Presidential Theme for 2018-2019

North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
March 4, 2019
Rotary calendar:
            March 11: Rotary Connects: Gathering starts at 4:30 p.m. at Davenport Grand Hotel Lounge, Washington and Spokane Falls Blvd. (And it’s Happy Hour!)
            March 18: Lunch meeting at Nectar in Kendall Yards. Speaker TBA.
            March 23 and/or March 25: Sorting work groups at 2nd Harvest food bank.  A few of our six slots are open on each date at 1 p.m.  Email President Lenore Romney for further details.
            April 1: Luncheon meeting at Nectar. 3rd quarterly update with President Romney.
            Golden anniversary: Member Art Rudd joined Rotary North in 1969, and to celebrate his 50th anniversary with the club he donated $50 to the sergeant-at-arms collection on March 4.  Well done Art and congratulations!! 
            Footwear welcome:   The Colville Rotary Club and its Interact Club are gathering “gently used” shoes (men’s, women’s and children’s) to turn into cash for the Interact club’s June community service project in Ecuador.  Please bring your shoe donations to the March 18 luncheon. 
            Online auction: Rotary South has a travel auction online continuing until March 15, raising money for scholarships, books for kids and other service projects.  The link is
            Golden Heroes: Eric Johnson and President Romney will represent the club in greeting the winners at Holmes Elementary School’s “Golden Heroes” program March 22 at 1:30 p.m.
It’s cold outside, except in Real Estate offices  
            The Spokane area weather has been frigid lately, but the real estate market continues red hot.
            Home-builders and apartment-builders are scrambling to find qualified laborers and inventories for homes and rental units are the lowest in several years.
            That means home prices have risen across the board.
            Club member Eric Johnson updated the numbers at the March 4 luncheon.
            Eric is broker/owner of Coldwell Banker Tomlinson North and real estate is a big part of his family.  His dad, Leroy Johnson, now retired, joined the real estate classification in Rotary North in 1973.  Eric’s brother was a club member in real estate and their sister, Melinda Denton is in CBT South.
            How busy is the industry here? Eric said generally Spokane real estate transactions are about 6,000 a year.  In 2018, there were 8,212 transactions.
            Inventory of houses from 2014 to 2017 ranged from 1,400 to 1,100 in successive years until 2018, when inventory was just 700 houses for sale, he said.
            “We still have the start of a boom cycle,” Johnson said, “and we can’t build houses fast enough.”
            He added: “There is not enough labor.  Contractors can work 24/7.”
            The average new house price for 1,500-2,200 square feet is about $347,000 and many others list over $400,000, Johnson said.  Several years ago, few houses cost more than $300,000.
            Apartment rents also are going steadily up, with increases every year on most units, he said.
            “National (housing rates) has cooled off,” Johnson said, adding, “when they cool off, we go up.”
            Eric, who also is a member of the Washington Association of Realtors, said with large job growth, including Amazon and extra tankers at Fairchild Air Force Base, “we’re in for a ride.”
            He said seven years ago nearly one in three units was “in distress,” with short-sales and foreclosures.  Now that rate is just 2-3 percent.
            Johnson said the housing rate also is red hot on the West Plains, but also in Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene.  Even the Silver Valley is getting more business, he said.
            One segment that is not quite as hot, he said, is older homes with four or five bedrooms, because family size is smaller now “and no one wants to clean those older big homes.”
The bulletin producers:
Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Photos: Sandy Fink and Eric Johnson
North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
February 25, 2019
Rotary calendar:
            March 4: Lunch meeting at Nectar in Kendall Yards. Speaker TBA.
            March 11: Rotary Connects: Gathering starts at 4:30 p.m. at Davenport Grand Hotel Lounge, Washington and Spokane Falls Blvd.
            March 18: Lunch meeting at Nectar in Kendall Yards. Speaker TBA.
            March 23 and/or March 25 Rotary Serves: Sorting food at 2nd Harvest food bank.  Six slots are reserved for our Club for each shift which begins at 1 p.m. each day.  Email President
Lenore Romney if you’d like to volunteer for a shift.
            Welcome: Some 17 students from the Gonzaga Rotaract Club, 6 Rotarians and 3 family members participated in the Feb. 23rd Rotary Serves deep cleaning event at Family Promise of Spokane.  The GU Rotaract club was recently officially approved by the university, said President Lenore Romney.
            Time for Spring Cleaning - Footwear welcome: The Colville HS Interact Club, sponsored by the Colville Rotary Club (Ron Noble’s former club) is gathering pairs of “gently used” shoes and turning them into cash to raise funds for a trip to Ecuador to do community service in homeless shelters and poor neighborhoods.  (Flyer will be sent through a separate email.)  Our Club’s goal is to gather 200 pairs of shoes to contribute to their effort.  Feel free to spread the word to your friends, family and co-workers.  Please bring your donations to our events on March 4, 11 and 18.
