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Long overdue

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Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 12:00 pm

After awarding Alyssa Yentsch a “long overdue” scholarship, Rex Allen Days, Inc. (RAD), is focusing on gathering new sponsorships, by hosting a reception this coming Tuesday for all “past, continuing, and potential sponsors” of the annual event.

The reception will be held from 4:30 p.m., to 6:30 p.m., on Tuesday, March 19, at Valley Telecom Group’s community room, at 752 E. Maley St., in Willcox. 

The RAD committee encourages individuals; groups – civic service, veteran, fraternal, and student organizations; and businesses to attend the reception to learn more about this year’s event, as well as sponsorship opportunities.

RAD Board members and committee chairmen will be on hand to discuss particular aspects of the Rex Allen Days event and  answer any questions.

The reception was scheduled at last month’s regular RAD meeting, held Feb. 19 at Big Tex BBQ.

During that same meeting, the Queens scholarship was granted to Yentsch, the 2010 Rex Allen Days Queen.

“I greatly appreciate it, and want to thank everybody that has stood behind me throughout this long journey of receiving my scholarship from Rex Allen Days, Inc.,” said Yentsch, adding, “a special thanks goes to Dennis Williams and Mark Lucke.”

This action by the current Board was not without controversy, generating a lengthy –and at times heated – discussion by those attending the meeting that evening,

Parade Chairman Chuck Broeder moved to award the Queens Scholarship to Yentsch, which was seconded by Membership Chairman Jonnie Belle Bethel.

Hector Figueora  said that if the Board voted to do so, “you can write me off for $2,500,” adding that he spoke for both himself and Jeff Willey, meaning the loss of a total $5,000 in donations.

The previous RAD Committee voted in October 2012 to not award the scholarship to Yentsch.

Former RAD Treasurer  Alfred Telles said Feb. 19 that the decision was based on the precedent to award the scholarship only if the Queen was enrolled in college at that time or in  the  coming Spring.

Rodeo Chairman Dennis Williams replied that there was nothing in writing that required that.

Honey Nicholson added that, while she had really not been involved prior to this, “I feel that this is like beating a dead horse.”

She echoed Williams’ sentiments that there are no specific requirements to that effect.

Nicholson said that having been a Board member on many different organizations, “I know that you need to have it in writing.”

“We are listening to the community,” she said. “Let’s just go ahead and pay the scholarship.”

Telles said, “Then why didn’t she bring it up three years ago?”

Nicholson replied that she didn’t want to argue about it with anyone, saying, “We are addressing a concern in the community. We are working for the good of Willcox.”

Figueroa re-iterated that he and Jeff Willey would not be donating the $5,000 if Yentsch was awarded the scholarship.

Willey said later that Figueroa did not speak for him.

“If I want someone to know how I feel about this, I will speak for myself,” he told the Range News.

“My donation is not based on the scholarship award.”

Former RAD President Michelle Mullins said at the meeting that the by-laws state that someone may not profit by being a member of the RAD Committee, and since Yentsch is now the Queens Chairman, she would benefit by receiving the scholarship.

In response, current RAD President Clement said later,  “A point of the by-laws that state no member should benefit from the Corporation was brought up during the discussing leading to the vote.”

“After reviewing previous officers receiving checks for reimbursements (including officers in the last few years), it was deemed that if an officer/committee chair submitted expense reports and were issued reimbursements, thus the RAD, Inc. having owed them a debt, these members/officers did not profit, but, instead, funds were paid to fulfill that debt,” he said.

“Under that precedent, as well as payment having been deferred from the time Alyssa did meet any ‘requirements.’ In effect, she is not “profiting”, but being paid the debt RAD already owed,” Clement explained.

Broeder called for the question, and Clement called for a voice vote of the membership. The agenda item passed with the lone dissenting vote cast by Mullins, who did not say “Nay,” but raised her hand instead.

“Do you mean to tell me that you are turning down $5,000?” said Figueroa, in response to which Williams expressed his concern that Figueroa was trying to blackmail the RAD Committee.

