Bill Bloomfield, Jr.
"Working With a Presidential Candidate"
Bill Bloomfield, Jr.
"Alliance for Smiles" Anita Stangl
"UCLA Chancellor" Gene Block
THE STORY of GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY, at WVRC on May 8th
ED WRIGHT led the Pledge. LENNY even supplied us with song sheets for I Want A Girl, and we got through it although our later effort with Happy Birthday seemed to go better, according to some bystanders.
ALY SHOJI gave the Invocation. “Dear God, we have gathered in the spirit of truth, fairness, goodwill, friendship and concern for others. We are thankful for the blessings of this day, this country, and for this unique fellowship of service-minded community leaders. We offer our gratitude for this moment: for food, for our time together with friends, for this day’s work. Grant the gifts of insight and wisdom for our work, give faithfulness and honesty to all. Bless our world with Your peace, Amen”. Lovely, ALY Thank You.
There were no Visiting Rotarians, but SUNNY came with LENNY, of course, and SHAWN WAARBROEK brought his Associate, Grace Lin apparently they also work with LEO TSENG. KATIA VAISBERG came with her Rotaract Vice President, Nikkole Valdez. President CHRIS thanked SEAN MCMILLAN and PP CHRIS GAYLOR for standing in for him while he and Sharon were in Italy. They visited several wineries, and had a lovely time seeing the Italian Lakes, the Dolomites and Venice. The only downer was when CHRIS learned of the rates they got on credit cards. His word, “Ouch!!!!”
May birthdays were next. There were just six, stating with SALLY BRANT, who liked Los Angeles on the 14th of May. ELEANOR MORE came along on the 15th, in Urbana, Ill. PP HOWIE HENKES chose Vicennes, Ind, the next day, the 16th. REGINA HERRICK brought us back to California, Los Angeles to be exact, on the 26th. GEORGE COX who was the only Birthdayer present arrived on the 27th in Westmoreland. MARK KRAUSE also favored the 27th, in Caldwell, Idaho. So. GEORGE was the only recipient present for our Happy Birthday song!
PP JOHN SINGLETON reminded us all that SHAWN WAARBROEK was just getting back into stride, and by some form of mathematics figured that his fine should be fifty bucks, this for bringing his Associate, Grace Lin, to our meeting today. In turn it was agreed by those present that LEO TSENG should pay the fine, since, after all, both SHAWN and Grace worked with LEO! This allowed either JOHN or maybe LEO to agree that President CHRIS should also be fined, a hundred big ones I guess for his Italian trip. The good news is that it goes to a worthy cause.
SEAN MCMILLAN reminded everyone of the District Assembly on May 17th, and he was trolling for one more attendee. Who else but ALY SHOJI stood up!
MAY 29th our Special Speaker will be UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and it’s also Spouses Day, so bring your partner.
Our Rotary Convention Reception on June 16th is being formalized. ED GAULD and President CHRIS will soon have lists of who is hosting, and how many each will have.
June 4th is the final meeting for the Auxiliary this year. It will be at the home of ELOISE SISKEL starting at 11:30 and new officers will be installed.
Our Demotion Party is set for Saturday evening, June 21st at the Beach Club. Invitations are in the mail and we need everyone there to help “ THROW THE BUM OUT!”
And a final note PDG ANDY ANDERSON came forward with a plea for help for the Salvation Army. This fine organization is, literally, running out of money for food! You can give or mail your check, made out to Salvation Army, to either PDG ANDY or PP BOB WESSLING, who is also on their Board.
PP DAVE WHITEHEAD and PP RON LYSTER next presented an overview of what is on our WVRC Website. It is updated each week, and thus contains the Windmill, plus much data about our projects and what the Club is doing, including membership information. PP DON NELSON chimed in, and PP PETER MORE was among this august group who 'fill in the dots'. Our thanks to these ‘behind the scenes’ hard workers.
President CHRIS introduced our Speaker, Melissa Devor. She has an extensive background in health care and education, and is now the Development Director for Griffith Park Observatory. She arrived right in the middle of this major Observatory renovation and expansion project, which was completed almost two years ago. The title of her talk is “The Once and Future Griffith Observatory.”Melissa began by asking how many of us had been to the Observatory? Many hands were raised. She then asked, how many had visited since the renovation, and there were just a few hands raised. She noted that they no longer have a shuttle you can just drive up anytime, and activities include a café supervised by Wolfgang Puck, see the award-winning Planetarium Show, and you can visit the future. The Observatory was built in 1935, and with its position atop Griffith Park, it becomes a real iconic symbol of L.A.
|Peggy Bloomfield and speaker, Melissa Devor.
