June 7, 2001


June 7th report on WVRC

DENNIS CORNWELL led the Pledge, to get us underway. Next was the song, America the Beautiful, led by LENNY FRIEDMAN and accompanied by PP JIM DOWNIE on the ivories (that means the piano…)

MYRON TAYLOR then gave the following Invocation:

"Great God, our precious Lord, we come to you today believing that there is mind behind the universe, Purpose running through it, Meaning in it, and Destiny ahead of it. All of this is possible to us because we are people of faith - you have created our minds capable of believing and trusting you. We thank you for making us a living being - one that breathes. We want to live - really live life at its best. Help us to find a faith fit to live by, a self fit to live with, and a work fit to live for - something to which we can give ourselves, and thus get ourselves off our hands. Show us how to take the raw stuff of life and make it a thing of worth and beauty. Teach us to value life, respect every person we meet, and be a little kinder than is necessary. In your great name we pray, Amen."

Before he began, MYRON said he had used this same prayer here, on 7/31/97 - and during the entire prayer, someone was talking ALL THE TIME. He later learned that we had the President of Moscow Rotary here, and it was his translator who was translating the whole prayer into Russian!

FLOYD DEWHIRST introduced Rotarian Kit Hollingsworth, who is in the jewelry business, from Boron Valley, Colorado - he is the son-in-law of PP JOHN SINGLETON. LEE DUNAYER brought along Scott Smith, a business associate from Merrill Lynch.

Incoming President GEORGE DEA next reported that he had attended the year-end meeting of our Rotaract Club, which was very successful event. He reminded us that we would be dark on the first Thursday next month, the 5th, and also, later that month, that we were having a joint meeting with Beverly Hills Rotary - at their place, on Monday July 23rd, so we will be dark on our regular Thursday, the 26th. YOE reminded everyone that the Blue Biography books were now available - see Ernie if you need a copy, please.

Some dates to remember:
June 13th - Rotary Auxiliary Installation of Officers at ELOISE SISKEL'S.
June 16th - Demotion of our current President, and he pointed out that in anticipation of all the free time he will have, he has taken up, and mastered, the yo-yo!
June 25th, WVRC Golf Tournament at Los Angeles Country Club, PP JIM SUMNER or PP STEVE SCHERER are the contacts.
And, way into next year, on October 6th, the Paul Harris Dinner, featuring the Big Band sound with a 12 piece orchestra, plus excerpts from Phantom of the Opera - save the date!

Those seated at the head table (which you may have noted, are not often listed in this august publication) included BOB YOUNKER, HARLAN LEWIS, FLOYD DEWHIRST, CLARK McQUAY, GEORGE DEA and TERRY WHITE. Prexy STEVE assembled them as examples of those who grow plants and flowers, since that was our Speaker's coming subject, noting that the only exception to this category was Mr. DEA, who grows students. I list them here since all of them are in serious trouble with the Husband's Association - their sin being that they set a terrible example for all the rest of us to live up to!

Anyway, this recitation of names elicited a comment from BILL MICHAEL, which cost him a quick hundred clams. Once the floodgate of fines was opened, PP STEVE SCHERER was asked if he knew anyone who had a silver car, and he allowed as how he did - then pointing out that MIKE YOUSEM, seated next to him, ALSO has a silver car - so both were hit up. Finally, Prexy STEVE, in a risky precedent, fined himself the same amount, in honor of his son, Evan, who has been accepted for his second year of Veterinary School in Edinburgh, Scotland. And in a historical note, PDG ANDY ANDERSON has just realized that our past three District Governors, plus the incoming DG, Len Wasserstein, were all Club Presidents during ANDY's term. He is uncertain whether to attribute their success to the outstanding leadership he provided, or possibly because when they saw HE was a DG, they figured ANYONE could do it. If there is time at our next meeting, we will call for a voice vote on this question, so please be thinking about how you will vote…

BOB YOUNKER introduced our speaker, Laurie Liles, whose subject was Reforestation Efforts in LA County. Laurie is a senior staff analyst in the Astronomy/Physics Department at UCLA, but spends many of her weekends volunteering with the Los Angeles Family Housing Corporation. Her goal is to provide an organic vegetable garden at each of their twenty locations, all of which provide shelter for the homeless.

As this project developed, she became involved with Tree People - even though she had no particular knowledge about trees, as such. Tree People were very helpful with the garden projects, their mission being to replant the many trees that were destroyed during our past fifty years of 'development'. Particularly in the 50's and 60's, school playgrounds were paved with asphalt, and the existing trees were destroyed. Replacing these trees is called Urban Forestation, and Tree People provide both the trees and the personnel to get the job done. After a six week training course, you may volunteer to help this process. City trees live about 20 years, including five years to really get started, and the results are quite satisfying.

Tree People was founded by a then-15-year old, Andy Wescut, who, while on a camping trip in the San Bernardino Mountains, found that many trees were dying from smog pollution. This was in 1973. After some research, he found that Sugar Pines were a hardy replacement, and this led him to begin his reforestation efforts. Today, Tree People has 17,000 members, 2300 volunteers, and they have planted over one and a half million trees in the Los Angeles area. A single tree can be provided for a $25 donation - but $75 will get you a whole grove! In town, fruit trees are mostly used - oranges and lemons - and the planting and cultivation process is an excellent elementary education tool. In addition, kids can be taught to recycle by working with trees.

As an Urban Forester, you can do your own neighborhood project, supervised by their experienced senior volunteers. They are currently working to increase the number of butterfly-friendly trees - we once had 220 varieties of butterflies, and only about 25 species remain, so the need is urgent. Laurie Liles, we thank you for showing us a way to get involved and help Los Angeles to regain some needed reforestation.

Thought for the Day - "Money is like manure. If you spread it around, it does a lot of good. But if you pile it up in one place, it stinks like hell" Clint Murchison Jr.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe