North Notes
Spokane-North Rotary Club
February 13, 2023
            Feb. 20: No luncheon. Presidents Day holiday.
            Feb. 27: Noon luncheon at the Bark. Speaker: Trena Redmond, GU School of Nursing.
            Club President Melinda Keberle said she and club member Megan West, a Boy Scout staffer, are working to see if a number of scouts can attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Colin Awards  (RYLA).
Holmes Heroes honored
            Ron Noble and Colin Prestesater represented the club Friday, Feb. 10, at Holmes Elementary School’s “Holmes Heroes” award. (Pictures soon!)
            They said some 35 honorees each received a certificate, plaque and T-shirt.
            “They were all smiles on their faces,” Ron said.
B-Days:  Celebrating birthdays this week are Dave Petersen, a club member since 1976, and John Mailliard, who notes his 80th birthday.
Happy Bucks:
            Bill Simer was doubly happy that the Zags beat BYU and the Eagles beat the Vandals.
            Dave Petersen was happy that his WSU Cougs (his undergraduate degree) beat the UW Huskies  (his dental degree).
            John Mailliard was happy that a relative was honored in the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame.
            Colin Prestesater said “thanks everyone” for the club members and spouses at the baby shower gathering at Melinda Keberle’s home.
And more Holmes dollar days…
            Sgt.-at-arms Ron Noble was distributing dollars like an ATM for a variety of items, including Holmes and the Navy:
            Ron asked John Mailliard to recall how much was raised for Holmes with the October pumpkin patch project.  John’s son, talking with a Moses Lake visitor, had spare
pumpkins to spend last fall.  The result, nearly 400 Holmes students each received a pumpkin, and enough was left over to sell the gourds like a sidewalk lemonade stand, raising money for 100 “Coats for Kids.”
            Bill Simer, relating that Holmes Elementary School received $200 for books from The Rotary Club of Greater Spokane Valley, through their account with the District 5080 Charitable Fund.
            Ron, a proud Navy vet, was happy that four female pilots flew over the Super Bowl in Phoenix.  He added that a Rogers High grad from the Navy was involved in maintenance for a Super Bowl.
            Ron also mentioned the Feb. 6 talk about Joshua1:Nine in the Dominican Republic, and “how many Rotary makes connections all over the world.”
Airport numbers flying high
             At the Feb. 13 luncheon meeting, Todd Woodard, SIA’s director of marketing and public affairs, showed the progress and bright prospects for growth.
            Todd served as club president in 2003-04, the year that connections between the club and Holmes Elementary was established.
             Now in his 28th year at SIA, Todd, a WSU grad, worked for seven years as a press and legislative assistant for the late Thomas Foley, former Speaker of the House.  Todd last year was named by Gov. Inslee to the board of trustees of Spokane Community Colleges.  He was involved at the CCS Foundation since 2015 and was past-president.
            The numbers on his slide show detailed how big the economic impact of the airports is.
             In 2022, more than 3.9 million passengers used Spokane International and more than 12,000 jobs worked at SIA, Felts Field and the Spokane Airport Business Park.
            “We use the seats, not the number of flights, as the commodity,” Todd said.  In 2019, before Covid began, 4.04 million seats were logged.    
            Todd added that SIA is “100 percent self-sufficient”   with no city or county taxes funding.  The three airport operations are owned by the city and county and operated with an airport board.
            SIA and the business park have 6,000 acres of land and more than 500 acres are still available for development, he said.
            Felts operates on 416 acres and offers four landing surfaces, including concrete, turf and the adjacent Spokane River for seaplanes.
            Felts also has training centers for helicopters, small planes for passengers and cargo, and medivac flights.  Todd said some 2,400 medical flights landed in Spokane last year for every medical needs except burn victims, who are flown to Harborview in Seattle.
            SIA operates with six airlines and three cargo carriers.  The airlines offer 18 non-stops in cities and adding another smaller airline is a possibility, he said.
            Cargo tonnage grew 3 percent in 2022 and 14 percent above 2019, he added.
            Todd said the new “trans-load center,” connecting truck to rail to air will be “transformational” in providing new cargo.
            SIA also tracks where former residents now move here. Top states were California, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, Texas and Montana, he said.
            Amazon now has nearly 6,000 workers in the Spokane area, with some 5,000 in or near the airport park.
            Todd said work continues to expand and improve the airport gates, and parking facilities, including adding electric vehicle stations.
            At Felts a new taxi lane was opened with hangar development and a children’s play area will brighten up the space near Felts location.
The airport name game
Why were “Geiger” and “Felts” named for Spokane’s airports?
            Geiger (GEG) was named in 1946 for Maj. Harold Geiger, born in 1884 in East Orange, New Jersey.  Geiger died May 22, 1927.  He was piloting an Airco DH4 plane at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
            In 1941 the Defense Department bought the Sunset Field from the county to train Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft.
            Buell James Felts was born in 1898 in Basin, Mont., son of prominent apple growers in the Spokane Valley.  His dad, Isham, was a Valley Chamber of Commerce president and county commissioner.
            Buell enrolled at WSC (now WSU) in horticulture, but entered WWI after his first year. After the war he co-owned the Spokane Valley Herald newspaper and served as a pilot in the Washington State Guard.  Buell was training in a J.N. “Jenny” Curtiss plane when he crashed 12 minutes after lift-off.  His son, Buell James Felts, Jr., was born just eight weeks after his birth.
            The former Parkwater airstrip called Hoisington Field, developed in 1913, was then renamed for Felts, who is buried at The Pines cemetery.
 Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
 Pictures:  Lenore Romney