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Volume V, Issue I
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Forest Supervisor's mes-sage
More Kids in OURWoods!
Weeks Act Centennial!
Forest Clean-up Day.
Jesse's Haiku! fPOTUCIIT
Winter 201 I
A Unique Coalition = A Public Service Winner!
. arch 15 marked the inauguration of an innovative public service project � the new Rio Sabana Recreation Area on El Yunque National Forest land in the Municipahty of Naguabo. Under construction since 2007 at a cost of over 1 million dollars, this soon to be opened recreation �rea on El Yunque's southern border in-I eludes 10 brand-new picnic shelters, paved parking for 25 vehicles, durable, paved walkways and new sanitary restroom facihties. Construction activities also included restoration of the 2.5 mile (4 kilometer) Rio Sabana Nature Trail and reopening of a 0.8 mile (1.3 kilometer) section of PR road 191 leading to the new �rea.
The northernmost sector of the Naguabo Municipality lies within the El Yunque National Forest's Luquillo Mountain range � the spectacular peaks and rushing rivers in this �rea are among the northeast corridor's most prominent landmarks.
Some of the rivers feature dams that capture a portion of their waters for use in surrounding communities� one of them feeds a small hydroelectric power plant that supplies electrical energy to Naguabo homes and businesses � these rivers provide potable water, a vital re-source for surrounding barrios. With the rapidly approaching threat of global climate change andits effect on water availability, the water collection and production capability of these rivers is of immense consequence to the area's future
This unique venture marks the first time that the US Forest Service, and the Naquabo Municipahty, augmented by an alliance with the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), HHKN^ have pooled their efforts to coord�nate and manage a mutually beneficial public service project.
Commonwealth, federal and municipal executives who took part in the inauguration ceremony included Governor Luis Fortuno, El Yunque National Forest Supervisor Pablo Cruz, Naguabo munici- I pality Mayor Maritza Melendez Nazario and Eng. Jos� Ortiz, Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority Director.
Governor Fortuno sponsored the original funding request for this project in 2007, while he was serving as Puerto Rico's Resident Commissioner to the US Congress.
During his welcoming address, Forest Supervisor Pablo Cruz commented: "Construction of the Rio Sabana Recreation Area was completed in 2010 � it was built to enhance recreational opportunities in the southern sector of the Forest. Today's inauguration ceremony celebrates the impending opening of a highly anticipated cultural and historie venue � of equal signifi-cance, it marks a distinct, first-ever partnering of federal, commonwealth and municipal or-ganizations to develop an essential municipal public service project � a unique t�mplate that can be straightforwardly replicated whenever federal and commonwealth agencies and municipal partners again consider the advantages of joint public service projeets."
The new Rio Sabana Recreation Area located at PR road 191, Km 2.0 in Naguabo, will be opened to the public soon � The �rea will be open daily from June 1 until August 15. It will be closed during September � it will be open on weekends only from Oct.l to May 31.
EL BOSQUE PLUVIAL
VOLUME V, ISSUE I
The Forest Supervis�os Message
reetings! We are making signifi-cant progress as we continu� to tackle problems and questions affecting El Yunque's future. Our determined ef-forts to enhance the valu� of the Forest are beginning to show signs of success. However, this complex endeavor re-quires everyone's collaboration if we are to prevail. As you read the descriptions of some of our current projects, pro-grams and planned activities in the pages of this newsletter, I ask you all to do some serious thinking about how you can apply your skills and talents to help us achieve the tasks essential to our mission. El Yunque has a host of oppor-tunities ready and waiting for you! For example, you can learn about El Yunque's wild anim�is by helping biologists work to recover endangered species, or work with Forest engineers, repairing and re-constructing nature trails � if you are a 'people-person' our Visitor Information Service has opportunities for guides and greeters at our renowned El Portal Rain Forest Center � we ur-gently need your help � together, we can carry-on our vital conservation and recreation missions at their present level of excellence! Contact Volunteer Coordinator, Deha G�mez, at 787 888 5657 and volunteer your services today!
