January 2015

In this Issue:

 January Mid-Winter Mixer  Burns Supper - January 24
 President's Letter  Coming Events
 Meet Our Members  Other Announcements
 Mystery Member  Society Officers
 Events in Scotland  Board Meeting Minutes
 Historical Events in January    

January 2015 Mid-Winter Mixer

A great gathering of mellow Scots attended January's Mid-Winter Mixer while enjoying wine and cheese, cool jazz, a 'Taste of Scotland' slideshow, and kicked up their heels learning new Scottish Country Dances.

January 2015 January 2015 There are more pictures on our Face Book page.

Presidents Letter - 2014 in Review

2014 has been great for the Caledonian Society of Arizona. Here are a few highlights of what we did. First of all we had a profitable Burns dinner in January. We pulled out all the stops- it took place in the most prestigious hotel in the valley, we provided authentic Scottish music, the wee highland dancers, bagpipes and drums, excellent speakers and entertainment, plus the opportunity to see our fellow Scots in fine dress and enjoy their camaraderie.

Mark ClarkThen came along the Arizona Celtic Woman concert. We managed to bring together local Scottish, Irish and Welsh talent to sing their hearts out that night while we, in partnership with the ICC, provided a Whisky seminar with our much loved and respected board member John Clinkenbeard. It was a great night, well attended and much appreciated by all.

Our 50th Highland Games & Gathering were a huge success, yielding much needed funds to rebuild our coffers, confidence and spirit. We continued to provide a high quality event and challenged us to better ourselves for 2015. Yes, this year we are going to open up a new area called Loch Ness beside the park’s lake, complete with ‘Nessie,’ a large floating Loch Ness monster. We will increase our focus on Scottish live acts, expand the Education area, and make the day more comfortable by providing additional shaded areas for our attendees. 

It is not by chance that our monthly meeting attendance picked up. We have been very creative in planning fun events such as the double decker bus pub crawl, the ‘Kilts On Ice’ curling bonspiel, debating the Scottish Independence question, participating in the RAF memorial service, the Family Christmas party….the list goes on and it only takes someone to mention how much of a good time they had, for us organizers to beam with pride. 

Not only did we have local meetings but we constantly investigated exciting opportunities to strengthen the society, such as investigating having our own Scottish Center, and laying the ground work for a Sister City in Scotland. You need only to ask our fine Vice President, Don Finch, of the many outreaches to the community to find the extensive work carried out on behalf of the society.

Then On a personal level, I made a life changing event to follow a dream career opportunity in Texas. The hardest thing is to be away from the hub of activity around the society. It has been my personal hobby to participate on the board and run events. However I do see the wonderful characters maintaining the society, be it a sense of duty or what I most suspect is a matter of simple fun to them. I encourage our current membership to step up and contribute.

As for me, I will be participating (albeit from a distance mostly) in any way I can. I will be running the Learners Arms education area in March for sure and hope to see you all very, very soon. My heart remains in Arizona and with all the fine Scots and lovers of Scotland. Warmest regards to you all and, Happy New Year!    

Mark Clark

Meet Our Members - Highland Games Committee

Michelle Crownwhart - Highland Games Athletic Director

This is my first year as the Athletic Director for the Arizona Scottish Gathering and Highland Games. I have made a few changes that I hope will expand our games in both the number of athletes and spectators. Our signature event, Women's World Championship, has been made into a 2 day competition. This allows us to expand the number of women vying for the trophy and gives the audience the opportunity to see these top athletes no matter which day they choose to attend. 

We are bringing new equipment and cabers to the field that should intensify the competition and afford opportunities for setting new field and World Records. I am looking forward to seeing many new faces, both on and off the field.  

Third Place World I have competed around the world, finished first and last, and still count the days until the next competition. My most recent excursion was to the Master's World Championship in Inverness, Scotland. I had many people help to get me there and I want to be sure to thank everyone who helped me to cut my travel costs by their generous donations through the Caledonian Society's web page. A very special thank you to the Caledonian Society of AZ for awarding me a grant to help offset the cost.

