The 28th meeting of the 25th year of La Quinta Rotary was called to order by President Elect Robert Wilkinson.  Bob Wright led us in the Pledge of Allegiance and Allan Levin gave the invocation.  Visiting Rotarians and guest were aplenty from Ohio, Washington, and numerous visiting from Canada.  We also had a couple of guests of Rotarians visiting today.

Announcements:

Buddy System- Greg Lane - there has been a rough draft completed and a list formed.  There are a few corrections to be made and should be ready next week.

Tabs for Tots - don’t forget to continue to collect those and turn into Jim at meetings each week.

Tour de Palm Springs - still need a couple of more volunteers on February 11th.  We had some Interact students drop from the volunteer list.

Spring Clean - Community Garage Sale - March 31st - location still to be determined.

There will be a Board Meeting Wednesday, February 15, 2012, at 8am at the Chamber offices.

Tennis Tournament - March 31 and April 1st - there will be a Rotary Challenge division (for unrated players only), pitting teams from Valley Rotary Clubs against one another.  There will be other divisions for USTA rated players.  Let Robert know if you are interested in forming a team.

Frank Devlyn, 200-2001 Rotary International President, will speak at a luncheon at Desert Falls Country Club on February 28th from 11:30-2:00.  Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells and La Quinta Rotary Clubs are sponsoring this event.  RSVP to Ricardo Loretta, Ricardo.loretta@gmail.com or 858-344-4812, if you would like to attend.

The raffle was held with $112 pot and the reporter needs to take the blame for bad reporting in not remembering who won the raffle - it was a member and a $5 prize…..

Boy Scout Andrew Davis received permission from the City of La Quinta to build a 9/11 memorial in La Quinta Park.  He was able to obtain a piece of steel from Ground Zero in New York City which will be incorporated in the monument.  Donations are welcomed.

Our Fine Master Allan Levine took the podium.  Mr. Turner carried the basket being the proud owner of a fine free badge.  Allan once again collected for no make ups, Super Bowl wagers, a donation in memory of Karen Kolb by Walter Keating, and Robert Wilkinson’s birthday (which we sang to Robert- we were actually quite good, if I do say so myself).  Also recognized were Doug Motz, he and Carol are celebrating a wedding anniversary, and Captain Ray Gregory for his numerous media appearances during the week.  Phil Rushing once again contributed for his fine menswear attire.  Bob Wright contributed for making three consecutive meetings in a row.  Captain Gregory donated happy dollars for reporting that the burglars that struck in La Quinta Park Monday were caught Thursday trying to do it again.    

Our speaker was Mark Graves, the Executive Director of Marketing and Communications from thePalm Springs Coachella Valley Convention and Visitors Authority.  Some of the highlights included:

        Tourism is the number one industry in our valley.
        We get around 6.3 million visitors a year in our valley (day trip and overnight).
        CVA formed in 1989 by Sonny Bono, Jean Benson, and Dick Oliphant.
        It is supported by eight cities in  the valley with hotels, with a budget of $7.8 million and 40  
             employees.
        The number one priority for the organization is to “put heads in beds”.
        Attractions are important but there is more and more emphasis around events.
        Biggest competitors are San Diego, LA, Orange County, Santa Barbara, Long Beach,
             Monterey, Phoenix/Scottsdale, and West Palm Beach, FL.
        Jan - May is high season in the desert. 
        2011 hotel occupancy was up 9% from 2010.  December 2011 was 22% ahead of                  
            December 2010.
        Local Indian tribes contribute to the CVA through the County.
        Trends - more foreign visitors are coming, while 80% of business comes from 
            Southern California.

Robert Wilkinson thanked our speaker and adjourned the meeting with the Four Way Test.

Editor"s Note:  A reminder that there will be a memorial service for Karen Kolb on Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at the Sunset View Clubhouse at Del Webb Sun City.  From the main gate, go straight up Del Webb Blvd, past the first clubhouse, about a mile from the gate.  You'll go over a bridge, and about two blocks from there you will see a putting course and golf carts, turn right and you're there.