We meet Wednesdays, 7:30 am 
DESERT FALLS COUNTRY CLUB 
PALM DESERT, CA 92211 USA 
 
 
 
 
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Palms to Pines Rotary Club

 Palm Desert’s Morning Club

 

 
 
 
Palm Desert's Palms to Pines is a unique and fun Rotary Club. We invite you to visit us and share the experience. We emphasize the fellowship that is a vital part of the Rotary experience and it is the First Objective of Rotary. Our motto is "Service above Self".

Rotary is a volunteer organization of 1.2 million business and professional leaders who have committed to give back to their communities and the world through "Service Above Self".

Palms to Pines Rotary Club is part of one of the oldest and largest service organizations in the world. We invite you to come and join the fun of weekly fellowship, the joy of contributing to our local community and the excitement of lending a hand to people. The projects undertaken over the years have been many and varied. Drawing from a base of experience within the business community Palms to Pines Rotary club has been able to have an influence that reaches around the world.

 

 
Jim Brock was with us last week to talk about real estate. It’s turned into a sellers’ market here in the Coachella Valley with low inventories, rising prices and shorter times on the market. Affordability remains a serious problem throughout California but our home prices (a median price of $406,000) remain well below the statewide median of $584,460. The San Francisco Bay Area leads the state in prices with a median sale price of $1,010,000. Orange County’s median price of $818,000 is close to its pre-recession peak. Homeowners using Hero financing for energy efficiency improvement projects (solar, window replacement, etc.) are still running into problems when they wish to refinance or sell the property. Lenders will generally require payoff of the Hero loan before they will be willing to issue a new loan. Also last week, we learned we are continuing to plan a tree planting project at Xavier College Prep and Margaret Claggett announced a backpack and school supply drive for CV Rescue Mission. Kim Hardee won $4 in the Rotary Raffle.
Kim Hardee was our speaker last week and told us about the founding of her Coachella Animal Network (CAN). Low income people in the East Valley were (and continue to be) cited for failing to obtain licenses, vaccinations, and spay and neutering of their dogs and receive huge fines as a result. CAN offers low cost services to those individuals and, since 2013, over 4,500 animals have been spayed/neutered in her monthly clinics. Each clinic costs approximately $4,500 to operate and Kim relies on donations to make it work. Kim’s efforts have led to her nomination as one of CV Weekly’s 10 Most Interesting & Influential Women in 2018. The women nominated will be honored at a Thursday evening event at the Hotel Zoso in Palm Springs. Attendees will have the chance to vote for their favorite nominee and that individual’s charity will receive a cash donation. Make plans to attend and support Kim! Charley Riggs was our lucky Rotary Raffle winner last week and collected $20.
We had a doubleheader last week when we heard from our RYLA representatives as well as our own Paul Parry. Kiana Rodriguez and Emily McGowan are both juniors at Xavier College Prep and both had enthusiastic comments about their RYLA experiences. Also joining us were Kiana’s father and both of Emily’s parents as well as Xavier College Counselor Peter Kulevich. Emily’s mother also had glowing comments about her daughter’s RYLA experience. District 5330 holds two RYLA sessions each year at a camp in Crestline. Part two of our program was Paul Parry who told us a bit about estate planning. One of the best estate planning tools is a living trust because it avoids the expensive state-regulated probate process and keeps your affairs private. Great job Paul! Also last week, Pres. Richard Karp announced our Happy Dollars will be going to purchase books for the Read With Me program and RYLA rep Emily won $3 in the Raffle.
Last week we held a Club Assembly to update members on club activities and to discuss plans for our long hot summer. Last summer, Desert Falls eliminated breakfast service so we ended up dark for several months. Consensus seems to be that it is important to continue to meet at least informally during the summer months so tentative plans call for a monthly Road Trip as well as weekly informal breakfasts at area restaurants. We’ll report plans each and every week in the club Newsletter so pay attention! Also last week, we learned we collected over $800 for PolioPlus through Happy Dollar donations and we agreed to again donate $500 to the Dr. Carreon Scholarship fund. We’re also planning a tree planting activity at Xavier High School and we learned that Kim Hardee has been nominated as one of our valley’s inspirational women by CV Weekly. We’ll hear more about that next week! In addition to the nomination, Kim was also our lucky Rotary Raffle winner and collected $7.
