Rotary Rewind – Sept. 14, 2022

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If you didn’t make it to our last Rotary Club of Forest Grove meeting, here’s what you missed…

Bylaws Revisions: Thank you to everyone who came out for our meeting last week at the Forest Grove School District office. It was nice to see so many faces and to have one our largest turnouts in a number of years.

As part of the meeting, the club passed an amendment to the bylaws that outlines the definition of corporate memberships. The changes will make it easier for corporate members to join the club. If you want more information on this change, please contact President Janet or any member of the board.

New Concours Chairs: We have new chairs in place for the Concours d’Elegance and it will be a team effort. Geoff & Alisa Johnston, Tom Raabe and Allen Stephens will all share in leading our team for the 2023 show. Thanks to the four of them for their longtime dedication to the show and for stepping up in leadership roles. The 2023 Concours d’Elegance will take place on Sunday, July 16. Mark your calendars now!

Road Cleanup: Our next road cleanup service project is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 15, at 8:30 a.m. As usual, we will meet at the Oregon Department of Forestry offices, 801 Gales Creek Road. More hands make for quicker work so make plans to join us for our semi-annual cleanups of Gales Creek Road between Thatcher Road and Forest Gale Drive and Thatcher Road between Gales Creek Road and David Hill Road.

For more information on the road cleanup, please contact Andrea Stewartor Paul Waterstreet.

Steaks Still Available: We still have packs of steaks available for purchase left over from June’s Steak Feed. The packs of two raw choice steaks from Columbia Empire Farms are available for $20 per pack. If you are interested, please contact President Janet.

Wreath Sales Coming Soon: Be watching in the coming weeks as we ramp up our annual wreath sales. The sales benefit our Hope for the Holidays program, which helps local families have a brighter holiday season.

Welcome To Our Newest Members!: The Rotary Club of Forest Grove is proud to introduce its three newest members, Michael Cook, Cari Atzen and Rus Peters.

All three were inducted into the club during a special club potluck on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

Michael Cook is the co-founder and principal partner of Brookwood Auto Group in Forest Grove. He relocated the business to Forest Grove in 2019 after starting the business in Hillsboro. Prior to running his own business, Michael spent 23 years as a custom exhibit builder and has designed and produced corporate activations for the likes of Mircosoft, Leupold, Audi, Amazon and Gerber.

Michael’s local connections began in 2000 when he won a role in a play at Theatre in The Grove. Over the next three years he performed in multiple productions, including as George Gibbs in Our Town, Linus in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown and Conrad Birdie in Bye Bye, Birdie. He also designed and built the set for TITG’s 2002 production of A Christmas Carol.

Michael’s aspiring musical theatre career came to a pause in 2004 with the birth of his son, Brendan. A 2022 graduate of Mountainside High School in Beaverton, Brendan is headed to Oregon State where he will be enrolled in the Honors College to study mechanical engineering. With his parenting now on pause, so to speak, maybe we will see him back on stage at TITG.

Cari Atzen is a partner with Michael Cook in the Brookwood Auto Group as Cari joined with her fiancé, Nate, to expand their motorcycle shop. Before getting into the motorcycle business, Cari worked for the Yamhill County Juvenile Department where she worked as a teacher, counselor, friend and mentor to detained youth. Working with at-risk youth is one of her greatest passions. Outside of her job with Yamhill Country, Cari ran multiple youth programs from a wood lot community service project to projects with the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps.

Raised in Newberg, Cari has a daughter, Sophia, who is a seventh grader in the Forest Grove School District. Her hobbies include traveling, backpacking, rafting vegetable gardening and embarrassing her daughter in public.

Rus Peters was born in McMinnville and later moved to Forest Grove, where he graduated from Forest Grove High School in 1972. He was a three-sport athlete, competing in football, basketball and baseball.

Rus moved to Alaska after graduating and worked for the federal government working to rehabilitate airstrip housing in small villages. He later returned to Oregon and worked as a house framer, a dump truck driver and owner and also helped build the Vista Ridge tunnels on Highway 26. In 2000, Rus went to work for the Oregon Department of Transportation managing the Manning maintenance yard in 2000. He retired from ODOT in April 2020.

Rus and his wife, Janet (our current club president), have been married for 37 years. Together they have four children and seven grandchildren. He played slow-pitch softball for many years and traveled around the country with the different teams he played with. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and traveling.

New Member Orientations: Our club held the first of four scheduled new member orientation sessions on Wednesday, September 7, ahead of the club’s potluck social. The other orientations are scheduled for December 7, March 1 and June 1. Watch the Rototeller for times and locations. All Rotarians are welcome to take part. If you know of someone who you believe might be interested in joining us, this is a perfect opportunity to introduce them to our club.

Youth Exchange Update: For the first time since 2020, our involvement in Youth Exchange is back! Our outbound exchange student, Blue Barbour-Weiss, will leave for Ecuador on Aug. 25. We wish her all of the best on her journey this year!

Our inbound exchange student, Juan, arrived from Ecuador on Aug. 20. For the first four months of his exchange, Juan will stay with the Barbour-Weiss family.

Host families are still needed that can host Juan during the winter (December through March) and the spring (March through June). If your family has interest, and for information on the requirements for hosting, please contact Youth Exchange Committee chair Melinda Fischer,

Past Programs: Did you miss a meeting or want to go back and check out a program again? Most of our programs since May 2020 are archived on our club’s YouTube page. Visit

Service Opportunities For Club Members
FGHS Community Food Pantry:
Our club’s support for the Forest Grove High School Food Pantry continues.  Thanks to its partnership with the Oregon Food Bank, food donations are still welcome but are of less need at this time. Of need, however, are toiletries and hygiene products as well as household cleaning materials.

The Food Pantry is open on Mondays from 4-6 p.m. The pantry is now open in its new site in the building along Nichols Lane between the football field and the Basinski Center.

For information on the Food Pantry, please contact Brian Burke, If you wish to make a cash donation to the pantry, Click Here.

Additionally, Rotarian Gwen Hullinger has put together an Amazon wish list of items that can be purchased and donated. Click Here To View That List.

Around District 5100
Vibrant Club Workshop:
District 5100’s Learning & Development Committee will be holding a Vibrant Club Workshop on September 24. The workshop will focus on the essential cornerstones of Rotary that can help make clubs be more vibrant and successful. There will be sessions related to leadership member, The Rotary Foundation and public image.

The workshop combines the best of in-person with technology to allow interactions and quality presentations close to you. Within the 12 regions in the district, there will be “Pods” where Rotarians will gather in person to enjoy fellowship and participate in engaged topic discussions. Each pod will be linked to the District central office team who will synchronously present topic materials. Each session will have breakouts for in-pod discussions, learning and fun Rotary fellowship.

The Vibrant Club Workshop is for all members, not just committee chairs. Registration is now through DacDB. Rotarians will be able to choose a Pod closest to them.  Fellowship will begin at 8 a.m., and the workshop will be 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24. The Western Region pod (which includes our club), will be held at the Hillsboro Elks Lodge, 7553 NE Quatama St., Hillsboro.

Check out the district calendar on DACdb for other learning and development opportunities. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact Gary Stewart, chair of the District 5100 Learning and Development Committee, at

Imagine Rotary Raffle To End Polio: In January, Rotary International President Jennifer Jones sent a package to each district governor-elect with some important Rotary information and a little Rotary swag. Also included was a signed print of an original painting by her brother, Darren Jones, an accomplished artist in the Chicago area. With the print came a request to use the print to help raise funds to help Rotary finish the fight to end polio.

District 5100 has decided to have a raffle for the print. Tickets are $21.55 each ($20 per ticket plus a $1.55 handling charge. We are limited by the state of Oregon to sell only 464 tickets. When all are sold, the district will be able to donate $9,280 towards Rotary’s flight to End Polio.

The raffle drawing will be held on Oct. 27 at 12:50 p.m., during the week of World Polio Day. Anyone who purchases a ticket will receive a Zoom link to witness the drawing. The district will continue to sell tickets until all are sold out or on Oct. 27 at 12:45 p.m., whichever comes first.

For details and to purchase your raffle tickets, visit

Around Rotary International
Rotary, Ukraine Friends Collaborate On Addressing Needs In Ukraine:
Rotary International and the U.S.-based nonprofit Ukraine Friends have agreed to collaborate to provide resources, organize logistics, and distribute funds for high-impact projects that help Ukrainians affected by the war with Russia.

RI General Secretary and CEO John Hewko and Ukraine Friends CEO Brock D. Bierman signed a memorandum of understanding in July 2022 that calls for the organizations to work together to determine the viability of potential projects, distribute funds and in-kind donations, and prioritize joint efforts.

“Rotary is delighted to expand its reach by partnering with Ukraine Friends,” Hewko says. “This terrible crisis has brought out the best in Rotary — demonstrating our generosity, increasing membership in Ukraine, and now opening up new opportunities for providing vital services.”

