The Latest News from the "Make it Happen" Club
At our June 24, 2024, Rotary Club of La Conner meeting, we installed 2024-2025 directors.  2023-24 President Connie Milliken and Dennis Milliken presented a parting gift to everyone.
Connie with our assistant governor Susan Guterbock.
Connie introduced Rob Martin.
Rob announced all of the new directors and installed those present:
From left to right :
Connie Milliken  Past President
Lori Buher  Vice President
Don Wolf Treasurer 
Keith Stobie  Secretary and Public Relations
Doug Moore Vocational Services
Karen Ryan Club Services
Adam McGarity Youth Services and Club Foundation President
Pam Narron  Foundation and Club Foundation Vice President
Christi King  Membership
Rob installed President-Elect 2024-25 Audrey Gravley.
Dave Duskin (District Governor 2024-25) joined the group:

Left to Right
Karen, Doug, Keith, Dave, Audrey, Connie, Rob, Lori, Adam, Christi, Don, Pam, Danielle Mullen.
Incoming president Audrey thanked outgoing president Connie with flowers.
Connie created a set of poster boards showing our Rotary Club's accomplishments over the past year.
At our  June 17, 2024 Rotary Club of La Conner - All Member Meeting.
Stefano Calalani, Executive Director MONA visited our Club to thank us for our generous $750 Grant donation to MONA Youth Programs.  Stefano also thanked the Club for volunteering at the 2024 MONA auction, which was the most successful to date in raising funds for the Museum ever!   Stefano shared about the Youth Program that includes learnings inside the Museum and in nature throughout the community.  Children in the program go to the Mud Flats to see what is growing, and visit the Padilla Bay Reserve System tanks to see the symbiotic relationship from the mountains to the bay,  The July program is sold out and our grant donation allows 2 teenagers to participate.  Children in the program are allowed to express themselves using art and creativity.  Many of these students do not have an environment that allows them to freely express themselves, so the program creates with them a community of their peers where they can share their ideas and creativity. 
The Rotary Club of La Conner is one of the Sponsor Clubs for the Skagit Valley Rotaract.  Our speaker, Corrine Hamburg President Elect Rotaract of Skagit Valley,
shared that Skagit Rotaract kicked off April 6, 2023, with a Charter Event at Tulip Valley Farm.  Many of us attended that event which was hosted by Adam McGarity our Youth Director. 
Corrine shared that they meet the 1st Thursday of the month from 6-7:00 pm and rotate locations.  This year they will rotate less often since it is hard for the members to always remember where the Club will meet.  Their policy is that members must attend 50% of all meetings, and their volunteer work counts as make-up sessions.  The Club loves to volunteer, partnering with Skagit Valley Clubs doing work parties, auction help and anything else that the community needs.  Since all of the Rotaract Skagit Valley members are young professionals, they volunteer on the 3rd Saturday of each month.
Rotaract wants to support the community through service.  They work at Helping Hands La Conner Food Bank, Berry Dairy Days, Fidalgo Club Auction, our Santa Breakfast, bagging tulips at Tulip Valley in support of “Ethan’s Smile” tulip sales, and any place they can see help is needed.  They will be volunteering to help at our Auction in August again this year.  They volunteer to connect with the community to connect Rotaract with all Rotary Clubs in the area.  They feel we are all stronger when we partner and allows us all to get to know each other.  Most of the Rotaract members LOVE to volunteer but do not enjoy fundraising events to raise money for their Club.  They try to select fundraising events that allow them to “sell a product” rather than to ask for money.  They sell hotdogs at the Riverfront Concert Series, and they sell Poinsettias during the Holidays.  That they very much enjoy since the products “sell themselves”.  Corrine encouraged Rotarians to join their Club since you can be a member of both and the age limit of 35 years has been lifted.  The initial membership fee is $50, with a $50 per year fee.  They are also working with the Snohomish Club on a Water Quality Project in Guatemala via YES program and are very excited to travel in October to work on this program.
