VOL 19, NO 22, DECEMBER 5, 2006

THE FRIDAY PROGRAM: The State of Journalism in the United States (Mike Fancher) | Friday Potpourri | November Rotarian of the Month: Evelyn Cogswell | Giving Tree | Holiday Breakfast, December 15 | Silent Bell Ringing | Golfing With Elves | Penny LeGate's Ethiopia Documentary | Business Meeting | Double Dose of Students of the Month: Geraghty & Bochet | New Website for Agros | Web Fun

Click here for photos from the meeting.

The Program:
The State of Journalism in the United States

Reveille ImageGreg Hendershot introduced Mike Fancher, the Editor-at-Large of the Seattle Times. Mike has been with the Times since 1978 and was executive editor from 1986 to 2006. He formerly worked at the Kansas City Star. He left in 1978 when that family newspaper was sold to a media conglomerate and came to Seattle to work for the Seattle Times, one of a dwindling number of family-owned newspapers. The Seattle Times has been owned by the Blethen family for over 100 years.


Friday Potpourri

Reveille ImagePresident Jim Zidar called the meeting to order. Jim Carney delivered the invocation, and Peter Stadelman introduced visiting Rotarians and guests.

In keeping with the holiday season, a benign Sergeant Face did nothing more than lead a round of "Happy Birthday" for those BBRC members with birthdays in December. Those attending with December birthdays included Kim Shrader, John Sheeran, Steve Szirmai, Peter Powell and Sayoko Kuwahara. No fines were imposed.

Shelly Noble and Scott Sadler reported that 200 turkeys and dinners were provided through the generosity of BBRC to Hopelink families and 15 families through the East Side YMCA. Scott said that the 15 families who received Thanksgiving dinners through the Y actually helped 30 or 40 other families as well. Giving just goes on and on.

Don Chandler is also looking for something — money. Even though he is really not a tax accountant (he just plays one at the BBRC), he thinks that this might be a good opportunity for BBRCers to get a final tax credit in by the end of the year.


Reveille ImageNovember Rotarian of the Month: Evelyn Cogswell

Each table at Friday's meeting had handmade thank-you notes from third graders in the Bellevue School District, thanking the BBRC for providing dictionaries to their classrooms. For her work in spearheading this project, Evelyn Cogswell received the Rotarian-of-the-Month award for November.

Congratulations, Evelyn!


Giving Tree

Reveille ImagePeter Stadelman, in addition to setting up two trees and receiving a number of gifts, noted that there were still a number of gift requests that needed to be filled.

Generous Rotarians have now signed up for 112 of the 120 gift ornaments. That makes a 93.3% participation level! Unfortunately, eight of the tags were taken but no signature was left on the sheet, so we don’t know who took them. If you have number 5, 22, 48, 57, 65, 71, 83 or 114, please let Peter know so that we can properly track the goods.

If you would still like to participate in this wonderful program, there are still some items left to purchase:

  • Learning table for infant boy
  • Gift certificate to Pacific Sunwear
  • Skateboard – boy, age 17
  • Shape Sorter Cube – infant girl
  • Discman – boy, age 14
  • Tamagotchi Version 3 – girl, age 10
  • Bionicle Axonn – boy, age 9
  • Underwear and socks – woman, age 41

Again, please let Peter know as soon as possible if you would like to help out.

Remember: Gifts numbered 1-79 are unwrapped, and gifts numbered 80-120 are to be festively gift wrapped. All gifts should be brought to Peter at the BBRC meeting by December 8! (Not to Hopelink or YMCA) or dropped at his office at 10822 N. E. 2nd Place, Bellevue.

Thanks again for your generosity and help in making the Giving Tree Program a success!


Silent Bell Ringing

Reveille ImageKelly Nolan is looking for A Few Good Bell Ringers. Actually, A Few Good Pretend Bell Ringers, since the bell ringing will take place inside Bellevue Square, where no bell ringing is allowed. Saturday, December 16, is the day. Two-hour shifts are available between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. The site is outside Nordstrom’s. This is a great chance to fill the Salvation Army kettles.