The partnership with Ukraine Friends, Hewko says, will help Rotary “do more for Ukrainians as they struggle to survive and rebuild in the months and years ahead.”

Rotary has awarded 272 disaster response grants totaling $8.9 million since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These grants, for club projects in 29 countries, support people in and around Ukraine who have been affected by the war. Rotary and Rotaract clubs worldwide have also donated millions more directly to Ukrainian clubs that are providing water, food, shelter, medicine, and clothing.

Ukraine Friends, the current focus of the New York-based Worldwide Friends Foundation, works in Ukraine to help people affected by the war. This includes organizing temporary housing as well as providing medical equipment and supplies such as badly needed ambulances to help treat injured civilians.

Rotary and Ukraine Friends have agreed on their first joint project, which is procuring and delivering nearly 50 ambulances to hospitals and other organizations. Rotary and Ukraine Friends have donated $300,000 each toward the ambulances, and Rotary districts in Ukraine and Slovakia will work with Ukraine Friends to coordinate the delivery.

The collaboration between Rotary and Ukraine Friends “will have an amplifying effect and create an even larger impact on those we are trying to help,” Bierman says. “The critical humanitarian assistance and medical aid to those most in need will provide Ukrainians with a helping hand exactly at the time when they need it most.”

Last Week’s Program: Dave Parker, Forest Grove School District Bond Measure

Click Here To Watch The Full Program

With our meeting at the Forest Grove School District office, we were happy to have fellow Rotarian and FGSD superintendent Dave Parker present to us. Dave presented information on the district capital bond measure, which will be presented to voters on the November 8 ballot.

The planning for the proposed $121.5 million bond measure actually began in 2017 with a long-range facility planning process for the district. It is a 100-year plan that looks at how to determine exactly when buildings will age past their usable life. The plan looks at deferred maintenance, school capacities and programmatic needs. The plan helps the district make choices on what the priorities are in facilities.

The proposed bond would increase taxes for property owners in the Forest Grove School District by an average of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The proposed bond addresses four specific needs: improving school safety and security, replace & improve aging school buildings, expand student learning opportunities and to replace Cornelius Elementary School.

School Safety & Security: Right now, all FGSD facilities are locked during school hours. Visitors must go the entrance, buzz into an intercom system and be let into the school. Many district buildings do not have line of sight from the office to the school’s main entrance. Money would also be used to install reinforced glass at school entrances. There would be plans to address security issues at Cornelius, Harvey Clarke and Neil Armstrong and upgrading fire systems.

Replace & Improve Aging School Buildings: This part of the bond would include replacement of roofs and improvement to HVAC systems, which was found to be an issue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds would go to upgrade degraded athletic surfaces at Neil Armstrong and FGHS.

Improve Student Learning Opportunities: This would include increased career and technical education opportunities and equipment within the district. Money would be allocated for re-starting the Little Viks early education center at FGHS and will increase the pre-K classrooms in the district from three to six and remodel those classrooms to best fit those students. The bond would provide for an additional P.E. teaching space at Neil Armstrong to help meet state standards. It would also provide for technical upgrades.

Replace Cornelius Elementary: The building is 77 years old and the second oldest in the district. The district recently conducted a new study on capacity in its elementary schools. The 10-year forecast is that those schools will be at capacity. Cornelius Elementary is already at 70-80 students over capacity. There are currently seven portable classrooms located outside. There are more outside access doors to the Cornelius building than there are at the high school. Many of the building’s systems have finished out their usable life.

This is not a replacement bond. The previous bond was retired in 2020 and the district did not have bandwidth to put a proposal together during the pandemic. This will be a new bond.

Over the next six to eight weeks, district representatives will be in the community to help educate the community on what the approved bond would provide.

Club Calendar
Wed., Sept. 21: Weekly Meeting, Noon
Boxer Pause Room, University Center, Pacific University
Program: Dr. Jenny Coyle, President, Pacific University

Wed., Sept. 28: Weekly Meeting, Noon
Boxer Pause Room, University Center, Pacific University
Program: Claudia Yakos, Gardens of Hope

Wed., Oct. 5: Weekly Meeting, Noon
Boxer Pause Room, University Center, Pacific University
Program: Blake Timm, World Athletics Championships

Wed., Oct. 12: Weekly Meeting, Noon
Boxer Pause Room, University Center, Pacific University
Program: Emily Bakitah, Rise To Shine Education

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