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October 2, 2017   

President Teri opened the meeting on a beautiful, sunny fall day.
Lisa Saar made opening remarks, drawing attention to the need to support world hunger eradication efforts and those impacted by the tragic events that have happened recently.  She asked the club membership to observe a moment of silence in memory of the more than 50 people killed in the September 30 shooting in Las Vegas.


President Teri mentioned that in upcoming meetings we will be treated to short vignettes of our Club’s history, especially meaningful to do since this is our 100th birthday year.
President Teri also informed us that we will kick off the fundraising efforts for this year’s major project, which will be in support of student scholarships soon.  This project represents a departure from the sorts of things we usually support as annual projects, but it is a very worthy project and one the Club wants to get fully behind.  She hopes it will be a short and highly successful campaign, perhaps wrapped up by the end of December.
Dominique Zervas announced that she is heading an effort to raise dollars to support victims of the recent hurricanes.  She asks that checks, made out to the American Red Cross with a memo for Hurricane Maria, or cash be sent to her.  She will then ask the Board of Directors to match what the members contribute.
Felicity Dye, a member of the Club and District 5050 Youth Exchange committees, announced that this weekend interviews will be held with candidates for our next year’s outgoing exchange student position.  She also drew attention to the periodic blogs that will be posted by our current exchange student, Izzy Cybula.
Steve Ban reminded Club members that it would be nice for as many members as possible to meet Ivanna Platt, the exchange student now in our community from Mexico.  She will be staying with several Club families during the year, but would likely enjoy being invited to members’ homes in order to get better acquainted and more fully experience our Bellingham community.
Guests of Rotarians:  
Lisa Saar brought Danielle Walker with Law Office of Lisa Saar
Paula McCandlis introduced Eric Richey,  Whatcom County Deputy Prosecutor
Lynda Hinton brought her daughter Kistin Hunt, marketing rep with Chicago Title
President Teri asked the club to join together in recognizing Bob Trunek for the special donations he has made to the Rotary International Foundation.
Program Chair, Cathy Buckley introduced our speaker, Dr. Hart Hodges, Associate Professor of Economics at Western, Director of Western’s Center for Economic and Business Research, and financial advisor with the Waycross Investment Co.  Cathy informed us that Hart’s grandfather was a long-time Rotarian and President of Rotary International in 1967.  Hart’s talk to our club was entitled “The Whatcom Economy”.
Hart began his presentation by addressing several common narratives, that might or might not have validity, e.g.  “the Whatcom economy tracks that of Seattle” or “Amazon is the major source of property price increases in Seattle”.  In terms of overall wage earnings, the Whatcom growth curves follow those of Seattle but at a lower level.  In fact, most of the counties in Washington are below King county.  However, he emphasized that it is important to “unbundle” some of the data we see in order to fully understand what is happening.   He pointed out that if we look at the percent change in jobs during the 2007 – present time period, professional and business services in Seattle increased by 21.8%, while in Bellingham they increased by only 2.5%.  In contrast, manufacturing jobs in Seattle decreased by 0.3 %, but increased in Bellingham by 15.1%. 
The Center for Economic and Business Research now has access to a program called the Puget Sound Forecaster, which allows Hart and colleagues to better forecast the future outlook for several parts of the economy.  For Bellingham, population, wages and overall economic growth is expected to be slow.  Growth in Seattle has started to slow partly due to job reductions in aerospace.  What happens with Amazon, and the location of another Amazon headquarters, is expected to have a significant impact. 
Hart presented an interesting analysis and discussion about the relative costs of housing in Bellingham and Seattle.  Currently, the median house price in Bellingham is $340K, vs. $650K for Seattle.  He pointed out that the high housing costs in Seattle are the result of many factors, ones not easy or simple to identify.  However, the median salary in Seattle is more than twice that in Bellingham.  Hart posits that the average wage earner in Bellingham can afford a house, but that is generally true also in Seattle.  He questions whether or not high house prices in Seattle will cause folks to move to the suburbs or to Belllingham, or if they move, will they move to much lower cost-of-living cities out of Washington?  He also questions when the current high increases in housing costs will end, and suggests it might be beginning to happen soon.
Nov 20, 2017
Nov 27, 2017
Dec 04, 2017
Dec 25, 2017
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Upcoming Events
Annual Blood Drive
Northwood Hall
Dec 04, 2017 9:00 AM
Salvation Army Bell Ringing
Dec 16, 2017
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Ski Trip 2018 to Sun Peaks, BC
Sun Peaks, B.C
Feb 05, 2018 – Feb 09, 2018


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