January 20, 2022
Westwood Village Rotary Club

Coming up on January 27

Steve Scherer

Steve Scherer pulls together a panel of the club's financial wizards for our annual Financial Forum. How did our prognosticators do? What is their advice for 2022?

Westwood Virtual Rotary Club Meeting for January 20, 2022

Our weekly Rotary Club meeting was called to order by PP Marsha Hunt precisely on time at 12:30 after a half hour “meet and greet” session online. PP Ron Lyster was called on to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. PP Mike Newman was called on to lead us in the Thought for the Day but unable to unmute his phone, so we moved on.

Our UCLA Rotaractor, Serin, read the Rotary Four-way Test, a fixture of guidance for all of us to follow;

Saving the best for last, PP Marsha called on PP Ed Gauld to lead us in glorious song, leading us in the song “School Days” and wearing his Abe Lincoln hat.
PP Marsha asked for visiting Rotarians, and we had James and Serin (Club Secretary) from the UCLA Rotaract Club. We will not be meeting in–person as the Luskin Center in February as originally planned, due to the Luskin’s delayed opening. Hopefully we will meet March 3rd

Today’s 1st speaker was our new number, Sunda Croonquist, who brought us some levity as a professional stand-up comedian, producer and owner of L.A. School of Comedy. She also announced that she will be starting a comedy club in Westwood Village soon, maybe in coordination with our own Roozbeh. 

Sunda is from Patterson, New Jersey, home of Lou Costello.
She would love to have more comedy in our Club meetings and looking forward to the in-person meetings. She has two children, with one in Liverpool. 

Sunda fascinated us with her insights on comedy. She looks upon comedy as “healing and powerful”. Working with Peter Lowy, former owner of the Westfield Mall on reform in the criminal justice system. Her future plans include a group designed to promote visits by children to see their parents who are incarcerated. Sunda also worked previously in Gilda’s Club, a comedy club formed by former SNL member Gilda Radner before she passed from cancer.

Curiously enough, Sunda claimed to be shy, with a straight face, as she flamboyantly talked to us from her podcast studio. “My love of comedy will always be there”, showing itself in her passion during her craft talk. She would like to work with children more through comedy, helping them communicate despite the pandemic. “Kids have things to say too”. 
Sunda expressed her appreciation to Roozbeh for introducing her to Rotary. Sunda wrote a cookbook titled “Kosher Soul Food” written about her love of cooking.
She mentioned Bob Sagit and his work in Valley Village and the loss of Bob’s talents.

PP Ed Gauld opened up the Q&A part of Sunda’s craft talk, with a comment about the level of socially unacceptable language in some comedy clubs. Sunda agreed and advocated for clean jokes. Phil Gabriel talked about how most comedians are part time and need to support themselves with a part-time job elsewhere. Sunda made the observation that national headliners always get paid, and added “You’d be surprised how you can make a living as a comedian”. John O’Keefe wanted to know what the best comedy club was in Los Angeles. Of course she thought her club was the best, but added that several LA Clubs were enjoyable but in the process of making changes to survive. PP Ed Gauld tried out with a joke, failing miserably, but I applaud him for the effort. (Ed – keep your day job).
I had to laugh at Sunda’s attempts to have her name pronounced correctly. 

PP Marsha proceeded to ask John O’Keefe to introduce our next speaker, Ellen Simon, who is the Executive Director of Hear Center, and a member of the Pasadena Rotary Club since 2008. She is a clinical audiologist, holding a master’s degree in audiology from the University of Michigan. 

This is for free and low-cost services in audiology to people in the L.A. County. She started with working with babies and their hearing issues. It’s also the only non-profit hearing center in Los Angeles County. The Hear center was founded in 1954 by Dr. Ciwa Griffiths as a non – profit. It provides numerous services along with hearing aids, such as Phonak, Siemens, Widex and ReSound.

The ear is a very complex part of the human body, including having the three smallest bones in the body (frequent Jeopardy question). Hearing loss can be manifest in several ways, including hearing fatigue, as measured on an audiogram. The Hear Center provides low cost or free hearing aids and no-interest payments to low-income seniors and others.

  • Only about one out of five people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one,
  • About 28.8 million US adults could benefit from using hearing aids.
  • Roughly 10% of the US adult population have experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year.

Options include tinnitus management, cochlear implant, enhanced volume on landlines, rechargeable hearing aids, visual fire alarms, and more. For more information you can contact Philip Shura [email protected] (626) 734-6555 or Rebecca Arroyo [email protected]

“A wonderful presentation” as PP Marsha says, and it certainly was. She admitted how she cries at the videos showing a child hearing for the first time, especially their mother’s voice. Very moving. Phil Gabriel talked about his daughter’s friend who had hearing aids, and PP Ron Lyster mentioned that the Club sponsored a group that went down to Guatemala about 25 years ago to perform cochlear implants. PP Ed Gauld asked about the pricing of hearing aids, mentioning the huge variation in price out in the general market. PP Tom Barron talked about his ability to hear sounds but not necessarily hear the nuances that allow him to make sense of the sounds so he understands what is being said. (It’s a huge problem for him and his barber.)
John O’Keefe asked about the role heredity plays in hearing loss, and Ellen confirmed that it does play a major role. And ear wax should be removed by a physician. John also asked about the funding. Most of their money comes from individual donations, grants, and service fees.

PP Marsha announced a donation in Ellen’s honor to the Los Angeles Public Library Westwood branch.

PP Michael Newman was finally able to join us and give us the Thought for the Day.

“Thinking positively does not mean you have not committed any mistakes. Think carefully about what you have done wrong so you can avoid them in the future.” --- Abraham Lincoln
“Self-care is so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, you can serve others. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” --- Elleanor Brown

PP Tom Barron will be leading our meeting next Thursday, at our annual Financial Seminar meeting, hearing from our own Club experts. And so it goes, another opportunity to join together for our weekly Rotary Club meeting. In the words of my mother, “Life is a living & learning experience.”

--- PP Mark Rogo

WVRC 2020/2021 Leadership Team
President: Nancy McCready
Treasurer: Terry M. White
Youth/Vocational Service: Phil Gabriel
Director/Peace: PP Marsha Hunt
Foundation: PP Steve Day
Global Scholarships: PP Chris Bradford
Webmaster: PP Ron Lyster
Director/Merchant Minute: PP Mark Rogo
District Governor: Bette Hall
Immediate Past President: Diane Good
Secretary: PP Diane Good
Community Service: Aaron Donahue
International Service: Nevin Senkan
Program Chair: PP Tom Barron
Membership: PP Mike Newman
Director/Social Media: PP Aly Shoji
Windmill Editor: P Nancy McCready
Assistant District Governor: Michael Lushing