He was born on opening day of a season the Los Angeles Dodgers ended up winning the World Series. More than a half-century later, he can still remember the section, row and number of his first seat in Dodger Stadium, so it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise that Mark Langill wound up as the club’s team historian. So with the 2021 season days away, Langill was recruited to virtually address the Rotary Club of San Marino last Thursday afternoon to get members in the mood for some baseball. He was introduced as the Dodgers’ “Answer Man,” and Langill had plenty of them, including this supposed response to a question posed by Rotarian Barbara Bice, who introduced Langill. “Don’t hit the ball very well in Little League and you will be well on your way,” Langill allegedly said when asked how he secured his job. Langill began his address by posing an explanation to America’s fascination with baseball and, specifically, Opening Day.
Diane Falconer’s journey has taken her, literally, around the world.
Falconer, who was raised in San Marino when she was known by her maiden name Diane Harwich, attended and later graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. While there, she received a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship and traveled to the University of Adelaide in Adelaide, Australia, from 1983-84, where she studied worked on her master’s degree as the Rotary Club of San Marino’s second international scholar.
Now a resident of Connecticut, Falconer virtually addressed the club last Thursday afternoon, saying her ambassadorial experience changed her life, so much so that she used it as the title of her presentation.
She even had a chance to rekindle her relationship with Rotarian Barbara Bice, who as Falconer’s college counselor suggested she apply for the scholarship.
Falconer began by showing a slide of the famous “Earthrise,” a photograph that was taken by astronauts aboard Apollo 8 on Christmas Eve 1968.
Longtime local resident Barbara Franks Bice has been appointed to the board of directors at Muse/ique, a Pasadena-based pioneering live music organization which holds a summer events series at The Huntington.
The board, chaired by philanthropist LeeAnn Havner, provides leadership in carrying out Muse/ique’s mission of making music accessible to all through adventurous and meaningful programming, an effort continued throughout the pandemic with drive-in concerts, lawn serenades, and “In a Minute! (…or Two!)” video series, which recently surpassed 100 episodes.
Also joining the board are Christine Swanson and Jonathan Weedman.
“To serve as chair of Muse/ique’s board of directors is to be part of an inspiring and passionate team,” said Havner. “With much enthusiasm, we welcome to the board our newest members — Barbara Franks Bice, Chirstine Swanson and Jonathan Weedman — all of whom bring a breadth of experience and expertise that will help bring to fruition Muse/ique’s adventurous plans for the future.”
Mark Liang, a member of San Marino High School’s graduating class of 2015, has received a Global Grant scholarship for graduate study at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, beginning this October.
Liang will be engaged in the masters of philosophy, health, medicine and society program beginning this October. Liang’s interests align with Rotary’s area of focus that includes disease prevention and treatment. The scholarship is valued at $31,000.
At Cambridge, Liang plans to study the ways immigrants are disproportionately affected by disease when crossing borders and geographic boundaries. He expects to work extensively with the health organizations at Cambridge and the United Kingdom, extending the work he already has been doing in the United States.
Normally, the Rotary Club of San Marino earmarks a hard 30-minute time allotment for its guest speakers, but last Thursday afternoon’s presentation by Huntington Hospital president and CEO Dr. Lori Morgan made many meeting attendees actually thankful that the Zoom format allowed for more than twice that duration.
Morgan has been in her position since 2017, and her more than three decades of experience in health care and health care management were on display as she handled questions that were submitted by club members on a wide variety of topics and presented to her by San Marinan Barbara Bice, who has worked at Huntington Hospital and has been a patient and visited others there.
For the third year, two Barth Scholarships from the Rotary Club of San Marino will be available to graduating seniors of either or both San Marino High School and Southwestern Academy. Each scholarship has a value of $2,500.
The scholarship is named for Rotarian Andy Barth, who has long and generously supported the work of San Marino Rotary Charities. Scholarships are awarded to seniors who are planning to attend a two- or four-year college or university, or a vocational school.
Though the city recently recorded its second death as a result of COVID-19, San Marino Fire Chief Mario Rueda said key indicators reflect a slowing of the novel coronavirus.
Daily hospitalizations in Los Angeles County due to the virus have decreased this month by 45% from the peak of more than 2,200 in mid-July.
“According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the decreasing number of daily hospitalizations is one of the best indicators that our efforts to slow the spread of the disease are working,” Rueda said Tuesday.
San Marino has recorded 69 cases of the virus since March.
“As you know, we are not out of the woods,” said Rueda, sounding a familiar refrain. “It’s important that we keep doing our part by following the best health practices so that we can continue to see these numbers decline.”
Rueda was brought into the bout early and has been following the situation since early January, when the first cases were reported in China.
“It was the first inkling of an unknown respiratory condition,” said Rueda. “That is when I started to pay attention.”
Rueda was familiar with the notion of a pandemic, having been a public servant when the outbreak of SARS — severe acute respiratory syndrome — was first reported in November 2002.
“Back then, as we were working through some table-top exercises on SARS, we were all thinking ‘This could never happen,’” Rueda said with an increasing tone of seriousness. “But when I started to hear about the COVID-19 news coming from Wuhan [China], it made it very real.”
The city continues its outreach over a proposal to update and upgrade the San Marino Center as well as to coax residents to offer design ideas for the facility, with the next step tentatively scheduled for a Sept. 9 City Council meeting.
A task force appointed by the city plans to present a series of recommendations to municipal officials at that meeting, suggestions that are likely to be relayed to designers at Crane Architectural Services to draw up plans for the remodel. The city aims to revamp the building to function more as a community center and bring it up to various codes.
Greg Johansing has added a daughter and lost a beard since the COVID-19 quarantine, but his typically affable manner hasn’t changed a bit — as he showed last Thursday afternoon when he was remotely “demoted” from his role as president of the Rotary Club of San Marino.
With “El Presidente” emblazoned across his Zoom screen, Johansing received a good-natured ribbing from a cast of characters acting out a “Star Wars”-themed skit that claimed that the coronavirus was the creation of the villainous Darth Vader and was spread among the masses by his COVID cannon.
But as he did during his one-year reign as president, Greg “Skywalker” successfully negotiated a settlement with Vader, eventually winning over his mythical “father” by waiving his dues for the first quarter, thus halting the threat — or so the story went.
Rotary District Governor Lu Arredondo borrowed the cinematic theme for her remotely delivered words of appreciation for Johansing, quoting one of the franchise’s most popular characters.
“Greg, as Yoda says, ‘Try not, do — there is no try,’ and you have surely succeeded,” Arredondo said. “With all that has been going on, it’s easy to lose sight of the most important thing, and that is the people. The force is an energy that bonds us together and the force you created penetrated the world with hope and love.”
She spoke to a group of young people who are about to enter one of this country’s military academies, and it’s difficult to imagine a more inspirational presentation than that given by Maj. Janell Hanf in addressing the Rotary Club of San Marino.
It’s one of the group’s trademark events, Rotary’s annual salute to the military academies, and though it was the latest in a too-long list of virtual presentations, Hanf’s words penetrated the digital boundaries between herself and the young people about to embark on their service to the red, white and blue — three significant colors, as she would eventually explain.
Hanf graduated from Vista’s Rancho Buena Vista High School in 2006 and entered the United States Naval Academy, graduating in 2010. She completed her master’s degree in systems analysis from Naval Postgraduate School in 2017 and just last month was promoted to the rank of major in the United States Marine Corps, an experience that was lapped up by the appointees who watched her presentation.