November 2, 2000


We had another bunch of visitors, but before we get to that, the basics: TODD GURVIS led us in the Pledge, followed by PP STEVE DAY and BILL MAXWELL, who took us through My Country Tis of Thee - as was noted, a song we used to sing in grammar school. But we recalled it OK, and RUDY ALVAREZ was up next with the Invocation. He recited a poem he has given us before, starting "I live for those who trust me", and ending with "living for the good that I can do". Good thoughts, and they certainly bear repeating.


P BOB LUSK was tapped to introduce Visiting Rotarians, first of whom was former WVRC and now S.M. member, BRUCE BLICKENSDERFER. Yoshio Sasarachi from Japan was next, followed by our incoming District Governor, Rick Mendosa, who hails from the Redondo Beach Club. Guests of Rotarians included Brent Hamlet, who came with our newest member, ATHENA JACKSON. ANN ELKIN brought along Akuyoe Graham, Executive Director of the Spirit Awakening Foundation, plus her administrator, Paul Guthrie. GEORGE DEA brought Umi Hara forward, she being Co-President of our very active Rotaract chapter. MARK BLOCK then presented her with a $100 check for their recent participation in the Aids Walk LA, the sponsoring group having raised a huge sum for their efforts. PP STEVE SCHERER brought along Joe Woodward, Director of Development of the Webb School, plus the lovely Deborah May Scherer, who may be related to the introducer.

PP STEVE DAY reintroduced our Honorary Member, URI HERSCHER, President of the Skirball Cultural Center. Before URI was presented with a Paul Harris Fellow award. PP STEVE reminded us once again of what a gift of $1,000 to the RI Foundation can provide. STEVE'S favorite is a cow for a war widow in Uganda, where many children still suffer serious malnutrition. The same amount can provide school supplies for 1200 children in Guatemala, or 25 disabled Polio victims in Calcutta can be surgically restored to walking. In accepting his Paul Harris Fellow award, URI first reminded us that an award such as this is not directed at the individual, but at the organization he represents. Uri then told us of several expansion projects going on at the Center, especially mentioning their new Music Hall. He did ask a 'trick' question about Noah's Ark, but none of our many recognized Biblical Scholars was willing to venture an answer, somehow… Anyway, all this growth is no surprise when you see the kind of leadership he is providing. Many of you were present at a Club Assembly there, and it is certainly worth another visit to keep up with their development.

Next, ANN ELKIN reintroduced us to Akuyoe Graham, a talented and vivacious actress who has founded Spirit Awakening. Their theme is "Building Character, Raising Self-Esteem - One Child at a Time" which they accomplish by helping teenagers gain inner focus, learn to discipline their time and actually move toward the realization of their dreams. Akuyoe reminded us that her organization is one of just a few such groups recommended by the government as actually helping a large number of students in their development.

PP BOB WESSLING came forward to remind all that the next Rotary Auxiliary meeting will be next Wednesday, Nov. 8th, starting at ll:30 from the Westwood United Methodist Parking lot. Lunch at the UCLA Faculty Center, followed by a tour of the Fowler Museum, and shuttle service will be provided. But then, continuing to push his luck, he had to report his latest coaching success - seems that DePauw played Center College, site of the recent vice-presidential debate, trampling Center by 30-23, and incidentally bringing BOB'S coaching record to 4-0 since his mid-season talk to the team. Last season, his record was 6-0, which in YOE'S book totals TEN victories. Without getting any more specific than that, a per-diem assessment has to be forthcoming soon, right? However, to be fair, it must also be reported that we are all invited to DePauw on the 11th of November - and there's just time to get an advance purchase airline ticket - to see former Vice President and noted Alumnus Dan Quayle inducted into the DePauw Athletic Hall of Fame. YOE, however, has to wonder if PP BOB is angling for some similar recognition in their coaching category. Just asking, of course.

YOE reminded all that next week's program was chosen for Spouses Day since it should appeal to that more diverse audience - Charles Capplemen, Senior VP of West Coast Operations for CBS, will offer "The Changing Face of TV Production at CBS". This obviously stunning announcement was greeted with what could politely be called 'desultory 'applause, but that's OK - it didn't hardly bother me at all…Really.

PP STEVE SCHERER reappeared to introduce our Speaker, Dr Don Lofgren, Director of the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology at the Webb School of California (located in Claremont). His capsule description of what they do is "Study Bones" - and they have 70,000 fossils in their 'library'! Mr. Alf, for whom the Museum is named, was a teacher of Geometry in 1929, when he discovered some fossils near Barstow. In 1937 his team found the skull of a pig - the first such discovery of its kind, and this put them on the map.

The Museum building was dedicated in 1968, and each year up to 15,000 younger students tour the facility. Dr Lofgren specifically mentioned cutting 4-foot slabs out of the walls of the Grand Canyon, hauling them up to the rim, and then reassembling them back at the Museum. They offer many tours, some for younger kids. This type of hands-on study began in 1940, and has continued and increased each year. This overview was well illustrated by a series of excellent color slides.

The Q&A session was lively. Are the bones we see real, or cast - you see both, and real bones are often quite fragile. How can you tell if a fossil was a mammal - their teeth give them away. What is the history of Webb School - the boys school was founded in 1922, and girls were admitted starting in 1981. About 65 % of the student body are residential, and the rest are day students. What about permission to remove fossils - on private property, no problem, but on federal land, you do need permission. This whole subject of the ''rights of ownership" of fossils continues to this day. The problem is that in private hands, where will they end up? And with private collectors, they often do not provide excavation records when they are donated (many don't even HAVE records) and that is a severe handicap in studying the donation. Dr. Lofgren, thanks for showing us one of the best-kept secrets of fossil scholarship - keep up the good work, please.

A reminder, please - Program Chair SALLY BRANT is actively seeking suggestions for speakers - give her your input, OK?. Thought for the Day - Please be sure to cast your vote in our national elections next Tuesday, November 7th. It's your privilege as an American.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe