Posted by Joe Quinn on Oct 25, 2019
      President Bill Potter demonstrated, all day long, that he is a Superhero, with Superpowers!  He started off with his traditional walk-in music; in this case, I was told it was “Rebel Rouser”, which I accepted on faith since it came out after 1960.  Many recognized this Duane Eddy tune.
 
 
      Before the meeting started, PP was overheard talking to Rob Erb about our wireless microphones, about keeping the batteries charged, and about proper mic technique.  As the meeting got underway PP demonstrated his superpowers (or some of them) by showing us proper ways to speak into the mic (hold it close to your mouth!).   Then he showed some tricky ventriloquist tricks by throwing his voice all over the room; well, I guess really he was walking all around the room blasting his voice into that mic.
      Dave Coleman provided the Rotary thought for the day, or invocation, with some inspiring words.  He did something different by delivering a eulogy for the late Elijah Cummings, the long-time representative from Baltimore in the House of Representatives.  Very nice idea Dave.
 
      Paula Olson led us in the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag, and PP thanked the hard-working Setup Committee, but added that they are seeking and obtaining some new blood.  At least Steve Mazoff and Rick Selden have joined the crew to spread that work around a bit.  Walt Richardson was a professional photographer today and Joe Quinn our amateur journalist.  Handling Sergeant at Arms and Visiting Rotarians was Chuck Hellar, who recognized Jim Asbury and Joseph Ballew.  Christine Vu staffed the Paul Harris table today and collected $291.  Ron Banner was our Greeter and Gary Barton introduced our sole guest—Susan Hertl (phonetic).
      PP exercised his superpowers by announcing the new members and noting that David Swindale was here.
      PP called out Jim Rooks, the Community Concerns Chair, to announce a relatively new program (I believe it was PP’s idea in the first place) that allows all new members to seek a “self-directed” grant of $250 from the Community Concerns Committee for a local charity of their choice, as an added incentive for new members to join Rotary (as if associating with this prestigious group was not enough in itself!).
      Nicole Hancock reported on the Domino’s Polio Eradication Day last Thursday, wherein the local Domino’s Pizza agreed to donate 20% of their gross sales that day to the Rotary International Polio Eradication project.   They raised $779.30, but then they surprised us by matching that, for a grand total of about $1560 for the effort.  Outstanding! 
PP exercised his Superpowers once more, by stealing the thunder from the Paul Harris committee.  Bill noted that 13 members so far have enrolled in the Polio Plus Society, which requires a $100 donation to Polio Plus.  We can do better than that! I am sure we are:  see below.
 
      Then PP gave a hint of things to come on the Superpowers front by reminding us that Friday night we should support Tacoma South Rotary at the Harkness Furniture Putt-Putt golf event.  He promised to be there to show off some of his Superpowers, so more about that later in the big reveal below.  He said they expected a record turnout of 150 participants and they did not disappoint.
 
BANK DEPOSITS:  Atypically, PP allowed plenty of time for bank deposits as he cast his gaze around the room looking for culprits who had traveled afar or done something worthy of note.  Rose Stevens brought PP a nice gift/bribe of maple syrup all the way from upstate New York, and $20 toward his deposit goals. 
 
MORE ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Lakewood Rotary can participate in District Grants.   There is a re-pack of food planned at Emergency Food Network (EFN) in November, so all can show up for that fun day.
 
PP asked us to approve two important Bylaws changes:  we voted to remove the 10-day waiting period that somewhat delayed new member inductions and we voted to make all pronouns gender neutral in the Bylaws.  Nothing earthshaking but needed changes, approved unanimously.  PP also announced that our disbursement form was revamped by hard working Treasurer John Lowney to streamline the disbursement process.
 
District 5020 is offering media and public relations audits, as well as a review of club web sites, with suggestions for improvement.  PP also mentioned that through some nefarious means someone absconded with several table runners after the Victoria District Assembly and Conference earlier this year.  To prevent an international incident, PP used his Superpowers to inform us that if these table runners are in the possession of an American club, he will personally fly them back up to Victoria.  Or you can just bring them back next year as the same event is being held in Victoria in 2020.
 
 
BACK TO THE FINES, ER’ DEPOSITS:
      Super PP called upon Gordy Quick for some Nebraska-isms.  PP noted that Nebraska Territory was established in 1841 but Nebraska did not become a state until 1867, so what happened in those 26 years?  He demanded an explanation from Gordy, who explained with confidence that first they killed all the buffalo, then the cows came in, and lastly the “plow jockeys” (farmers, apparently) took over.  The moral of that story was that change takes time.  Meanwhile, at the height of the Great Depression, in 1931, Gordy Quick was born.  His mother and father had to take out a $100 loan to take him home from the hospital, he said, adding that maybe later they regretted it as otherwise he might still be there.
Barb Spriggs and Mary Marlin coughed up about $50 each for the South Africa safari they bought at the Lakewood Rotary Auction.  Barb also gave the PP a little elephant token—a wine bottle stopper—in memory of their great adventure.
      Bud Montgomery gave a lengthy recitation of travails for him and Marilyn over the last five weeks.  His mother-in-law died, Marilyn broke a tooth during their Hawaii vacation, they had a break-in at their Washington cabin, and a golf ball through a window.  Oh, and Marilyn had hip replacement surgery (notice he sought sympathy by saving the worst for last). He gave $50 to the Polio Plus collection and some sugary taffy to PP as a bribe, but methinks PP should have paid him for all that trouble.
      Rick Selden paid up for his first ever trip to New York City, even though Gayle Selden treated her parents to this adventure.  A highlight:   a local bar in Manhattan named O’Hara’s with hundreds of police and fire patches mounted on the wall.  They got a picture with the Fonz while they were there. 
     Chuck Hellar paid for a hole-in-one on the 15th hole here at Tacoma Country and Golf Club, with a rescue club.  It sounded like maybe it was his second hole-in-one lifetime, and that rescue club sounded good—maybe it could rescue our golf game! 
      Dave Coleman paid $75 for his birthday of that number, but he also said something about a trip to the Grand Canyon.  Dave designated $50 the polio effort and the other $25 to the PP fine budget. 
      Don Daniels pledged a $100 IOU for a recent trip to San Francisco, followed by an adventure on Bourbon Street in New Orleans (pronounced Nawlins, right?).
      Jason Whalen also pledged a $100 IOU for marrying off their oldest daughter in Nashville recently.  Her spouse is working for Facebook in New York City.  Jason also bundled trips to San Diego and Europe and a new car, designating this gift to Polio as well.
 
THE PROGRAM:   Andrew Neiditz introduced “an adventurer” who we have heard speak a couple of times before in this hall:  Bill Lokey.   Bill had an interesting career with Pierce County Emergency Management, as well as working in similar capacities with the State of Washington and with FEMA.  He was there on site for the disasters at Mount St. Helens, the Northridge California earthquake, the Oklahoma City Bombing and the horrific World Trade Center in 2001.  Needless to say, Bill has lots of experience in the emergency management field.
 
 
Above: Presenter, Bill Lokey
 
      But Bill’s interesting historical topic today was the Lighting of Lady Lex.   He wove the tale well of how the City of Tacoma came to be powered for a while in the 1920’s by the U.S. Navy ship known as the Lexington.  The keel of the Lexington—a cruiser of the Fall River Class—was laid in January of 1921 at a shipyard in Massachusetts.  Due to an international treaty, construction was stopped temporarily, but the ship was converted into a Lexington Class aircraft carrier.  The width was to be 107 to 109 feet because the Panama Canal was only 110 feet wide.  The ship was finally commissioned in December of 1927.  In sea trials the Lexington made 34 knots (!) and became the fourth largest ship in the world.
      At that time, Tacoma was really booming with the new potential of hydroelectric power, having completed construction of the La Grande dam on the Nisqually River.  Private utilities had been fighting this public power competition.  Then Tacoma started the Cushman Dam project on the Skokomish near Potlatch.  That project was completed in 1926 to move electricity 40 miles to Tacoma.   Our fair city with 100,000 population reigned supreme in this region for electric power, with the lowest rates in the nation at about ½ cents per kilowatt hour.  But then in 1929 a severe drought hit, with the lowest rainfall since record keeping started here in 1884.  Layoffs and power reductions ensued. 
      The Lexington was in Bremerton at that time.  On November 16, 1929, the Mayor of Tacoma appealed to President Herbert Hoover to see if power from the Lex’s boilers could be used to provide power to the electric-thirsty city.  But the request got bogged down in national, regional and local politics, which Bill laid out in detail, but which we will summarize here as just “business as usual in politics.”
      It appears that the power was provided in the end, but only for a short time and then the drought ended.  The legacy of the Lex visit was a good one—a lasting warm spot for Tacoma in the hearts of many Navy personnel and their families. 
      As for the Lady Lex, she continued on after 1929 with a fascinating and proud history in battle.  She saw action in the campaign around New Guinea but figured greatly in the decisive sea battle known as the Battle of the Coral Sea.  The Lady Lex was hit by torpedoes and eventually scuttled and sunk by other Navy ships to prevent further issues. One Paul Johns of Tacoma was among the dead on the Lady Lex.  The name USS Lexington was carried on in the Essex Class of aircraft carriers later on.  In March of 2018 the remains of the Lady Lex were located about 2.5 miles deep in the Pacific by the salvage company started by Paul Allen.
      A great history lesson from Bill Lokey.
 
 
THE DRAWING:  Rick Selden (again) won only $5, but the prize increases.
 
SUPERPOWERS?:   OK, but you’re asking, what was all that business above about the Superpowers of our dynamic President Bill Potter, aka PP?  Well, as Paul Harvey used to say, “Now the rest of the story”:
      Bill Potter showed up for the Tacoma South Rotary that night with his red hot putter, so we decided to call it the “PotterPutter”.  Well, the PotterPutter that night did some miraculous work, demonstrating PP’s Superpowers.  Especially when he got to the hole sponsored by Nourish, the food bank that his spouse espouses.  He did well on that hole with the help of the staff, which seemed to move all obstacles out of the way so he could get a hole-in-one!  We’ll call that the PotterPutterMutter.  But then he followed that up with a real neat trick.  The next hole, a par three, was a zigzag with two wooden corners barring the fairway to any straight shot.  Somehow, PP snaked his ball around and through the zigzag (maybe a wrinkle in the rug placed by the Seldens?) down to mid-fairway, from whence he sank the putt for a birdie!  We’ll call that the PotterPutterCornerCutter.   So as you can see, our President has Superpowers at putt-putt golf, and can do much more than dance to the music and spit on the microphone with the best of them.
 
And yes, if you read this bulletin and tell Greg Rediske, he will likely give you a make-up for a missed meeting. Also, if you shop online, please do so at Amazon Smile so a portion of your purchase can be allocated to Lakewood Rotary.
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