July 27, 2000


YOE was very much in tune with our speaker, since he was handicapped by having forgotten his glasses, plus his tape recorder failing for lack of useable batteries. However, here is what is recorded:

RICK LIVERMORE started us off with the pledge, but first needed a brief consultation with one of our physicians, having started off by saying "Place hour heart over your hand". Once these anatomic areas were straightened out, RICK did fine. Next up were two PP's, STEVE DAY and JIM DOWNIE, who led and accompanied us in It's A Grand Old Flag. Indeed it is. KIRK HARNEY gave an excellent Invocation, a series of statements affirming life and how it should be lived.

RALPH BEASOM was to speak about Visiting Rotarians, but had GEORGE DEA introduce Nilo Michelin, President of Hawthorne Rotary, who was visiting with GEORGE to learn how to start a Rotaract Club - and he couldn't be asking a better teacher! PP MIKE NEWMAN then asked us to acknowledge his seat mate, MYRON TAYLOR, who hadn't been with us recently - but MIKE probably meant otherwise when his last words to MYRON were, "Don't be strange"‚€¶Actually, he did correct himself, and MIKE is right - we MISS you, MYRON.

And just to prove how much some people are missed, PETER MORE and GEORGE DEA were each fined $25 for missing the last District Breakfast meeting. I guess Prez STEVE liked this fining business, so he challenged PP CHRIS GAYNOR to name not only the colors but the sequence of colors on the French flag - this in honor of the Tour De France, which CHRIS made the mistake of admitting that he watched. Chris was color right, but sequence wrong, so it cost him a hundred clams - this TV watching can be expensive! PP HOWIE HENKES next introduced our two newest members, BOTH sponsored by Prez STEVE (Is he trying for former member DON HANDY'S previously thought-to-be untouchable Recruiting Record? - way to go, STEVE) Anyway, out two newest Yearlings are TODD GURVIS, who is a Financial Planner, and NEAL ZASLAVSKY, a Management Consultant - Welcome Aboard! RUDY ALVAREZ spoke about a Matching Grant request to provide computers and instruction in their use to a small village near Pretoria, South Africa. On that subject, RUDY'S International Service Committee met after the meeting and seconded our involvement in this effort.


In a death-defying attempt to inject some interest into the meetings announcements -and YOE still thinks should be made by several people rather than just one announcer - Rotary District 5280 is encouraging Rotarians to donate some of their Mileage Plus Miles for the benefit of RI - check with the District if you feel compelled to do this, OK?

August 3rd - two Committee meetings:
Community Service, with ANN SAMSON, 11a.m.
International Service, MARK BLOCK, but at 11:30.
August 5th - Rotary Auxiliary-sponsored Dinner Party at the TSENG'S - Petie Henkes.
August 10th - Board Meeting at GEORGE DEA'S - note this is a changed date.

At this juncture, YOE has dug in his heels and would prefer NOT to list events more than a month away - are you with me on this? Workers of the World, Unite!


PP HOWIE HENKES was pleased to introduce our Speaker, Carmen Apelgrin of the Braille Institute. HOWIE has always been the WVRC Point Man on our involvement at the annual Christmas Luncheon at the Braille Institute, and he encourages us to participate each year (this year's date is Dec 15th - mark your calendars) - good work, HOWIE! Carmen is badly vision-impaired, and was driven to our meeting by long-time volunteer Jackie Churchill. HOWIE pointed out the Carmen started losing her vision in the 2nd grade, and it has steadily declined ever since. Despite this, she graduated from Michigan State, got her Masters there, and is in the forefront of the 30% of legally blind persons who are gainfully employed. This, by the way, is a considerable improvement over the 10% who were working just a few years ago.

Carmen came to the Braille Institute as a volunteer in 1986, teaching Tap Dancing! She went on to the staff, and is now their Community Service Chair. As she was growing up, one thing that her parents never said was, "you can't do that". She has a brother, also visually impaired, who even played high school football! She lived in Boston after college, was a night club singer, and is dedicated to educating the public that loss of vision need not keep you from enjoying a good life. With today's advanced technology, sightless workers can be very productive - and the extra equipment needed is provided to employers at no cost. For instance, she has a scanner for her computer that reads her incoming messages out loud to her, and that is just one of many such pieces of equipment that is available.

At the Braille, they teach what is referred to as Adaptive Technology - that is, dressing for success, interview techniques, etc., in order to prepare their students for advancing into the marketplace. She reminded us that we are all only temporarily OK - you can't be sure how you will be tomorrow. They have a number of 60 year-old plus students who are learning to adapt to late loss of vision. They provide many services, and have hundreds of volunteers - in the past year they are helped 61,000 persons with limited, or no, vision. They plan to keep doing this into this new century.

Q&A - What is your relationship to other organizations serving the blind - we all work cooperatively (and YOE's late wife was involved with the Blind Children's Center, which is just a couple of blocks away from Braille - their segment are children from birth to five years of age). Who provides Reading for the Blind - we have many volunteers, who read books onto tape and thus into their library. They have produced thirty children's books, and any child can request ten of them as a start to their personal library. They also need volunteers to collate these books. Braille provides 13 delivery routes for their students, so they come from all over the Los Angeles basin.

Carmen, thank you for your inspirational message. Come see us anytime.

                            YOE, Ernie Wolf