It was Birthday Time, and as usual, one miscreant (I think that means he was a minor criminal) was called on the carpet. You do remember that these perfidious (and again, I’m assuming that means devious, as in ‘not to be trusted’) members are charged a ten buck fine as a Storage Fee for their valued BD gifts, which they failed to pick up on time. Our only culprit was ED JACKSON, who chose Los Angeles, but LAST September 12!
The regular June group started with GENE PRINDLE, who also chose Los Angeles, on the 2nd. PP GEORGE DEA added a bit of international flavor when he elected Hong Kong, on the 4th. Our Invocator, RAY ZICKFELD, liked Chicago, and his date was the 8th . And since that’s TODAY, he has to pay double I think that is twenty big ones. GREGG ELLIOTT, whoever he is, slipped in from Santa Monica on the 11th, but he sure slipped by WVRC today. PP STEVE SCHERER favored Rochelle, and that’s in Illinois, of course his date was the 21st. And last for June was FLOYD DEWHIRST, on the 25th, also from Illinois, but Harvard. (Does that mean you can tell people you went to school in both Illinois and Harvard?) Stay tuned; I won’t leave you hanging on this.
SHARON RHODES-WICKETT spoke briefly about her future plans. She will be transferring to the Claremont United Methodist Church, as of the 1st of July. Her husband, AL, has moved into the Alzheimer’s facility in nearby LaVerne the Hillcrest Retirement Community. Among her remarks was the explanation and return of her Athletic Trophy given at the Rose Bowl In December 1994. SHARON confessed that she had never felt really comfortable with this award, based largely on the fact that she could never remember if it was for football, basketball, or perhaps ice hockey! Anyway, WVRC now has it back in our possession, once again. She thanked us warmly for our welcome to her when she came to Westwood in July of 1994, and urged us to continue our many community and worldwide humanitarian activities, which as she said, “We do so well”. Thank you, SHARON, for being with us for these last twelve years.
LEO TSENG came forward to introduce some members of the Students Run L.A. He began by reading to us the Mission Statement for this non-profit organization. They challenge at-risk high school students to experience the benefits of goal setting, character development, adult mentoring and improved health by training them to run in and complete the Los Angeles Marathon. Their Executive Director, Marsha Charney was present to accept our check for $500, and she then presented two students who are graduates of their program. First up was Josh Brown, who will be entering Pitzer at the Claremont College this fall. He spoke about how Students Run L.A. had focused his life and being accepted at Pitzer certainly speaks well for his preparation. Christina Fong was next, and she echoed his words she will enter UCLA in September, and plans to go into Medicine. Also present was Paul Trapani he is the creator and coordinator of Students Run L.A. (and also married to one of John Wooden’s granddaughters). It is forever rewarding for us to see these fine youngsters who have so benefited from these mentoring programs.
ED JACKSON who was fined today for missing our meeting last December! told us about the Alan Campbell Award. ALLEN was an active member of WVRC while serving as Principal at Emerson Jr High, and he was also active in promoting scholarship. This annual award was shared by two students this year, at what is now known as Emerson Middle School, and it goes to the student or students who achieve the highest GPA at Emerson. They were unable to attend today, but may be with us next week. By the way, you should know that ED, as a student at Washington State, was the starting forward on their basketball team!
TORI HETTINGER, last year’s President of Rotaract and now the Rotaract District Governor for all of District 5280, came forward to announce that the Rotaract International Convention will be in Los Angeles this July 19th to the 22nd. They have reservations from Canada, all over the US, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Rim, which makes it a really big deal. We have provided USCC (United States, Canada, Caribbean) with $5,000 toward their costs. More on this as the event gets closer.
It was joke time. An elderly Floridian called 911 to report that her car had been broken into. She almost became hysterical as she explained to the dispatcher, “They have stolen the stereo, the steering wheel, the brake pedal, and even the accelerator”. “Stay calm,” said the dispatcher, “An officer is on the way and will be there shortly”. A few minutes later, the officer radioed in. “Disregard”, he said, “She got in to the back seat by mistake”. Now, as I’m sure you know by now, I’m a fan of President DON’S jokes - but it does appear that he is barely lasting out his term with this one…
President DON introduced our first Craft Talker, MARK ROGO. MARK joined WVRC on November 3rd, 2005, and was sponsored by ED GAULD. MARK has just returned from a family trip, planned for a long time, celebrating their 30th Anniversary. He only made up once enroute, but chose Rome, and it was impressive. But starting at the beginning, he was born and raised in LA. He graduated from Flintridge Intermediate and La Canada High, then on to the University of the Pacific, for a degree in Political Science in 1975. Growing up near the foothills, he developed a passion for bicycling, which endures today. He started the night school program at Southwestern School of Law, and also worked during the day as Controller for his Dad’s manufacturing business.
After a couple of years, he found he much preferred business to law, so ended his law studies. He met his wife about this time, they were married, and life began again. They moved to Westwood and have lived here ever since first on Lindbrook, and now on Manning. They have two girls their 20-year old is a junior at the University of Penn, majoring in Econ and aiming for an MBA. Their 25-year old just graduated from Medical School at USC (and YOE was present at that same graduation, for another friend). She has just begun her 4-year Residency in OB-GYN at Columbia, concentrating on surgery.
Mark built up the machine tool business, buying it from his Dad, and soon he had joint ventures in nine different countries. This involved a lot of travel, which kept him away from home, and he began to realize that manufacturing continued to leave the USA.
