President’s Letter – January 29, 2019

President’s Letter – January 29, 2019

At today’s meeting, Dan Aldrich was kind enough to get us started with the Flag Salute.  We followed that up with a tribute to Martin Luther King with the help of U-2 who wrote a song about his life “In The Name of Love”.  Thank you Davis for providing this uplifting invocation and song.  In the spirit of never taking ourselves too seriously, Michael Baker was sporting a couple of new wardrobe enhancements to his Sargent at Arms banner (red polka dot never looked so fashionable).  Sorry Michael but nothing is sacred when you visit the Fireside.

A number of the Los Angeles Rams stopped by via the PowerPoint slides and reassured us they will bring back a Super Bowl Trophy.  Even Tom Brady made short appearance, before he was tackled for being on the wrong team.  In honor of these fine athletes, we will hold a Super Bowl Pool so make sure and see Teresa at our next meeting to buy a square.  Leading our playoff pool with one game to go is Don Jack, Bill Dutton and Teresa Thornburgh.  Good luck, heading into the Super Bowl, and as my mother used to say make good choices.

Teacher Recognition
We held our first Teacher Recognition of the year and met Barbara Barr who is a sixth Grade Teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School.  She has been working with our current and future leaders at this school for 29 years! Congratulations Barbara for being such an asset to our community and for being recognized by your peers as an outstanding teacher.  She intends to use the $1,000 to improve the tools used in the classroom to teach Science, which sounds like a noble purpose for the funds. 

– Blood Drive – Our Rotary Blood Drive is coming in April so save that hemoglobin.  I may make my donation following the meeting this time and ask Pamela to be prepared to use her Florence Nightingale skills again.  Please sign up when provided the opportunity and if you know someone who would like to join us let them know.
– Guatemala – If you have any items that could be donated to our Guatemala contingent please bring those items to a meeting in the next two weeks and Don or Bill will bring those items with them.

Save the Date
We will be reconvening on Saturday 4/20/19 at the Goleta Boys & Girls Club for our Group 8 “Rise Against Hunger” service project.  This is a repeat of our previous effort at Direct Relief when the fires broke out and did not allow the materials to be delivered.  Thank you Michael Baker for allowing us to borrow your facility for the morning as we pack food boxes for the poor.

Board of Directors
We held a general meeting of the membership and elected the slate of board members for the fiscal year 7/1/19 to 6/30/20.  Next year’s board will include returning board members: Steve Baker, Steve Milam, Matt Nehmer and Myself with new board members: Michael Baker, Don Jack and Jennifer Lemert.  Dean Axelrod will take the gavel and Stacey Lydon is lined up as President Elect. Making room for these new board members are: Pamela Galvin, Steve Petersen and Michael Gardner.  With so many quality people on the board, our club is well positioned to do great things going forward.  Please reach out to them with your ideas and to help fill out the various committees we operate.

Speaker Presentation
Our speaker today was Nina Johnson who is the Senior Assistant to the City Administrator.  She came to us to speak about our beloved State St. that is showing significant change these days.  As retailers continue to close their doors and we move our shopping habits online the vacancies continue to grow.  We currently have 32 vacancies on State St. in the downtown corridor, which is higher than normal during a reasonably good economy.  Nina shared with us that the City of Santa Barbara is aware of the vacancy increases and attempting to make opening a pop up business easier.  They are also addressing the homeless issue on State St. with ambassadors and recently added a phycologist to help with mentally disturbed individuals.

One project the city is currently looking into is the freeway underpass on State St.  There are a number of ideas being discussed to make this underpass more inviting in an attempt to connect the waterfront to the downtown area.  We will keep an eye out for enhancements to this rather drab looking concrete underpass. One thing is for sure State St. will continue to change and evolve and the City of Santa Barbara will need to remain flexible to these changes in order to keep State St. vibrant going forward.  It sounds like Nina will be very busy dealing with all of these changes.      

Upcoming Events
Next week we will hear from Lisa Przekop of UCSB who will educate us on the support that Foster Kids receive from the school.  This is definitely a group of young people that our club cares about and hopefully we will become more educated on the options available to this group of young leaders.    


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