I am very proud to have had the opportunity to represent our Society and Arizona at this international competition. There were over 160 athletes representing 13 countries competing in 11 different classes. The women had 3 classes, with 34 athletes from 3 countries, competing over 3 days. I finished 3rd in my class and improved my last year's performance of 4th place overall.

One of the highlights of the competition in Scotland was the opportunity to set a new World Record by simultaneously turning the most cabers at one time. This event was dubbed the Tomatin Toss. We started with 130 athletes, cabers weighing a minimum 55 pounds and 15 1/2 foot long. There were 103 cabers turned and from those, 66 turned at the same time. Guinness World Records was onsite to verify the event and certified the toss of 66 cabers as a New World Record.

Sarah and I were able to stay and visit Scotland for 2 weeks. Even with that time frame, we were only able to see a small part of the country, even though we put more than 2000 miles on the car. Outside of walking around the beautiful city of Inverness, we cruise Loch Ness (no Nessie), hiked the highlands, and managed to see part of the Isle of Skye. We visited battlegrounds, cemeteries and saw many castles, some in ruins and others still inhabited by the ruling clan.

Michelle makes a toastAmong the many distilleries visited, we got to visit our sponsor, Glenmorangie. We had wonderful time learning about the distilling process.

The ladies in the welcoming room were delighted when I gave them a stack of our save the date cards for our games here in the "colonies". They were both pleased but not surprised that Glenmorangie sponsors our games and wanted to wish everyone well this year. 

This past year was also the Highland Homecoming Scotland 2014. There were many events that took place all year. One that many of us in the States followed was the Vote. I must say that being in Scotland during this historic time was amazing. We attended many rallies, both pro and con, and enjoyed hearing the debates. I arrived back in Phoenix just in time to attend the Society's vote watch at Rosie McCafferys and share my stories and newspapers that I brought back with me.

As I start my 22nd year of competition and this new venture, I wish everyone a prosperous New Year! I hope to welcome both old and new friends to the Games and invite you to get to know us better by attending one of our meetings.    Happy Hogmanay!    Throw Far!


Coming Events

January 16 Celtic Music Event, Congregational Church, 1201 E. Shea, Scottsdale - More information
January 21 Highland Games Committee Meeting, ICC, 6 PM
January 24 Robert Burns Supper, Phoenix Country Club, 7 PM
February 12 Membership Meeting. ICC, 6:30 PM
March 12 Membership Meeting. ICC, 6:30 PM
March 18 Preview the "Loch Ness Arts & Fashion District" Changing Hands Book Store, 300 W. Camelback, Phoenix, 7 PM
March 20 Pipe Jam, Westin Kierland, Scottsdale, 7 PM
March 21-22 Our Gathering & Highland Games

Burns Supper 2015 - January 24

Robert BurnsThis year’s Committee has worked hard to organize a wonderful evening with: an expanded menu, the addition of wine tasting to compliment our traditional Glenmorangie™ Whisky tasting, the continuation of last year’s Grand March, and the return of Scottish Country Dancing - which will follow the dinner and speeches.

Are you ready for more good news? The price to just $70.00 p.p. ! All of this will take place at the Phoenix Country Club, 2901 N. 7th Street, Phoenix, beginning at 6:00 pm. Buy Tickets

Kilt Rental USAWill you be renting a kilt for the January 24 Robbie Burns Supper? Take a look at this special offer from our sponsor Kilt Rental USA. www.kiltrentalusa.com

Can You Identify the Mystery Member?

Boy in yellowI have my mother's fair Scottish complexion, but I was born in cold, snowy Chicago - not unlike the Highlands.

After many years there in the midwest, I sought the sun and warmth of Arizona - where I volunteer with the Society as well as a number of other Valley organizations.


The answer is at the end of the newsletter - No peeking!

Scottish Historical Events in January

Through the centuries, the month of January has seen many important events in Scottish history-- births, deaths, battles and many more important things have happened in the first month of the year. Here are a few examples.

  • January 1, 1766:   James Stewart the "Old Pretender" died.  James was the son of the deposed James II of England (James VII of Scotland).  As such, he claimed the English, Scottish and Irish thrones as James III of England (James VIII of Scotland).  He was also, of course the father of "Bonnie Prince Charlie".

  • January 7, 1451:  Glasgow University was founded at the request of James II.  Glasgow University is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world, and one of Scotland's four ancient universities.

  • January 8, 1107:  King Alexander I of Scotland was crowned.  Alexander I was nicknamed "The Fierce" and was king of the Scots from 1107 to his death.  Alexander was the fifth son of Malcolm III and had been named after Pope Alexander II.

  • January 14, 1878:  Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated his new invention to Queen Victoria.  She made the first call in the British Isles.

  • January 19, 1736:  James Watt, mathematical instrument maker, was born.  He developed the steam engine, the condenser and copying machine.

  • January 25, 1759:  Robert Burns was born in Aryshire.  His poems and songs have made him famous and Burns Dinners are celebrated around the world to honor his birthday. 

  • January 31, 1780:  Charles Edward Stewart, "Bonnie Prince Charlie" died in Rome.  His efforts to claim the throne ended in defeat as had his father's.

The current oil price slump would have left independent Scotland facing unprecedented cuts - Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Article from The Herald, Dec 20, 2015 by Mike Settle

The black hole would have forced the Scottish Government in 2016 to implement unprecedented levels of cuts in public services, according to the Whitehall department. Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said that the near-halving of the oil price to around $60 a barrel, showed "how wise we were to choose to keep the UK together".

But recently, the SNP Government hit back, stressing how most independent forecasters were predicting the oil price would recover next year with Opec, the club of oil producing states, forecasting a price of $110 a barrel. "We are doing everything in our power to help boost the industry," insisted a spokesman for John Swinney, the Scottish Finance Secretary. "But Danny Alexander needs to start taking personal responsibility for what is happening on his watch and for something he has personal responsibility for, instead of refighting the referendum campaign," he added.

The senior cabinet minister said that, based on his department's analysis, the first thing an independent Scotland would have had to face in 2016 was the "catastrophic fall" in the oil price and, consequently, would have had to "implement austerity to balance the books on a scale that we have not seen. I mean massive (cuts)".

Asked if the austerity measures Scotland would have been facing would have been worse than the 1930s-style cuts opponents of the Conservatives say the Chancellor is now proposing for the years beyond 2018, the Highland MP replied: "George Osborne is going far too far in terms of austerity but, frankly, this would have knocked his plans into a cocked hat."
He stressed: "This just bears out the economic case that was made for keeping the UK together; it probably illustrates it better than anything else because people can see the impact of oil prices. People in the north east of Scotland are living with it daily at the moment in terms of the economic uncertainty it's creating for an awful lot of families and that's deeply, deeply troubling."

The Chief Secretary pointed out how, when the SNP Government's statistical analysis was published six months before the referendum vote, it predicted revenues for an independent Scotland in its first year of £6.9bn, based on an oil price of $110 a barrel. Noting how the Treasury strongly challenged these numbers at the time, stressing how imprudent it was to base an economic policy on such a volatile commodity, the Chief Secretary said officials had this week been number-crunching on the back of the slump in the oil price.

"If the oil price stays at $60 a barrel into 2016/17, the revenues for an independent Scotland would not have been £6.9bn but £0.5bn, a £6.4bn fall; black hole barely covers it, it's a sort of gaping chasm. Six and a half billion pounds is equivalent to the total education budget in Scotland," pointed out the Highland MP. "It just goes to show how disastrous independence would have been economically and how right we were to make those arguments at the time," he insisted.

Mr. Alexander stressed he was not surprised the SNP Government had not mentioned the slump in the oil price and what its consequences would have been for an independent Scotland. "People who support independence should over the New Year period reflect very carefully on this. This really cuts to the heart of the way in which Scotland is stronger because of the way in which we share resources across the whole of the United Kingdom," he explained.

Musings from John Clinkenbeard - Our Man in Edinburgh

John ClinkenbeardScotland would seriously need to diversify its income if it were to survive an independence decision. I think overall the 'divisions' post election could have been worse. It was a very flat feeling on the day after.

It was interesting for a while that people were completely turned off Face book for a while because of some of the bitterness after the Yes campaign lost. But the yes campaign still is alive under the surface and seemingly the SNP got about 80-100,000 new members in the last year.

