President Beth Russell opened the meeting to order and led the club in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Helen DiFate presented the invocation followed by The Wassail Song led by Bill Piper.
President Beth reminded us that no meeting will be held of December 28 and wished everyone a Happy Holiday and New Year. The first meeting of 2018 will be an All In Club Meeting on January 4. The January 11 meeting highlights the State of the 2018 Economy presented by club 11 member Juli Niemann.
January’s social event on the 17th will be hosted by the Salvation Army at 3010 Washington Apartments. The club’s second annual Trivia Night will be held on February 24. Club members were reminded to make their gifts to the Rotary Foundation and to the All-In-One Campaign.
The Club was visited by Santa Claus (Mike Mosella) and his helpful elf (Maggie Lampe) as they HO HO Hoed each table distributing high fives and candy canes. The good cheer was accompanied by President Beth singing “Santa Baby”. Santa then recognized guests and their sponsors. The club was then treated to a video featuring Jim Conway being interviewed by Mike Mosella. A riveting interview as Jim talked about his company’s fiftieth year anniversary, his political career in the state legislature and St. Louis City Mayor, and his community service involvement with the Police Commission and the St. Louis Zoo.
Helen DiFate introduced architect John Guenther and a long list of his projects in the St. Louis area.
Mr. Guenther visited Cuba as part of an architecture group visit to three Cuban cities and presented many pictures of buildings in three Cuban cities with most featuring Havana. Cuba has many buildings that at their origin were spectacular in design and construction but have shown lack of attention and decay since 1959 due to the revolution led by Fidel Castro. The automobiles, almost all predating 1959, are examples of time standing still. In October, 1960 all American owned hotels were taken over by the Cuban government.
Pre 1959 many buildings were designed and built by Americans. For a few years after 1959 Russia provided money for the Cuban economy but when they stopped funding Cuba in the mid 60’s buildings began to show the lack of maintenance. The once beauty of these buildings was evident in the photographs but the deterioration was evident. Mr. Guenther cited that some renovation of some historic cathedrals, public buildings and parks has been underway in recent years and funding is still limited but with some easing of travel restrictions there is hope that restoration will continue.
The meeting ended with a video of President Beth wishing us all Seasons Greetings.