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Sunrise Rotary Spring Warm Up Hike Ohanapecosh Park - Mt. Rainier
Apr 19, 2014 09:00 AM - 03:00 PM
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Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 6:45 AM

Holiday Inn

802 E Yakima Avenue
Yakima, WA 98901
United States

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Mailing Address:  PO BOX 1590 - Yakima, WA  98907

Posted by Christina McCarthy


    ImageAs you plan your spring gardening, Jheri Ketcham of the Yakima Arboretum has one thing she wants you to remember: TREES.

Last week, Ms. Ketchum presented on the history of the Yakima Arboretum as well as the benefits that trees bring to a community. From increasing property value to cleaning the air we breathe, carefully chosen and properly maintained trees can be a long term asset for just about any property.

In fact, the City of Yakima is in the process of applying for “Tree City USA” status, an award given to communities that have demonstrated a commitment to caring for and managing their public trees.

Thank you, Jheri, for bringing a little of the outdoors in to our meeting and for enlightening us all:-)

Posted by Christina McCarthy

ImageYou've got until tomorrow!!

The DEADLINE for ad placements in the ROTARY insert for May 2 is APRIL 16th   (Ad art due April 23).  The contact at YHR is Lisa KIME-

Great opportunity for good publicity!

Posted by Christina McCarthy

ImageWhen John Cooper became the President and CEO of Yakima Valley Tourism in 2007, he already had a long career in community vision, development, and strategic planning. His then-new job used all of those past skills, as he set about growing Yakima’s economy through the development, management, branding of Yakima as a tourist destination.

Now, almost seven years later, Yakima is seeing some of the fruits of John’s labors. Visitor spending currently brings about $345 million to the area annually, primarily relying on Convention and Group Activities, Sports, and Leisure Travel.

Yakima Valley Tourism manages the Yakima Convention Center, the main resource for drawing business people to the area. Yakima’s central location and affordability, coupled with its great climate, draw businesses and groups from across the West and the Pacific Northwest for regional meetings and conferences. Investing in the Convention Center’s updates and expansions has only boosted its desirability as a prime meeting place.

Yakima is also a major area for sports, which bring in about $34 million each year. With the guidance and support of the Yakima Valley Sports Commission (also overseen by Yakima Valley Tourism), Yakima is home to High School State-level competition in basketball, volleyball, cheer, dance and other high school sports. It’s even served as the perfect back up for Spring softball playoffs, when games have been rained out on the West side of the state.

The third main draw for visitors to come to Yakima is Leisure Travel, which of course, includes our wineries and micro breweries, our close proximity to excellent hiking, skiing, and golf, and world class fly fishing on the Yakima River. Thanks to Yakima Valley Tourism efforts, our Valley is fast becoming a true destination for people wanting to duck out of the rat race for a while, and enjoy the sun and relaxation the Yakima Valley offers.

John’s vision, his expertise at marketing and branding, and his understanding of the importance of social media today has helped put Yakima “on the map” for destination getaways.  Cheers to John and Yakima Valley Tourism!

Posted by Christina McCarthy


David Spurloch is Director of Public Works and Community Development for the City of Union Gap. During a recent presentation to Rotary, David shed a little light on what goes into such a task, as well as the outlook for Yakima’s Southern neighbor.  

It’s David’s job to usher new business into the area. The purchase of the Valley Mall by CenterCal Properties, nearly 15 years ago, began a retail upswing that has helped with development of Union Gap. Cabela’s and JC Penney settled in 2012, and just last year, a major restaurant chain, Famous Dave’s, joined the team. David says a few more restaurants are coming in the near future, making the North end of Union Gap the place to be.  

Currently David is managing three city initiatives: the redevelopment of Main Street, the development of crucial infrastructure, and a new beltway that will significantly open up underused areas of city land.   The beltway is planned to run from Longfibre Road, near Costco, to the South Union Gap interchange. Such a route would reroute trucking traffic off of Main Street—making it much safer for children to get to and from Union Gap School—as well as provide access for currently undeveloped land.  

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of David’s job is managing the balancing act between Union Gap and Yakima. Both cities want new business, and sometimes end up competing with one another. But David is committed to serving the community, and has developed friendly relations with the developers, architects, and Yakima managers with whom he shares similar goals.  

It’s a huge job… but somebody’s got to do. Hats off to you, David!

Posted by Christina McCarthy on Mar 07, 2014

ImageMarch 5th marked Career Exploration Day at Perry Technical Institute, and high school students turned out in droves to tour the school, job shadow for a day, and learn what their futures just might hold.

Sunrise Rotary was on hand to welcome nearly 300 students, offer wisdom, and provide the opportunity for high school juniors and seniors to get a look at a career from the inside.