I am extremely pleased to report that after twelve years of development, the Rio Sabana Recreation Area became a reality when Governor Luis Fortuno formally inaugurated the newly refur-bishedvenue on March 15, 2011. The intricate development process was tricky � first, the planning procedure had to be accomplished within a rigid framework of federal and commonwealth regulations. Next, a mutually agreeable level of understanding had to be estabhshed between US Forest Service, Commonwealth and Municipal agencies and public utility companies. While all this was taking place, design and construction activities progressed steadily until final completion.
All who participated in this unique achievement emerged as winners! After forty years, communities adjacent to the Forest's southern border will once again have access to this culturally historie and ecologically matchless �rea � Public utility companies will continu�
to benefit from inexhaustible water re-sources � a robust flow that powers a hydroelectric plant and provides fresh, clean water to surrounding communities. We expressly applaud the municipahty of Naguabo for its determined and well dis-posed resolution to op�rate and maintain the new Rio Grande facihty � a fine example of practical and functional part-nership!
We were also terrifically impressed with the 'Gateway' community of Cubuy � they have shown a tremendous capacity for tenacity and resihence while working to define proper solutions for a lengthy list of security and access challenges. Adjacent island municipalities should care-fully study Cubuy's exemplary small-community empowerment formula � independe nt of external government assis-tance!
We persist in our collaborative efforts to des�gnate PR road 186 as a Scenic By-way. Led by the Canovanas and Rio Grande municipahties, the first phase of this key plan� a formal request for con-sideration by the Federal Highway Ad-ministration � is ci�se to completion. PR road 186, locally identified as the El Verde-Cubuy highway, is endowed with numerous cultural, natural, and scenic attributes. Aside from its role as an essential connection between two thriving communities, it accesses the island's sol� Girl Scout camp; the University of Puerto Rico's Ecological Research Station; the Quebrada Grande Picnic Grounds and the entrance to the El Toro National Wil-derness Area's nature Trails. Presently, the El Verde-Cubuy highway is poorly maintained � garbage is regularly dumped along the road and facilities are often vandalized. Our mutual intent is to re-establish this precious setting as a safe and enjoyable environment for tour-ists and island families to enjoy!
During the past decade the country and this Forest have experienced mutually debilitating fiscal uncertainties � We are toiling vigorously to move El Yunque along the road to becoming a more ag-gressive and viable public-service organi-zation. We unceasingly seek-out and test innovative efficiencies and improve-ments. Our well considered and carefully crafted reorganization plan has been ap-proved by the Forest Service and will be implemented shortly. This fresh, stream-
lined administrative structure will help to reduce unnecessary costs, while en-hancing our ability to provide services to the public and stewardship for El Yunque!
In closing, I want to reaffirm our com-mitment to safety. Our Forest's skilled andhighly motivated staff members continually review personal and visitor safety measures and doctrines � modi-fying and adjusting them as necessary. This ingrained 'safety first' strategem ensures that your future day-trips will always be secure, relaxing, trouble-free and enjoyable! If you have any sugges-tions about how we might improve our safety measures, please e-mail them to Forest Safety Officer, Edgardo Mart�nez (email@example.com').
If you find the stories and features con-tainedin our quarterly Forest newsletter both useful and enjoyable � let us know � if you have any thoughts on how we can do our job better, or ideas for stories or features you'd like to see in future issues � e-mail them directly to: El Bosque Pluvial Newsletter Editor, Alan Mowbray (firstname.lastname@example.org), or cali him at 789 888 5654.
Finally, a reminder � if you haven't done so already, please begin making your contingeney plans for the upcom-ing 2011 hurricane season � it's less than two months away!
Thanks for your continued participa-tion and support � please strongly con-sider volunteering a small portion of your time and your valuable skills and talents to El Yunque � the US National Forest System's only tropical rain forest!
See you soon!
VOLUME V, ISSUE I
EL BOSQUE PLUVIAL
Notable Notes/Quotable Quotes!
El Yunque Quarter update -- El Yunque's official twenty-five cent coin will be the first of its type to be released by the US Mint next year - Edward Moy, Director of the US Mint, plans to attend the inaugural ceremony at the El Portal Rain Forest Center, tentatively scheduled for January 2012.
