The Rotary Club of

Ojai Rotary Reminder Newsletter
March 22nd, 2024

Carl A. Gross, Editor
March is Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene 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 1.4 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 Bill brought the members and their guests to order.  He announced that it is officially Spring with blue skies, hummingbirds, flowers, and gentle breezes.
The Pledge of Allegiance to this great nation was led by Dave Watson followed by a brief homily by our own President-Elect Wendy Barker.
After an elegant repast, the meeting resumed.
We warmly welcomed David Moody, Shawna Garrison, and Fern’s Special Guest, Leah Hecker.
Thanks to…
Kelley Rasmussen and Bret Nighman for room setup.
Carl Gross for the Reminder Newsletter.
Dave Watson for leading the flag salute.
Wendy Barker for her inspirational moment.
Our Greeter was the ever welcoming Christine Goldman.
Welcome desk and monetary dealings: David Brubaker.
Former Rotarian has passed.
Hank Bangser, former Ojai Rotarian and retired OUSD Superintendent.
The Ojai Valley News reported:
Ojai Unified School District Trustee Kathy Smith informed all gathered for the March 13 school board meeting that Hank Bangser, 74, former OUSD superintendent, had passed away the day before.
Bangser served as OUSD superintendent for eight years before retiring in 2017. Prior to coming to Ojai, Bangser had served for 35 years in the Illinois education system.
Both Smith and OUSD Superintendent Sherrill Knox credited Bangser as instrumental in their lives.
“I found out today that we lost Dr. Hank Bangser," said a tearful Smith, who worked with Bangser for five years. "He was one of the most respectful and ethical mentors, who expected a lot of you, but consequently he was one of the best teachers that any one of us would be so lucky to have."
Knox said: "He hired me back as the principal of Topa Topa (Elementary) 10 years ago. I was very fortunate to work for a man who had such expertise and experience. He was such a mentor, and a guide, and I know he meant a lot to so many in this district. I am going to miss him greatly."
President Bill observed: “Hank was a true gentleman.  He always represented and led the District well.  He had a way of creating calm when others couldn’t or wouldn’t.. He exemplified a life well-lived but cut short.  Rest in peace.”
Give now to the Annual Fund.
We were reminded that we all need to contribute to the Rotary International Annual Fund and to Polio Plus.  Our goal is “Every Rotarian, Every Year”.  Please consider giving.  No amount is too small. To date, only about half of our membership has donated.
Remember that these dollars are returned to us after 3 years to be used in District Grants and to help eradicate Polio. 
To donate, go to: | My Rotary and make your contribution now.
March is Women’s History Month
The woman’s suffrage movement culminated in the 19th Amendment, ensuring their right to vote, becoming law in 1920.  The first woman in Congress was Jeanette Rankin, a Montana Republican.  Rotary did not allow women to join till 1989 when a small Club in Duarte, CA allowed them to join.  This was fought by Rotary International all the way to the Supreme Court.  We admitted Lerie Bjornstedt, our first woman member and first woman President of our Club.  Tony Thacher personally supported the efforts of the Duarte Club and was rewarded with a membership Club Card which he keeps to this day.  It is hard to imagine what Rotary would be like without women members.
Bret Bradigan gave a brief “historical moment” about Queen Elizabeth I.
Our own Andy Gilman announced his candidacy for Mayor of Ojai. 
Betsy Watson reminded us of “Shred and E-Waste Day at the Nordhoff HS parking lot from 9-12 on April 6th.  This is a joint community service with the Lion’s Club and youth organizations. Join us in making this a great success!
Al West, Colin Jones, and the crew are planning a very special tree planting and visit to Mesa Farms on Arbor Day, April 26th., Mesa is building a group of mini-homes on the East End of the Valley to provide transitional housing and support to the youth over 18 that find themselves without same. Mesa is also hiring as per Rebecca Bernard’s recent email:
Mesa is hiring an Operations Manager (see attached JD). It's an exciting job and time as Mesa is opening in June and hiring right now! Please share this with anyone who may be a good fit and is interested.
This position will manage Mesa’s day-to-day operations, including management of the office and facilities, human resources, marketing, compliance, and IT.
Top-level characteristics of someone who may be a strong fit include the following:
  • belief in Mesa's mission
  • strong project management - high attention to detail & super organized, great time management, takes initiative
  • enjoys being a part of a small smart team that works hard, supports one another, is community-minded, and finds great joy in our work
Don’t forget to nominate a Living Treasure by ballot (return to Balance Health at 236 W. Ojai Ave. #201, Ojai or online (preferred) by going to and voting.  Deadline for nominations is Friday, March 29th.  The 2024-2025 Living Treasures will be celebrated at the Ojai Valley Museum patio on
Future Programs: Jack Jacobs
Jack reported on upcoming events and programs:
  • 3/29/24—Fifth Friday Lake Casitas Evening Cruise.  Hope you have signed up.  Weather permitting.
  • 4/5/24—Get Acquainted Talks
  • 4/12/24—Stu Crowner.  Life amongst the Hollywood Stars
  • 4/19/24—Casey Roddick—College and Professional Football.  The NFL Draft.
Fining: Tony Thacher
Tony led the extraction of lucre with many members making confession and cleansing their souls.
The Program: Marilyn Mosley-Gordanier,  Laurel Springs School
Ms. Mosely-Gordanier is a founder of Laurel Springs School, a worldwide distance learning school for the past 35 years.  She was nominated for a Nobel Earth Prize, and is the president of the United Nations Global 500 Environmental Forum.  She participates in the Captain Planet Foundation on its Board of Directors, and serves on the STEM Education Working Group for the Clinton Global Initiative.
Their mission is engaging global learners in an education that values them as individuals, integrates their passions and pursuits into academic and career pathways, and fosters inquiry, growth, mastery, purpose, and independence.
The school has met many challenges such as the Northridge Quake which resulted in shutdown of the library services, the CoVid epidemic, and others.  It continues to evolve to meet these challenges.  It now serves 85,000 students world-wide.
Marilyn then shared with us the program, Educate Girls Now, that is taking place in Afghanistan to support education of girls who are limited by the Taliban to a 6th grade education, forced into child marriages, and moving girls to safer communities.  She played a short video:  Click here.
Thank-You for a timely and inspiring message on this Women’s History Month.
President Prather then presented Marylin with a gift of local citrus and the following quotes:
“Women, like men, must be educated with a view to action, or their studies cannot be called education.”
Harriet Martineau
“Girls’ education is the closest thing we hae to a silver bullet to help solve some of the world’s most difficult problems.”
Safeena Husain

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