The Director is Leonard Nimoy, and he assembled the power point presentation which we enjoyed. When Melissa arrived four years ago, only the shell of the Observatory was still there everything else was being renovated or rebuilt. This total overhaul cost 93 million dollars. New programs include “All Space Considered” which is on Friday evenings, and features astronomers speaking about new discoveries, talking at length about Mars, and Cosmic Music, plus the standard Samuel Oschin Planetarium show, of course.
The video began with Dr. Limoy welcoming us to “the most visited Star Gazing place in the world, Griffith Observatory”. It all started with the arrival of Griffith J. Griffith. He was an immigrant, who made his first million investing in silver mines. When he moved to Los Angeles, he began buying land, soon accumulating over 4,000 acres of an area called Rancho Los Feliz. Believing that Los Angeles would become a major city, he donated the land to the city to build Griffith Park. His initial view of the heavens from the Mt. Wilson Observatory, through what was then the largest telescope in the world, amazed him. Before he died, he gave the city of LA $100,000 to build a science hall and an observatory. But before it could be built, the disastrous Long Beach earthquake of 1933 took place. This changed the design considerably, with concrete walls in some places one-foot thick, and extensive rebar running through it. it remains one of the safest places in California during any earthquake. Nothing was compromised during its construction, and the Observatory opened on May 14th, 1935.
It occupies the best ‘pad’ for an Observatory in the world, overlooking all of Los Angeles and thus above the smog and clouds that sometimes appear. During WWII, soldiers were stationed there to look out for Japanese attacks. After the War, it became the scene for many movies the first one being ‘situated’ 25,000 feet below the ground! Its big break came with the filming of “Rebel Without A Cause” starring James Dean. Today, over 200 movies have been shot on the grounds. It was used extensively in the training of the Astronauts. They pioneered the idea of allowing a view of the sky only as large as the viewing area of their telescope. A solar eclipse in 1962 was unique in that all five planets were grouped near the sun, causing astrologers in India, for instance, to predict catastrophic events.
But back to the present. After seventy years, and coincidentally, seventy million visitors, the facility was in need of major repairs. One of the biggest problems was how to ‘fix’ the copper dome during heavy rain, it had almost 200 leaks, each caught by a separate bucket. The solution was to rebuild the dome from the inside, over scaffolding. This enabled workers to climb up inside, and remove and replace the copper plates. Since the Observatory needed more space, the only workable option was to go underground. At one point in the digging, when they got thirty feet below the surface, they found the fault line. Later, in order to complete the job, the entire aboveground structure had to be temporarily raised several feet, using hydraulic jacks. Fortunately, the entire structure did not buckle or crack testimony to the care used in lifting it.
Another major challenge was building a huge underground display space, without pillars to interrupt the view. The solution was to build support beams on the edges, and then continuously pour concrete in the beams and over the rest of the structure without stopping. In summary, Dr. Nimoy points out that everything there is made to stimulate the imagination, to give us new ways to understand our universe. Four hundred years ago, Galileo used the first telescope to view the Moons of Jupiter. For the last hundred years, from Mt. Wilson to the NASA Mars rovers, our part of the world is considered the Alexandria of modern astronomy. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena gets its input from our telescopes, and thus California is the leader in space exploration.
The Observatory is not designed to give you a Masters degree in Astronomy. Its purpose is to enable people to get an idea of what is exciting and interesting about Astronomy.
Griffith was the first public Observatory to be fully equipped for observation of the sun, for instance. The many displays will give you “the Big Picture”. This is a picture of the skies, captured by the Samuel Oschin telescope on Palomar Mountain in Southern California, and processed at the Cal Tech Super Computing Center in Pasadena. The photograph was divided into 114 separate pictures and preserved on ceramic porcelain, and fired onto steel panels. These were then reassembled and mounted at Griffith Observatory inspiring the future, one observation at a time!
Melissa Devor, thank you for telling us about the “new” Griffith Observatory.
It’s certainly worth a 'new' visit.