Dick and Victoria are greeted by Eunice, Baird and Nick
We gathered together as Rotarians and friends on a warm and windy day for our last meeting in the month of April.   President Doug Motz called the meeting to order at 12:15 and lead us in the pledge of allegiance.  This was followed by an invocation given by Bruce Underwood.
We only had a couple of visiting Rotarians, our good friends Barry from South El Monte and Bob Woodward who would be attending his second to last meeting before leaving for home in May.
Bruce Cathcart took a moment to read from one of our Rotary Scholarship Recipient’s application (Austin Norman) his answer to the essay question, “What Rotary Means to me”.  The essay ended with this, “Rotary is a powerful force of good that reaches all corners of the globe and provides for even the most downtrodden of people and works to help people have a love for life that everyone deserves.  I am proud and honored to have been a part of it.”  Bruce promises to read from a different recipient’s essay each Friday in the weeks ahead.
Announcements included:
Dick Jandt announced that the City of La Quinta’s Birthday Picnic celebration would take place on Saturday.  As has been our custom for the past 20 years or so, our club donates all the dogs, buns and condiments as well as cooks and serves them to the citizens in attendance for free!
The Rotary Grill Team with two of our Interact Students
Mayor Linda Evans and Council Woman Kristy Franklin with the Grill Masters
Since this newsletter was written after the picnic it is noted that the event went off without a hitch and 1,000 hot dogs were served to the very appreciative residents of La Quinta.
President Doug announced that the Tribal Elders meeting for the upcoming PRYDE event would be held this weekend in Banning.  Victoria Llort would be attending and could use some company.
Our three Interact Student volunteers
Marc Rosen shared with us about his adventure to Riverside with our La Quinta Rotary 4-way Test Speech Competition winner Javier Ponce.  Javier apparently wowed both the judges and the crowd with his story telling style speech and was a semi-finalist winning another $200.00 for his efforts.  Congratulations Javier and THANK YOU Marc for all that you do with our students!
Today was our last day with our Favorite Server Daniella so the basket was passed and as always our member’s generosity was revealed in a final thank you for all of the special courtesies and the fine service she always provided to us.
Adrian Gysi and his new knee were welcomed back.
Victoria Llort gave us the “Joke of the Week”.  Switching to brunette jokes (who are apparently only as smart as blondes) she shared with us a woeful tale of a cat losing his tail and being taken to Walmart since they were the largest re-tailer in town!
Our raffle was worth over $200.00 today and Diane Weaver drew the white marble to win only $5.00 of it!
Our Fine Master Allan Levin stepped to the podium and immediately recognized himself for his 7 year anniversary with his wife Barbara.  Arnie paid $20.00 for his no-make ups (Welcome back Arnie!).  Judith chipped in $20.00 for her last meeting of the season (going home to Maryland); Bob Becker also gave $20.00 for his last meeting before returning to his home in Washington (State).  You will both be missed!  Allan stumbled into a virtual gold mine when he casually asked if anyone had forgotten to wear their Rotary Pin and to everyone’s amazement there were 8 Rotarians naked of pins this day!  Bruce Underwood contributed a few bucks for the final night of Passover and President Doug donated a fiver for the weekend pass his wife was giving him by being at the Stagecoach Music Festival all weekend.
Our speaker this day was Mark Hunter.  Mark served 26 years as a special agent with the FBI before retiring as the Senior Resident Agent of the Palm Springs FBI Office in May 2012. He then went to work for the Treasury Department at the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP).  ​​​​​​SIGTARP is a law enforcement agency that conducts investigations of TARP related crime. Congress gave SIGTARP the power to search, seize and arrest.  From SIGTARP’s inception through​April 2016, the agency and its law enforcement partners were responsible for criminal charges filed against 343 individuals, criminal convictions of 241 defendants, of whom 147 have been sentenced to prison (others are awaiting sentencing) and $5.2B in court orders and agreements as a result of SIGTARP investigations.  Mark shared with us some of the challenges associated with transitioning from the FBI which was responsible for 14,000 square miles of territory with a staff of 12,000 agents, 20,000 support personnel and an annual budget of $6 to $7 billion dollars to the Treasury Department with 150 employees (50 of which have a badge and a gun) and an annual budget of $40 million dollars!  He cautioned us on the use of our personal computers on “open Wi-Fi systems” and assured us that the user agreements (the ones we never read) give Facebook, Google, Apple iphones and all the rest the right to monitor and track our every action!  One of the most interesting facts that Mark shared with us was that after retiring, the average law enforcement officer’s life expectancy is only 4 years!  Mark’s presentation was very informative and much appreciated by all those in attendance.  Mark, we thank you for your service and we hope you do not retire for many more years.
At 1:37 President Doug called the meeting to a close with the Four Way Test.
This newsletter was written by Bruce Cathcart