Shortly thereafter Mullins left the meeting, saying,  “Thanks, guys. Screw the rest of you.”

Clement said later, “Congratulations to Alyssa Yentsch, having received her payment from RAD, Inc. that has been due for some time!”

“Previously, when she tried to collect, when she was enrolled and met any requirements, she was told there were not funds available,” he said.

“The next president and board declined to meet RAD’s obligations.”

“The current board discussed the issue of repayment due to Alyssa at length with each other and the communities affected by this (including residents out as far as Elfrida and Vail),” Clement said.

“Without further delay it was decided to pay Alyssa, as the current RAD President had come to terms with Alyssa on the amount from various funds,” he said.

 “ Local community members assisting in this, for which we are very appreciative, shows the outstanding character of those that comprise the great southeast of Arizona.”

Clement went on to say, “Having gotten great reviews on Alyssa’s work ethic, as well as early volunteering of her time and experience as a queen, it was decided she would make an excellent Queens Committee Chair, and she accepted.”

Later in the meeting, Clement talked about the RAD by-laws, in terms of “who is a member and who can vote.”

“We have members, and we have a Board of Trustees,” he explained.

According to RAD’s original articles of incorporation, only members of the Board can vote, while the rest of the membership gets to vote at the annual meeting, said Clement, adding, “I let everyone have a vote tonight regarding Alyssa’s scholarship.”

He went on to say that RAD members can be considered “in good standing by their time and efforts. 

“Time also equals money,” Clement added.

He said that RAD is in the process of clarifying its current membership list and dropping old members. 

“The current membership list is incomplete – lacking addresses and contact information in some cases, so for the next three meetings I will distributing the 2013 membership forms,”Clement said.

He explained that the membership forms should be given to Bethel, and the money given to Treasurer Jody Clement.

Earlier in the meeting, Clement had announced the new roster of Committee Chairmen:

Parks, Peggy Judd; Parade, Chuck Broeder; Saddle Raffle, Jody Clement;  Advertising, John Oberreuter; Queens, Alyssa Yentsch; Sponsors, Wayne Crane; Membership, Jonnie Belle Bethel; and Rodeo, Dennis Williams.

Yentsch told the Range News later, “I am very honored to have been appointed Rex Allen Day’s Queen Chair and I am looking forward to a great year with these two tremendous girls,” referring to Radke and 2013 RAD Princess Annie Nallin.

“Already, since I took over as chairman they have been invited to the Buckeye Helzapoppin PRCA Rodeo, the Roots N Boots Queen Creek PRCA Rodeo, and have also won the royalty portion of the Tucson De Los Vaqueros Rodeo Parade,” she added.

Later in the meeting, President Clement told those at the meeting, “If you’re not already on a committee, I will give you a chance to pick one, as we go around the room table by table.”

“If not, I’ll be placing you in a committee,” he added.

As former Parade Chairman, Telles agreed to help Broeder with the Parade; Jodi Brock Olivares said she would be willing to help “wherever needed,” and Robin Morrow said that she would have to check her schedule before committing to anything for this year’s event.

Judd, Vice President Mark Lucke, and Triss Lane agreed to be on the Scholarship Committee.

On the subject of scholarships, Clement had said that he wanted to give out one $500 scholarship for 2013,

“This should be open to students graduating from high schools that are in the area from which we draw sponsorship,” said Clement, adding that the winner would be strongly encouraged to be in the 2013 Parade.

“We may not be able to do it this year,” said Treasurer Clement.

During call to the public toward the end of the meeting, Judd said, “I am so impressed to see people from the past and future of Rex Allen Days here tonight.”

“I ask that no one go one day without asking someone to sponsor Rex Allen Days – without talking to at least one person,” said Judd, adding, “Next month we need money for the Treasurer’s Report.”

The next regular RAD meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., on Tuesday, March 19, at Valley Telecom Group’s community room, 752 E. Maley St., in Willcox. 

 

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