Maitreyi Nagarkar – 12/1/15

This morning’s guest speaker was Maitreyi Nagarkar.  She is a 3rd year PhD student in marine biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  The Optimists in attendance were introduced to her research on the fascinating marine microbial world that exists in our local ocean waters.  She additionally briefed opportunities for all age groups to experience the work at Scripps first-hand.  This may be a real opportunity for Dewey Elementary (with their new math and science lab initiatives) and other schools with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to expand their students’ exposure to real science currently being conducted.

President Ken congratulates Maitreyi Nagarkar, from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, on successfully enlightening Pt Loma Optimists on the world of microbes in our oceans.

                              President Ken congratulates Maitreyi Nagarkar, from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, on successfully enlightening

Pt Loma Optimists on the world of microbes in our oceans.


At this morning’s breakfast at the San Diego Yacht Club, we were honored to have one of our own club members deliver a fascinating brief on the drug sub-culture.  Since he is an undercover deputy sheriff who has worked the streets across our country to counter narcotics trafficking for the last 30-plus years, he will remain unnamed.  Suffice it to say, if you missed this meeting, you missed a real eye-opener.  Our sincere thanks go to our buddy “_____” for his dedication to duty and for putting his life on the line to keep us safer.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Acting President, Fernando Mesquita, is assisted in the raffle drawing by our undercover guest speaker.

                                  Filling in as President, Fernando Mesquita is assisted in the breakfast raffle drawing by our undercover guest speaker.

Mac McLaughlin – 11/10/15

The Midway Museum

The Midway Museum

She’s known as “America’s Living Symbol of Freedom”.

She was the largest ship in the world, when she was commissioned in 1945.

Her flight deck is more than 4 acres.

She launched aircraft from her catapults at speeds up to 150 knots!

Her official top speed was 33 knots (or 38 mph).

She will host over 1.3 million visitors in 2015!

She is of course, the USS Midway, the most visited historic ship in the world.  And, her daily operations are overseen by Rear Admiral Mac McLaughlin (USN Ret.).  The Point Loma Optimists had the pleasure of hearing from “Mac” this morning.

Adm McLaughlin and Ken

Adm McLaughlin and Ken

With more than 60 exhibits and 29 restored aircraft, a visit to the USS Midway is truly a memorable adventure.  Not just for those with military ties, but over 70% of todays visitors to the USS Midway come from a family with no relatives that have served in the military!  The Midway Museum offers a real life view of life and times in military service.

With two types of flight simulators, interactive exhibits, short films, music videos, climb-aboard aircraft and cockpits and the “Ejector Seat Theater”, there is something for every visitor, no matter what your age.  A self guided audio tour will ensure you of the facts and figures surrounding the USS Midway.  And, knowledgeable docents are available to answer your questions or provide you with interesting tidbits of information.

The USS Midway Museum is the only non-profit organization of its kind that “runs in the black” without outside funding or donations.  And, the museum gives back in many additional ways with educational programs and training, special events, and military and veteran opportunities.  There is always something new and special happening on board the USS Midway.

Malin Burnham – 11/3/15

Community before self.

This is the personal motto for one of San Diego’s preeminent business leaders, sportsmen, visionaries and philanthropists, Malin Burnham.  “Community is so much more important to us.  More than anything else,” he told us.  A focus on Community makes San Diego a great place to live, work and play.

Malin Burnham and Pres. Ken

Malin Burnham and Pres. Ken

The Burnham family has long been known for their business interests in San Diego, as leaders in the real estate, insurance and mortgage lending fields.  But in 1986, Malin changed his focus to the non-profit world.  “I wanted to create a bigger and better community for San Diego.”  So focusing on ideas like a new regional airport, Balboa Park improvements, along with San Diego as a Smart City, an Innovation Center, a medical practices center, a bi-national center with Mexico, a military defense center and a tourism center are all ways to improve our Community.

Today Malin is working on a Balboa Park improvement bond, something to take before the voters in June of 2016.  We have a flagship facility in Balboa Park.  It is similar to Central Park in Manhattan, but much more user friendly with 23 museums, the zoo and a golf course with in the park.  A $500 million improvement bond would go a long way to solving issues like parking and building maintenance.  He suggested, “We could even create an Innovation Center/Museum to show off our history of innovation, like Lindberg’s Spirit of St. Louis to Qualcomm’s latest and greatest microchip innovations.  But, it would primarily serve as an incubator for the next greatest ideas to come from our community!”

As the longest continuous serving member for the San Diego Yacht Club, you might think that Malin Burnham is ready to slow down and bask in a bit of that well-earned glory.  But nooo!  “I’m just getting started,” he said.  “The potential is so great.  Just think how much more we can do, if we put the good of our Community before our selves!” Ben Miller, new member

The Point Loma Optimists inducted a new member today.  Ben Miller comes to the Club as the newest and youngest member.  He also comes with the distinction as the member with the most and longest hair!  Congratulations Ben! And, welcome!

Marshall Merrifield – 10/27/15

The Optimists received an excellent brief on the status of the Port of San Diego at this morning’s breakfast by Marshall Merrifield, Vice Chairman, Board of Port Commissioners.

Board of Port Commissioners Vice Chairman, Marshall Merrifield, with club president Ken Stimeling (left) and sponsoring member Vince Glorioso (right).

Board of Port Commissioners Vice Chairman, Marshall Merrifield, with club president Ken Stimeling (left) and sponsoring member Vince Glorioso (right).

Baja Chefs On The Point – 10/18/15

The “Baja Chefs on the Point” was a terrific time as well as a very successful benefit event for Dewey Elementary School.  Click here for photos from the event.

151018 Baja Chefs 2675

Lorie Zapf – 10/13/15

San Diego City Councilmember Lorie Zapf represents District 2, which includes the Point Loma communities. Councilmember Zapf visited with the PL Optimists this morning to give us an update on issues within the District.

After two decades in the process, a Lorie, Vince and Kenribbon cutting ceremony was recently held to mark the completion of the North Harbor Drive improvements. The new roadway offers easier travel to and from downtown and the Point with expanded parking for the businesses along Fisherman’s Landing.

Other items of interest to our community include the library internet upgrade, more budget money for tree trimming, code compliance officers, a pocket park along Avenida de Portugal, improved pedestrian crossings at three local intersections and improvements for the SD Police Department including 22 new officers and an upgraded radio system. The Councilmember also told us of pending new facilities such as the Liberty Park Public Market, a new seasonal Ice Rink at Liberty Station and the ground breaking for two new hotels at Liberty Station near the airport.

A significant amount of time was spent on the homeless problem in Point Loma. Panhandling along Rosecrans, Midway and Sports Arena is getting worse. It creates problems with traffic flow, pedestrian safety and trash. Lorie told us of her work with the local churches and community groups, the San Diego Police Department and the County Health Services, all of which acknowledge the problem but have different ideas about how to deal with it. She said her office would continue to work on the issue and try to find more real life solutions. “Coordination of efforts is really the best way to manage the problem today. New solutions will need to be implemented if we are going to get ahead of the issue.”

We appreciate the Councilmember’s continued support of our community and look forward to working with her on solutions for these and other issues.

Eileen Martinez – 10/6/15

Do you know which National Monument in California get the most visitors each year? It is the Muir Woods, in Northern California, created by President Roosevelt in 1906. Just 7 years later, President Woodrow Wilson dedicated half an acre of Fort Rosecrans (a US Army Base) to construct a statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. Last year, over 763,000 people visited the Cabrillo National Monument!

Ken and Eileen Martinez

Ken and Eileen Martinez

Eileen Martinez, Chief of Interpretation and Education for the National Park Service, visited the PL Optimist Club this morning to give us insight and history about this popular and grand national treasure. “People come from all over the world to experience the beauty, history and view from the Cabrillo National Monument,” she told us. While relatively new to her position at Cabrillo, Eileen is a 25 veteran of the National Park Service, with previous experience in Hawaii, Utah, and Arizona. A native born San Diegan, she is thrilled to be back home and working on the Point.