Thank you Corrine and Heather for sharing with us and with all the volunteer help and partnerships!
Adam McGarity shared the inspiration for the evening. 
With the upcoming Juneteenth Holiday, Adam wanted to share some thoughts about the Holiday and ideas on how best to celebrate and recognize it.  Adam found an article written by Tim Wise “Why Juneteenth Matters To White People, Too”.  In his writing Tim encourages us all to Listen, Learn and Change while we can to commemorate Juneteenth – June 19, 1865, the day enslaved persons in Texas first learned they were free, two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.  We all need to learn and talk about our history, confronting the truth that allows this nation’s promises of liberty for everyone, all lives.  “The liberation of black people is the only hope for our own.  We must commemorate Juneteenth—a day of deliverance from one form of racist evil—by recommitting to a fuller liberation that can deliver the nation from more subtle forms. This comes not from a place of guilt but one of responsibility. We are not guilty for the world as we find it, but we have found it all the same. And if that world has marginalized some as it has elevated others—in this case, ourselves—responsibility requires us to say “enough. And to celebrate those steps on the road to something better.”
Thank you so much Adam for such a moving inspiration!

June 14th was a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new pavilion at Conner Waterfront Park. Our club was a major donor toward the project. The idea of the park was started in 2012 and through the efforts of many has become a beautiful waterside park. The pavilion was the last step in the completion of the project. 
At our May 20, 2024  Meeting.
Our speaker for the evening,  Mary Wohleb serves as a member of the La Conner Town Council in Washington state. She holds Position 5 on the council and is actively involved in various committees, including FinancePark & Port, and Utilities.  Mary is VP, Skagit Valley Clean Energy Alliance and is extremely passionate about sharing and spreading the word on the benefits of solarizing Skagit Valley. Mary is a 3rd generation Washingtonian and remembers the 1962 Columbus Day Storm and the 1965 Earthquake.  As a part of the La Conner Council, she partners with other neighboring councils sharing information on clean energy, in particular Solarizing Skagit Valley and the Clean Energy Alliance.
Skagit Valley Clean Energy Alliance is a non-profit 501 C3 focused on local and regional clean energy Co-Op who: 1) share information on the solarizing campaign, 2) write grants for public building large projects such as the Schools and La Conner Fire Hall Command Center.  We partner with Olympia Community Solar a 501 C3 with a mission on equitable and accessible transition to clean energy. As a part of the sharing program,
Mary enlightens how “metering” works and provides information on the solarizing campaign.  Net Metering is similar to a bank account.  When the sun is out, you generate energy, use it, and bank what you do not use.  When it is clouding you utilize stored/banked energy.  Some of the success stories to date were 56 installations in 2012 in the Queen Anne area and 2014 on Mercer Island. 
The benefits of the Co-Op make it simple, affordable, and secure. Free home assessments, discounted prices, saving money on electric bills, 30% federal tax credit and generating clean energy.  The Alliance does the work to vet local installers who offer high-quality made-in-Washington equipment, financing options, and special discounted prices.  A few selected installers are Whidbey Sun & Wind, Northwest Electric & Solar, Truly Electric & Solar, Blossom Solar, and Western Solar. 
If you would like more information, you can sign up at where one of the installers will contact you to schedule a free solar assessment.  Between now and July 4th, the program will support 50 residents and businesses in Skagit County to access solar at reduced prices.  Solarize is a group purchasing model used throughout the country to reduce costs and simplify solar installation processing. Combining demand allows installers to purchase equipment in bulk, saving money for all.
Thank you Mary for sharing and the extremely interesting program!
Doug Moore shared the inspiration, starting with an AI-created poem:
A poet once cried with dismay, AI writes poems, they say!
But verse needs a heart, not cold, lifeless art.
Let’s keep robots out of our way!
