BOB TROXLER led the Pledge, assisted by who else but PP JIM DOWNIE.  PP STEVE DAY and – who else, again- but PP JIM DOWNIE led us in You’re a Grand Old Flag.

RAY ZICKFELD gave an excellent Invocation, authored by Evelyn Gage Browne and entitled, What This World Needs.  It began with a little kindness, loving words and deeds, helping a brother along, ending by showing a little more courage in paths still untrod, and trusting in mankind and God.  A nice choice, RAY.


We had no Visiting Rotarians, but there were several guests. PP RON LYSTER had a Special Guest, Carlos Solares.  Carlos is in real estate syndication, producing TICS – which translates into "Tenancy in Common" arrangements (useful for tax-free exchanges).  PP DAVE WHITEHEAD was with Floyd Coquett,  who is in real estate and DAVE wanted to be sure everyone understood that Floyd had no tics…  LENORE MULRYAN introduced Catherine Rose McGuire, who is a leading candidate to be an Ambassadorial Scholar.  If selected, she plans to study in France.  PP HOMER NEWMAN was sitting next to William Adams, who is the local Ducks Unlimited recruiter!  HOMER speculated that Mr. Adams was really there to check on whether the Speaker ‘did the right thing’.  RAY ZICKFELD introduced his granddaughter, Allison Zickfeld, who will be participating in the Japanese Student Exchange this summer – as have almost all the other Zickfelds when they become eligible. I had just met Gayle Leinert, who was visiting us and looking around for a Rotary home.  She is in Real Estate in Brentwood.


Pres. PETER reported on a recent UCLA Rotaract meeting which he attended along with PP GEORGE DEA and RUDY ALVAREZ.  They are an energetic group, and have several plans underway for well into next year.  PETER then read a letter from RI addressed to Colleen Yorke, their current President.  They were thanked for their participation in the recent Corazon Project, and it was noted that their service was in the true spirit of Rotary.  Building a house in one day was a most worthwhile project, and their club was to be congratulated for their efforts.  It was signed by the Rotaract Supervisor in Evanston.  This letter, and all it reflects, was warmly applauded by everyone present.


President Elect RUDY ALVAREZ came forward to outline his extensive trip, which begins this Saturday.  He noted that VP DON NELSON and Roz, STEW GILMAN, MICHAEL GINTZ, and ANN SAMSON would be at the International Convention in Osaka, and they will staff our Parkinson’s PLUUS booth much of the time.  Prior to the Convention, STEW, MIKE and RUDY will join a group from Culver City Rotary traveling from Tokyo to Osaka.  After the Convention, RUDY will return to Tokyo to visit with his son-in-laws family, then to Korea, where he will be for three weeks.  He will be staying with a couple from Korea, who have just been his house guests here in LA.  He will stop off in Delhi and Jaipur for a week, to mingle with the wedding party of friends.  His last stop will be in London, to see his new granddaughter.  Sounds busy, RUDY, and we envy your routing.


PP MIKE NEWMAN rose to point out that we were forgetting some of our traditions.  His recollection was that if the President Elect misses the Demotion – for which he is responsible – he then pays his own way to the Convention.  This elicited several comments, as you might imagine, but apparently Pres. PETER did not elect to impose this theoretical penalty.  But he did elaborate on next week’s joint meeting with Santa Monica – at Santa Monica, and not on Thursday but on Friday the 21st of May.  The subject will be the recent decision that settled the court proceedings in Boston on clerical abuse – and the speaker, Roderick MacLeish, was the lead attorney in the case.  SEAN McMILLAN is a personal friend of Mr. MacLeish, and we are assured of a most worthwhile program – BE THERE!


PP ERIC LOBERG was up next, with the always present sub-rosa comments of “That’s risky”, which of course it always is. ERIC began commenting on why we don’t understand the cultural problems of the people we are fighting.  They have no Jesus, nor even a Wal-Mart, no football, no basketball, no Home Depot, they have to put up with the wailing of the guy next door because they have no doctors, and the wailing from the guy in the tower. They have no chocolate chip cookies, no Girl Scout cookies, and  - get this – no Christmas!  The men can’t shave, and neither can their wives.  You can’t shower, and thus you can’t wash off the smell of donkey cooked over dried camel dung.   The women wear veils and baggy dresses all the time, and your bride is picked by someone else. She smells just like your donkey but the donkey has a better disposition. You can have more than one wife – HELLO – are you crazy?  When you die, you are treated to 72 virgins.  Really, is there really any mystery here? ERIC, we thank you for these thought-provoking cultural points to consider!  DAN PRICE followed with a couple of stories.


