there Ides in April? - anyway, the 4th
DAN PRICE started us off with the Pledge - and he did it
right, giving everyone time to get set with their hand over
their heart, and thus all beginning together. A little
interplay as the song approached - JACK HARRIS and GREGG
ELLIOTT took their places, JACK said, "We're going to
keep doing it until we get it right", which comment was
greeted with - shall we say - a bit of skepticism by some
non-believers. GREGG then gave us a chord or two, JACK
seemed to choose one - and GOD BLESS AMERICA erupted. JACK,
let's face it - this is a rowdy and uncontrollable crowd.
Anyway GREGG caught up with us at some point, and JACK
courageously kept the beat. Really, you know, this early
'business' almost becomes a feature of WVRC - certainly all
present enjoy themselves. And seriously, it's a great way to
get us started - we like it!
SLOSS VIAU was next up, with an Invocation. In response
to a plaintive question, SLOSS agreed that we should sit down.
With the Holy Days behind us, he asked for help in renewing
our personal goals and the goals of Rotary, and for wisdom for
our leaders in these difficult times. Well Done, SLOSS.
PP ERIC LOBERG had to admit that there were no Visiting
Rotarians, but we did have guests. PP JIM SUMNER once
again brought his Special Guest, Tony Marone, who is in the
insurance business in Brentwood (and YOE apologizes for having
failed to note Tony's visit of last week). BRUCE ROLF
was with Marie, and KEVIN KOMATSU introduced two guests
of the Club -Michelle Brenner, Principal of Warner Avenue
School, and the President of their PTA, Tracey Fitzgerald.
KEVIN later presented them with a check for $1000, and
both expressed their appreciation, noting that the money would
be well used. PDG ANDY ANDERSON spoke about the
upcoming Music Scholarship Finals, which will be held on April
20th, 1:30 p.m. at Westwood United Methodist Church. These
finalists have been chosen by competitions before several
Rotary Clubs and the winners each year receive cash prizes.
First place prize is $2000, second place is $1000, and
3rd receives $500 - these awards to be used toward music
scholarships at their chosen University or Conservatory.
Last year's winner choose Julliard - which indicates the
level of accomplishment we can expect from these finalists.
Admission is $10, with students free - so save the date,
bring your friends, and be prepared for a lovely afternoon of
We now have nineteen Rotarians plus their significant others
who will be attending the District Conference in San Diego!
There is still room - and it really will be a great
program. Call PP DOUG DESCH or PP RON LYSTER - (he's the
CHAIRMAN) and sign up right away. RON reminds us that
you can come for less than the full three nights, and if you
MAY be able to go, but aren't sure yet, get your hotel
reservation in before April 11th, when the rates go up - you
can cancel, up to three days in advance. Don't forget to stop
in at the Singletons in Carlsbad on the way down on Thursday,
May 2nd. While I'm reminding about things, note that
April 11th is just a week away - and besides being our next
meeting date and the deadline for lower hotel rates, it's also
the monthly anniversary of 9/ll - may our FLAGS proudly wave!
And remember, BOB TROXLER would appreciate your visit,
SUSAN ALLEN introduced Amanda Miller, our Ambassadorial
Scholar who is just back from her year in Chile. Chosen
in late 1999, she delayed her trip until graduation from UCLA
in June of 2000, summa cum laude! Amanda tested us first with
an opening statement in Spanish - and then, lapsed back into
English, which is a bit easier for some of us…A question she
frequently gets, "How was your trip?" illustrates
the difference between just a casual, quick trip, and living
in a foreign country, absorbing their culture, for a full
year. She asked rhetorically, "Why Chile?" and
then answered by asking us in
the audience a number of questions - the answer to every one
being, Chile. She pointed out that Chile has 2000 miles
of coastline, mostly on the Pacific, but touches the Atlantic
as it curves eastward at the Straits of Magellan. Twice the
size of Montana, it has both glaciers and deserts - lots of
variety. Among her exports are wine, a variety of fruits
- which grow off- season and thus sell well in the U.S. - and
wood products. However, for the last ten years, her
economy has been the most feeble in South America.
They have a viable democracy, with a President, bicameral
legislature and other similar institutions to ours. They
share a very long border with Argentina, and a concern is that
the 250K Chileans working in Argentina may return, since
Argentina is in such terrible shape. This would only
increase the unemployment in Chile, of course. The
counter effect of this is that many in Chile now feel they can
vacation in Argentina, with the low prices that now exist.
Amanda's concern was to get to know the people, and she
found that sports, for one, provide good entry into what at
first seemed a very close-knit society.
She did learn that she shouldn't look for America in other
countries. She concluded her talk by showing some
excellent slides of life in not only Chile, but also Argentina
and other nearby areas. Thank you, Amanda, for sharing
your year away with us.
PP MIKE NEWMAN came forward to introduce - and induct - JAY
HANDAL, our newest member (he was out of town when his
compatriots were inducted). His first comment was,
"Now, it's official". He is the owner of San
Gennaro restaurant in Brentwood, plus a second San Gennaro in
Culver City - but much of his time is spent in worthwhile
community activities. President of the WLA Chamber of
Commerce, he has grown it from 77 members to 960 today! They
have a 97% renewal rate, whereas the standard for most C of Cs
is 67% - so their members must be getting benefits from
He works with - and often chairs - the local American Heart
Association, an Alzheimer's support group, the American Cancer
Society in Culver City, the Brentwood/Westwood Symphony, with
concerts in WLA, and Aiden's Place. He finds that these
many contacts help in sometimes-unexpected ways - and it isn't
bad for business, either. His advertising budget dropped
from 12K monthly to 2K today, for instance - people must be
paying attention to all the things he is involved with. He
thanks KEN KILPO for getting him associated with WVRC.
Prez. GEORGE asked, where did you grow up? Born in
Brooklyn, married at 19, and quit college after a year - too
expensive, he felt. He's 54, and came to California on
business, easily deciding NOT to return to NY. Claims he
asked his mother to tell his wife she should move out here.
20 years ago his brother was killed in a car accident,
and this changed his life. He began to realize what was
important. He also has checked, and found there are
anyway 7 Republicans in WLA…He mentioned his $10 wine list -
there isn't another like it, anywhere - and these prices
enable him to sell 500 cases of wine per month. YOE
noted that his son-in-law is in the wine business, and says
that if the restaurant is charging over twice retail, they are
gouging -obviously, San Gennaro doesn't do that! Jay
also claims that the meatballs he serves are huge - we'll have
to check them out. Seriously, Jay, welcome aboard.
Let's stay in touch.
Our other planned Craft Talker, Kathy Rezos, graciously agreed
to tell us her story at a later date.
YOE, Ernie Wolfe