Continuing with the May theme of Youth Service – “Rotary choses to work in challenging areas, in our communities and around the world.  You might say that some of Rotary’s work is to bring light to areas of darkness.  There is a Chinese Proverb…..”It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.”  That sounds a little like Rotary bringing light to darkness   
As written by Rotary International Past-President Gary Huang – “The Rotary way is to light a candle. I light one, you light one, 1.2 million Rotarians light one. Together, we light up the world, now totaling 1.4 million strong!
And finally, remembering our conversation last week about the work of IPA and all that Marty and others in our club do for the IPA work in Honduras – Especially for children.  A poem by Robyn T. Braley
How do you make a difference?
It starts by just starting.
Help one person at a time.
Improve a child’s life and you improve a family.
Improve families and you improve a village.
Improve a village and you improve a region.
Improve enough regions and you improve a country.
Improve countries, and you improve the world.
That is why Rotarians do the work of Rotary.
At our May 6, 2024 Meeting
Six members attended the District Conference.  It was held at Mt Vernon High School. There were many children in attendance and the focus “What is Rotary About heavily focused on Family, Peace, and Inclusion.  There were great speakers, one being the 5050 District Governor born and raised by a single Tribal Mom.  Very inspiring story and her thoughts on inclusion.  Another speaker Katie Eastman from Anacortes shared an activity on Grief.  Not just death but also the grief from loss.  She shared an exercise with kids using strips of yarn.  She shared that the tangled strips of yarn are life grief and how our feelings get all tangled up and how to piece by piece get out of the jungle by picking up each piece, feeling it, putting it down. 
Our guest speaker for the evening, Cathy Savage from the Rexville Grange.   
Cathy grew up in the Skagit Valley and graduated from Skagit Valley College, met and married her husband Alan who also is from Skagit Valley.  She has been a member of the Rexville Grange since 1995 and serves as the Secretary. Cathy is a member of the Anacortes Community Theatre since Feb 2004 as a stage manager and other roles.  Cathy is a writer for the last 27 years and is a Library Assistant helping with taking care of the library and helping students select their books, do research and create special projects.  Cathy also worked for the La Conner School District from 1997 to 2004.  Cathy’s passions are arts and culture, education, environment, and Disaster and Humanitarian Relief.
Cathy shared with us that the National Grange Service Organizations were established in 1867 after the War, to support Farmers.  There is a National, State, and Local chapter.  A part of their work initially was to partner with the Railroad to get the product to Market and ensure Farmers were not taken advantage of in pricing and with USPS and Energy Companies.    Local and State Grange’s were also utilized for Weddings/Marriages, Dances, Memorial Services, and many social activities. 
The Rexville Grange and many others are having trouble attracting new members.  It was also seen as a secret organization and wasn’t always very welcoming, other than to Farmers.  The current membership in Rexville is approximately 45-50 members, and only 3 are Farmers.  Cathy has been spending a lot of time and effort over the last few years to market the Grant, the mission, why new members should join, and how to retain the existing members.  Both Cathy and Lori Buher, also a Grange Member are spending time spreading the word of the mission of the Rexville Grange and working to attract new members. 
The Rexville Grange back in 1927 had 300+ members and erected the building for $5000 with all volunteer help.  They burned the mortgage after only 2 years via fundraising activities and member dues.  The building is approximately 75’ X 40’ and was built from Fir and Maple.  The building was jacked up by members and put on a cement base foundation which only took 3 members 5 days, or perhaps it was 5 members and 3 days – No one remembers for sure.  Front Stairs were also added later, so all in, the building costs were $14K.  Rexville Grange is also a Red Cross Shelter and although the 1991 Fir Island/Dry Slough Dam break and flooding, all gathered at the Grange / Red Cross.  After the flooding, the temperatures dropped and then froze.  In addition to the Red Cross volunteers, Mennonites from Canada came to assist the Farmers and ensure equipment and animals were protected and moved to higher ground and Farmers and their families were fed and taken care of.  Fir Island Road and Best Road were both closed until the waters receded. 
