District Governor
Loretta Butts and John

From the California Coast to the Valleys,
Welcome to District 5240

If we had to fit it on a Post-It, we’d tell you Rotary is about fellowship through service.
Rotary District 5240 is made up of 3,600 local business professionals and civic leaders, from 73 clubs, in four different counties within California, United States. We meet regularly to not only form bonds and friendships, but also to we strive to improve lives locally and around the world.
Rotary is the world’s largest service organization with more than 1.2 million members who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world.

What's Happening in District 5240

Sebastien Dreckman saved the day for the Interact Club of Simi Valley High School.
The Interact club participates in many hands-on service projects while developing strong leadership skills, and those skills were put to the test.
One day last fall, at the last minute, the Interact Club was asked to run several game booths at a local pumpkin patch, including bean bag tosses and the pumpkin bowling station. An all-weekend event, the pumpkin patch would provide an invaluable opportunity to help the Interact Club raise money for charity. Due to the late notice, however, the club lacked enough support from its members to manage game booths on Saturday. Without enough volunteers, the opportunity was all but lost.
Annika Paseta, a member of Santa Susana HS Interact Club, asked Sebastien, a teenager at Simi Valley High School with autism (ASD), if he could help out at the event. 
UPDATED May 28 with more graduates!
Congratulations to the third Master PRLS 5 graduating class of the 2014-2015 Rotary year! The Ventura program's graduates included six president-elects!
  • Don Tiliquest of Camarillo
  • Rene Schrader of Bakersfield East
  • Mike Murphy of Thousand Oaks
  • Bill Banning of Goleta Noontime
  • Dennis Longwill of Ventura South
  • Jeff Stern of Woodland Hills (District 5280)
  • Anastasia Pyrinnis of Newbury Park Interact
  • Odyesseus Pyrinnis of Newbury Park Interact
  • Yvonne Brooks of Woodland Hills 
For their graduating project assignments, they worked on an ambulatory transport van project to serve Kern County. This project was focused on the underprivileged and the elderly, and would offer transportation to medical facilities that would normally be outside of their geographical area due to a lack of affordable means.
The second project was a One Day Music Festival to be held at a community park, and would include great music, games for kids, and a beer garden. Anticipated income to be generated was $30,000 to be distributed to the local community charities on behalf of Rotary.
80% of the projects during the MPRLS 5 graduating exercises come to fruition, and we look forward to seeing these benefit our communities and Rotary.
Thanks to instructors Mary Lingua, Wade Nomura, Dante Honorico, and site coordinator and PRLS Deputy Director Tony Huff.
Learn more about PRLS -- Practical Relevant Leadership Skills.

Bakersfield Twilight Rotary has submitted a video for WE ARE ROTARY.

  • Go to Facebook and find Rotary International
  • Click on Share Your Story
  • Find Anselmo - Bakersfield (or click the words here)
  • VOTE

You can vote every 24 hours.

Bakersfield Twilight Rotary is the only entry from District 5240. Please vote!


Kenneth J. Fay, 1932-2015
Kenneth J. Fay, Charter Member and the first full-term president of the Rotary Club of Ojai-West, peacefully slipped into God’s arms in Ojai, California on Sunday, April 26, 2015. He was 83.
Ken and his wife Louanne, an Honorary Member of Ojai-West Rotary, are recognized as Level Four Major Donors to the Rotary Foundation.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to an Ojai-based nonprofit organization that you believe Ken would appreciate. A funeral service will be held for Kenneth at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Ojai on Saturday, May 9, at 10 a.m., with a reception to follow in the parish hall.
Click Read More for more about Ken and his accomplished life.
In April, Amber Harden, a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar who spent three years in the Republic of Georgia, shared her story with the Rotary Club of Westlake Village. 
Amber recounted how she found a Rotary Club in Georgia to coordinate her visit and how she learned to live and thrive in a part of the world which had been off limits to the west for decades. While she was in Georgia, Amber received a Masters Degree in International Business. She also learned to speak Georgian and taught English both in the countryside and in the capital city of Tbilisi. 

Amber’s Ambassadorial Scholarship was sponsored by the Crenshaw Watts Rotary Club, which has partnered with our club in supporting the Simon Technology High School, a grade 9-12 Charter High School in Watts.Our clubs have made a commitment to work together on other projects and set an example of inter district cooperation for other clubs to follow.  

Pictured (left to right): Clarence Miller, principal of the Simon Technology High School; Amber Harden; Robert Ryans, incoming president of the Crenshaw Watts Rotary Club; Olivia Ryans, wife of Robert Ryans and a member of the Inglewood Rotary Club; Cresie Page, a past president of the Crenshaw Watts Rotary Club; and Jon Morse, a past president of the Rotary Club of Westlake Village.  
Visitors to the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport can now view airplanes and the Rotary wheel emblem at the newly opened viewing area.
The Rotary Clubs of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, San Luis Obispo, and San Luis Obispo Daybreak, along with the Rotaract Club of San Luis Obispo and local businesses made the project possible. You can read more about it in The Tribune. 


Boy Scout Jason Caldwell wanted to fulfill his Eagle Scout project at a park. He contacted the Rotary Club of Santa Maria Breakfast to see if he could contribute to the Rotary Centennial Park on South College Drive. He planned to create the Cliff Dochterman Award Recipients’ Memorial, which would include a plaque and a designated area in the park that honors Service Through Scouting & Rotary.



One of our members brought his brother-in-law to one of our meetings. His brother-in-law, Clint Norrell, had never been to a Rotary meeting before and knew little about Rotary, although he did have some preconceived notions. After the meeting, he wrote an email to our member about his experience. This email was so thoughtful, enlightening and well-written that I thought you might like to publish it. 

Copied Below:

“I’ve got a Rotary meeting at noon.  Would you like to come as my guest?”

The invitation comes as a surprise.  My expression prompts a brief description of what I can expect.

            “Sure,” I say, but don’t feel sure at all.

            In the shower, I’m wondering what I’ll wear.  I haven’t had on anything but work clothes in months.  Oh well, how bad can it get.  I can stand on my head for the length of any lunch.

            “Ever been here?”

            “No,” I answer, as I scan the exterior of Madonna’s.  It’s an ornate restaurant/hotel south of San Luis Obispo where we’re visiting Kath’s sister & husband.  Brooks is a long time Rotary member.  I’m not.  I thought it was another “good ol’ boys” club, a rich guys club, or a business networking group.  Certainly the “silver Buick” set.

            Brooks leads me through Madonna’s.  Exaggerated carved wood and copper sheeting meet curved red velvet booths.  Some eccentric left his mark.  I’m glad to see it, despite it having bruised my senses.

            We’re greeted by people in red vests, pay, and I follow Brooks to a buffet table where we build salads and select desert.  We find seats at one of the round tables for nine.  The settings include china plates and a half-dozen utensils.  The water glasses are heavy red and blue goblets.  The walls are covered with brag photos.  The heavy beam architecture is somewhere between Snow White and The Hobbit.

            Gold letters on blue banners frame the podium.  They proclaim the club’s name and the equivalent of a mission statement about truth and service.

            A bell is rung.  Everyone stands for a prayer, a pledge, and a couple of patriotic songs.  The main course is served during announcements and the introduction of guests.  I’m one of many who stand in turn to polite applause.

            Someone speaks of a veteran activist project.  Vets are acknowledged.  Someone speaks of fighting polio in Africa.  Brooks frequently whispers explanations as others stand to present.

            In attendance are the mayor, councilmen, judges, professors, professionals, successful businessmen, and accomplished artisans.  40% are women.

            Various weekly meeting rituals are performed.  One acknowledges someone’s good deed, they rise to explain, and contribute a hundred dollars for the privilege.  I witness another as individuals rise to describe “Happy News”.  Each donates $20 to do so.

            The keynote is presented by a young councilman who describes his path to local politics.  He’s quite impressive, with a longer than expected history of organizing discourse between opposing views.  He ends his talk by explaining his greatest obstacle.  “Don’t send me an e-mail.  Bring you idea, problem, or complaint in person.  Eye to eye.  I’ll say, ‘How ‘bout I buy the coffee, and we’ll talk about it.’”

            Through the hour plus lunch a new and more accurate impression of Rotary form in my mind.  These are serious people as interested in service as any less accomplished idealist who criticizes from afar . . . like me.  These people do things.  They have earned their station and they’re using their positions to help others.  They raise thousands and it goes directly to good.  They get their hands dirty doing good.  They are humble and grateful and I feel like an ass for categorizing them wrongly.

            I had a good lunch in a room with down to Earth, do-gooders who pledge their resources to the betterment of man.  I confessed these lessons to my brother-in-law on the way home.  I tried to formulate a defensive explanation, but can’t, and admit that I was just flat wrong.  Class envy perhaps.  I don’t care what, but I assure you I will try to never again fault anyone, or question their sincerity, simply for being successful.


