Community & Clubs: Farewell to a longtime, beloved beat

For many service clubs, including Rotary, Lions and Exchange, July 1 brings a change in club leadership. For Kiwanis clubs, that happens Sept. 1.

Last Thursday, more than 90 people, including current and past Rotarians, their spouses, members of the Newport Beach Sister City Assn. and delegates from the club's Sister City of Okazaki, Japan, attended the 75th anniversary celebration and installation dinner for the Rotary Club of Newport-Balboa, held at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club.

Past presidents Steve Speer, Jerry Morris, Roger McGonegal and Tom Walley, among others, shared the ceremonial aspect of the celebration. Newport Beach Mayor Rush Hill presented a proclamation from the city recognizing the club's 75 years of service to Newport Beach and the harbor community.

Rotary District Gov. Rae Shirer was on hand not only to present greetings from the Rotary International president and induct a new club member but to lead the singing of the national anthem.

Lauren Pittman was installed as club president for 2014-15. Serving with her will be directors Speer, Ron Gill, John Kerr, Richard Oberreiter, Justin Peister, Jose Vergara, Miyuki Smith-Richardson and AJ Thielen, Treasurer Jerry Klemer and Secretary Mike McDonough. Morris received the Bob Callis Award (Callis was president in 1949-50), Speer was named Rotarian of the Year and McDonough, Ice Breaker of the Year.

At a special dinner at Five Crowns, the Newport Harbor Exchange Club installed Jim Fournier as president. Outgoing President Bill Bechtel selected Ron Barnett and Bob Kinton for the Exchangite of the Year Award. The previous week, the club honored Jean Watt with the Book of Golden Deeds Award, which was presented by Garry TeWinkle.

Leading the Kiwanis Club of Costa Mesa beginning in September will be Harlan Anderson as president. Serving with Harlan as officers and directors will be Colin Smith, president-elect; Adam Schuster, secretary; Rhea Leigh Graf, treasurer; and directors Charles Markel, Ken Dilley, Greg Dennis, Kent Mueller, Ray Davies, Fran Ursini and Joe Panarisi.


Thanks for the memories

This is my last Community & Clubs column. I have a consulting contract with the College of the Desert Alumni Assn. that is taking a great deal of my time. At first, it was for three months, and last week, it was extended for an additional six months. I just don't have the time to do a good job with the column.

I started writing the column when Bill Lobdell was editor and Tom Johnson was publisher. At first, I was writing two columns a week, one on clubs and community groups and the other on harbor-area people. Boy, I soon discovered I was no Herb Caen, a great columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. I stopped writing that column after a couple of months.

I have met and worked with great people in service clubs and community groups as well as Daily Pilot staff during the past 15 to 18 years. No one at the Pilot can find a record of when I started writing as a stringer.

My community involvement in the desert includes the reaccredited five-star Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce — where my wife, Barbara, is the chief executive — the Rancho Las Palmas HOA Board, several Rotary Clubs where I make up meetings I missed in Costa Mesa, the YMCA, and the list goes on. Yes, I am still involved in the Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council and the Exploring council of the Orange County Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Service clubs and community groups play an important role in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. While one determined person can make a different in the community and the world, a group of people dedicated to service above self can make a bigger difference.

Check out a service club or a community group if you want to make a difference. Most will buy your first meal for you! Check the schedule below.


Service club meetings this week


Noon: The 15-member Exchange Club of Corona del Mar meets at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, 1601 Bayside Drive, Corona del Mar, for a business meeting.


7 a.m.: The 20-member Costa Mesa Orange Coast Lions Club meets at Mimi's Café, Newport and Harbor boulevards, Costa Mesa.

Noon: The 45-member Kiwanis Club of Newport Beach/Corona del Mar meets at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. For more information, visit

Noon: The 75-member Newport Harbor Exchange Club meets at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club for a business meeting. For more information, visit

Noon: The 40-member Kiwanis Club of Costa Mesa meets at the Costa Mesa Country Club, 1701 Golf Course Drive, Costa Mesa. For more information, visit

Noon: The 55-member Newport-Irvine Rotary Club meets at the University Club, 801 E. Peltason Drive, Irvine.

6 p.m.: The 57-member Rotary Club of Newport-Balboa meets at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. For more information, visit

6 p.m.: The Newport Mesa Masonic Lodge No. 604 meets Wednesdays at 1401 E. 15th St., Newport Beach. A business meeting dinner takes place the first Wednesday of the month. For more information, email

COMMUNITY & CLUBS is published Wednesdays. Send your service club's meeting information to

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