In the early stages of the Grange (1929) women were encouraged to hold any role and had an equal voice.  There were also (3) elected Women positions – The Goddesses.  In the early 1990’s people stopped joining and attending Grange meetings, and didn’t know the history or what they stood for.  Cathy shared there were (2) activities at the Skagit County Fair for Rexville Grange, one being Produce and one being Projects.  She started with Produce and created beautiful bounty displays but didn’t realize they needed to be refreshed daily (or every other day) and quickly learned how much work that was.  Broccoli Woman she had created as a way to encourage “eat your veggies”, went from very dark green hair to a blonde within 2 days and smelled bad.  She then switched to Projects.  The mission of the Renville Grange is to help take care of the Skagit Valley, the land, and the Farmers. Only 1/32 of our world produces food so we must protect the land.  Skagit Valley has rich and beautiful growing soils.
In their efforts to encourage new members, Lori and Cathy are creating marketing materials to help new members understand the mission and goals of the Grange.  The cost of membership is $44.00 per year and much to do if you would like to volunteer.  Currently, there is work to do to rebuild the kitchen.  A portion of it is built underground and without the right drainage, flooding has caused the cabinets, flooring, and walls to rot.  French drains and gutters are being installed and now will start on the kitchen repairs.   Once the repairs are complete, they will have a much easier time renting out the facility which is where they get their fundraising monies.  Community Events, Weddings, Memorials, Fire Department Dinner/Dances, and Shakespeare Theatre Rehearsals are some examples.  There is also an Amphitheater out back where the Rock Quarry is. 
There is also an article in La Conner News this last week that also highlights some of that information. 
Thank you so much Cathy and Lori for sharing.
Doug Moore provided the inspiration with a poem written by Jack Matrow, Ellimwood Rotary Club in Kansas Feb 10, 1997.
Someone asked me that question once,
And I stood there feeling like a dunce!
What do our Rotarians do!
I hemmed and hawed a time or two,
Then said, we gather for a meal,
And ask each other how we feel.
Get our food and have some fun,
Chattering till the meal is done.
We get club business out of the way,
And have the program for the day,
Some are good and some are great!
And some run-on till fairly late,
But then my friend, she turned to go,
That wasn’t what I wanted to know.
I’ve thought a lot about this since.
What could I possibly say to convince,
My Friend that Rotary does more than
Meet. Greet. Take a Seat. Then Eat?
Well, this is how I would make amends,
By explaining Rotary to my friends.
5 million children are healthy today,
In lands both near and far away
Who otherwise might be lame or dead
From polio. that childhood dread!
And hungry children are being fed
Through better ways to grow their bread.
Rotarians in many lands are teaching,
And doctors of all kinds are reaching
Out to heal the sick and lame
With little thought for wealth or fame,
And men and women are meeting the need
To teach little children how to read.
Youth come here from every land
In answer to our outstretched hand
To learn to know us and know our ways
Bringing peace and friendship to all our days.
And clubs are formed in every nation,
For fellowship and conversation,
For education and information,
And practicing the cultivation
Of peace on earth, good will to all
And a speedy end to every wall
Which separates the folk of earth
And keeps us from seeing each other’s worth.
A hundred things there are to say
About what Rotarians do each day,
In every land and every town
To lift someone when they are down
And help each other along the way.
Service Above Self. What more can I say.
Well, if my Friend should ask again, I’ll have an answer for her then!
Recap of our April 29, 2024 Rotary Meeting.
