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Marking Women's History Month with a recollection of two women who had key roles in my history

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Before this year's Women's History Month ends, I want to offer a recollection of two women who are key parts of my history. And who paved the way for a third woman.

It's a legitimate journalistic journey because Women's History Month is not only about celebrating women's accomplishments but also the contributions they have made to make life better for others.

So this column is to share about the impact of my mother, Hazel, whom I wrote about last Mother's Day, so I won't repeat the column, only the enduring part, and my first journalism boss, Roberta "Bobbie" Ulrich.

First Bobbi. As I wrote in a column a few years ago, when I mention to friends or associates that my first boss and journalistic mentor was a woman, there's often a doubletake because of their quick awareness that I'm referring back to the early '60s.That's a long-ago time when many assume that women were unlikely to be the boss.

Bobbie Ulrich was the manager of the Spokane bureau for United Press International when I went to work for her in 1961 while still a student at Gonzaga University.

Although she was only 32 at the time, she had already acquired respect from the then-exclusive male-reporter "club" against whom she competed on behalf of a wire service whose mantra was "Get it first but get it right." She made a point of doing both.
Bobbie UlrichBobbie Ulrich fulfilled a mentor role in building journalistic skills in a nurturing way

But she fulfilled the mentor role of building journalistic skills in a nurturing way that it only occurred to me much later was significantly successful in part because she was a mom, raising two sons while missing a few beats guiding UPI's news coverage in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.

I long ago decided that the skills of mentoring are simply different when they are employed by a mom.

Bobbie and I had a chance to spend part of two days together a few years ago at her alma mater, Washington State University, where she was being honored by the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications with a Hall of Achievement Award for her journalistic contributions.

Our time together then included sitting on a couch enjoying martinis and reminiscing at a gathering at WSU president Kirk Schultz's home to celebrate Bobbie and other honorees at the 10th Anniversary of the Hall of Achievement Ceremony,

I've told friends and acquaintances that Bobbie was largely responsible for the key steps on my career path, at least the UPI two decades that preceded my business journalism focus.

After her four years of training and mentoring in Spokane, I graduated from Gonzaga and was sent by UPI to Olympia, where I soon became state political editor, then to roles in Pacific Northwest, then Southern California as an executive overseeing UPI business in those regions.

Eventually, I was named the wire service's San Francisco-based executive responsible for business activities in the Western States region. I cherished the congratulatory notes I got from her, via inter-office teletype read by all employees, with each promotion.  

One of my favorite stories to indicate what kind of a take-no-prisoners competitor she was came when she went to cover a WSU football game. Bobbie covered college football games at a time sports writers were reluctant to have a woman in the press box.

This story relates to the Cougars' home opener for the 1962 football season when three weeks earlier ordered a telephone installed in the press box, she arrived an hour before kickoff the find no phone had been installed, so her ongoing communication with the UPI staff members during the game would not be possible.

She picked up another reporter's phone and dialed the home number of the president of General Telephone, the provider of phone service to much of the area. The president answered and heard Bobbie say: "Hi, Al, this is Bobbie Ulrich," to which he replied, "well, hello, Bobbie; how are you."

"Not too happy right now. I just got to the Cougar press box, and I don't find the phone I ordered in three weeks ago. It's only an hour 'til game time, but I know you will have the phone here by then."
 
She hung up, and the phone installer showed up and completed the installation with minutes to spare before kickoff.

We haven't visited lately, but Bobbie is among those who get the Harp.

Now to mom, whom I wrote about last Mother's Day, reflecting on the woman I referred to as a "boys' mom," not merely because of her three sons but also because of the mothering she did for other boys, including eventual grandsons, nearly right up to her death in 2004 at the age of 82.

So I won't repeat that column, other than what some who read it told me was the most compelling part.

That was about her being pretty hard-nosed about teaching us to be the best we could be. Thus, on several occasions, when I was seven or eight years old, and I'd come home crying from having been in a fistfight with neighborhood kids, she'd march me back to the scene and force me to have a proper fistfight with the offending kid.
 
I can't remember ever losing one of those fistfights. Even on the occasion when I begged tearfully: "But mom, there are two of them!" She marched me back anyway and made the bigger kid stand aside until I had sent his pal home crying after our fight, then she motioned him to step in and get his due.