During National Volunteer Week (April 10 - April 16, 2011) we note with awe the outstanding contributions of the 913 volunteers who selflessly donated a whopping 10,000 + labor hours to the El Yunque National Forest - saving the US Forest Service an incredible $213, 597 over the last fiscal year - Thanks Volunteers - We would be lost without your vital contributions!
Forest Supervisor Pablo Cruz and Ecosystem Team Leader Pedro Rios express their sincere appreciation to the seventeen dedicated attendees who participated in the March 31, 2011 'Forest Planning Rule and Proposed Environmental Impact Statement Forum at El Yunque's Catalina Service Center - attendees comprised a diverse and enthusiastic group from UPR Mayaguez, The Sierra Club, The US Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Municipality of Naguabo, as well as several FS staff and - a vitally important 'volunteer' - our revered former Forest Supervisor and retired IITF Director, Dr. Frank Wadsworth contributing to this worthwhile and mutually instructive forum!
thanks to all for
=s> Volunteers from the Washington Montessori School in Connecticut worked alongside Forest Bio-logical Science Technicians Ben Fuentes and An-astacio 'Baby' G�mez, on an important re-forestation project along PR road 966 - during a break, the stu-dents were given an educational lecture on tropical plant life by El Yunque Tropical Vegetation Specialist Luis Rivera - at the end of the day, the students were tired but thrilled at what they had learned and had helped to accomplish!
=s> Amigos del Yunque and American Airlines joined Forest Supervisor Pablo Cruz in a press conference called to launch an all-out effort to ed�cate the public about the island-wide littering problem. During the press conference all public and civic organiza-tions were encouraged to engage in an educational campaign de-signed to bring to a halt the intolerable littering habits seen in many sectors of our society.
=s> On March 16, 2011 the El Portal Rain Forest Center broke all previous records for single-day attendance - a whopping 1,006 persons! El Portal becomes a more-and-more popular eco-tourism venue every year!
EL BOSQUE PLUVIAL
VOLUME V, ISSUE I
More Kids in OUR Woods!
vidence suggests that toda y's children are shifting away from outdoor activities to a 'virtual' indoor reality. This disconnect from nature has serious long-term implications for the health and well-being of our country's youth and the future of our public lands. Young people who grow up without a connection to nature may lack a vital understanding of the environmental processes and the role human be-havior plays in them, or an equally important awareness of the valu� of public lands.
Richard Louv, author of the seminal study 'Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder', is passionate about the potential repercussions of today's youth losing a personal connection to the outdoors. According to Louv, 'We care for what we know and love, if today's children don't have transforma-tional experiences in the outdoors during their youth, they are unlikely, as adults, to be engaged in public pol-icy deliberations about our forests or about environmental issues such as global warming and climate change.'
The concept of "More Kids in the Woods" originated during the Forest Services Centennial in 2005. At the Centennial Congress, participants noted the valu� of conservation education and the power of recreation in forging connections to the land. They called on the Forest Service to enhance its youth programs in order to build a strong future generation of natural resource stewards and leaders, and to provide meaningful, hands-on experience with public lands to children, especially elementary and middle school students.
El Yunques Visitor Information Service Team responded to the cali � Nature Interpreters Cynthia Manfred, Francisco Torres, Edwin Velazquez and Aurea Moragon, under the able direction of Conservation Education Director Blanca Ruiz and VIS Leader Victor Cuevas, convey the More Kids in the Woods program and message to elementary and middle schools and 'Head Start' programs in the surrounding communities of Luquillo, Fajardo and Naguabo � Nature Interpreters use graphics and environmentally themed 'games' to attract the young students interest. Before leaving each site, they provide teachers with pre-programmed conservation education materials, and describe how best to use them - school visits are swiftly followed-up by teacher supervised 'field trip' visits to El Yunque, where the students apply their new conservation know-how, performing programmed 'hands-on' conservation activities.
In 2010 El Yunques More Kids in the Woods Team members visited six local schools, reaching out to over 150 students, most of whom later experienced their first-ever exciting "Forest Field-Trip" experience � in 2011, the number had soared to almost 400 students � and had expanded to include schools and Head-Start programs in Rio Grande, and as far away as Humacao and the San Juan suburb of Rio Piedras!