Cabrillo Lighthouse

Cabrillo Lighthouse

According to Eileen, “as the Chief of Interpretation, I speak for the things and places that can’t speak for themselves.” Her goal is to bring life to the exhibits and provide insights to the explorer Cabrillo’s discovery and Military history of the property. She will gladly tell you about the lighthouses of Cabrillo, the tide pools, flora, fauna, hiking and whale watching opportunities.

Eileen shared her passion and joy for the Cabrillo National Monument. We appreciate the fine work she is doing at our pride of the Point. Thank you, Eileen, for visiting with us and sharing your knowledge.

Installation Dinner – 9/28/15

And so it happens again! The cordial, professional, changing of the guard. Democracy in action! The smooth transition from one leader to another, came off without any riots in the streets or fisticuffs in the Board room. Makes you proud to be an Optimist!

Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick relinquished his title of President for the Point Loma Optimist Club during a dinner celebration tonight at the Bali Hai restaurant on Shelter Island. Assuming the new leadership role is Mr. Ken Stimeling, who has previously served in this capacity during the 2003/04 year.

The evening’s transition event was directed by Mr. Tom Gibbings. Tom thanked the outgoing Board Members; Vince Glorioso, Travis Jaedtke and Barry Rodgers. Tom also introduced the new Board Members; Chris Jacobs, Rich Garcia and Jeff Fischbeck. He welcomed back Board Members Jimmy Card, Steve Doyle and Mike Swanston. And, introduced as the Immediate Past President, Thomas Fitzpatrick and Senior Past President, Alan Holmes, as the balance of the new Board of Directors.

Tom F and Ken S

Thomas F and Ken S

Tom then announced the new officers for 2015/16, Roger Storer as First VP, Bill Bramley as Second VP and Vince Glorioso as Third VP. Immediate Past President, Thomas Fitzpatrick then presented various awards to members who went above and beyond for the Club during the past year and introduced our new president for 2015/16, Ken Stimeling.

Ken took the gavel and thanked Thomas for leading the Club through a great year. “My father once told me,” Ken shared, “that there are two kinds of tires. New treads and Re-treads. He told me retreads were just as good as new treads, but they cost a lot less. I am really proud to be a retread!” While Ken may have a few miles under his belt, he is charged up and ready to jump into the Club’s business. “I look to continue the growth of the Club’s membership and strengthen our support for the youth of our community!” he told us.

The Point Loma Optimist Club is ready for a new year with strong leadership and a commitment to serve.

Captain William R. Fenick – 9/22/15

This morning’s guest was Captain William R. Fenick, USN (Ret). Bill is the Executive Director of the SEAL – Naval Special Warfare Family Foundation. The Mission of the Foundation is “to support individual and family readiness through an array of programs specifically targeted to assist the Naval Special Warfare community in maintaining a resilient, sustainable, and healthy force in this era of persistent conflict and frequent deployments.”According to Bill, “we want to build a resilient family, because that makes a more resilient operator.”

Bill Fenick and KenThere are approximately 2,500 special warfare operators and about 6,500 support team members (pilots, boat captains, equipment managers, trainers, etc.) that make up the US Navy SEALs operation. The Foundation offers a number of programs designed to support the physical, mental, social and financial well-being of family members of these elite service members. Through programs like NSW Kids, The Global Spouse Sisterhood, Family Readiness Groups and Gold Star Families, “we take care of the needs of the family members, so the service operators can take care of their jobs,” Bill told us.

“Take the Global Spouse Sisterhood,” he shared. “We provide a meeting space, like a local restaurant. Then the wives of operators with more experience in deployments, offer their ‘sisterly advice’ to the newer members of their group. They take care of each other!” Other programs are more specialized and focused on the specific needs of the family members.

“We don’t like to advertise our Foundation or the activities of our members, for obvious reasons,” Bill said. But for those of you who would like more information about the SEAL – NSWFF or would like to make a donation to support their efforts, please see this link. We want to thank Bill for visiting with us this morning and sharing the special work of this Foundation.