PP STEVE DAY came forward to make some Paul Harris Presentations.  First up was AL BELLANCA, one of our newer members who decided he should join this illustrious group of supporters of the Rotary Foundation.  This income covers our Ambassadorial Scholar Program, our many shared grants all over the world, the fight to eradicate Polio worldwide – truly a wonderful potpourri of necessary programs which benefit so many people in so many countries. Next up was SALLY BRANT, who has had several conversations over the past few weeks with PP STEVE as to whether or not she was already a Paul Harris Fellow, so designated by her late husband, Bob.  Since there didn’t seem to be a definitive answer to this question, she has gone ahead and paid for herself, just to be sure.  And last was Allison Zickfeld, granddaughter of RAY and niece of PP STEVE.  An impressive group, certainly, and their contributions will be well and carefully used. 


Pres. PETER apparently was worried that we might miss some historical doings, so he asked what had happened in July of 1969  A number of responses regarding our landing on the Moon were heard. Yes, but what ELSE happened?  At this point the power point slides came on, showing our own HENRY TSENG assuming the Presidency of the Hong Kong Rotary Club! Formed in 1931, it was the first of its kind in that part of the world.

And just one statistic, if I may:  The Club had 123 members at the beginning of his tenure, and twelve months later, they had 161!  That’s a net increase of 31% - scary, right?  Seriously, we all know HENRY to be a doer, but he is so quiet about what he does that we tend to forget his many, many accomplishments. HENRY TSENG, we are lucky to have you with us!


CHRIS BRADFORD introduced our Speaker, Mark Biddlecomb.  Mark has a Bachelors degree in fish and wildlife Management from Utah State, and a Masters in Wildlife Management from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Before he joined Ducks Unlimited in 1995, he was a Regional Biologist for the Bureau of Land Management.  His present responsibilities include all conservation efforts of Ducks Unlimited in California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah.  He serves on a number of Conservation and Environmental Boards, and is an avid waterfowl hunter himself. 


Despite its title, Ducks Unlimited is about a lot more than just ducks.  They have 750K members in the US, plus chapters in Mexico and Canada.  Presently they are involved in over 350 projects to restore wetness areas.  They pride themselves on being very pragmatic, bringing people together for common objectives.  His comments focused mainly on the Central Valley of California – a large area, with five to seven million acres of seasonal wetlands. Much of what he discussed was shown on Power Point, which is a real help in presenting sometimes complex ideas. 


These wetlands, which refill every year, are the principal wintering ground for the millions of migratory birds coming down from the north to escape the snow and bitter cold in their regular habitat.  Unfortunately, almost 95% of these wetlands have been lost to urban sprawl or degraded – so the remaining areas must be carefully supervised and preserved.  Water quality AND quantity is important here.  Note that 60% of all wintering waterfowl depend upon the Central Valley.  Ducks Unlimited has found that rice farmers are their strong allies. And at the same time that they help to preserve wetlands, they also materially help migrating salmon, for instance.  


They do a lot of mapping and modeling, which protects the water supply, and provides site suitability models. They are involved in a number of joint ventures, cooperating with other interested parties to provide feasibility plans. The unprotected habitat is mainly in the extreme north of the Valley.  They have found that imposing Easements is an effective way to restrict what can be done with wetlands. 


The future is full of problems – in just the last three years, what were seemingly endless rice fields are now tract houses.  And the population of this Valley is expected to double to 17 million in less than 20 years. The farmers are almost always cooperative.  The necessary Easements are funded by the state, and by various other agencies, not by Ducks Unlimited.  Water quality is a major issue - it must be maintained, and improving water quality is a big issue, also.  In his area of four states, they have 200 projects currently underway – so you can see that he is a busy man.  Mark Biddlecomb, thanks for telling us about what you do – and good luck as you face the difficult future.


Last note – remember, next week we are meeting with the Santa Monica Club, at Riviera, on FRIDAY, the 21st of May. And it was great to see RALPH BEASOM back with us!


YOE, Ernie Wolfe