What's Cooking in Region 1

The Chinese adage, "May you live in interesting times," certainly holds true for all of us in American Mensa. During the AMC meeting in Arlington, Texas (18 - 21 September) several issues came to light which will have direct impact on all of us.

The most important is the fact that American Mensa's Certificate of Incorporation (filed 1971 in the state of New York) never specified what method members could use to vote if they did not physically attend the Annual Business Meeting ("ABM"). New York State Not for Profit Law mandates in-person voting unless the Certificate of Incorporation states otherwise.

Also, there was no explicit specification of what constitutes a quorum of the membership for an ABM. As a result, the default quorum under New York law applies, which is a majority of the entire membership.

To remedy these unstated legalities, the Certificate must be amended. The amended Certificate will set a quorum for the ABM of 100 members, the smallest number allowed under New York law, and will allow members to vote other than in person at a meeting.

A majority vote of the entire membership at an ABM is needed. Fortunately, New York State law does permit the use of proxies to gather votes. (A proxy is someone who acts on your behalf legally.) Between 1 November 2003 and the July 2004 ABM, American Mensa Ltd. will solicit proxies, authorizing a designated attendee (the "proxy") at the ABM to vote in favor of the amendment. These proxies will be collected via mail, fax, e-mail and the AML website. By the time you read this, there will be a special section on the AML website with detailed information. [http://www.us.mensa.org/ and click on "proxies" - Ed.]

Other impacting news that emerged was the fact that next year's expense budget might be increased by about $65,000. At the international Executive Committee meeting in Rio de Janeiro, it is very likely that AML's international component will be raised to 8% from the current five and a half percent. Each national Mensa pays an assessment based on the dues paid during its fiscal year. While AML has been assessed 8% for some time, it has had two and a half percent rebated up to now. The reason given was that the new international treasurer found errors in the fiscal assumptions which had created too rosy an economic picture. The change in the international component could impact this year's budget by about $50,000.

We had a presentation from the American Arbitration Association. I was appointed by Dr. Becker to work with Dan Burg (2nd Vice Chair) and Mike Seigler (RVC5) to explore utilizing the services of the AAA. (Full disclosure: I served as an arbitrator for the AAA for four years).

The Risk Assessment report is still in a draft stage. AMC members were told to expect a final version either at the December meeting in New Orleans or the March meeting in Charlottesville.

One of the highlights of the meeting was a full day planning session with a consultant who specializes in working with not-for-profit boards. Her insights were invaluable. While some AMC members were a bit uncomfortable with the idea of changing our meeting format, many of us welcomed the concept of a shorter, more focused and less minutiae driven agenda. She also stressed the need for working as team members, letting go of the past, and respecting differing opinions (and their holders). Well, I have always believed in miracles....

I had the pleasure of seconding the appointment of Eliot, member of Greater New York Mensa and the national GenX SIG, as Culture Quest Coordinator for 2004.

Region 1 has been asked by the Site Selection Committee to prepare a bid for the 2007 AG. The bid could come from a single group or be a joint group effort. This month I'll be off to Connecticut and Western Massachusetts's Mensautumn RG. Hope to meet some of you there!

Now that the weather is cooler, baking is a pleasure. Here's a main course pumpkin (or squash) pie that is filling, nutritious, low in calories and - yummy!


Savoury Pumpkin Pie

Makes one 8" pie - 6 servings

1lb. pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
¾ cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 eggs, beaten
1 onion, sliced into rings
1tsp. vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp salt
white pepper
Yeast dough
1½ cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. fast acting dry yeast
½ cup skim milk

For dough, mix flour and yeast in large bowl. Heat milk in saucepan until hot to touch (about 110 degrees F.), then pour over dry ingredients. Knead mixture well for 10 minutes, adding a little water if necessary to make a smooth, soft dough. Let rest for 10 minutes, then roll out. Lightly grease an 8" quiche or pie pan and line with the dough.

* Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

* Steam pumpkin chunks over boiling water until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to bowl and mash them. When cooled slightly, add yogurt and eggs.

* Set a quarter of the onion rings aside and chop the remainder. Heat oil in small pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in ginger and chili powder.

* Place pumpkin mixture in blender or food processor along with the onions mixture. Add the salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Pour into pastry shell and level surface. Press onion rings lightly into the filling, and brush them with a little oil.

* Bake until golden brown and firm in the centre. See it at http://region1.us.mensa.org/october2003.html

Per serving: 175 calories; 13 g. protein; 75 mg cholesterol; 3 g. fat (1 g. saturated); 80 mg. salt