But the country has pulled back together, and interestingly the political landscape is now a little more pointed towards devolved decision making for England/ Scotland/ and the regions. And then behind all of that there is a debate that David Cameron is leading about potentially leaving the EU. One interesting potential result of such a move would be any subsequent move to refloat the referendum question for Scotland, and the potential desire of the EU for Scotland to join if England had left! 

Scotland is being given more devolved powers, and I think Salmond can take credit for raising the profile and agenda successfully for the country. 

Happy Hogmanay and Auld Lang Syne to you all - stay in touch!



Job Opportunity

A connoisseur wine, spirits, liqueurs and olive oil establishment in Scottsdale is looking for a knowledgeable Scotch whisky aficionado to conduct a tasting class on weekends from 6:30 pm to 8:00/8:30 pm. The chef will pair different appetizers with each whisky selection. The classes will be limited to 20 people and will include 6 whisky samples and 6 food items.

Knowledge of the history of the Scotch whisky distilling industry, plus the nuances of the products themselves is required. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Don Finch at donfinch.one@gmail.com and he will connect you with the Chef

Looking for Clan Dunlop connection

A Society member is looking for other members of Clan Dunlop, to discuss working together and perhaps hosting a Clan tent in the future. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Mark Pelletier at clans@arizonascots.com and he will forward your contact information.

Board Meeting Minutes - 12/16/2014

1. Special Olympics AZ. It was moved and seconded that a committee consisting of Michelle Crownhart, David McBee and Don Finch would arrange a meeting with Special Olympics Arizona to reconfirm their participation in the 2015 Games. (A meeting was held on Jan. 6th with the following outcome: a) SOA will participate in 2015, capped at 6 athletes; b) the SOA/CSA ‘unified’ events will be held on Sun. Mar. 22nd; c) there will be a joint training session on Sat. Mar. 14 at Univ. of Phoenix Stadium; d) SOA will provide volunteers to assist on Sun. 3/22.) No commitment was made, but we intend to make a contribution to SOA following the Games.

2. Continuation of Current Board. It was agreed that Don Finch will fulfill the President's role when Mark Clark is absent due to his job relocation. It was further agreed that the situation will be re-evaluated following the Highland Games.

3. Treasurer’s Report.   Fiscal YTD Revenue was $15,081 and the Net Income was ($3,962) as budgeted. The Net Income will turn positive as membership renewals, Burns ticket sales, and Games vendors’ revenue are received in January.

4. Association of Scottish Games & Festivals The Board agreed to renew its membership in the amount of $125. We also agreed that Games Chair Paul Bell should attend the ASGR’s annual meeting in Alexandria, VA in December 2015. - with a travel budget of $1000 for airfare, accommodations and a per diem meal allowance.

Coming Events

January 21 Highland Games Committee Meeting, ICC, 6 PM
January 21 Celtic Music Event, Congregational Church, 1201 E. Shea, Scottsdale - Call 480-451-4565 for information
January 24 Robert Burns Supper, Phoenix Country Club, 7 PM
February 12 Membership Meeting. ICC, 6:30 PM
March 12 Membership Meeting. ICC, 6:30 PM
March 18 Preview the "Loch Ness Arts & Fashion District" Changing Hands Book Store, 300 W. Camelback, Phoenix, 7 PM
March 20 Pipe Jam, Westin Kierland, Scottsdale, 7 PM
March 21-22 Our Gathering & Highland Games

Society Meetings
Regular membership meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ. beginning at 6:30 pm. Come join us or log on to www.arizonascots.com.

Caledonian Society Officers
President: Mark Clark
Past President: (2010 – 2012) Jean Latimer
Vice President Don Finch
Secretary & Membership Chair: Ian Warrander
Treasurer: David McBee
Games Chair
Paul Bell
Trustee 1: Mark Pelletier
Trustee 2: Michelle Crownhart
Trustee 3: Thom von Hapsburg
Newsletter Editor:

Don Finch
Statutory Agent: Dan Miller



Who Am I ?

The mystery member is Mark Pelletier