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January 14, 2019   

President Sandy welcomed everyone and had Dominique talk about the situation the Coast Guard finds themselves in as a result of the government shutdown. They are the only military branch that is not receiving pay. Our local Coast guard members continue to work hard to ensure the safety of all members of our community. All members of Bellingham Rotary are ask to support our local Coast Guard by contributing unopened non-perishable foods and other basics.  Gift cards and cash are also welcome.  Dominique will be coordinating the effort, shopping and delivering the donations.  She needs help and welcomes anyone who can find time to assist her. Contact Dominique at 360-733-2010 or All donations from happy bucks and minister of fun at today’s meeting will go to this need.


Reminder there will NOT be a meeting next week, January 21st because of Martin Luther King Holiday.

Scott Wallace unveiled a new bright yellow Rotary T-shirt modeled by John Dunne.  Place your order with Scott.

Our  RCOB Rotarians in Action:  

The attached link connects to the current copy of the Rotary LitRAG (Literacy Rotary Action Group) newsletter which contains an article about the ARES project that RCOB helped to fund recently. (It is the second article in the newsletter.)  Kudos to Mark Knittel and his BC team of Rotary clubs for making such big strides in education with such a innovative system!

Board Briefs – January 10, 2019
The board evaluated our mid-year position regarding the budget, Galbriath Mountain Major Project Fundraising and Las Vegas night.
Vision Process - President Sandy presented a proposed Vision Statement, Mission Statement and Strategies that he created based on our previous statement and the recent Visioning Process.  The Board unanimously approved it.  It will be placed on our website and presented to the membership on February 11th when President Sandy updates the membership.
Cathy Buckley volunteered to evaluate the Vision Process findings and help prepare where we go from here working also with incoming Presidents Gary Goldfogel and Peter Theisen.
The next board meeting will be Thursday, February 14, 2019

Scott Hume updated us on the fund raising progress for the 2018 Major Project, Galbraith Mountain Parking Lot. A few members have not yet pledged and Scott will be wrapping up the fund drive by the end of January.  Along with the pledge he would like a check by the end of January to be able to close the 2018 Major Project fundraising.

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  Click here to watch a video of our project    


Brad Burdick reminded us that Las Vegas Night is February 9th and so far only 37 Rotarians have purchased tickets.  There is always a last minute flurry of ticket buying, but Brad is getting nervous.  This signature Rotary event always offers a great evening of entertainment and comradery and shouldn’t be missed. Along with the performances from UpFront, gambling and “Elvis”, there are a number of prizes to be given away as well as a silent auction.  In order for the committee to plan with the caterer, they need to have a guest count by January 28th. To purchase tickets at: on line  or call the box office at 360-734-6080 for $100 each. The lineup includes the Up Front Players, lounge singers and more!  You can also fill out the attached Ticket Order Form and bring it to a Monday meeting and we will process it for you.  The Vegas Night committee is still accepting silent auction items and encouraged members to donate items and looking for additional sponsors.  Contact Brad Burdick if you can help.


Guests of Rotarians:  
Jack Mulhern introduced Lacy Heinz, Dominique Zervas's guest and her assistant Lacy Heinz with Zervas Law
Jennifer Moehl brought our current Inbound Exchange Students Carla and Rumbi
Fred Sheppard, representing Habitat for Humanity, thanked Rotary for the Service Fund Grant they received. Habitat is two years and $200,000 plus dollars into their project at Telegraph Road, obtaining permits and starting construction.  They concurrently are building a home in Acme and two homes in Sudden Valley.  They plan to use the service grant to purchase tool boxes and tool aprons to support the many volunteers who work on their projects.
Starck Follis is the Director of the Whatcom County Public Defender’s Office.  He graduated from the University of Washington and Seattle University School of Law, cum laude. Starck started working in Alaska clerking for the Alaska Court of Appeals and representing defendants who could not afford an attorney and often could not speak English. After 20 years in private practice, he came back to the Public Defender’s office, first in Skagit and now in Whatcom County.  The Public Defender’s office has 17 attorneys, 4 investigators and 6 assistants, and operates on a $4million yearly budget. The cost per tax payer in Whatcom County is low in comparison to other counties in Washington. The primary goal of the Public Defender’s office is to reduce incarceration.

The U.S. Constitution and Washington State law both require “Right to Counsel”- A person has the right to counsel in a criminal proceeding in which there is the possibility of incarceration.

The Public Defender’s office in Whatcom County was created in 1982. Starck noted that public defenders are independent, don’t answer to anyone, are not always liked and are not always understood. Many of their clients fall in one or more of the following categories; people of color, the homeless, clients with mental health issues , and clients with poverty issues. These populations are  often lack access to phones and to cars,  and may have difficulty getting to court. Clients qualify by meeting welfare-type numbers; i.e. if they’re on public assistance,  they usually qualify. Once assigned to a client, the Public Defense attorney cannot withdraw without permission from the court. The only exception is if they have a conflict of interest with another client.  The Public Defenders’ Office handled around 1500 felonies and 2000 misdemeanors last year.  Outcomes include reduced charges, deferred charges, assignment to drug court or mental health evaluation.

Whatcom County’s Public Defender’s office is an efficient and tax-payer-conscious agency that has returned money to the general budget every year that Starck has been involved.  They offer a valuable and beneficial service to our entire community.
Feb 25, 2019
Washington Superior Court Judging
Mar 04, 2019
Membership Committee Update
Mar 11, 2019
Mar 18, 2019
Bellingham Grown Composer - A colorful Musical Journey
View entire list
Upcoming Events
2019 Vegas Night
Mt. Baker Theatre
Mar 14, 2019
6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Rise Against Hunger meal packing - Rotary Work Day
St. Lukes Health Education Center
Apr 27, 2019
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM


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