Our guest speaker, Wen Chen, Ph.D. and public Speaker for Chinese Culture, History and Human Rights, was born in China at the end of the Great Cultural Revolution. Being victims of the horrific atrocity that killed two million intellectuals and destroyed traditional Chinese culture, Wen's parents had mixed feelings about her education. Despite their discouragement, Wen eventually won a national prize at a science competition when she was 16. Hence, she was accepted into a top university for undergraduate study. In 1994, Wen came to the U.S. for graduate school and received a doctorate in Biology at the California Institute of Technology in 2000. Because of her personal experience of being brainwashed in China, she decided to be a voice for the voiceless. Since 2012, she has given hundreds of presentations to community organizations about Chinese culture, history, and human rights. Wen has been working as a scientific staff member for Caltech since 2000. She has a blog: Chinese Medicine and Meditation.  Chinese medicine has a deep root in Taoism theories regarding the human body as a miniature universe. Ancient Chinese believed that the prevention of getting ill is more critical than any cure. A healthy lifestyle includes eating the right food. Food is also the primary source of medicine when one is sick. There is a very long history of meditation in China to keep people calm and give them wisdom.
See Read More for legends about ancient Chinese doctors. She  discussed how these wise people integrated traditional values into their practice to cure individuals and positively impact society.
Wen Chen shared with us that Chinese medicine has a deep root in Taoism theories regarding the human body as a miniature universe.  Ancient Chinese believed that the prevention of getting ill is more critical than any cure.  A healthy lifestyle includes eating the right food.  Food is also the primary source of medicine when one is sick.  There is a very long history of meditation in China to keep people calm and give them wisdom.  Wen shared legends and stories of how these wise people/doctors integrated traditional values into their practice to cure individuals and positively impact society.
Wen shared that the traditional beliefs and traditions require a balance (YING/YANG) to allow the body’s energy to flow and stay healthy
Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is based on truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.  It is made up of 5 stances – Thousand hands, Falun Standing, Penetrating the two Extremes, Falun Cosmic Circuit, and Strengthening Higher Abilities.  100 million people were practicing Falun Gong when the persecution began in 1999.  Millions of Chinese people have since been abducted, imprisoned, tortured, fired from jobs, expelled from school, or forced into homelessness because they practice Falun Gong.  It is taught free of charge and does not require a membership.  For more information and classes in our area, please visit  You can also research books on the practice such as Zhuan Falunby Mr. Li Hongzhi which is a comprehensive and essential set of teachngs in the practice.  Books can be purchased online by visiting
What an incredible program tonight.  If you are interested in Wen Chen’s blog you can find it at   Thank you Wen Chen!
President Connie invited Sarah Christenson, Foundation Director, and Gina Program Director, to the podium to receive their grant “Big Check” $2000 for the La Conner Swinomish Library Summer Reading Program.  They shared a little more about the program that they are now finalizing and thanked us all for allowing this program to go forward, the importance of allowing children to not have a gap in their reading and learning and for us helping the Library be successful.  Kathy Willins from the library was also there.
President Connie invited Damond Morris, Program Director Lincoln Theatre to the podium to receive the “Big Check” for $2000 in support of 5 children to attend the Skagit Theatre Camp.  Damond shared that 25% of the children attending are on scholarships thanks to groups and clubs such as ours.  There are 2 Directors, 6 Interns from College and HS, and 40 children attending the camp.  Damond also shared the upcoming calendar of events.  If you would like to see the offerings, visit or call 360-336-8955.
At our April 22 meeting, our speaker was local historian Dan Larson
who told the "Tales of Tuberculosis, A Child in the Firland Sanatorium".

This was a very interesting peek into past disease prevention strategies. Tuberculosis still kills more than 1 million people worldwide.
At our April 15 Rotary Meeting, it was not taxing to hear our own Marty Pease and Audrey Gravley entertain us with details about their recent trip to Honduras.
Marty led a team of Rotarians and their friends to Copan, Honduras for the purpose of blending an understanding of what the International Project Alliance (IPA) is doing in the Mayan villages with tourist activities.  Kandy Dubuque from Fidalgo Island Rotary was our guest for the evening, and she was part of the team that traveled to Honduras. 
The team played games and had fun with the children. La Conner Rotary sponsors the school they visited.   This included seeing books that each of our speakers signed and then donated to mobile libraries in the schools there.
The drought has made it difficult for crops to grow. They need to buy new seeds and the team gave them money to start home gardens.    Their driver, Harrison, was also a Mayan carver.
