Is it summer already?  This week saw high temps on the low 90’s and it is not even St. Patrick’s Day yet!   President Robert Wilkinson called the 31st meeting of the 26th year of our La Quinta Rotary Club to order and asked Ben Hofheimer to lead us in the pledge.  This was followed with an invocation by Walter Keating.

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The “A” team was once again at the greeting table this week which included Doug Motz taking attendance, Sandy Stewart selling lunch tickets and Cindy Hall selling Raffle tickets.  

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President Robert introduced today’s visiting Rotarians with several travelers from the north including our now familiar contingent of 9 Rotarians from Washington, a Canadian or two, and Rotarians from as far east as South Bend, Indiana.  Flag exchanges took place with Rotarians from London, England and Vernon, California.  Welcome back Ed Casey was in attendance without his daughter Elizabeth...  and she was missed

President Robert and Dick Anderson announced that the East Coachella Valley Water Project had obtained the necessary “foreign partner” thanks to the Grand Prairie Club from Alberta, Canada contributing $4,100.00.  These funds will be used for our matching grant along with the Palm Desert Rotary (noon) club’s contribution of $3,000.00, plus District 5330’s $3,200.00 contribution along with our own club’s participation that will result at this time in a total of funds available in the amount of $18,500.00 for the project!  Other announcements this week included a quick update on the upcoming fund raiser this year called “STRUTT YOUR MUTT”. SYM Chairman Dave Turner was filling in the gaps but assured everyone that there would be plenty for club members to do at this event so PLEASE, everybody show up NEXT Saturday to help out.  There will be one final SYM Meeting at Dave Turner’s office on Tuesday (3/19) at 5:30 PM.  Joe LaMantia set the Rotary Direct forms at the greeting table and encouraged everyone to sign up and make sure that they check the “Annual Share Program” box on the sign-up sheets. Marc Rosen will be heading up the 4 Way test at the La Quinta High School and apparently has everything under control (if not, look for a white cloud of smoke coming from... no make that a red cloud of smoke, I don’t want anyone to get confused!)  It was announced that the next board meeting will be held on 4/17/13 at Lee Osborne’s office at 5:30 PM.  Dick Jandt let everyone know that the volunteers that helped to deliver the artist’s lunches at the #1 Fine Arts Festival in the U.S.A, the La Quinta Arts Festival, was a GREAT Success!  Finally, we were reminded that the Interact car wash and the Rotary parking lot sale is scheduled for April 6th.

With $700.00 in the jackpot this week, potential new member Preston Welch was the lucky raffle ticket winner… but unfortunately for him (but good for the rest of us!) he drew a white marble to win only $5 for his efforts. 

The lunch choices today were the always good South Western style Chicken Penne Pasta, the traditional Chicken Caesar salad, or the soup (white bean and beef) and a ½ grilled cheese sandwich, each of which was topped off with a generous slice of Hula Pie.

Allan Levin took to the podium and proceeded to nickel and dime (and by nickel and dime I mean $5 and $10) club members, Walter Keating, Doug Motz, Joe (man of La Mancha) LaMantia, Bill Cosgrove,  Merv Kolb, Dick Grund, plus a few visiting Rotarians that happened to find themselves in Allan’s line of fire today.  Helping to make budget for the day Jeff Wattenbarger paid for his wife Mary’s 39th birthday (again), Dan Fissori paid for his anniversary with his wife TC and Wes Faris paid for his anniversary with his wife HeatherDick Grund and Bob Becker, visiting Rotarian from Washington, both gave the club $100.00 to go to our water project.  Thanks, guys.

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Our Speaker today was the always informative and entertaining Mike Finnell. Mike was accompanied by Jeff Rodriguez and Traci Still. All of them work for the Discovery Land Company and were here today to present Discovery’s newest development project in the desert known as “The Thermal Club”. The Thermal Club is designed to be the premier private motorsports facility in the world. In addition to 4.5 miles of Members-only racetrack, the Club facilities will include a fully amenitized Clubhouse and Village unrivaled in the motorsports world. There will be 303 private memberships which will sell for around $200,000.00 each. In addition, there are 201 lots, both on and off track, available for purchase starting at around $175,000.00 with the premier lots going for in excess of $850,000.00. Unique to this development is the 18 foot tall sound wall that has been built around the entire perimeter of the race track. This wall will serve as the garage storage unit and the foundation upon which lot owners can build their own custom villa or have the Discovery Land Company build one for them! As nice as these villas are, unfortunately the county of Riverside (due to the proximity to the Thermal Airport) will not allow overnight occupancy… so in essence these villas will no doubt be the most luxurious “Sky Boxes” ever built! This is a very unique and upscale project that will cater to a very select audience but it will also be an incredible addition to our desert community. Mike is a great presenter and did a terrific job introducing us all to the Thermal Club. To learn more about this project visit their website at www.thethermal club.com. To learn more about the Discovery Land Company and their other fine developments go to their website at www.discoverylandco.com.

President Robert closed out the meeting leading the members in the four way test.