Kelli Cox, our club treasurer and a principal in CGC Accountants & Advisors, gave us some insight on the new tax law and what it will mean to us. Some taxpayers will pay more and others will pay less under the new provisions and that’s why early tax planning is extremely important. Kelli says the best tax strategy remains to maximize contributions to retirement accounts but all too few working Americans do this. She urges us to stress the importance of this to our children and grandchildren. Kelli believes the expanded standard deduction will tend to hurt donations to nonprofit organizations and suggests older taxpayers fund donations from required IRA distributions. Very informative, Kelli! Also last week, we bid farewell to Sojourners Jim Eggers and Ray Leaycraft. We’ll miss you both! Charles Riggs was our lucky Rotary Raffle winner and donated his $5 winnings to PolioPlus. We donated Happy Dollars to PolioPlus during April and we hope to have a contribution total this week!
Michael Carra, an aviation and military historian, presented a fascinating program on the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1941, the U.S. armed forces were the 19th largest in the world—a far cry from our present strength. Even so, the Japanese command felt they needed to put our forces out of action for a minimum of six months to have a chance at victory.  The Japanese attacked with 353 planes and miniature submarines and managed to destroy 347 of the 402 aircraft on the island as well as sink or damage eight battleships—a devastating loss to the U.S. Michael has a theory that one battleship was sunk by a miniature submarine and has received permission from the Navy to dive in the harbor to search for evidence. This was truly a fascinating program! Thanks to Kay Van Zandt for lining it up! Also last week, Lillian Roberts won $8 in the Rotary Raffle and donated it to PolioPlus. All of our Happy Dollars are going to PolioPlus so be happy this month!
Bruce Wilcox, the assistant secretary for Salton Sea Policy for the California Department of Natural Resources, was our speaker last week. Bruce manages the development and implementation of the State’s Salton Sea Management program and works closely with the Salton Sea Authority, area water districts, counties and other stakeholders. The Salton Sea will be smaller in the future and there are numerous projects to help mitigate dust and air quality concerns. There are also efforts underway to stabilize the salinity of the sea to protect fish and waterfowl. Without these efforts, we can expect to see a rapid increase in salinity in the coming years. Also last week, we bid farewell to loyal Sojourner Anita Ratchinsky from Alberta. We’ll see you next winter, Anita! Sojourner Rick Gross made it two raffle wins in a row last week. After winning the pot a week ago, Rick came back last Wednesday and collected another $6. Rick decided to let it ride so buy tickets this week! Thanks Rick!
Last week we were prepared for tax tips but instead got the run down on the General Patton Memorial Museum at Chiriaco Summit, east of the valley. Michael Ables, museum executive director, was on hand to tell us about the museum’s various attractions and its expanding educational programming. The site of the museum was once part of Camp Young, an 18,000 square mile desert training facility established by George Patton. An estimated one million troops trained at Camp Young while it was active. The museum features educational exhibits from World War I through the present day and last year some 1,800 students from 30 schools toured the museum. The General Patton Memorial Museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Also last week, Sojourner Rick Gross pulled an Ace and collected $116 in the Great Rotary Raffle. Rick generously donated $40 of his winnings to Polio Plus. Thanks, Rick! To all the non-winners, buy raffle tickets this week!
Roberta Klein of the Read With Me Volunteers was our speaker last week. This program was founded in 2004 and today they have over 750 volunteers reading with low income English as a second language students throughout the valley. When the program began in 2004, schools with high populations of students not reading at grade level saw graduation rates of just 51 percent. Today, with 750 volunteers and the Read With Me program, those same schools now boast graduation rates of 81 percent, higher than most schools in the valley.  In addition to in-classroom support, students also receive books for summer reading and many also receive help with school supply and uniform costs from volunteers. This program offers a wealth of volunteer opportunities and Palms To Pines Rotary may be joining them for some of their future efforts.