During this time, his father amassed a series of properties, and ended up with a whole bunch of real estate. Rogo Sr. didn’t like that, so turned it over to MARK, who then was hip deep in the RE business! He proceeded to downsize the business, but was looking around for something where he could stay at home, and still enjoy what he was doing. This led him to joining his wife, Lynn at Coldwell Banker in Beverly Hills. Their office sells more real estate than any other RE office in the WORLD. MARK also enjoyed an entertainment world connection through his fatherin-law. He ended his 'history' by admitting that any club that meets weekly at the Bel Air Hotel HE WOULD JOIN!
ED WRIGHT was up next he joined WVRC on January 2nd 2006. His sponsor was NICK KAHRILAS, and ED lives in Van Nuys. He of course went to UCLA, and as President DON pointed out, when ED joined us he brought the average age down several notches! While admitting that he was born in Yakima, Washington, “over forty years ago”, that only makes him almost half my own age…The family moved to Southern California when Ed was two, and his younger brother was born here he also has a half-brother, who is six years older. ED moved around a lot during his school years, attending several elementary and secondary schools. Since he was a young boy, he has been trying to find meaning in life, and thus studied Philosophy at UCLA. Ed is also one of those Betas, which gives us four, total.
In his senior year, he began trying some acting, and continued with it for a couple of years after graduation. During this time he met his now ex-wife, and they have a daughter, Hannah. She was with us on the Corazon project in Tecate a few weeks ago, and we all enjoyed meeting her. Hannah is thirteen, and just finished the 7th grade today.
After he got married, he mostly gave up the acting dodge, and joined State Farm. His job title was Claims Representative, specializing in 3rd party lawsuits. All during his time with State Farm he was a member of the National Disaster Response Team, which allowed him to travel all around the country, assisting policyholders with claims arising from such disasters.
After eight years, he left, and returned to school for a Certificate in Sound Engineering, that being more in line with his basic interest in the arts. Ed worked for several studios, in production and postproduction. When that ended, he returned to the Insurance industry as a Claims Representative for a small local company here in Southern California. After a couple of years, he and a friend started their own Claims operation.
This was a good learning experience, starting a business and handling the diverse problems that this presented. He then learned about a new aspect of the insurance business, involving premium finance and life settlements, which is what he is doing now. ED works with NICK KAHRILAS, where he manages their nationwide marketing staff. He looks forward to a continuing education in this new aspect of the insurance field.
Ed enjoys being with Hannah and his domestic partner, Jennifer. They all love the outdoors, and spend a lot of time camping in California, Nevada and Arizona. Probably their favorite spot is Joshua Tree National Park - they have been there dozens of times. They all enjoy good music, films, good food and conversation. He thanked us all for being accepted as a member of WVRC and the feeling is mutual, I’m sure.
There followed a joint Q&A, which I’ll try to report. DAN PRICE, Mark, what was the name of the studio where your father-in-law worked? They operated out of the Goldwyn Studios for United Arts, and it was the Mirisch Corporation. Some of their films were, Some Like It Hot, In the Heat of the Night, Fiddler on the Roof, Westside Story, the Pink Panther films, The Great Escape a varied list. JACK HARRIS, Mark, what do you expect in housing prices? I tell my clients there are two housing markets one is Manhattan and the West Side of LA, plus maybe Newport, and then, the rest of the United States of America. The law of supply and demand fully applies, and the pent-up demand here is what keeps prices rising there are just a limited number of properties available. Specifically, 70% of the brokers in their BH office are down, but he and Lynn are way up. They just closed escrow on a property that was listed last year from 2.9 million. It just sold for 3.1 million. Overall volume is down, but the prices are up almost 10%. SALLY BRANT rose to announce that Ed and Mark were the quarterly Program Chairs starting in July, so give them your ideas, please. Someone asked MARK if he was in any way related to the Mirish family, and he replied yes, but I couldn’t sort out who knew who. Someone else asked Ed if he had ever run into any fraud in the Adjusting business. One statistic is that over 38% of all fires have a suspicious origin. SHANE WAARBROEK, Why did you both join Rotary and what do you hope to get out of it?
Mark spoke first, reminding us of how privileged we are to be able to even have lunch at the Bel Air Hotel. Most of the rest of the world can only dream about doing this. We must do something to prove to God how appreciative we are for the lives we are able to lead, and that’s where service above self comes in. President DON here interjected the thought that Mark should perhaps sit down with PP RON LYSTER who founded the International Fellowship of Motorcycling Rotarians and talk about founding the International Fellowship of Bicycling Rotarians. ED GAULD asked ED WRIGHT if there appeared to be any Government interest in regulating this new area of Insurance in which he is involved. Actually, it’s usually the Insurance Carriers who put pressure on the Insurance Department. It is a new market, and it’s unregulated at present. I then rose to make an announcement which, even before I spoke, was greeted with raucous laughter. Overcoming this discourteous greeting, I persevered, pointing out that next week we will present the Firefighter of the Year award, with lots of the local Station #37 firemen present so please make a special effort to attend. (What is it they say about a prophet in his own country?) MARK then announced that the Westwood Library would have its first Book Sale this Saturday, from 1 to 4 pm. It’s a good chance to pick up some nice gifts, of course. ED GAULD, who is a bicyclist, then asked Mark how he avoided getting hit by the crazy drivers who are out there. Mainly he drives where there is less traffic, and remember, if you are on dirt, the fall is easier than on concrete or asphalt.
Thanks to both you guys we know you better now, and we enjoyed the visit.
President DON erred in announcing that he was leaving for Copenhagen tomorrow, which of course drew thunderous applause. When order resumed (this is a relative term, as I’m sure you understand) he told us that PP CHRIS Gaynor would be in charge on the 15th, and PP ERIC LOBERG on the 22nd AND they both have permission to FINE!
Sign on the Proctologists door: To Expedite Your Visit, Please Back In.