Bottom line? The young folks were enthralled with their new-found knowledge and the never-before experienced opportunity to 'touch and feel' the amazingly biodiverse and beautiful tropical forest in their 'backyard'!
Well done El Yunque VIS Team!
VOLUME V, ISSUE I
EL BOSQUE PLUVIAL
The Weeks Act � a Century of Conservation Progress!
X his year marks the centennial of the 'Weeks Act � a landmark forest wa-tershed protection and land acquisition measure passed by the US Congress in 1911. The act designated funds to the Secretary of Agriculture for the "protection of forested watersheds from fires" and "coordination of such efforts with any state or private holdings that hold these resources." Most importan tly, the Weeks Act authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to "accept on behalf of the United States, the title of any lands within the exterior bounda-ries of national forests at a fair market price" and that "lands so acquired shall be permanently reserved as national forest lands."
In the final decades of the 19th century, environmental conditions in the eastern part of the nation were dismal, and becoming worse � as new railroads were opened, new settlements sprang-up � intense farming and logging activities thrived � all with little or no watershed management � ecosystems that had taken countless centuries to develop were shattered in a matter of years.
In 1864, when George Perkins Marsh wrote and published his eye-opening essay 'Man and Nature' the public suddenly became aware of the havoc taking place in the country's forests. Private organizations began lobbying Congress to protect existing forests and cr�ate new ones. In 1891, Congress passed the Forest Reserve Act � The president could now independently set-aside lands as federal reserves.
In 1906, US Representative John W. Weeks was unsuccessful in an attempt to pass legislation which would have enabled the purchase of private lands for forest reserves � after the 'Big Burn' consumed three million acres of forest in Idaho, Montana and Washington in 1910 with the loss of 87 lives, public sentiment about forest protection was re-energized�in 1911, Weeks was able to successfully pass a new conservation law that focused on land acquisition within navigable watersheds to be preserved as national forests - when combined with the earlier Forest Reserve Act and the later Clark-McNary act of 1924, the necessary tools for forest conservation were fi-nally in place!
Full realization of the Weeks Act's mandates didn't take place in Puerto Ricos Luquillo National Forest (today's El Yunque National Forest) until the mid-1930's � although this lush tropical forest in the Luquillo mountains had been managed as a watershed, soil and timber reserve since the mid-19th century by the Spanish Crown.
By 1911, the forest's twelve thousand acres were surrounded by various agricultural ventures (mainly sugar and fruit plantations) which took a massive toll on 'natural' ground cover much as it had in 19th century America � between 1934 and 1945, over forty private and state land lots were purchased by the Forest Service - with a gov-ernment investment of 150 thousand dollars, the forest was almost doubled in size � the agency incorporated lands containing the headwaters of seven rivers � a vital conservation of watersheds for the islands future. Re-grettably, some 250 families within the �rea were suddenly dislocated and jobless - the Forest Service swiftly im-plemented a community relocation program � providing the families with new homes and agriculturally suitable land at no cost � in less than 18 months, 248 families had been successfully and peacefully relocated!
Once the land had been incorporated, Civilian Conservation Corps recruits began the reforestation process, plant-ing thousands of tropically adapted and native tree species - sixty-five years later it is difficult to tell the 'new' trees from those of the primeval forest!
The watershed and rehabilitation resources provided through the Weeks Act have guaranteed a stable water sup-ply to over a quarter of a million island residents up to the present day � and, equally significant, it furnished the necessary firm foundation for the subsequent 1964 Wilderness Act, the 1970 Clean Air Act, the 1972 Clean Water Act and the 1973 Endangered Species Act � it is one of the most significant and far-reaching conservation measures of the twentieth century!
EL BOSQUE PLUVIAL
VOLUME V, ISSUE I
Forest Oean-up Days � *CooP I mi � Great Results!
By Edgardo Mart�nez, El Yunque National Forest Safety Officer
�j 1 Yunque's famed Clean-up Day events just keep getting better and better! This year marked the 21st anniversary of this annual ac-tivity � early Saturday morning, April 9th, volunteers assembled as usual at the El Portal Rain Forest Center's upper parking lot, where they signed in � they were quickly formed into teams and dispatched to locations throughout the Forest.