The scheduled speaker, National 2013 Teacher of the Year Jeff Charbeneau, was unexpectedly stuck in a Texas airport, but YV Tech’s Nathan Hull quickly adjusted plans and pulled in the Director of the Yakima Skills Center, Craig Dwight, to fill in. Craig shared enlightening information about the statistical percentage of students there who would return home during their first year of university level education (50), the tremendous number unfilled health career jobs and IT positions open in Washington State (combined, more than 11,000), and the rate at which technology is currently growing (doubling every 18 months).

Rotary members, as well as the students, were rather awed by what young adults are facing today as they enter the work world. And it is events just like this Career Exploration Day, that help them determine what they will study, where they will go, and what they will do.

Thank yous go to Perry Tech for hosting this great event; to the schools that let their students attend the event, and especially to the Rotary business men and women who opened their offices and workplaces to the youth.


Posted by David McFadden on Mar 09, 2014

ImageDave McFadden talked to our club recently about his office's work to grow the local economy.  McFadden runs New Vision, the Yakima County Development Association.  The group was created in the 1980s to spearhead local efforts to diversify the economy.  New Vision is a nonprofit organization that is funded from public and private sources.  It focuses on helping local businesses expand, recruiting new industry to the Valley and addressing community issues or opportunities that impact the Valley.  Dave explained that the organization was born to recruit new industry as that was the longstanding model for economic development.  Yakima boosters wanted our association to get Boeing (or something similar into town).  Over the years New Vision learned that helping local industry should be its top priority - over 2/3 of jobs created in any community come from local businesses.

McFadden explained that trends like globalization have changed the economic development game.  Communities used to focus on lowering costs, assembling big sites for industry, and marketing themselves as the destination for new plants and facilities.  This older paradigm has given way to a new model that emphasizes growing your own companies and adding value to your region.  In this era we need to invest in education, support entrepreneurs, attract and retain talented people, and offer a stellar quality of life.

ImageNew Vision looked at these trends five years ago and started to move in these new directions.  The association started an entrepreneur initiative that features a business plan contest, classes for small business and more.  New Vision also started working with local employers to help them attract talented people to Yakima.  Both these strategies are paying dividends and New Vision is also heavily involved in partnerships to raise educational attainment in our Valley.

The organization funds itself partly through fundraisers every five years.  McFadden told the audience the current campaign is going well.  New Vision has raised $1.75 million towards its goal of $1.9 million.

Dave concluded his sermon by suggesting we all need to work on Yakima's self image.  Too many folks in Yakima seem down on our community and this sentiment tends to go viral repeatedly.  Our attitude does impact our abilities to improve our community and Sunrise Rotarians can help by touting Yakima... our Rotary Club is the best in the world in part because of the great community we live in.

Posted by Christina McCarthy on Feb 24, 2014

ImageIt's that time of year, when senior high school students are preparing to launch into the adult world. Sunrise Rotary helps these young people through several scholarship opportunities.

Two such scholarships are now available: The Sunrise Rotary Memorial Service Scholarship--due March 14, 2014, and the Sunrise Rotary Speech Contest--due in May.

For the students selected, these scholarships offer free financial support for secondary learning... a valued gift for any family of the college bound.

If you know of a student who fits our criteria and plans on continuing his or her education, have them contact Jeff Louman at 509-966-7000 or to receive an application and other pertinent information.

Posted by Christina McCarthy

ImageSunrise Rotary contributes annually to Imagine Scholar, an educational development program for youth from the rural Nkomazi region of South Africa. Imagine Scholar prepares selected young people for university-level education, encouraging them to develop their own social entrepreneurship projects that make real change happen in their own communities.


Posted by Christina McCarthy on Feb 21, 2014

ImageRecently, Skyridge Farms’ Dan DeGroot gave Sunrise Rotary a glimpse into Washington’s dairy industry. Dan certainly has the background to make such a presentation; for the second consecutive year, he has been awarded an Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award from Washington, D.C. The awards recognize dairy farms and businesses for practices that advance the industry’s commitment to healthy products, healthy communities and a healthy planet.

The dairy industry has changed tremendously in the last 50 years or so, due to increases in efficiency of production, which means fewer dairies are managing greater numbers of cows that are producing more quality milk than ever before. Dan’s Skyridge Farms is a 700-acre dairy, home to about 2,800 cows, and is a model of efficiency and forward thinking for dairy farms across the nation.

So how does one encourage a cow to make more milk? Dan explained that one of the prime concerns for dairy men today is “cow comfort.” From freestyle barns created with a cow’s social nature in mind; to regular schedules for feeding, cleaning and milking; to specialized lighting that eliminates shadows which make cows nervous, dairy farmers continualy strive to make their cows relaxed and happy, which contributes to greater milk production.

Diet is important too, and feeding cows is now more of a science than simply throwing down some hay or grain. A specialized diet contributes not only to the cows health, but also to the milk she produces.

Economics play a key role to the future of dairies. Finding new uses for manure, that by-product those bovine produce in mass quantity, has potential for generating income while reducing the environmental impact of dairy farming. The export market for dairy products is beginning to outstrip the domestic demand, creating a competitive market for products typically used domestically .

