Roth, and Dietrich Schmidt.  With this number of birthdays in October, one wonders what happened in January preceding these blessed events???
Bryant Huber announced his and Carin’s 10th wedding anniversary.  They are celebrating with a trip to Oahu for 1 week.
The Scars celebrated their wedding anniversary as well.
New Member Induction:  Rene Fauvre Halbrook
Rene is the daughter of Dr. Fred Fauvre.  She and her husband, Dolan, and their daughter have recently moved back to Ojai.  As a youth, she attended local schools and graduated from Villanova.  Carl Gross, her mentor, related a story about swimming around the Ventura Pier which became a tradition.  We welcome you, Rene, back to Ojai and to the Rotary Club of Ojai!
The Program:  Get Acquainted Talks—Andy Gilman and Fern Barishman
Bret Bradigan introduced the multitasker and resident sage, Andy Gilman. Andy is a long-time Ojai resident. He attended Topa Topa, Matilija, and Nordhoff (before taking his GED when he turned 16). 
He graduated from California Institute of the Arts and St. John’s College and is currently working on a Doctorate in Education.
Andy is Executive Director of the Agora Foundation, which he will describe shortly. 
He was the Admissions and Outreach Director for Oak Grove School and was a founding member and former Board President of Ventura Charter School. 
He worked for Behavioral Science Technology here in Ojai for 18 years as a designer, writer, marketing manager, and content consultant.
Andy serves on several non-profit boards, loves hiking Los Padres, cooking with his wife Kate, gardening, drawing, and being with his three adult children. He walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain twice and is looking forward to a third journey. 
He started his talk with how he proposed to his wife, Kate.  Pulling a few strings with the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, he set up a trip with his wife to be to the bluffs above Ojai.  He had planted strawberries and champagne beforehand in the bushes.  It worked well.  They have been married for 2 years.
Mr. Gilman talked about the Agora Foundation.  The Agora Foundation is a nonsectarian 501(c)3 non-profit endeavor, providing great books seminars and other educational opportunities to those who are busy with careers, families, and daily responsibilities yet are seeking to further their education. The goal of these offerings is to provide an understanding of the ideas that shape civilizations and to promote civil discourse on complicated subjects.
Generously funded by The Ahmanson Foundation, Southern California Edison, The Shanbrom Family Foundation, the Ventura County Community Foundation, the WRG Foundation, the Constance Eaton and William Hart Fund, the Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Ojai, and private donations, the Teachers for Lifelong Learning Program provides training to high school teachers in this engaging approach to learning, and The Ojai Chautauqua provides panels promoting civil discourse on controversial and complicated subjects. 
Agora means “Market Place” which were meeting places in Greece for various activities including sharing of thoughts and ideas. 
“Through conversation truth emerges.”  The Foundation started in 1998 as a Great Books seminar series.  In 2004, courses for teachers were started.  2006 marked the incorporation as a non-profit.  By 2014, the Chautaugua forums were started which brought together local people with a moderated panel to discuss hot topics of the day.
Andy thanked the Club for its support and funding.  At any given time, there are over 127 events open to participation.  For more information, please go to the Agora Foundation website at: Online Great Books Seminars | United States | The Agora Foundation.
Kathy Yee then introduced Fern Barishman, our new member.  Fern was Kathy’s daughter’s piano teacher.  Kathy met Fern in the park about 6 months ago.  She told Fern that she was doing Rotary, Rotary, Rotary.  Fern told her she “liked the idea of Rotary” and felt she needed to give back to the community. 
Fern started in music early.  She followed her cousin to the piano.  “I was good!”.
She recounted her trip to Israel on an archeology dig, picking apples, and living on a kibbutz. 
She attended the City University of New York and Queen’s College where she studied music. Plagued by depression she new she had to “get out of Brooklyn”. 
Fern arrived in California and promptly got a job in a bead factory.  She auditioned for “Name That Tune”, a TV quiz show.  She not only qualified, but later became a production assistant for multiple TV programs.  In addition to the music publishing and production she worked for an asset management firm in Los Angeles.  She was in LA during the Rodney King riots and knew she had to move.  She moved to Ojai where she delivered flowers, balanced checkbooks, and eventually played the piano at Tottenham Court, owned by our own Andi Bloom.
She spoke of her eating disorder and obesity.  She had surgery and lost 150 lbs with a new lease on life.  You are an inspiration and we are excited about working with you on your Rotary adventure.
Thank-You, Fern and Andy for some great and inspiring presentations.  Our best programs are those of our own members. 
Final Thoughts
Betsy closed the meeting with a quote from Sophia Loren:
“There is a fountain of youth:  It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life, and the lives of the people you love.  When you learn to tap this source, you will have truly defeated age.”

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