Posted by Paula Olson on Apr 24, 2020
As Lakewood Rotarians gathered around the computer for today’s meeting, we saw little insights into who they really were. Joe Quinn held his cat, son Eric Quinn held his son, our usually creative Chris Kimball was only present as “Chris the drummer”,  Dave Covey was on his side, Larry Clark had only his picture showing, and some people had beautiful beach backgrounds to make us all jealous.
President Bill started the music in his usual musical way but this time, he played himself – literally. Using body parts and available hard surfaces, he played the catchy tune “We Will Rock You” by Queen. Chaz Heberle led us in the Pledge of Allegiance for which many of us properly stood, Paula Olson said a nice invocation focusing on the pandemic, and Leanna Christian hosted the electronic meeting. We each did our own photography. There were no visiting Rotarians and there were two future Rotarian guests: Storey, son of Eric and Johanna Quinn and Charlie, daughter of Nicole and Bryan Hancock. There was no Sunshine report. But many announcements.
First and not necessarily a typical announcement but more of a voluntary fine, Gary Barton announced that he was putting in a garden and paid a $30 fine because of the family critique he was sure to get but also that his grapes were “kicking butt this spring.” I’ll leave you to imagine what that looks like. President Bill reminded Gary to use appropriate tools for the task. For example, he cautioned that Gary shouldn’t use pipe shear as a screwdriver. We all scratched our heads for a bit over that advice. Next, Jim Rook announced that the Community Concerns Committee had $6,000 left in its budget. Since they did not have any active applications, the committee recommended that the money be divided between Nourish and Caring for Kids, giving $3,000 to each group.  President Bill said he would get a report from Nourish on the use of the van we gave them last year. A motion was made to approve this expenditure, was seconded and all voted to approve. The board had previously approved use of this expenditure.
Sally Porter Smith reported on her work for the club’s latest project to help our community. Since the Sportsman’s Dinner and Auction had to be cancelled, she worked to celebrate the occasion by procuring and delivering 70 meals to the ED night shift at St. Clare’s Hospital at 10:00 pm. Some members would gather in the adjoining parking lot around 9:45 pm to thank the medical staff for their dedication. Mark Edgecomb was the contact person. Gayle Selden thanked Sally for her work to make this wonderful expression of our appreciation a reality. Leanna Christian will create labels for the meals that have our club name and our expression of gratitude.
Gayle updated on the project to give unscented hand lotion to nursing staff that was started at our last meeting. She asked us all to go thru our stashes of hotel bottles of unscented lotions, put them in a bag on the front porch, email her and she’ll pick them up. Nicole Hancock did her one better. She announced that Domino’s Pizza had some money to donate and since food was already provided, it would purchase a significant number of small bottles of lotion. Mark had some sites where we could make that purchase. The club would deliver the bottles of lotion on a different day than the meals. Jan Gee said she would also look for a source for lotions.
Steve Enquist reminded everyone to get in their nominations for Rotarian of the Year and Non Rotarian of the Year. Send their names and a description of who they are and why they are deserving of the award. The deadline is May 5th. Phil Eng announced the investiture of the new President Mark Edgecomb and new incoming board members Jan Gee and Nicole Hancock for June 26th at noon. It will be by Zoom but will have all the trappings of the in-person event.
President Bill and Mary Horn gave an update on our adopted family of Terry and Jessica. They have started up their landscaping business and members have donated equipment. Now they need customers and a van to haul the equipment to yard sites. Plus they have never had a vehicle that they can take their four children at one time because of a lack of seat belts. Mary has her eye on one van that meets their needs for a cost of about $2,000. She has $6–700 already and if anyone feels inclined to add to the pot, let her know. She emphasized that the family really wants to be self sufficient and plans to take their three older children to help work and to teach them work ethics. Mary also announced that Jessica just got a job in the kitchen at Western State Hospital and without a vehicle, it will take her two hours to get to work by bus. Bill thanked everyone who helps this family.