I won’t call it a grudge match, but Kelly allowed as though his wife is setting up a battery of similar faux bell-ringers from her Kiwanis Club outside Macy’s that same day. The question is who can make more money with silent bells? Can the BBRC out-peal the Kiwanis? Make sure that happens by signing up with Kelly. Bring your best Marcel Marceau impersonation and pantomime the BBRC to victory!


Business Meeting

Pursuant to the BBRC bylaws, a vote was taken on the proposed slate of Officers and Directors:

President - Phil Salvatori
President-Elect - Jenny Andrews
Past President - Jim Zidar
Secretary - Steve Vincent
Treasurer - Steve Szirmai
Sergeant at Arms - Tom Harrelson
Director, International - Service Curtis Cummings
Director, Community - Service David Bolson
Director, Club - Administration Hal Teel
Director of Membership - Chris Ballard
Director, Public Relations - John Martinka
Director, BBRC Foundation - Fred Barkman

The slate was unanimously accepted. Congratulations to the clean slate!


Double Dose of Students of the Month: Geraghty & Bochet

Reveille ImageSince November was a short month, the BBRC doubled up and presented two Student-of-the-Month awards. The November awardee, introduced by Larry May, was Kevin Geraghty of East Side Catholic, who was accompanied by his father, Bob, and principal, Greg Marsh.

Kevin sports a 3.8 grade point average and was Student of the Year in history and biology. In addition, he played offensive and defensive lineman on the East Side Catholic football team and has contributed over 100 hours to community service, including work at Harborview and Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico. Kevin plans to attend the University of Portland next year and hopes to become a legal beagle.

Reveille ImageThe December Student of the Month, introduced by Bob Holert, was Mai Bochet, who was accompanied by her mother and father, Mohamed and Xuan. Mai has taken many AP courses and has studied the piano, karate and dance for many years. She actively participates in orienting incoming freshmen to Sammamish High School and teaches Karate to Kindergarten age kids. She intends to study medicine or computer science at UW, Boston University or Renselear Polytech.

Congratulations to both of these future leaders!


New Website for Agros

Over the last several months the folks at Agros have been asking some key questions about how to better connect the public to the mission and people of Agros. While technology can never replace real relationships, they also recognize that the advances of easy-to-use and inexpensive technology enables Agros to keep the public connected to the larger Agros mission like never before. With video, photography, and stories, Agros seeks to encourage, educate, and inspire your involvement in the life of the poor.

So to that end, Agros has just launched a new website, complete with blog, video gallery, photo gallery, and a new and secure giving page. So check out the new website, and thanks for journeying with Agros!


The Program:
The State of Journalism in the United States

Reveille ImageGreg Hendershott introduced Mike Fancher, the Editor-at-Large of the Seattle Times. Mike has been with the Times since 1978 and was executive editor from 1986 to 2006. He formerly worked at the Kansas City Star. He left in 1978 when that family newspaper was sold to a media conglomerate and came to Seattle to work for the Seattle Times, one of a dwindling number of family-owned newspapers. The Seattle Times has been owned by the Blethen family for over 100 years.

Mike began by reciting part of the Journalist’s Creed, which was written by the first Dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, Walter Williams:

I believe in the profession of journalism.

I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.

It was clear that Mike lives by this creed.

Reveille ImageMike stressed the importance of journalism to a democratic society since it provides the information necessary to allow the citizens to make informed choices, and he asked the question: Can democracy survive without a vigorous press? Obviously, in Mike’s mind, the answer is no.

The greatest threat to a vigorous press, in Mike’s opinion, are:

1. Consolidation of ownership of newspapers;

2. The ownership of those newspapers by public companies;

3. The short-term profit mindset of owners; and

4. Shift away from local ownership.

Only 300 of the approximately 1,500 newspapers in the United States are still locally-owned.

Reveille ImageIn journalism today profits trump careful reporting. The internet has eroded a substantial amount of advertising; however, Mike believes that newspapers such as the Times can be successful on the Internet over time. The economic motivation of corporate owners puts continuing pressure on newspapers. For instance, even though operating margins are healthy at many newspapers, it has come at the cost of relentless cost-cutting, which has impacted reporting..

Without public interest, the profit motivation alone is a potential danger point for us all.

At the Times the Blethen family is starting its fifth generation of ownership. This is a remarkable accomplishment in any business.