The 11th annual Los Olivos Jazz & Olive Festival will be held on June 6, 2015 from 1 to 4 PM in Lavinia Campbell Park in downtown Los Olivos. This event, produced by the Rotary Club of Los Olivos, features wines poured by 30 local wineries along with food prepared by 30 chefs, plus olive products vendors, and, of course, world-class live jazz, for an all-inclusive price of $60. 

The Rotary EClub of One World has a very unique fundraiser.  As we are not a traditional club, the traditional way of fundraising doesn’t work for us.  

One of our members from Russia has come up with this amazing idea and we want to invite anyone to take part.  We just ask that you make a donation on our EClub website.  Here’s how it works:  

Forward a photo of yourself with the city, state and Country to this email address:  nesynovnikita@yandex.ru. Nik’s father is a famous Russian sketch artist.  He will provide a sketch of the photo and its yours!  

Here’s my (Dawn O'Bar's) wonderful sketch with the palm trees and Santa Barbara Mission in the background.  The dollar amount you choose to donate is up to you.  Just click the “Yes, I’d like to donate button on the home page.” These would make great gifts for your program speakers.


Members from the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Downtown shared a report from their international service trip to Guatemala. The late February trip marks the club's second year visiting NGO Mayan Families in Panajachel in the highlands of Guatemala.
Here's some of what they did: 
  • built 8 ONIL stoves in Mayan homes
  • installed 7 water filters and stands, which should last 10 years
  • provided 2 pilas, or large sinks
  • donated food baskets for 10 families in addition to 100 pounds of corn for 3 families
  • delivered stuffed animals and medical supplies
  • gave a bed and a wardrobe cabinet to a family in need
View a video of their trip here, and read more to learn more about this service project and the dates for the 2016 trip. 
Join the Rotary Club of Ojai West for the Ojai Wine Festival at Lake Casitas from noon to 4 PM on June 14.
General admission includes a keepsake crystal wine glass, unlimited tastes of wine or beer, live music, and free boat rides. Tickets are $60 on the day of the event, but read more to learn about available discounts.
In honor of World Water Day on March 22, Rotary District 5240 and the Rotary District 5240 Charitable Foundation announce the Water Projects Grant Program. Clubs in District 5240 who are engaging in water projects through Global Grants or District Grants can apply for financial assistance to help them aid in the global water crisis. 
To learn more, contact Rotary District 5240 Foundation Committee Chair and PDG Luz Maria Ortiz-Smith or Rotary District 5240 Charitable Foundation President Edwin Velarde
Click Read More to learn more about the state of water in our world. 
With the convention coming June 6 - 9 in Sao Paulo, it's time to make your plans to travel! Here are a few things to help.
1. Brasil is not a typo. That's how brasileiros spell it in Portuguese. 
2. Save money by registering before March 31. 
3. You'll need a visa, and you don't want to be at the Brazilian consulate when everyone is lined up for visas for Carnival. Read about visas here. 
4. If you go, you can say you were with the former president of Costa Rica, who is also a Nobel Peace laureate, because Dr. Oscar Arias Sanchez will be among the distinguished speakers
5. Try the chicken hearts. If you find yourself dining at a churrascaria (restaurants known for serving meat on spears), you'll probably be offered chicken hearts. Try 'em. That go-with-the-flow approach will serve you well in Brazil.
Find more details about the 2015 RI Convention. http://www.riconvention.org/en/2015/Pages/ridefault.aspx


November gives us the chance to build greater ownership and pride in our Foundation. We have so much to celebrate. The new grant model, Rotary’s website, our publications, and our new branding effort all focus on building a strong message — the importance of contributing to and supporting our Rotary Foundation.


RI President, Gary Huang, has selected  ”Light Up Rotary” as the theme for 2014-2015.  In his first message to our 1.2 million members in this month’s edition of the Rotarian magazine, he reminds us there are so many people who need help, we sometimes think the task is too overwhelming and we can do nothing.  But we can do something.  We can light a candle for those who are in darkness. 

In my Rotary life, the story of the starfish has always resonated because it tells us we can make a difference even if it is only one starfish at a time.  We can bring hope where there is despair and light the way through our Rotary service.  It is the way of our District 5240.  It is the Rotary way.


Rotary District 5240 Office
3394 Bryan Avenue, Simi Valley, CA 93063
Telephone: 805-578-1061 Fax: 805-578-1081
Email nlfalconer@aol.com
Administrative Assistant: Nancy Falconer
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