Jeff Jardine

Haven head Rolicheck leaving after eight-plus years

Belinda Rolicheck, at center in white, ran Haven Women’s Center as its executive director with passion throughout her time there, but she’ll start a new job Monday with California Health and Wellness.
Belinda Rolicheck, at center in white, ran Haven Women’s Center as its executive director with passion throughout her time there, but she’ll start a new job Monday with California Health and Wellness. jlee@modbee.com

From the emails and voice mails:

MOVING ON – For more than eight years, Belinda Rolicheck fought to fund and direct the fight against domestic abuse and sexual assault as executive director of Haven Women’s Center in Modesto.

The job, by nature, comes with its triumphs and troubles. Triumphs, such as the organization’s “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” fundraiser and awareness event that put men into high heels and probably in a few cases the podiatrist’s office.

The troubling part is the number of barriers that remain in the way of women who otherwise would come forward and press charges against abusive men or sexual assailants: “The person trying to escape abuse being held responsible for their (batterers’) behavior,” she said. “Women being arrested for failing to protect children from someone when she feels she has no choice but to stay. (Domestic violence and sexual assault) are difficult subjects to get people to talk about. It hurts, the individual stories you hear about what people go through.”

Rolicheck ran the agency with passion throughout her time there.

“I’ve really enjoyed the work and the people on staff and the board,” she said. “There’s an incredible level of commitment.”

But it’s time to move on, she said. Thursday is her final day.

Monday, she’ll start her new job with California Health and Wellness, which provides managed health care services to Medi-Cal patients. She’ll be working as a liaison between the company and its public health partners.

“I’ll be getting collaborations off of the ground,” she said.

PEARL SURVIVOR CELEBRATION – In my March 5 column, I wrote about Herb Miller. He’s a resident of Covenant Village’s care center in Turlock, and was about to celebrate his 100th birthday. He’s also a Pearl Harbor survivor who hadn’t joined the local survivors organization, meaning we still have at least one living in the county. There could be more like him.

March 21 rolled around, and he reached the century mark. Folks at the retirement community celebrated it in style.

“American Legion (members) and Veterans of Foreign Wars were present and offered a tribute and medal,” wrote Marcia Carota, Covenant’s activities director, in an email. “Members from the Quilts of Honor gave him a beautiful handmade quilt.”

Olde Tyme Pastries contributed a birthday cake decorated with service photos. State Sen. Tom Berryhill sent a framed certificate of recognition, while Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth presented Miller with a proclamation of appreciation from the city.

“The stuff of a Norman Rockwell painting,” Carota wrote.

OPERATION DOGLIFT – Niki Schiveley of Oakdale runs a newly formed nonprofit dog rescue organization she calls Brownie’s Wish. She places many breeds of dogs, but her favorite is Chihuahuas. Most of her rescues are local or at least regional.

Last week, though, while perusing rescue sites online, she came a cross an 11-year-old dog named Ruby, who was going to be euthanized at a shelter in the Southern California city of Gardena.

“A family brought her into the shelter and surrendered her because she was too old,” Schiveley said. “Then they adopted a puppy from the same shelter. I loved (Ruby’s) face and story.”

She contacted the shelter and asked them to place a hold on the dog until she could make arrangements to bring it to the Valley.

“They don’t do holds,” she said.

She posted on various pet rescue sites and combed her Facebook friends to find someone who lives in that area. She did, and the person posted the adoption fees, which Schiveley will reimburse. Then she set about finding someone planning a trip from LA to the Valley who could transport the dog, and also someone to adopt Ruby here. One person from here offered to bring Ruby along on a return trip. But Schiveley, on a site called Pilots N Paws, connected with pilot Joe Trocki and his co-pilot girlfriend, Jennifer Corso, who live in Southern California.

Knowing the six-hour drive might cause the animal stress, they offered to fly Ruby to Modesto. They made the trip Sunday, bringing the dog to Schiveley and her daughter, Peyton, at the Modesto Airport.

Monday, Schiveley turned Ruby over to her new owner, Sheila Kennedy of Oakdale. Mission accomplished.

OF CATS AND KAT – When Alley Cat Guardians ceased to exist, former member Monica Barker formed the Cat Network of Stanislaus to take its place. Barker and Linda Sherman on Valentine’s Day went to a trailer park on South Seventh Street, offering to spay or neuter cats for only $20 each, and got help from a tenant name Kat. Through last week, they’d spayed or neutered 45 cats, and Kat transported every one of them. Barker budgeted $1,300, but there are many more cats than anticipated, and only a few of the trailer park residents could afford to pay the $20. So the organization is looking for donations to finish the effort. Visit its website at http://catnetworkofstanislaus.org or its Facebook page.

NAMEDROPPER – I read Bee staffer Joe Cortez’s fine piece in Sunday’s paper about former boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard’s visit to Livingston.

I covered Leonard’s third fight against Roberto Duran, in December 1989, which became the first big event at the then-new Mirage resort and casino in Las Vegas.

They’d split their first two fights, with Leonard winning the second – the infamous “no mas” fight in which Duran simply quit and walked away. Leonard won the third fight that night, a dud, as both fighters were well into the twilights of their respective careers.

Here’s another Twilight Zone moment: One of the judges at ringside that night was a Joe Cortez, who scored it 116-111 for Leonard. Seems as though Leonard impresses guys named Joe Cortez, including The Bee’s own.

The highlight of that 1989 event? An intense and overdone fireworks show preceding the main event left so much lingering sulfur smoke that the fighters waited an extra 15 minutes for it to clear before entering the ring.

Bee columnist Jeff Jardine can be reached at jjardine@modbee.com or (209) 578-2383. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJardine57.

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