Audrey and Marty both saw the students they have been sponsoring and that was a highlight! Various Rotarians from District 5050 sponsor students at all levels of education. Most of their village parents had a second-grade or lower education. Thanks to the IPA, there are currently 40 students in university!   We are also making a medical difference and are currently training villagers to start a savings and loan in the village. 
The La Conner Rotary  pays $6,700 per year for the amazing work we are doing, in addition to what individual people invest in their assigned students.
Rick Bolduc received his 7th Paul Harris award from club president Connie.
We are a hands-on service club dedicated to improving lives locally and around the world. We do this by promoting and investing in literacy, public health and community service.  We are the club people want to join, because we have fun while making a difference.  Our La Conner Rotary Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization.  Our tax ID# is 26-2730981.  Learn More About Our Club
Please note that we meet most Mondays at The Farmhouse starting at 5:45pm.  Please check the speaker list and/or event schedule for changes to the venue for the Monday meeting.

Club Information
Rotary Club of La Conner

Service Above Self

We meet In Person
Mondays at 5:30 PM
Shawn O'Donnell's Farmhouse Restaurant
11376 LaConner-Whitney Rd
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
United States of America
5:30 - Set-Up, Social, Meal
6:00 - Formal Meeting
Note: 2nd Monday of the month is devoted to club business (Committee Reports & Boards), and may be conducted via Zoom. All members are invited, and welcome to attend.
Contact Us!
Mailing Address
PO Box 2111
La Conner, WA 98257
Email Address
click on the link to send us an email
La Conner Scholarship Recipients & Robyn Curtis
Jul 15, 2024
Rotary Club of Chilliwack Climate Change Action Group (CCAG)
Mike Pellicciotti, Washington State Treasurer
Jul 22, 2024
Washington State Treasurer
Retired WSP Captain Monica Alexander
Jul 29, 2024
Executive Director Criminal Justice Training Commission
Alexia Reed
Aug 05, 2024
YES in Honduras
Annual Picnic
Aug 12, 2024
All member meeting - Big Lake
Auction Final Detail Discussion
Aug 19, 2024
Club Business Meeting Hybrid Meeting
Katie Wheeler
Aug 26, 2024
La Conner Food Bank
No Meeting
Sep 02, 2024
Happy Labor Day
Boards and Committee Chairs
Sep 09, 2024
Club Business Hybrid Meeting
Cate Anderson, Executive Director
Sep 16, 2024
Children's Museum and Family Resource Center of Skagit County
TBD Speaker
Sep 23, 2024
All Member Hybrid Meeting
Fifth Monday
Sep 30, 2024
All Member Meeting
TBD Speaker
Oct 07, 2024
All Member Hybrid Meeting
Boards and Committee Chairs
Oct 14, 2024
All Member Hybrid Meeting
TBD Speaker
Oct 21, 2024
All Member Hybrid Meeting
TBD Speaker
Oct 28, 2024
All Member Hybrid Meeting
TBD Speaker
Nov 04, 2024
All Member Hybrid Meeting
Boards and Committee Chairs
Nov 11, 2024
All Member Hybrid Meeting
TBD Speaker
Nov 18, 2024
All Member Hybrid Meeting
TBD Speaker
Nov 25, 2024
All Member Hybrid Meeting
TBD Speaker
Dec 02, 2024
All Member Hybrid Meeting
Boards and Committee Chairs
Dec 09, 2024
All Member Hybrid Meeting
TBD Speaker
Dec 16, 2024
All Member Hybrid Meeting
TBD Speaker
Dec 23, 2024
All Member Hybrid Meeting
TBD Speaker
Dec 30, 2024
All Member Hybrid Meeting
TBD Speaker
Jan 06, 2025
All Member Hybrid Meeting
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Vice President
Past President
Club Services
Community Services
International Projects
Vocational Services
Youth Services
Club Foundation Vice President
Public Relations
Club Foundation President