Perhaps the most important driver for increasing the sustainability and efficiency of dairies is the projected world need. It is anticipated that over the next 40 years, mankind will need to produce as much food as we have in the last 8,000 years…enough to feed a world population of 9.1 billion by 2050. Food production-including dairy-has to become more efficient.

Thanks to Dan and “his girls,” the future of dairy is in good hands.

Posted by Select Member on Feb 11, 2014

Last Wednesday, classification talks brought Sunrise Rotarians Ralph Cumbee and Christina McCarthy to the front of the assembly. Instructions given to the two for the talks must have differed, for Ralph was very prepared, and Christina was not.

Ralph brought with him an entourage from his office at Solarity Credit Union, where he serves as both Chief Lending Officer and Chief Information Officer. As such,Image Ralph is responsible for all of the lending departments, as well as Solarity’s IT department.

Since joining Solarity—which was formed through a merger of Catholic Credit Union and Yakima Valley Credit Union—Ralph has helped the organization become one of the premiere lending institutions in Yakima County, as well as the number one mortgage lender in the County. Today, Solarity has more than 50,000 members.

Ralph landed in Yakima about three years ago, transplanting from sunny Florida with his wife, Karen, and their two boys—one a student at Perry Tech and the other still in high school. Ralph is happy to call Yakima home and to assist anyone with his or her financial needs.

Next up was Christina McCarthy, who was told by fearless leader Ralph Berthon, to just share her life story, so that was all she planned to do.

Born in Alaska, Christina moved to the Lower 48 when she was about two, and was reared primarily in the Kirkland, WA area. She attended Central Washington University, earning a degree in teaching, and worked with the Yakima School District, teaching middle school English and PE.

A year after marrying Michael McCarthy, she had their first baby, and stayed home to raise him, then a daughter, and then another son.

While being mom, Christina was able to work from home, writing grants, newspaper columns and other copy, primarily for Memorial Hospital. She was the managing editor or Memorial’s parenting magazine, Yakima’s Child, before publishing her own parenting newspaper, Kids Count. In 2006 or so, she landed at The Capitol Theatre, where she was the Director of Grants Development and the Director of Youth Programming. Following a layoff in 2012, Christina was thrilled to be chosen to serve as the executive director at The First Tee of Yakima.

  ImageThe First Tee is a youth character development program that uses the game of golf to teach young people the values and skills they need to be successful in life. Being a non-profit, the programming at The First Tee is funded primarily through grants and donations, so Christina shamelessly promoted her upcoming fundraiser, Breakfast with the Pros, which she hopes all Sunrise Rotarians will attend on April 11.

Thank you to Ralph Cumbee and Christina McCarthy for sharing. And please remember, if you need money, see Ralph. If you need to get rid of some money, see Christina.





Posted by David McFadden

ImageDr. Jim Hoyt talked to our club recently about his Rotary missions to address cleft palate syndrome in underdeveloped countries around the world.


He is a plastic surgeon at Yakima Regional hospital.  Jim moved to Yakima from California last year.  He loves it up here and is learning to fly and fly fish.  


Dr. Hoyt talked about Rotoplast.  The initiative was started by a Rotarian doctor from San Francisco.  Over the last decade Jim has done 15 Rotoplast missions around the world.

Hoyt was on vacation in Venice when he realized that spending holidays in nice places wasn't very fulfilling.  About that time he learned of a Rotoplast mission to Cambodia.

Jim and his family traveled to Cambodia over Christmas to participate in their first mission.  Dr. Hoyt did the surgeries at a Chinese hospital and was shocked at the basic health issues he encountered.


Jim said that cleft palate is largely a third world phenomenon.  It is passed on genetically but typically triggered by an inadequate diet and lack of Folic acid  during pregnancy.  Unaddressed, cleft palate causes nutritional, hearing, and development challenges for kids.


As a result of the missions Dr. Hoyt has a community of friends around the world.  Rotoplast is another shining example of how Rotary is bringing people together and promoting peace and goodwill internationally.

Posted by David McFadden

Our Rotary Club continues to help people donate their vehicles to appropriate local charities.  We offer help with towing or pick up, title transfer, preparation for resale, sale and tax documentation in Yakima County. Donating a vehicle with our help is easy and we try to maximize each participant's tax deduction and the net proceeds to thier favorite charity.  Essentially we function as an advisor and intermediary for people interested in donating used vehicles. There is no charge for the service and all proceeds go to the charity. Rotary will negotiate a sales agreement with the dealer and oversee the vehicle donation from start to finish. We believe that by performing this service we can use our connections, research, expertise and effort to make donations to local charities and non-profits easy and trouble free while maximizing the tax deduction for the donor and adding significant value to the net proceeds for the charity. People interested in our vehicle donation program should contact Jim Sackmann at 509-901-3035 or
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