Congratulations to Mary Ellen Cassman, who was recently honored as the Rotary Club of Westchester’s 17th Annual Citizen of the Year.

The award is given each year to a non-Rotarian who embodies the spirit of the club’s four-way test:

Is it the Truth?

Is it Fair to all concerned?

Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?

Will it be Beneficial to all involved?

Cassman, a longtime resident of Westchester, has made it her life’s work to help the community and people in need.

She has been active with the Westchester/LAX-Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce, the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission, and the Los Angeles County Mental Health Advisory Board, where she served on the executive committee for several years.

Cassman has also worked with the Los Angeles Commission on Volunteerism, the mayor’s committee on the Status of Women Commission, and she is a 27-year member of the League of Women Voters.

She was on the YMCA Board of Managers and the Y’s executive committee from 1955 to 1985 and is back on the board after just finishing a two-year term as chair of the board of managers.

Cassman was nominated by Rotarian Pat Davis, who highlighted her tremendous work for Airport Marina Counseling Service (AMCS) and her decades of service in numerous other committees and community projects.

“Mary Ellen is a willing mentor, a confidante, and a friend to all who might need her help,” Davis said. “I nominated her because I wanted her to get recognition for the often thankless work as a volunteer working for the good of our community.”

Perhaps Cassman’s proudest and most lasting achievement is her involvement in helping found Airport Marina Counseling Service. Since its conception in 1961 and its opening on January 8th, 1962, the clinic has provided affordable and even free mental health care to those in need.

When the clinic started, the nearest counseling center for Westchester residents was at the PTA clinic in downtown Los Angeles, which had a six-month waiting list.

Today the counseling center provides more than 2,000 counseling sessions a year and is open about 70 hours a week so that working families can have access to counseling. It turns no one away due to inability to pay.

As a testament to Cassman’s dedication to Airport Marina Counseling Service, the free counseling program is called the “Cassman Care Program” and is funded by donations from the community.

LMU TO ARCHIVE 2000 DNC PAPERS — The Research Collection of the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles has announced that it will archive the plans and records of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) held in 2000 in Los Angeles.

The Democratic National Convention materials consist of business, administrative and organizational records as well as operational plans. There also are copies of the proposals submitted by the City of Los Angeles to host the Democratic National Convention.

The dates of the materials range from 1993 to 2000 and the center’s Research Collection is the only repository in the nation with these materials.

Reed & Davidson, a law firm in Los Angeles that served as the legal counsel for the 2000 Democratic National Convention, donated the materials in June of this year.

The records will be fully processed, indexed and incorporated into the Research Collection and will be open for public research use on campus, in the reading room of the library’s Department of Archives and Special Collections.

The Research Collection is a program of the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles at LMU. The Center collects papers of public officials, post-World War II developers, late-20th-century Los Angeles reformers and prominent Roman Catholic families.

LMU PLAYERS MAKE MARK INTERNATIONALLY — Three Loyola Marymount University men’s basketball players earned playing time with their respective national teams this summer.

Junior Damian Martin and senior Matthew Knight are on the 40-man roster for the Australian National Team, while incoming freshman Max Craig played with the Canadian Under-18 Junior National Team in the spring and early summer.

Martin and Knight have been members of the Australian program since 2003 when they helped the Australian Junior National Team win a gold medal in the Junior World Championships.

Both players were named to the 40-man development roster for the national team, which will compete in the World Championships this August. Martin and Knight did not make the final 12-man roster.

Knight is coming off a first-team All-WCC (West Coast Conference) season for the Lions in 2005-06, leading the league with ten rebounds per game while ranking fourth with better than 15 points a contest. His 17 double-doubles a year ago led the league.

Martin did not play in 2005-06 after serving a medical redshirt. He started more than 30 games in his first two seasons at LMU.

As for Craig, he played in the Global Games in Dallas this June and in the Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Germany this April. Canada went 3-3 in Germany as Craig scored the team’s only double-double with ten points and ten rebounds in the win over China.

ARNOLD NAMES WEST TO COUNCIL — California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has appointed William West, 58, of Westchester, to the State Rehabilitation Council.

In 2004, he founded the commercial real estate development company W. West Ventures and has served as president since its inception.

Prior to that, West was vice president and general manager for the commercial development company H.B. Drollinger from 1989 to 2004 and associate for Harvey Capital from 1985 to 1989.

West began his career as a peace officer with the Los Angeles Police Department in 1971 and retired as sergeant in 1985.

This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. West is a Republican.