            Congrats!: Two special Paul Harris pins were celebrated for milestone giving to the Rotary Foundation - a three-sapphire pin for Steve Boharksi and a three-ruby pin for board member John Mailliard
            PETS: Melinda Keberle last weekend attended the President-Elect Training Seminar at Sea-Tac, describing the session as “awesome!”  PETS brings together Rotarians from the nine districts in the Northwest area of North America, including Alaska and the Yukon Territory.  Melinda becomes club president on July 1 and the new RI banner motto is “Rotary Connects the World.”  Melinda said our club and President Romney “were a year ahead of most clubs” in reworking the club model to include fellowship and service opportunities.
            Online auction: Rotary South has a travel auction online continuing until March 15, raising money for scholarships, books for kids and other service projects.  The link is
Rotary Serves: Turning a vacant grocery into a shelter
           Two words that came to mind Feb. 23 were “cold” and “creepy.”
            But the best words were “teamwork” and “success” as 26 volunteers cleaned house at the former Cassano’s Grocery at 2002 E. Mission.
             Seventeen Gonzaga University Rotaract members, six Rotarians and three family members helped leaders from Family Promise of Spokane’s “Open Doors” help disinfect and tidy up the 70-plus year-old grocery building a block east of Stevens Elementary School.
            Directing the effort for the non-profit agency were Marianne Sfeir, human resources manager, and Abigail Brayman, group volunteer coordinator.
            On a cold Saturday morning, club members Lenore Romney and Chuck Rehberg worked more than two hours cleaning the huge walk-in cooler, which still operated the very effective chillers.  In short, it was “cold.”  Among the discarded items was a 25-pound roll of provolone cheese.
            A large work party cleaned the huge basement, described by the leaders as “creepy,” while others tackled the grimy kitchen and bathrooms.
            The 6,000-square-foot grocery plans to open this summer with room for up to 80 beds plus an elevated office and upstairs apartments.  “Open Doors” is considered the largest Spokane shelter for displaced families.  The existing Perry-area shelter held 50 beds, but at times crammed up to 65 beds, leaders said in earlier press reports.  You can learn more about Family Promise at
Ideas create diverse ‘Sparks’ for youth in Kendall Yards
            Three key words for Spark Central are “Creativity, Innovation and Imagination.”
            On Feb. 25th, members walked from our usual luncheon at Nectar one block east to Spark Central at 1214 W. Summit Parkway to enter the distinctive space which serves youth of all ages but caters to grades 3 to 6 in the West Central neighborhood.
           Spark’s Brooke Matson, executive director, and Kate Reed, development director, enthusiastically described the programs, where the motto is “everyone deserves creative learning opportunities.”
            The non-profit Spark Center operates from noon to 7 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays.  Brooke said daily average participation is about 70 students a day.  Through school connections, some students are bused in for sessions.  Others filter in from Holmes Elementary and other schools.  Some sessions are taken to schools.
            “What we do is creativity,” Kate told the members.  “Creativity enlivens your life, whatever you do,” she said, adding: “You can’t be something if you don’t know what it is.”
             Spark’s décor include a large zebra statue from the Chinese Festivals a few years ago and 30 Spokane historic paintings, called “The River Remembers,” created by artist Kay Rourke. 
            Creativity areas include Literature Station, Maker Station space for creating and Performance Station.
            Young students can use an assortment of computers with wi-fi, art supplies, robotics and games.  Students generate occasional copies of the West Central Express newspaper.
            The original spark for the center came from author Jess Walter and artist/developer Dan Spalding.  Jim and Joe Frank of Greenstone donated the office space after City Council President Ben Stuckart and others talked about the need for library and other educational needs in West Central.
            Funding comes from volunteers, donations and a roster of “supporters” and 20 “sponsors.”
            Kate said while few kids live in Kendall Yards it was important to have something like Spark Central to contribute to the West Central neighborhood.
The bulletin producers:
            Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
            Photos: Bob Romney and Chad Haverkamp

Welcome to our Club!

Spokane North

Service to Kids!

1st & 3rd Monday–Lunch meeting at Noon at Nectar Wine Bar; 2nd Monday-Rotary Connect meet-up at 4:30pm–check website for location---changes monthly; 4th Monday–Rotary Serves–a service project-check website for details; 5th Monday-no events
Nectar Wine Bar--Kendall Yards
1331 W Summit Parkway
Spokane, WA  99201
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Spokane North Rotary