North Notes
Spokane-North Rotary Club Bulletin
February 1, 2021
            Feb. 8: Noon-Zoom lunch meeting.  Topic: Red Cross of Spokane
            Feb. 15:  (No meeting - Presidents’ Holiday.)
            Thank-you note: President-elect Lenore Romney said Son Michael Pham, founder and director of Kids Without Borders, sent a glowing thank-you note for the North and South Rotary Clubs’ efforts in distributed clothing and coats to disadvantaged youth.  Items were donated by Spokane area Children’s Place and Burlington stores and distributed to elementary schools, Vanessa Behan Nursery, Catholic Charities and Union Gospel Mission.  Pham, a member of the Rotary Club of the University District-Seattle, said of the Kids program: “It’s been a wonderful partnership.”
            Back in the classrooms: As more students return to in-class learning, Ron Noble said the Golden Heroes program is preparing to the 2nd Awards Assembly of the year on March 26th at Holmes Elementary.  Perhaps it will be a time for several Rotarians to be present as students are given their awards.  Stay tuned for more info.
            Fund-raising reminder: As we continue to raise money in lieu of the club’s annual wine tasting event, it was noted that money sent to the Rotary District 5080 Charitable Fund is tax-deductible.  Checks for donations should be made out to Rotary District 5080 Charitable Fund but sent to the Spokane North P.O. Box 9190 Spokane WA 99209.   Treasurer Bill Simer can answer questions about the details. 
DR town: Good baseball, bad water
            Kristin Thompson loves Rotary, baseball and warm Caribbean beaches.
            Kristin also loves helping the improvement of water quality in her favorite small town of Fondo Negro on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic.
            She talked about the water project to 10 members in the club Zoom meeting Feb. 1.
            President-elect Lenore Romney, subbing for President Steve Bergman, didn’t have to go far for the program.  Lenore is Kristin’s neighbor and they meet often on the Ben Burr trail, where Thompson’s frequent companion is “Ned,” a 7-month, 80-pound Bernese Mountain Dog.
            Kristin has been a Rotarian since 2007, when she joined in the Lynwood club.  At Spokane South Rotary, she is a past president and current international chair.  Thompson also is a district assistant/area governor and chair of the Spokane Area Joint International Committee, a group of seven smaller clubs in the Spokane area.  Four members of Spokane-North worked on that group on the Food for Kidz packaging project last August.
            Thompson’s non-Rotary job is a trust officer at Washington Trust Bank.  Her passion there is as a Special Needs Trust Administrator.
            Last January, Kristin and Emily Osborne, president of the Liberty Lake Rotary Club, worked at a National Immunization Day in India to continue Rotary International’s polio eradication program.
            Thompson said a religious moment helped direct her to the Dominican Republic.  She is founder of the non-profit organization Joshua 1:Nine.  Osborne also is a board member.
            The water project, “nearly completed,” Kristin said, is near Fondo Negro, “a Deer Park-sized” community (about 5,000) in the Barahona Province in the DR.  Fondo Negro, three hours from the capital, Santa Domingo, is known for coffee growing, “larimar” blue stones used in jewelry, an active baseball passion.  Some 20 percent “is in extreme poverty” and many earn just $1.25 a day.
            The DR shares Hispaniola with its neighbor Haiti.  Mostly, Spanish is spoken in the DR; French and Creole in Haiti.
            Kristin, a longtime Seattle Mariner fan, loves helping the “beisbolistas,” who range from ages 6 to 20.
            Since the mid-50s, scouts have searched pro baseball prospects throughout the DR, especially in the San Pedro de Macoris area.  Current and former DR stars include Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Nelson Cruz, Vladimir Guerrero and the Alou brothers, Felipe, Matty and Jesus.  Baseball roots grew in the DR when Cubans fled the uprisings there.
            Even though hundreds of baseball players have become major leaguers, as Kristin said less than one percent even get off the island to reach the minor leagues. She said many scouts lure young prospects to leave high school.  So part of Thompson’s effort is to help character-building for school and life when baseball strikes out in the “Latin Leagues.”
            The area’s rivers--the town’s main water source--defy purification, Thompson said.  When she attended the RI convention at Atlanta, Kristin met people from “Water@Work,” which is base there, and Rotarians from a suburb, John Creek.
            The $50,000 water project included $5,000 from the South Club, Johns Creek Club, the water firm, a $15,000 contribution from the Johns Creek Baptist Church and grants from RI and District 5080.  A five-room building was erected, with room for the equipment and storage.
            Thompson said even after three or four months of water filtration efforts the water from the cistern still was contaminated.  Potable water will be sold for half-price, or 20 pesos (50 cents) for five gallons, but that still is a stretch, she said.  And Covid-19 has hit the area hard.
            “We do have the water system in place, with some work to do,” Thompson said.  Taking a cue from RI’s polio theme, she said, “We are this close.”
            Or as Joshua said: “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged.”
The bulletin editors:
            Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink