SAGA elects new Board of Directors

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 26            July 5, 2001

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Dr. Bronwen Eastwood politely accepted her re-appointment as Director of SAGA Society last Thursday at Caruso Italian Restaurant in the SunBreeze Hotel. Thanking the outgoing board of directors for their dedication and service over the past two years, the leader of the island's "humane society" deemed their efforts "the key to SAGA's continuous success". Graciously stepping down from service to the organization to make room for "new blood" were Lane Llewellyn, Ruben Gonzalez and Area Representative Patty Arceo. Elected or re-elected for the 2001-2002 term of office were Director Dr. Bron Eastwood, Chairperson/Secretary Eileen Jamison, Treasurer Sari Frank and directors Ramon Nuñez, Mary Hawthorne and Alberto Villanueva Jr.

    Introduced at the meeting were Mr. Steve Peterson and his wife Trish who addressed the gathering with an update on the society's 501C3 Tax Exempt status in the United States. Mr. Peterson, an attorney with the US Navy, has generously donated 200 hours of his professional time to obtain this status. As of this week, the society is registered in the state of Texas as the Belize SAGA Society Foundation, Inc., a Texas Non Profit Corporation, which will enable the organization to solicit tax-exempt donations from foundations and private individuals in that country. Trish Peterson, a "veteran" of several non-profit organizations, was established as the treasurer on behalf of the foundation directors in the States, who will include the existing SAGA directors holding US citizenship as well. The visiting couple, who intend to retire on the island within a year, then informed that approval of the 501C3 status should be complete in approximately four to six months. The group applauded and thanked Mr. and Mrs. Peterson for the extreme kindness and wished them success in all their efforts.

    Dr. Eastwood then gave a report on the society's activities for this year. Included was an update on new membership from January to June 2001 which consisted of six lifetime, eleven annual and three family members. Money collected for the six-month period was reported to be as much as the entire total of last year's donations which pleased the directors. This was attributed to many factors, the most significant being the society's newsletter and the SAGA website on ambergriscaye.com, generously donated, designed and maintained by Marty Casado. Both information sources were reported to generate a wealth of income.

    Dr. Eastwood then informed of the many strays who have benefited as a result of this financial gain. Animals sterilized in the Spay/Neuter Program during the aforementioned period were: dogs - 18 females, six males; cats - four females, three males. Saga also assisted financially with the sterilization of six females and one male dog. Animals treated within this time frame were: 17 adult dogs, five adult cats and numerous puppies. With the assistance of several more-than-helpful volunteers, the SAGA Adoption Program has successfully "homed" the following strays in the past six months: six adults dogs (via homes in the US) and 33 puppies; two adult cats and sixteen kittens. ("Foster Families" are currently sheltering numerous animals who await loving homes.) Those less fortunate who needed to find "lasting peace,"( seven dogs and one cat) were humanely laid to rest.

    New business was discussed next and included the recent filing of an application for Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status with the government of Belize to assist in acceptance for grants. Also work continues on the application to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in the United Kingdom. Land for the society's shelter is still being investigated and will be reported on in an upcoming meeting. A variety of fundraising activities will also be decided on at that time. Also mentioned was the possible contribution of a SAGA space on the 5-A-Side Court advertising wall. The creation of a new poster and more donation boxes was also discussed. It was further announced that Mr. Santiago Castillo, of Santino's - The Poor Man's Store in Belize City, is kindly donating a fifty-pound bag of dog food every month to the animals of SAGA Society.

    The Director then announced in order to encourage participation and maintain communication with SAGA members and the general population, monthly meetings would be held. Open meetings for members and the general public will now take place the first Thursday of every month at Ramon's Village at 6:00 p.m. Anyone wishing to participate in the society's work in any manner is welcome to attend. For more information, phone 3266.



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