Pres. PETER IS BACK at WVRC, Sept 4th

Yes, Pres. PETER was once again with us, and he started off dangerously, calling on PP ERIC LOBERG to lead the Pledge. LOBERG is consistently unreliable, but in this case he mostly just got the job done. LENNY FRIEDMAN (alas, without his extra step stool) led the song, with GREGG ELLIOTT at the keyboard - we did My Country Tis of Thee.
PP TED IHNEN (greeted by cries of "Who the hell is THAT?") nonetheless persevered and provided our Invocation. He had his Grandmother's book, Thoughts to Live By, and this provided the following three thoughts on thinking. (thoughts-thinking/Is that called alliteration?) #1, Henry Ford -Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probably the reason why so few people engage in it. #2, George Bernard Shaw - Few people think more than two or three times a year. I have made an international reputation by thinking once or twice a week. (Ask me what he said when asked to what he attributed his long and healthful life, OK?) #3, Confucius - Thinking without learning makes one flighty and learning without thinking is a disaster. Now Hear This…

PP HOWIE HENKES introduced the Visiting Rotarians, and we had a bunch. First up was PDG Paul Netzel from LA Five, and his wife, Diane. Paul is a Consultant, essentially dealing with fundraising. Serge Polakoff of Altamonte Springs, Florida is in Land Development, and he has been with us before (as has Paul, of course). Hans Van Den Dool is from the Zagreb Club, and he is a Diplomat (sounds intriguing…). Former member Dave Long now belongs to the Manhattan Beach Club, and he was present along with Doug Montgomery and another Rotarian from the Palm Springs area - they were gathering to take off on the latest Fellowship of Motorcycling Rotarians trip, this time to Yosemite and related areas. This even drew past member KEN LEVER out of Calabasas seclusion, and he was warmly greeted by all. Just before the cyclers left, BILL PIERCE arrived in the parking lot -it was great to see him again. PP RON LYSTER, who FOUNDED this fellowship - they now have 1500 members worldwide - tells me they expect to have perhaps twenty five in their group for this adventure.

Guests of Rotarians included Gwaine Mayden, who came with RALPH SMITH - Gwaine is in Elder Care. LENORE MULRYAN had three guests. First was Erin Rattazzi, our Ambassadorial Scholar who will be leaving soon for South Africa, studying women's issues in the townships in and around Capetown. Two very supportive staff people from EXPO, the Career Center at UCLA, were Eva Walthers and Dorio Bravo. They both are quite helpful to LENORE in recruiting our Ambassadorial Scholars. FLOYD DEWHIRST again introduced Gordon Fell, a CPA who has been circulated, and he is sponsored by KEVIN KOMATSU.

At this point, Pres. PETER provided some information about the law-breaking activities of one of our soon-to-be President members. Seems that this member was driving his new, red Corvette on the flatlands around Bakersfield, and got it up to 140 MPH. That's SEVENTY over the legal speed limit - the good news being that he didn't get caught (by the police, anyway). PDG ANDY ANDERSON was asked what the fine for such a transgression would probably be, and it was serious, man. Pres. PETER noted that this unnamed member had also 'abandoned' his GSE Team in Italy, while he frolicked off by himself elsewhere in Europe. His final transgression was that his voluminous daily reports from Italy so overloaded the internet that it took a whole lot of time just to clear the net for other regular use. Pres. PETER then asked for the help of the membership in fixing an appropriate fine for this daredevil act, and of course the first, obvious starting point was the 140 MPH. Add to that the abandonment, plus the overload, and it began to hover around 500 big ones. YOE should now confess that I'm not sure how all this ended, but sure as hell he'll get nicked, good!

It was birthday time, and those who arrived in September were called on the carpet, so to speak. First - and he came on the First, also - was PP HOWARD SISKEL, who arrived in Los Angeles. CHARLES MAGNUSON choose Seattle, and the date was the 6th. TONY MARRONE liked that date, but decided to arrive in Pueblo, Colorado. PP JIM DOWNIE came along in Minneapolis on the 8th. Next up was ED JACKSON, who smartly figured that LA was the place, his date being the 12th. On the other hand, SEAN McMILLAN didn't want to be a copycat, so he arrived 'somewhere in Ireland' on the 27th. Last of the September arrivals was SLOSS VIAU, who came along on the 30th in Fresno.

In a very full program, we accommodated Chuck Hanchett, from the San Pedro Club. He is the District Annual Giving Chair, and first showed a video on the small screen, which gave an overall view of what the Rotary Foundation does. It featured our Ambassadorial Scholars, Polio Eradication, our many Matching Grants - really, the vast panoply (pretty jazzy word, right?) of all the good things our support of the Foundation provides. Chuck then went on at some length about how we should further support these programs - this after acknowledging that WVRC is the leading club in the district as far as providing Foundation support. He of course encouraged us to attend and buy raffle tickets for the Paul Harris Celebration on November lst.

In case you missed the name of the speeding/abandonment/overload culprit noted above, it turned out to be none other than RUDY ALVAREZ. He now got his chance to introduce and comment on his GSE team - but his time was more constrained than it should have been. Three of the four members were present; Estela Bueno, a Civil Engineer with DWP, who was sponsored by Redondo Beach Rotary. Deborah Hong, a researcher in immigration, is a graduate student at UC Berkeley, and was sponsored by Wilshire. She was the runner-up in the Peace Scholar competition. Rochelle Mills, an architect who practices with her husband, was sponsored by LA 5. Carol Chacon, another architect, was unable to attend our meeting. Rudy outlined their ten days in Sardinia, another ten days around Rome, and the last ten days in Rome itself. He then had each of the three young ladies tell of their experiences.

Estela Bueno was first, and she admitted the team did, indeed, visit a whole lot of aqueducts!(because of her DWP connection). She loved meeting all the people, and the Hard Hat tours were great... A highlight was a trip inside one of the aqueducts. It was a great experience, and she even learned some Italian. Debra Hong spoke glowingly of a man they all enjoyed - a Rotarian named Gianfranco who apparently embodied all that is charming and outgoing among Italians. Debra felt that Sardinia was quite diverse, and she remembers the shepherd's huts they encountered as they hiked around. Nearby is a pen for the sheep or goats, so they won't wander off when the shepherd is taking cover in the hut. She thanked us warmly for the opportunity. For Rochelle Mills, it was her first time outside the U.S., and she took full advantage of all the new sights and sounds she encountered. She loved the people - and told of the making of four kinds of cheese from one batch of cream While the flavor was exceptional, she suspected that the cheese maker would have been arrested had he been manufacturing in LA - their sanitary standards do not quite match ours, apparently. Rochelle remembers the DG falling asleep at the District Conference they all attended (surely that would NEVER happen here…) She felt that Hadrian's Villa was the highlight, and this was her favorite summer.

There was a quick Q&A. SLOSS VIAU - How was the food? They had six course meals for lunch and dinner every day! Once they had a ten course meal with ten different wines. Ho hum, just another day in Italia…PP STEVE SCHERER - What was the format for their regular meetings? They all met at 9 p.m., and started with the anthem. They then had a presentation - and it all made District 5280 look like clockwork, personified. AL BELLANCA - Did anyone make any advances? (and, in the interest of complete editorial accuracy, this MUST be reported). No, not after they saw our luggage!  The obvious camaraderie and good fellowship they enjoyed was fun for all of us to see, and we thank RUDY for all his good work.

Before we adjourned, SLOSS VIAU thanked all who contributed to the Salvation Army collections. And note, next week is Spouses Day - Jim Warren, Magician, will be featured.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe