2011-02-23, Jeff Witte, NMSU Food Safety Laboratory

President Richelle Ponder called the meeting to order for Barbara Rose Farber’s invocation; Barbara Rose let us know about Franklin McKay’s hospitalization after emergency surgery on Saturday, February 19.  After President Richelle led the Pledge of Allegiance, Bob McPherson led the singing of “America.”   Next, we had the chance to greet everyone, including mystery greeter Ted Shelton. 

President Richelle introduced the visiting Rotarian and guests of club members.  Mark Santiago presented Farm and Ranch Heritage license plate #2 to Gerald Thomas; #1 went to the museum.  It was noted that Christopher Dulany has been appointed the student regent at NMSU for a two-year term.  Barbara Rose asked for members to volunteer to contact some additional restaurants for Taste of Las Cruces. 

Paul Comeau gave happy dollars in honor of his 4 great grandchildren; the newest one Connor arrived this week to Paul’s granddaughter Jodi and spouse (and Rotarian) Jake Redfearn.  Russell Allen told us of Representative Steve Pearce’s economic forum to be held on Thursday at Good Samaritan.  Ana Mangino fined herself for taking her badge home each of the last two weeks.  Jim Bullock reminded us of the Paul Harris Fellow matching initiative, noting that since 2003, 74 Paul Harris Fellows have been named through the initiative.  Jim asked that Rotarians contact him by March 16 about naming anyone this year; Presentations will be April 27.  The Paul Harris committee was also to meet following the club meeting. 

Chris Dulany reminded us of the fellowship happy hour 5:30 Thursday at the Ump 88 Bar and Grill in Picacho Hills.  Mel Parish told us that next week’s program would concern Rotary Youth Exchange, and that a survey of interest in our club’s participation would be taken after the program. 

Our February students gave their talks.  Ginger Franco from Las Cruces High introduced her parents Joe and Alice, and told us that her favorite thing to do is sing; before LCHS, Ginger graduated from Holy Cross Elementary.  She attended RYLA, participates in her church group and Mayor’s Top Teens.  She plans to attend NMSU. 

Riley Rice of Mesilla Valley Christian is a member of the varsity basketball (five years) and volleyball (two years) teams, plays the flute in the band, sings in the choir, and helps lead the school’s Young Patriots club, National Honor Society chapter, and Students Leading Through Service.  Riley teaches Sunday school at Calvary Baptist, carries a 4.25 GPA to be fifth in her class, and works in her parents’ office, Rice & Rice CPAs.  She plans to study accounting and biomedical engineering at the University of Arizona. 

James Blanchard of Oñate High, whose father is the band director at Zia Middle School, told us about how, in fourth grade, he decided to be a flautist.  He has participated in the World Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan.  His dream job is to conduct the Chicago Symphony, and plans to study conducting at Rice, Northwestern, Vanderbilt or the Cleveland Institute. 

Amber Lalla from Mayfield High introduced parents Michael and Sharon Lalla, then told us of her involvement in track and field (two state relay championships in prior years), and membership and leadership in the Key Club, National Honor Society, and the Spanish Club.  She is also an officer of the senior class.  She has participated in the National Hispanic Institute and volunteered at Memorial Medical Center.  Amber plans to study biology or biomedicine preparing for a career as a surgeon, and is working on a college decision. 

NMSU logoThe Program

Blaine Goss briefly introduced Jeff Witte, of the NMSU Food Safety Laboratory.  Jeff talked about the many countries that are involved in providing food to our tables.  Examples were Mexico for much produce, pepper and spices from the Far East, and fish and shellfish from southeast Asia.  He noted that in the US, about 10% of income goes to procure food, compared to as high as 80% in some countries. 

Walt Baker visits with Jeff Witte after the meetingJeff then talked about the illegal animal trade that generates $4 to $6 billion annually with an estimated 38,000 animals daily coming into the country.  With those animals come many diseases and pests affecting our food supply.  He discussed a long list of food and disease crises and their effects:  H1N1, “Mad Cow” disease—one cow from Canada, seven years of quarantine—, the spinach crisis of 2006, the peanut butter recall and its effects  in New Mexico, melamine in pet food, how salmonella tainted green onions put the Chi Chi’s restaurant chain out of business, and how botulism tainted Castleberry Chile was found in small retailers in southern New Mexico (recalls don’t always get the attention they need). 

Jeff discussed the FDA funded food safety program at NMSU, providing food safety education and training, participating in food protection alliances, and conducting active surveillance of food safety issues; New Mexico was in the forefront in the spinach and Costco cheese issues.  He closed reminding us that America has the safest and most abundant food supply in the world. 

After the Program

Steve Loman won the 50/50 drawing before President Richelle led the Four Way Test and adjourned the meeting. 

<prior week   following week>

Guests of Rotarians

Guest    Host
Alice Franco Club
Joe Franco Club
June Briggs Dinus Briggs
Janet Witte Dinus Briggs
David Thomas Gerald Thomas
Annie Mason Matt Holt
Bill Mattiace Wanda Mattiace
Sharon Lalla Club
Michael Lalla Club

Visiting Rotarians

Rotarian Home Club
Wendy Beserra Rio Grande

Student Guests

Student School
Ginger Franco Las Cruces
Amber Lalla Mayfield
James Blanchard Oñate
Riley Rice Mesilla Valley Christian


Rotarian Date Club

March Birthdays of Rotarians

Dinus Briggs March 5
Kent Evans March 13
Harry Hansen March 14
Howard Ness March 14
Jake Redfearn March 22
Robert McPherson March 25
Arlyn Kriegel March 26

March Wedding Anniversaries

Lyn & Judith Ames March 23
Frank & Kerry Szalay March 26

March Club Anniversaries

Charles Townley March 1 20 years
Bill Wheeler March 3 12 years
David McCollum March 3 7 years
Arlyn Kriegel March 5 31 years
Denton Holmes March 7 10 years
Tom Bahr March 21 20 years
Mark Santiago March 21 4 years
Jim Bullock March 30 28 years

Submitted by Bill Harty Bill Harty