Posted by Charles Rehberg on Apr 30, 2018
North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
April 30, 2018  
          Congrats!: Club Secretary Melinda Keberle said she will move next fall from principal at Eagle Peak School to principal at Ridgeview Elementary, 5610 N. Maple.  Melinda worked at Eagle Peak and its predecessor schools for more than a dozen years, working with special resources program students in 4th-12th grade.
Water project targets Caribbean island
            For the more than one billion people worldwide who have no potable water, the solutions are not easy.  And the answers often involve just one village at a time.
            Trying to make a difference for one small, arid part of southwestern Dominican Republic is Kristin Thompson.  Kristin, a South Rotary Club member talked to our club April 30.
            People in the Dominican Republic speak Spanish and baseball (a.k.a. “beisbol”).
            Kristin, who leads the US Bank Special Needs Trust, also is co-founder and president of the non-profit Joshua 1:Nine, a biblical reference.  She has been in a sports ministry since 2004 and was in a private law practice for seven years before the banking position.
            The Dominican Republic, with 10.2 million people, occupies nearly 60 percent of Hispaniola, sharing the island with Haiti. 
            While potable water and some good jobs are in the southeastern sector near the resorts and the capital, Santo Domingo, Kristin works with Fondo Negro in the arid southwest  Barahona Province.  There, she said, everyone is warned to avoid contact, where wastewater and polluted drain-off settles in the main valley.  “It’s just bad water,” she said. Local residents are so use to tainted water, she said, that “Dominicans don’t like the taste of clean water, or water which is chlorinated.”
            The area’s water sends out 300 bottles a day of five gallons each in recycled plastic jugs.  Kristin said the water costs 20 pesos each –about 50 cents—but where one-third of the families nationally survive on $1.25 a day.  She is helping to raise $32,000 for the water system and another $13,000 for a truck to haul materials.
            So Kristin is working with John’s Creek, a south Atlanta Rotary Club and a Baptist Church there, and hopefully an RI global grant to finance a water system to pipe clean water from the steep mountains to the populous lowland.  She said she needs another $5,000 for the project – less if other grants can be added. 
            Baseball in the Dominican Republic is described as “a national passion and a way of life.”
            Various sources say baseball was introduced in 1866 by American sailors loading sugar cane in the region, especially near the sugar mills at San Pedro de Macrois.  That happens to be the country’s beisbol epicenter.  Nationwide, in one recent year, 95 of 856 major leaguers were Dominicans, 11 percent of the total.
            Major League stars from that town include Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and Albert Pujols of the Angels.  Alums include Juan Marichal, the Alou Brothers (Matty, Felipe and Jesus), Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martinez and Alex Rodriguez.  Some 20 major league teams have training camps in the DR.
            While some stars and baseball academies return money, the Dominicans usually just support their own communities, she said.  That often excludes the outposts in the three-quarters of the arid southwest.
            As Kristin said, “Baseball is a tool, but it isn’t enough.”
            One main goals of Rotary International is that by the year 2030 there will be safe water for everyone in the world.  The dramatic success of polio eradication shows some hope for safe water.  But reaching that goal in 12 short years, is a daunting challenge.
The bulletin producers:
          Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
          Photos: Sandy Fink and Eric Johnson
          Program coordinator: Brad Stark