by Bob Morin
On January 26th, we held our very successful Annual Dinner Meeting/Election. We had the best crowd in quite a few years with well over 100 participants. Thank you to jerri Wiley for making all the arrangements with the restaurant and for handling all the reservations. Lee Grannis spoke about alternative fuels and judging by the number of questions he took, Iíd say that many found the topic fascinating. Thanks to Gary Ross for lining up our speaker. Roger Chartier did another terrific job making sure that everyone in attendance went home with a nice doorprize. We raised $865 for ALS through our raffle and by selling some of the remaining doorprizes, your choice for $5. Thank you to all who contributed to this very worthy cause, helping people cope with this terrible disease that is currently affecting one of our long-time members. Thank you to Nancie Giacalone for her help selling the raffle tickets and to jerri once again for her help with the $5 prizes.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing board for their service to the Chapter during 2007 and especially to Rudy Basztura and Bill Mellott, who have decided not to seek a board position in 2008. The Baszturas ran some terrifically successful events for us while Rudy was on the board. Bill and his wife Lisa work their tales off at all of our Driverís Schools. We hope none of you will be strangers in the future.
Everyone else who was currently on the board will be returning, but with some shuffling. jerri Wiley won a write-in vote for Secretary (we had no candidate) and agreed to serve in that position, while Jim Hurczyn has agreed to fill jerriís empty position as a member-at-large. The new guy on the block is Jim Merriman and he is so full of ideas, we may need to give him a monthly column in the DZ. Heís already involved with the 1 Series Ride & Drive at New Country Motorcars on March 30th and has also agreed to take on chairmanship of our Street Survival Program, which he has been working diligently on already. Welcome Jim, weíre excited to have you on the board.
Upcoming events include our Wine & Cheese Party, held again this year at the home of Jim & Maria Hurczyn in Bristol, CT on Saturday, March 8th. Next is the above-mentioned 1 Series Ride & Drive, which should be very exciting as the 1 series may just be the most anticipated BMW among club members in the last who knows how many years. This is scheduled for Sunday, March 30th and will start bright and early at 8:30 AM.
Our first Driverís School of the year will be Friday, April 11th. If you are planning to attend, please be aware that there will be some changes in how our schools are run this year, since we will be working with the new Club at Lime Rock Park, so pay attention to everything you see regarding the school. April 19th, we will hold a Top Gear viewing party in North Granby at our home.
Iíve been a little discouraged by the F1 news so far. The new BMW Sauber F1.08 has been about a second off the pace in testing against the top of the grid, which puts it about where the team was last year. Iím sure they were hoping to be closer to the pace of the top teams. The first race in Australia is not until March 16th, so there is still time to show improvement, but I would imagine all the other teams are thinking the same thing, so we shall see. They have signed Austrian test driver Christian Klien who has F1 experience, so maybe heíll be able to contribute to the carís development.
In News From National, membership now stands at 75,823, up 0.47% from last month, but only 0.03% over last year, so there is plenty of room for improvement. The big news is the search for a new Executive Director is over and we want to welcome Frank Patek II who has taken over the position. Frank has nine years of experience with another national organization as Executive Director and has worked in the not-for-profit association field for 14 years. Congratulations to Frank and we look forward to working with him in the very near future.
Thatís it for this monthÖ