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November 19, 2018   

President Sandy welcomed the Rotary Club of Bellingham in a festive blue hat, that looked somewhat  Eastern European to this reporter. Totally wrong. The country of origin was none other than Mongolia in the far North and Eastern stretches of Asia. We learned that Mongolia has a long tradition of Rotary clubs and some of the largest Salmon and Trout species on the planet. We also heard, in a bit too much detail at lunchtime, about a national dish featuring buried, coal stuffed barbecued rodents with a high risk of carrying a fatal disease for the diner. Great start!
President Sandy also thanked Past Presidents Teri Treat and Brian Griffin for filling in for him during his recent planned and unplanned absences. Glad to have you back your royal highness.


Next Football  Game is Apple Cup Huskies vs Cougs  11/23/18 on Friday Night Football (click here for numbers)

Warren Bestwick Memorial Service will be held November 27th at 11:00 am at Emerald Heights, 10901 176th Circle, Redmond, Washington - Complex #425-556-8100 for directions.

Teri Treat announced the results of the Nominating Committee ( Teri Treat, Cathy Buckley, Sandy McIntire, John Pedlow and Doug Cole) and the following members have been selected for the 2019-2020 Rotary Year:  Elections will be held December 10, 2018

President: Cathy Buckley

President-Elect:  Gary Goldfogel

Vice-President/Program Chairman:  Peter Theisen

Treasurer:  Steve Gray

Board of Directors:  Bruce Clawson and Lisa Saar

Members are encouraged to make their major project pledges as soon as possible. Cash or stocks are two options for contributing.  You can go to to make your payment or mail a check payable to The Rotary Club of Bellingham Foundation, 2200 Vining St., Bellingham, Wa.  98229 and/or email  your pledge amount to Scott at

Save the Date - Vegas Night will be February 9 and that tickets can be bought on line for $100 each on the MBT website. The lineup includes the Up Front Players, lounge singers and more! Bell ringing will be on December 15 and signup sheets are available at the next meeting. Teri and Marty Haines are prepared to bring goodies to the ringers like they did last year.  Contact Jim Wakefield to sign-up. 

There was a Board of Directors meeting immediately after the general club session on Monday.

President Sandy spoke on behalf of Scott Hume regarding the collection of funds and pledges for the Major Project selection: Galbraith Mountain’s trailhead and parking improvements. These are being accepted now and members can avoid a collection call from the committee simply by acting now. Phone and email pledges are accepted, as is $$$.
Monte McAllister reported that the Club’s Outgoing exchange student, Ngoc Chau, returned home from Spain recently. The departure was somewhat early.




Guests of Rotarians:  
Students of the Month - Visual Arts
Kathi Hiyane-Brown introduced Samar Reed-Boulos from Bellingham High School, her friend, Cynthia Newman and Mother Valerie Reed
Nancy Jordan introduced Allayna Zimmerman from Options High School, her Mother Samantha Zee and teacher Laurel Kunesh
Mauri Ingram introduced Wil Henkel from Sehome High School and his parents Laura and Steve Henkel
Garrett Jeffery introduced Brecken Stockmar from Squalicum High School and his parents Becky and Chris Stockmar
Kathi Hiyane-Brown brought Rafecka Kloke
John Inglis introduced Diane Chanavith and Adrienne Erlick from California
Steve Ban brought his brother George Ban from New York
Catherine Riordan introduced her daughter, Katie Thompson and friend Richard Castillo
Rud Browne brought his wife Sheila
Club members heard presentations about four students who are gifted with talent in the visual arts: Allayna Zimmerman of Options HS, Samar Reed-Boulos of Bellingham, Brecken Stockmar of Squalicum HS and William Henkel of Sehome. Each brought examples of their recent work for viewing by Club members and spoke of their approach to the process of making art and the subjects of their work. They were many interesting details:
Allayna’s art is made in ink and Sharpie (™) pens. She is also holds a brown belt in Karate and is nearing completion of her black belt.
Brecken makes time in his busy schedule for art by starting hours before school begins. He is also the Varsity Swim Team captain and is taking numerous AP courses.
Samar is active in the Arts and Environmental Clubs at Bellingham, and in her spare time organized a fundraiser at school for Doctors without Borders. She said she finds the female subject more visually interesting for her work, which got some giggles from the Club. She had a great quote for all of us: “I just go for it. I let myself inspire myself.” Words to live by.
William founded a club at Sehome designed to help reduce or eliminate the stigma of mental illness for students. He has been designated a “youth influencer” for his work, and is pursuing a $100,000 grant to allow him to continue in that role across the country after high school.  In his “spare time”, he is Captain of the Lacrosse team, active in the Math Olympiad and enjoys international travel.
Hart Hodges, Professor of Economics at WWU and co-Owner of Waycross Investment in Bellingham, spoke to the club about the bigger trends affecting the economy. He focused on larger historical and demographic trends as opposed to topical issues like trade wars, corporate tax cuts and deficits.
Professor Hodges noted some larger, decades old trends that shape our economy or demonstrate how it is changing. Among them:
  • Employment in traditional drivers in the US Economy, agriculture and manufacturing, have been declining for decades. Productivity and output are way up, but the jobs are no longer there.
  •  Migration between states has experienced a similar decline, falling by roughly 50% since the mid-sixties. The population is less willing to move for jobs, or for other reasons chooses to stay in the same communities over time. This has impact on housing values and employment where some areas suffer high unemployment while jobs go unfilled in other states.
  • In fact, since the early 1970’s there has been a growing disconnect between employment, output and wages. The lower end of the labor force has increasingly suffered while higher paid positions have seen wage levels increase substantially.
  • Overall rates of upward mobility are also in decline. Now for the first time since WWII, there is only a 50% chance that kids will earn more than their parents. This used to be a truism.
  • The place you live and the type of job perform really matter.  Growth areas are generally along the coasts, and influenced by large percentage of technology and professional services employment. The rust belt states suffer from the loss of manufacturing and agricultural jobs. This impacts entire communities, home values and economies.
  • Dr Hodges asked the question: Are you an owner of capital (high earner) or have been impacted by capital (low wage earner)? Do you own the machine taking jobs, or has your job been taken by a machine or computer?
Dr Hodges then made some comparisons between Bellingham and Seattle economies, along with the US as a whole. He said that while Bellingham has some similarities to the Seattle area, such as the ratio of home prices to average wages and population growth rates, our local economy acts more like the US in terms of economic cycles.
Seattle has a very high percentage of technology and professional services employment, while Whatcom County has a high percentage of government, construction and service jobs. He noted that approximately 6% of Whatcom County residents commute to work in the Everett / Seattle metro areas
Finally, Dr Hodges pondered what the next recession might look like and why. He said there is clear evidence that each recession since the 1960’s has taken longer for recovery and we can expect that again. Technological changes means that some jobs are lost forever so unemployment takes longer to recover to pre-recession levels. Less worker mobility means that some jobs may go unfilled as the economy comes back. And finally, that the actions we take as a nation to buffer our citizens from recessions may also slow the economy (think unemployment insurance, for example).
His was not exactly a sunny forecast, but at the least the day outside was beautiful and we presently enjoy an unemployment rate of just 4.0%!
Dec 17, 2018
Dec 24, 2018
Dec 31, 2018
Jan 07, 2019
Federal Magistrate Judging
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Upcoming Events
Salvation Army Bell Ringing
Dec 15, 2018
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
2019 Vegas Night
Mt. Baker Theatre
Feb 09, 2019
6:00 PM – 10:00 PM


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