On the previous Friday, April 8th, a related Clean-up activity took place at the recently inaugurated Rio Sabana Recreation Area on the Forest's southern edge in the municipality of Naguabo.
Activities held at both locations were enormously successful!
A quick check of the sign-up record revealed that 652 volunteers, mostly from the surrounding municipalities of Rio Grande, Naguabo, Fajardo and Luquillo, augmented by a number of eager helpers such as Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops from various island locations, hadjoined with Forest Service staff and our long-time part-ner and enthusiastic sponsor, American Airlines to pick-up and bag an astonishing total of just over three tons of trash and scrap-metal from El Yunque and Rio Sabana roads and trails!
The amount of trash collected was two tons less than that of 2010's El Yunque clean-up event - a hopeful signal that the Forest's 'Pack-it-in/Pack-it-out' program, which encourages visitors to responsibly remove their trash when they depart the Forest, is finally beginning to pay dividends!
El Yunque Administrative staff members, Elba Garcia, Lucy Cruz and Sharitza Pomales, among others en-sured the overall success of the two events - El Yunque Website Manager Aurea Moragon's tall and talented son Sebastian, as family conservation idol 'Woodsy OwF, enchanted the many children attending the event with their parents - Information Specialist Myrna Tirado's husband Ra�l Santiago was as fascinating as ever in his role as Forest Service ic�n 'Smokey Bear'!
In the early afternoon, as the tired but happy crews returned from their labors, Maria and Gianne de Jes�s -Cidra's celebrated 'Los Ni�os Trovadores' provided exciting entertainment, along with Coamo's Jos� Delgado, and his legendary singing improvisation performance, and Rio Grande's talented 'DJ Teo Santos, who supplied the events exciting musical accompaniment.
And 'yummy' victuals and soft-drinks were available all day long � a perfect compensation for the hard working clean-up crews and their excited kids!
At day's end, Forest Supervisor Pablo Cruz commented; 'As in previous years, this vital Forest conservation event was a great success � in both the El Yunque and Rio Sabana locations, it offered volunteers the solid satisfaction of combining a desired public service project, with the matchless pleasures of making new community con-tacts at the same time as they worked alongside family and friends -though, none of this would have been possible without the dedicated sponsorship of our long-time collaborator, American Airlines and the participation of other noteworthy partners such as Huertas College, the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture, the Puerto Rico Department of Health, and a long list of others!'.
As the day's activities wound down, local entertainer Trotamundos stole the show with his beguiling and exciting performance for the kids � after that, everyone departed for home with great memories ar
EL BOSQUE PLUVIAL
VOLUME V, ISSUE I
Jesse's Haiky � a Waterj Delight!
esse Cheyenne Nolan is a bright, effervescent thirteen year o�d who lives in Lehigh Acres, Florida where she is an eighth grade student at Veterans Park Academy for the Arts - she is a high achiever -among other accomplishments, she is a member of her school's �lite 'Brain Bowl' Team - this exceptional group has won both district and regional competitions, and will soon be competing at the state level! If they win the state competition, each member of the team will earn a four-year scholarship to the Florida public college of their choice! Jesse also participates in her school's science club, and is a member of the J�nior National Honor Society. She loves anim�is (especially dogs and horses) and enjoys spending time with friends and family. She is also heavily involved as a volunteer in her local church, and 'dabbles' in po-etry writing! All things considered, Jesse is a very well-rounded and accomplished young lady! We became aware of Jesse through her po-etry -- when her mother Ana sent us a Haiku poem that Jesse had writ-ten about El Yunque. Haiku is a traditional Japanese poetry form that generally depicts nature themes - it typically consists of three phrases, with a set number of syllables (5-7-5) in each phrase. Here is Jesse's poem - she has helpfully included a Spanish translation - how-ever, she was quick to note that her Spanish translation may not be exact, and that it no longer 'technically' qualifies as Haiku:
'The green rain forest Waterfalls make rocky ponds With depths cold and sweet'
El bosque tropical verde Cascades producen estanques rocosas Con profundidades friasy dulce'
Jesse's parents James and Ana are extremely proud of their talented and charming teen-age daughter - Ana was born on the island, in the lovely San Juan suburb of Rio Piedras - Jesse grew-up hearing tales about Puerto Rico's compelling culture and beautiful surroundings - she longed to travel to the island and experience the exciting 'Borinquen' traditions for herself! Last summer her wish carne true when she traveled there with her beloved abuela and abuelo to visit with her 'tio' Alex and other relatives - during her two-week adventure, her most memorable experience was her trip to El Yunque's matchless rainforest, where Jesse quickly fell in love with the lush tropical surroundings, and was motivated to compose her lovely and gripping Haiku water poem!