Our resident District Governor Greg Horn stated that the district is in good shape. The new normal is actually bringing people closer together. He said that some clubs are thinking of having zoom meetings once or twice a month and are liking seeing people who find the Zoom format more convenient for gathering. Also, members can participate when they are out of town. It is also an opportunity to grow membership with some alternative ways of participating in the club. The district meeting is still on. It covers Texas, Wyoming and West. Mary announced that the district training is still on. The deadline for registration is May 6th at 10:00 pm. They need that lead time to put together the program electronically. It will be held on Saturday, May 16th and it is free including a party at night with singing, dancing and libations. Virtually of course.
Gayle announced that there will be a Zoom celebration of the 50th anniversary of Sportsman’s Dinner on Saturday, April 25th at 5:30 pm. Wear your favorite sportsman costume and be ready to tell stories of the past 50 years. The actual auction is going to be online as formulated by the Auction Committee who is meeting immediately after and will communicate the details.
Bill told everyone to read the article about eradicating polio and how that might impact the fight to eradicate the COVID-19 virus. Eric Quinn stated that the Youth Exchange Program was cancelled by Tacoma for the year of 2020-2021. Other clubs are considering that as well. The short term exchanges are all cancelled. We are still looking for a host family so pass on any suggestions to Eric. Andrew Kruse announced that the Program Committee wants to highlight local businesses during meetings such as restaurants and supply companies. Let Andrew know of any suggestions that he can follow up on.
President Bill turned to the program. He asked several members to tell us how the virus has impacted their businesses and lives. Paula Olson talked about her experience. She is a criminal defense attorney in Federal and State courts, and works out of a home office so that has not changed. But dealing with the court and jail systems has changed dramatically. In State court, there are still in-person hearings for issues like arraignments and bail review motions. Defendants can enter guilty pleas if their sentences will be very short or amount to time served. The Federal courts do not have any in-person hearings and conduct some by telephone conference or video conference. Paula commented that it is surprising that the video system is so difficult as we are able to function well with Zoom but the federal government is struggling with their video system. She talked about having a video hearing at home when the dogs started barking and people coming to the door but then moving to her bedroom where it is much quieter. Paula said it was strange having a court hearing in her bedroom dressed from the waist up in court clothes. She said it will be very nice to have in-person court hearings again. There no Federal jail visits; only telephone conferences with clients and in-person state jail visits can happen as if the client is going to court. There are challenges with visits in a room where you are separated by glass.
Kendra Riconoscuito next talked about her life in the financial advising business. Her office has expanded from two single advisors to a team approach. Before the virus hit, her business had employed lots of new technology which is serving them well these days. She is working from home but the receptionist is at the office handling office duties. It’s all going well and she is very busy juggling work and two children aged six and four years. Her husband runs an insurance agency and he goes to the office alone. The day care is still open and Kendra gratefully sends the children. Many of her clients are educators and she admires how they are teaching their own children while teaching their classes. She notes how much their lives have changed. Most of her clients are still working. There isn’t a lot of panic over finances for which she is happy. Kendra also commented that eSignatures are being used much more often, although some companies don’t accept them. Then overnight mail must be used. Because of the delay, she anticipates that those companies will reevaluate their polices and make changes in the future.
Johnny Walker talked about his experience with Amazon. First he expressed how happy he was to join us since it’s been a while that he’s been at meetings with his new job. He misses us and we miss him. He said that all corporate employees work from home. He works at home and spends some time at the fulfillment center in Kent. Johnny talked about the many ways in which Amazon protects its employees by having them wear gloves and face masks. Their temperatures are taken at the beginning of the shift and about four hours later. Anyone who has symptoms is given 14 days off with pay. Once an employee is identified as having the virus, the video is reviewed for the past period of time to identify any employees who had contact with the infected employee. All of those employees are given 14 days off with pay. Doors have been removed because of the handles carrying the virus, as well as microwaves and anything that is touched. You can only use your own lap top and no mouses are allowed. No printers are used. They used to go through reams of paper every day and now things are transmitted electronically. The attendance policy is much looser. There was a 10% hourly wage increase and double overtime pay. Drug testing is waived to cut down on the use of labs that should be used for virus testing. Johnny said that Amazon’s way is innovation and many of these changes are likely to be permanent.
President Bill thanked our speakers and adjourned the meeting at 12:31 pm without fanfare. See you all next week! Have a good week and stay safe.