Giacomina Marie and Paul Palodichuk joined us last week to talk about the first ever Palm Springs Cannabis Film Festival and Summit planned April19-22 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center and Camelot Theatres. The primary thrust of the event is education with three main program tracks—the Business Case Industry Series; Film Festival and Educational Summit and the green Rush Tourism Series. The pair gave a brief overview of each track and also made it clear that because of so many misconceptions of cannabis—medical vs. recreational—that education is very important. The couple spoke from their personal prospective of medical use. Both claim cannabis saved their lives. Thank you, Lillian, for bringing us a very educational program on a volatile topic. Thanks also to Kay Van Zandt for the notes!
Martin Arredondo, Regional Development Coordinator with LifeStream Blood Bank, was our speaker last week. LifeStream was founded in 1951 by the San Bernardino and Riverside county medical societies to insure a safe and adequate blood supply. Last year, LifeStream provided 230,000 blood products to 80 hospitals in Southern California. They operate five donor centers (including one in La Quinta) as well as 10 coaches for mobile drives. Lifestream also participates in the National Marrow Donor Program. Also last week, Martin Kubelik honored his children, JJ and Elsie, by contributing to make each of them Paul Harris Fellows. Thank you!. Our Happy Dollars for the month will be contributed to PolioPlus and Kay Van Zandt was a lucky $10 winner in the Rotary Raffle. Kay donated her winnings to PolioPlus.
Palm Desert Mayor Sabby Jonathan provided us with a mini “State of the City” address last week. Mayor Jonathan is extremely optimistic about our city but touched on some of our major challenges including the cost of public safety (now over half of our general fund budget) and regional homelessness. The mayor told us about the Palm Desert Strategic Plan and says our population (now at 50,000) should never exceed 100,000. He also touched on our city’s educational system. A Palm Desert student will be able to attend pre-school through university and eventually earn a doctorate….unheard of in a city our size. Also last week, Margaret Claggett made it two raffle wins in a row and collected $5. Buy tickets this week!
With us last week were Tom and Michelle Bianco, owners of Pawnshield Fine Jewelry & Loan. Tom grew up in the jewelry business and the couple’s current business is located near Starbucks at 74836 Technology Dr. at the corner of Cook and Gerald Ford. They buy, sell and loan on fine jewelry and collectables. The pawn business has come a long way from the Hollywood stereotype of paying cash for stolen merchandise. Now, the industry is tightly regulated by the state. Less than one half of one percent of stolen property might turn up in a pawn shop according to Tom. Pawn loans are for up to four months and can be renewed. Some 82 percent of customers repay their loans and reclaim their merchandise. Interesting program, Tom and Michelle! Also last week, Margaret Claggett collected all of $6 in the Rotary Raffle and Doug Walker donated more Girl Scout cookies to the club. Cookie winners included Margaret, Jim Brock and Sojourner Jim Davis. Thanks, Doug!
Connie Golds, founder of Desert Best Friend’s Closet, was our speaker last week. Connie founded the group 10 years ago and it has helped thousands of clients with wardrobe and image assistance since then. In addition to interview attire, Best Friend’s Closet also offers programs for veterans and a military ball gown and prom dress program. They also teach interview skills and provide resume help. They have an ongoing need for attire, volunteers and cash donors and will be holding their annual fashion show fundraiser on April 5. Also last week, we recognized Pres. Richard Karp’s birthday a day early and Jim Eggers was a $20 winner in the Rotary Raffle. Jim donated his winnings to Rotary Foundation. Foundation Chair Kay Zan Zandt recommended Rotary Direct as a painless way to make automatic contributions to Rotary Foundation. We’ll have signup sheets available again this week. Doug Walker donated boxes of Girl Scout Cookies and the lucky winners were Kay, Lillian and Paul.
Last week we skipped a speaker and instead enjoyed a great Rotary Fellowship breakfast at our weekly meeting. We welcomed back Sojourners Rick Gross from Germany and Norm Legare from Calgary and again welcomed guests Tom and Michelle Bianco. Pres. Richard Karp promoted the upcoming District 5330 Conference in Cathedral City on May 18-20. Richard wants to get a table of P2P Rotarians together for the event so put the district conference on your calendar now! Also last week, Treasurer Kelli Cox got the semi-annual dues invoices out so please pay promptly. In addition to your dues, please consider making additional donations to our P2P Rotary Foundation as well as to Rotary Foundation. Last but certainly not least, Jerry Kress was the lucky winner of the great Rotary Raffle. Jerry only managed to draw a three but that was good enough to break even for the week. Buy tickets this week…..let’s build the pot!
 
 
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