Mike’s comments were short, which allowed for a very lengthy question period and many, many good questions were asked and answered. Mike allowed as though negative news is more likely to sell newspapers in the short term, but he also asserts that over time good news sells more papers than bad news.

Reveille ImageHe is concerned that readership has gone down in every generation, but papers such as the Times are doing things to stop that, such as providing classroom study guides using newspapers, and he stated that the readership between 18 and 30 is actually higher than in most age categories, principally because of success on internet-based publication of the news. Trust is a big issue to Mike, and it is only with verifiable and in-depth reporting that the public will continue to trust newspapers such as the Times. According to Mike, the highest calling of his profession is to bring problems to the people’s attention.

It is obvious that Mike has a lot of respect for Frank Blethen, the owner and Editor of the newspaper. He stated that Frank only once ever asked him to change anything in the paper’s news reporting, and that was to stop calling the former owner of the Seahawks, Ken Behring, “Bubba.” A mark of Frank’s integrity is the fact that despite the Times having gone through tough financial times over the last six years, Frank has told Mike that even though he does not know what the future will hold for the newspaper, Mike’s job, in whatever time is left, is to put out the best newspaper he can.


Web Fun

From the Seattle #4 Rotary Club Bulletin
Courtesy of Bob Vallat

by Christina Pugh

Closer to a bell than a bird,
that clapper ringing
the clear name
of its inventor:

by turns louder
and quieter than a clock,
its numbered face
was more literate,

triplets of alphabet
like grace notes
above each digit.

And when you dialed,
each number was a shallow hole
your finger dragged
to the silver

then the sound of the hole
traveling back
to its proper place
on the circle.

You had to wait for its return.
You had to wait.
Even if you were angry
and your finger flew,

you had to await
the round trip
of seven holes
before you could speak.

The rotary was weird for lag,
for the afterthought.

Before the touch-tone,
before the speed-dial,
before the primal grip
of the cellular,

they built glass houses
around telephones:
glass houses in parking lots,
by the roadside,
on sidewalks.

When you stepped in
and closed the door,
transparency hugged you,
and you could almost see

your own lips move,
the dumb-show
of your new secrecy.

Why did no one think
to conserve the peal?

Just try once
to sing it to yourself:
it's gone,

like the sound of breath
if your body left



"Getting Value for Your Health Care Dollar: How Do You Know?" Margaret Stanley, Executive Director, Puget Sound Health Alliance.

Conventional wisdom says that although it is expensive, the American health care system is the best in the world. Yet recent research has revealed lapses in quality, problems with medical errors, poor health status, and inefficiency. With little or no information comparing health care performance, how does anyone know which clinics and hospitals provide the best value for our health care dollars?

The Puget Sound Health Alliance is about to begin producing a public report comparing the health care provided by local clinics and hospitals. Margaret Stanley will discuss the work of the Alliance and how it is changing the health care landscape for employers, consumers, physicians and hospitals in the region. (Rule)

Edward R. Murrow: “The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer.”

Click on the names below to wish your fellow members a happy birthday or congratulate them on their BBRC anniversaries.


13 yrs
10 yrs
8 yrs
7 yrs
7 yrs
6 yrs
1 yr


Holiday Breakfast, December 15
SantaThe annual holiday breakfast will take place in two weeks. It is not too late to invite spouses, significant others and, most appropriately, children. But please let know who is coming so that Santa can be well prepared.

We need to know how many people will be coming, especially children. If you didn’t sign up at the meeting on Friday, please and provide the following information:

1) your name
2) number of guests 13 and over
3) number of guests 12 and under


Golfing With  Elves
Reveille ImageJoin your fellow BBRC members for a bit of solstice fellowship. The sixth annual "Golfing With Elves" takes place this year on December 23rd, with a 9:00 AM tee time at Mt Si. Contact to confirm your participation.


Penny LeGate's Ethiopia Video
Please mark your calendars to watch the documentary on Ethiopia! It's called "Seattle to Ethiopia: Bridges of Hope." It airs December 19, 2006, at 9:30 PM, on KIRO 7.

It will feature stories on polio, water, the fistula problem, and AIDS orphans. Video will be used from all of Penny LeGate's Ethipian trips and will feature BBRC's Margie Burnett.


Reveille Image