The Club provided DDF matching Grant money to the Tai Chi Garden project to build the retaining wall that supports the pad and covered outdoor seating area. Many volunteer hours were logged by the Los Olivos Rotary to create and build the wall with a special thanks to Paul Dixon, John Matthews, and Peter Robbins for their endless hours of work on this project.
Members of the Solvang Senior Center can now enjoy fresh air and sunshine as they practice an ancient Chinese art designed to increase longevity and improve health.
About 50 people gathered at 5 p.m. July 19 at the Senior Center behind the Veterans Memorial Building on Mission Drive for a ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opening the T'ai Chi Garden.
“All of our Senior Center members who waited for two years for this to be finished, this is your baby,” Ellen Albertoni, Senior Center executive director, told the group gathered at the garden site outside the center.
She and Alice Olla, Senior Center board president, thanked the many people and organizations who had a hand in getting the site cleared and the facility built adjacent to the County Sheriff’s Department substation and parking area.
Those included the Valley Foundation and its president, Rich Nagler; the Los Olivos Rotary Club and its president, John Matthews; and the Solvang Rotary Club and its president, Tom Olmsted.
Others who attended and were recognized included Solvang Mayor Jim Richards and City Manager Brad Vidro, Elizabeth Farnum representing 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr, 3rd District candidates Bruce Porter and Joan Hartmann, Carole Smith of the Kei Lin Foundation and Arlene Ahern, representing the County Sheriff’s Department, which was also thanked for putting up with the construction.
Paula Greenwald, a longtime area resident and center member, came up with the idea of creating a place where members could practice t’ai chi outdoors, which is traditional in China, on what was previously a dirt area with weeds and some dead trees next to the center.
Although called a “garden,” the facility consists of a concrete patio, with a simple gazebo covering a picnic table on its east side, all surrounded by shrubs that will grow to eventually create a garden-like atmosphere.
In addition to a place where members can practice t’ai chi in nice weather, the patio and gazebo will be used for other types of exercise classes, arts and crafts activities, picnics, potlucks and special events.
After a large red ribbon was cut by Olla and Albertoni, the crowd heard a brief presentation about the history and purpose of t’ai chi by instructor Christophe Millner, who then led a demonstration of the slow and graceful exercises with Senior Center students Barbara Merry, Gerry Hardy and Edie Pearson.
Millner said he currently has 12 to 15 students learning Yang t’ai chi in his classes from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. Mondays and Fridays at the Senior Center.
“Yang is the most popular of the four types (of t’ai chi),” he said. “It was developed slowly to induce energy to the body and promote healing through the benefits of heartbeat and blood flow that actually cleanse the body.”
Millner still charges the seniors just $20 per month for the classes, the same rate he’s charged them for the last 10 years.
“I thought about bumping it up just a little bit when the gas prices got so high, but I’m really here to help the seniors and to give back to the community,” Millner said.
Following the demonstration, the crowd gathered in the center for snacks and conversation.
Your editor thanks Kate Koslosky for this and the following report.
Club Foundation Meeting
The Los Olivos Rotary Club Foundation met Monday 7/18 for its regular bi-monthly meeting. $42,500 was transferred from the J & O account to the general account and the avenue of service allocation percentages remain unchanged from last year. Avenue of service chairs are encouraged to have their budgets for the coming year ready for the September meeting.
COTTAGE HOSPITAL UPDATE
Wende Cappetta, Vice President of Cottage Health and head of our local hospital updated the club on the state of the hospital. At least that is what I think she talked about. I wasn't there and don't have a photo or better description. Here's a shot from the balcony of our villa in Palm Desert last week. Taken shortly after dawn which was the was the only cool time of day.
Know your members
Dave Brown received the American Farmer award from the Future Farmers of America.
This week's question. Which of our members have been president of a Rotary club other than Los Olivos. If you were, you will have to help me out with the answer.
Dues Now Payable
If you have not paid your dues for the 2016-17 Rotary year, bring a check to Brendan. $150 for the whole year, $75 for half.