Gracias mil Jesse! We eagerly anticipate welcoming you, your parents and your 'local' family when you next visit El Yunque!
EL BOSQUE PLUVIAL
rOMf T WOTUCHT
Pablo Cruz - Forest Supervisor El Yunque National Forest Telephone - 787 888 1810 Fax- 787 888 5668
e-mail - pcruzO I @fs.fed.us
Alan Mowbray - Editor El Bosque Pluvial Telephone - 787 888 5654 Fax- 787 888 5622
e-mail - email@example.com
Graphics - Aurea Moragon Photos: USDA Forest Service
El Yunque National Forest Telephone - 787 888 1810/1880
787 888 5685 www.fs.usda.gov/elyunque USDA Forest Service
El Yunque National Forest
HC-OI Box 13490
Rio Grande, PR 00745-9625
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits c�scrimina-tion in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religi�n, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohib-ited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alt�rnate means for communicati�n of program informa-tion (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (Voice and TDD.) To file a com-plaint of discrimination write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Ave-nue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or cali 202-720-5964 (Voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity employer and provider.
Jn tW\s �ssue^ �U �>oscjue
fluvial sK�nesteSrOTLIGHT on ELI Yunc^ue's mult�-tal ented L\\l Yortal Kaln Lorest (^enter director and Kecreat�on f rogram Manager Josc R. "Yape" Ortega. \~\e was born �n 5an Juan) Puerto Rico. �)ecause h�s father was a career militare) sold�er, the fam�lt) was con-
stan ti t
on the move
. /\s a result,
Yepe got h�s pre-college educat�on at militare) base and embasst) schools �n an assortment of exot�c locat�ons around the world ~ amongthem, ,f3tuttgart, (jermant); Lima, feru; fVlonteret), (California and Manhattan, pansas!
Ljpon graduat�ngfrom Hgh 5c^��l fepe obta�ned an assoc�ate degree �n data process�ng at a business college �n �)a\�na, �pansas and then br�eflt) followed �n h�s father's footsteps w�th a two-year enl�stment �n the /\rmt) that tool< h�m from f^t. Q�ahoma to (j'essen, (jermant). L�ll�wlng h�s /\rmt) st�nt, |epe enroll ed atK. ansas �)tate Ljn�vers�tt) �n fvlanhattan, pansas where he earned a �)ac^el�r degree �n Landscape /\rch�tecture �n � fepe served �n var�ous Landscape /\rch�tecture pos�t�ons w�th both
Yuerto Rico (^ommonwealth and non-government ent�t�es before becom�ng a Icct) member of the (^ar�bbean !\Jat�onal Lorest's L.I f ortal Rain L�rest (^enter des�gn and development team between \9&9 and the (^.enter'� open�ng�n )99�. \~\e served as the Lorest's Landscape /\rch�tectfn � 99 � un til �n 200�, when he was appo�nted to the tw�n pos�t�ons of LJ for-tal Rain L�rest (^.enter L)�rector and L�rest Recreat�onal f rogram Manager.
f epe served as Y res�dent of Y uerto R�co's L xam�n�ng f^ioarA of/\rch�~ tects and Landscape /\rch�tects from ZOO/ to 1009 an dbe tween �99' and \995 was fres�dent of the /\ssoc�at�on of f uerto frican Landscape /\rch�tects. Lje also served three terms as f res�dent of the L.I Yuncjue l\|L's L mplotjee /\ssoc�at�on.
Overthe tjears, L.I Yuncjue hasga�ned �mmense benef�tfrom ,f3r- Qrtega's expert�se ~ we are �ndeed fort�nate to have such an exper�enced and mult�-faceted individual on our staff.