WOW - NO ANNOUNCMENTS on August 22nd!

I say this up front, to prove to Prexy TED that I'm paying attention!  Yes, I'm totally in favor of the less announcements the better.  So, moving right along, PP CHRIS GAYNOR led us in the Pledge.  'AMERICA' was sung by most, led by LENNY FRIEDMAN and accompanied by PP JIM DOWNIE.  PP DAVE WHITEHEAD recalled the prayer arrangements for Thanksgiving, which concluded with his Grandmother Campbell intoning, "Good Friends, Good Family, Good Food, Good Meat, Good God, let's eat!"  Reminds me of the prayer given by a guest at the Wolfe farm at their big Sunday dinner. It was customary to ask the guest to offer the prayer, and so he did - Bless the meat and Damn the skin.  Let's eat!

But back to more mundane things: PP ERIC LOBERG was called upon by Prexy TED to introduce the Visiting Rotarians, which he at first claimed was news to him.  However, PP ERIC did call out JOE MULRYAN, from LA 5.  After some discussion it was admitted that there were no more VR's, so ERIC retired, amid some grumbling that justified his earlier statement that there weren't none.  LENORE MULRYAN introduced Ryan Ingrassia, one of our Ambassadorial Scholars who is leaving tomorrow for 18 months in Tanzania.  PP GEORGE DEA had with him Karina Quintero, a candidate for President of the Rotaract Club at UCLA. GEORGE COX brought along Frank Smith, a fellow member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.  He and GEORGE go back to their first meeting at UCLA in 1942.  YOE recognizes that Frank also attends the UCLA Basketball games, so he obviously is interested in the finer things of life. JAY HANDAL introduced, for the second time, his Special Guest, Janet James, commenting that even though this was her second visit, they are still the best of friends.

SLOSS VIAU spoke of Estella Wilson, who is Executive Director of the Salvation Army Westside Transition Village, plus the Bessie Pregerson Child Care Center.  As an aside, Bessie's husband Harry Pregerson is a retired Superior Court Judge who served with the Marines during WWII, besides being Student Body President at UCLA.  SLOSS reminded us of our successful clothing drive for the Transition Village last year, and we are looking forward to a repeat during the first two weeks of September.  Ms Wilson pointed out that WVRC had provided clothing for 62% of all the homeless who were quartered at the Village - which news elicited a hearty round of applause, of course.  She noted that they are housing 40 families, including 86 children, and the families can stay at the Village up to a maximum of two years, as they move into regular family living.

Seated at the head table were Dr. ART HENRY, a co-chair of the Program Committee, plus Dr. RALPH BEASOM and Dr. BRUCE ROLF, who so conscientiously carry out their welcoming and recording duties in behalf of Club Service.  They were duly recognized with a nice round of applause.  Ryan Ingrassia was invited to tell us of his plans, and he responded by outlining why he is going to the Island of Zanzibar, which is part of Tanzania.  After working in nearby Kenya, he vacationed in Zanzibar, and while there began to realize that the indigenous culture of this isolated island is fast disappearing.  So he decided to utilize his film education at USC and record what remains of their storied culture.  He promised to return and report to us - and his account of his adventure should be compelling.  He thanked us all for giving him this opportunity. Prexy TED sent him on his way "to the Road To Zanzibar"with a travel bag, plus Rev. MYRON TAYLOR'S Four Way Test book.

We had two special birthdays to celebrate, PP DOUG DESCH was called forward to a seat of honor at the Head Table, while Dr BRUCE ROLF was already up there.  We were celebrating their 90th Birthdays.  DOUG'S Cake was brought forward, followed by Happy Birthday, accompanied by PP JIM DOWNIE and GREGG ELLIOTT.  The candles were blown out, and then PP STEVE SCHERER gave us some of the highlights of DOUG'S Rotary career.  He joined WVRC in 1976, after 15 years in the Dallas Rotary Club.  He initiated our relationship with our Sister Club in Guadalajara in 1977, and was Club President in 1980-81. In 1984 he was our Rotarian of the Year, and that same year began over 15 years as Club Rotary Foundation Chairperson.  DOUG became our Club Executive Secretary in 1984, and in 1995 was chosen as District Rotarian of the Year, because of his long and varied service on many District Committees. In 1995 he received Rotary's highest honor, the International Service Above Self Award.  Along the way he brought in twenty new members, plus raising over $1,000,000 for the Rotary Foundation.
We all agreed that DOUG'S jokes are special - his rule is that you should never speak in public without prefacing your remarks with a Story - but he also tells them better than the rest of us. He richly deserved his three cheers!  DOUG responded, saying his Rotary career would not have been possible without our members backing him up - "you have gone along with me and made our programs successful".

RUDY ALVAREZ reported on the recent District Breakfast he attended  - the subject was Literacy, in line with District Governor Rick Mendoza's theme of Literacy For All. RUDY pointed out that the Speaker, Caprice Young, who is a member of the Los Angeles School Board, is an active advocate of literacy, focusing on the youngest students.  Local schools need adults to read to the students, and to help in other ways.  Check with RUDY for details, OK?  Our thanks to Toshie and PP YOSH SETOGUCHI for their memorial contribution to the WVRC Foundation in honor of PP DAVE MORE.  And I'm sorry to report that SHERRY DEWANE has resigned, due to business pressures.

Dr. ART HENRY next introduced our Speaker, Philip Bretsky.  Mr. Bretsky graduated from Swarthmore College with a BA in English, and has a Masters in Public Health from Yale.  He is currently an MD/Ph.D. candidate at USC School of Medicine, and is a Graduate Fellow in Genome Research at MIT. His current area of study is genetic risk factors in breast cancer.   ART has known Mr. Bretsky for the last two years, and nominated him as the Renaissance Man of the Year.

We are in the midst of a medical revolution, brought on by the advances in gene study.  It is a multi-national effort, but led primarily by researchers at MIT and Cambridge.  The roots of genetics began with Gregor Mendel (1823-1884), but his research was more or less ignored until Jan of 1900 when it resurfaced.  In 1925 a physical basis was found, and 1953 brought in a molecular basis - that is, DNA.  By the end of the 20th century a complete genetic blueprint had been established - thus, the totality of all the genes in the nucleus of a cell.  Note that we all have 99.9% of the same genes - the .1% accounts for all our differences.  To illustrate how research has exploded, two years ago 1.4 million genes were identified - and the total now exceeds two million.  The eventual total will be between six and ten million genes.

He gave an example of how genes can cancel each other.  Suppose a mother has breast cancer, but her husband has the combo of genes that combats this. Thus the children are not necessarily subject to the same cancer.  Tamorifen is known to combat breast cancer, reducing its incidence by 50% - but that doesn't mean it works for everyone, of course. A recent study of 215,000 subjects, in California and Hawaii, has provided some reliable results.  The slide portion of his remarks concluded with that famous photo of Wilt and Willie - we ARE all different!

Q&A - GREGG ELLIOTT - does the Japanese diet skew the results of this latest test.   Yes, somewhat, since the number of Japanese in Hawaii is higher than average for the overall population.  DON NELSON - how reliable is forensic DNA testing.  It gives a blueprint of who someone is, and no two DNA's are alike.  HANK HEUER -what are the ethical issues in Stem Cell research.  Such a cell has everything needed to make anything, so there are great research possibilities. In these circumstances, being deliberate in proceeding is not a bad thing.  PP STEVE SCHERER - how far are we from finding a cure for breast cancer.  We know there are about 30,000 genes that may be involved.  The question is how do they relate to each other and to the environment.  A simile might be that we now have the airplane, but we don't yet know how to fly it.  JACK HARRIS - how does heredity fit in.  (And here, I can only provide my direct notes - they are not clear to me, I'm sorry to admit).  There are 3 flavors of 2-3-4.  There are 2 copies of E3 - and if they match, you may get Alzheimer's!  YOE - what will be the next major breakthrough.  The technology continues to improve, so the testing will be more efficient. But it now appears that it may be time to begin to step back and think what these discoveries mean. CLAIR MITCHELL - how does all this compare to the Scopes Trial. We need to communicate our research much better that we are now doing.

I guess we know more than we did before, but I'd have to confess that much of what went on was just too technical for me to understand.  It's probably safe to conclude that Phil Bretsky is perhaps smarter than I amů

YOE, Ernie Wolfe