Even from the perspective of now almost eight decades, I still view that "battlefield education" by my mother as a remarkable, perhaps even unique, chapter in my early development. And many who have heard the story have remarked cryptically: "That explains a lot, Flynn."

So the lessons of both helped prepare me for how to recognize the woman who should be my wife. So I met Betsy in math class at Gonzaga as I returned to school after time in the U.S. Marines picked her out and sat behind her to get to know her. She turned out to be the one.

The final Women's History note with reference to contributions to my history is, of course, reserved for Betsy when I had an opportunity to publicly acknowledge her role as I was inducted into the Puget Sound Business Hall of Fame a decade ago.

Inducted as Hall of Fame laureates with me were retired Alaska Airlines CEO Bill Ayer and Venture firm Cable & Howse founders Elwood (Woody) Howse and Tom Cable, and as it came to my turn to speak, I asked the four wives to stand and be recognized.

So as Betsy, along with Pam Ayer, Ginger Howse, and Barbara Cable stood, I shared with the audience that these were the only wives that any of the four of us ever had, and Betsy and the other three needed to be recognized as the key reasons why we four were there to be honored that evening.
 
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Success of Mark Few' s 24-year Gonzaga basketball dynasty has had dramatic impact on the university

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Now that coach Mark Few's Gonzaga Bulldogs have made it to the NCAA basketball tournament's "Sweet 16" for the eighth consecutive time, the hoop dynasty that he has created will logically dominate much of the media attention at the tournament.
 
But what has begun to attract similar media attention is the impact Few's 24-year tenure of dramatic basketball success has had on the university, its campus, its student body and its supporters.
 
Few's Bulldogs have had a total of 11 appearances in the top 16 and reached the national title game twice in the past six years, losing to North Carolina in 2017 and Baylor two years ago in the Zags only loss of the 2021 season.
 
Of course, that 'Sweet 16" string and two championship games are only a small part of what Few, who turned 60 on December 27, and the program he has built have accomplished in attracting visibility and support for the once little-known Spokane school.
 
Few was only 37 when he assumed the head coaching role, having been an assistant in 1999 when the Zags made their first NCAA tournament appearance and became the Cinderella team, making it to the final eight before losing.
 
And Few's team making it to the NCAA tournament in 2000, and most years following, generated strong alumni support and proved that athletic success can lead to success for the university.
 
"Gonzaga basketball success has been instrumental in building our brand, fostering alumni pride and introducing the university to families nationwide," said GU Communications Manager Dale Goodwin.
 
One agreed-upon aspect of Few is that he is a nice guy, allowing me to suggest, in a column on him after the devastating 2017 championship game 71-65 loss to North Carolina, that he laid to rest the oft-quoted axiom that "nice guys finish last."
 
His nice-guy trait was on display in the nationally televised interview after that game when Few declined the opportunity to blame the referees for the loss, despite a couple of calls generally viewed as errors, saying instead, “The referees were excellent.”
 
In addition to his “nice guy" image, Few has a focus on what he described to me in an interview a couple of years ago as "family," meaning a focus first on the players but also the coaches, students and fans as family.
 
Mark FewMark Few is described as having 'An incredible focus and an iron will'Few and his wife, Marcy, have three boys and a girl so his focus on family obviously begins at home.
 
It may be easier for a small school with just under 5,000 undergrad students in a city of 233,000 residents to develop a family focus but the family aspect has been imprinted on regents and prominent alums as well.
 
Jack McCann, a retired GU trustee and founder of the prominent South King County land-development firm the Jack McCann Co., and other trustees and close supporters have proven themselves part of the GU family over the years.
 
Thus McCann and others were quick to sign off, in the early 2000s on the idea the players should travel on charter rather than commercial flights before that idea was on the radar screen of most schools.
 
As John Stone, a successful Spokane and North Idaho developer who along with two others came up with the idea of using their own planes on away-game trips, once explained to me the reason for that commitment.
 
 “It became a way to make sure the players were back home in their beds that night and in their classrooms the next day. They are student-athletes of course, not just athletes.”
 
And the generous help from supporters of the charters allows them to have closer roles in the Zag family, traveling on the plane with the team and having seats near the bench for those away games.
 
Among non-alum supporters who view themselves as part of that family is John Rudolf, a successful investor, active athlete, and long a fan of Gonzaga and Few.
 
Rudolf, who opens his Hayden Lake, ID, home to the university for student retreats, lauded the university for making the decision to "pour the money from basketball back into campus facilities" with a dozen new athletic, academic, and student life buildings. But he also noted the importance of Gonzaga's decision to focus part of the investment on attracting prominent new faculty and creating new programs.
 
"There's no question of the positive economic impact basketball has had on Gonzaga, taking it from a small, little-known private school to a national-class university," said Rudolf.
 
Rudolf, who competes regularly with Few on the pickleball court, joked to me once that he helped all members of the Zag basketball team become pickleball stars.
 
I asked Rudolf for his thoughts about Few.
 
“Few has a special talent of being able every year to build a new team-oriented to a ‘we first’ bond and attitude from a new group of disparate, strong individuals, each with his own personal career hopes and goals,” Rudolf told me “Under Mark’s leadership, these exceptional student-athletes develop from a focus on individual success to a primary focus on team first.“
 
'Mark has a unique blend of personal and leadership characteristics, all wrapped up in a low-key Huck Finn persona,” Rudolf said.
 
“When involved in anything important to him, he has an incredible focus and iron will, balanced with a sardonic humor about the often inexplicable aspects of life, people, and his coaching profession.”
 
And Few's team making it to the NCAA tournament in 2000, and most years following, has generated strong alumni support and proved that athletic success can lead to success for the university. including sports facilities.
 
First among those was the 2004 debut of the $26 million McCarthey Athletic Center, home of The Kennel, which opposing teams fear because of the fan noise that is generated there.
 
The McCarthey Family, led by Tom and Phil, former owners of the Salt Lake Tribune, are alums who have been long-time supporters of the school, including major contributions to the McCarthey Center.
 
Another is the Kermit M. Rudolf Fitness Center, named after John’s father with a major contribution from him. The Center’s amenities include cardio and weight training areas, three full-sized basketball or volleyball courts, and a pool.
 
Then was the April 2018 dedication of the Volkar Center for Athletic Achievement, named for Pat and Sandy Volkar of Coeur d’Alene, ID
 
“Wow,” said Volkar at the dedication of the four-story 51,000-square-foot facility that now houses a salute to the school’s history and athletic hall of fame as well as counseling rooms and areas for men’s and women’s basketball teams and other student-athletes
 
Volkar become interested in the school after attending his first Zags’ basketball game in December 2011 at the urging of Stone, who was involved with his major Coeur d’Alene development at the time.
 
The Volkar Center enhances the Zags’ ability to “chase three things,” said Mike Roth, then athletic director: “winning sports programs, winning in the classroom, and winning in the community.”
 
Roth, who during his 20-year career played an integral role in the success of the men’s basketball program, retired a year ago, turning the job over to his respected associate AD, Chris Standiford.
 
A final note in expanding the Gonzaga family is the degree of interest basketball has generated in prospective students. University research folks confirmed for me that freshman enrollment has risen from 500 in the fall of 1998 to 1,217 last fall and applications have risen from 1,841 in the fall of 1998 to 9,887 last fall.
 
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Reflections on Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential campaign: western primary voters wanted someone else

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Awaiting the next word on Jimmy Carter, the 98-year-old former president now in hospice care at his Georgia home, may stir some reflection on his 1976 campaign when voters in western states’ primaries all wanted someone else to be the Democratic standard bearer.

And Sen. Henry M. Jackson of Washington was actually the favorite to win the nomination when the’76 campaign for president began. It was a role Jackson might already have held had the script of fate been written differently 16 years earlier.

The challenge in the West for the former Georgia governor wasn’t that his disarming “Hi, my name is Jimmy Carter and I’m running for President” didn’t sell as well with western voters as with those in other parts of the country. Rather it was that 1976 was a year of western favorite sons or favorite sons of neighbor states.

In fact, two of the favorite sons, Sen. Frank Church of Idaho and Rep. Mo Udall of Arizona, were considered to be in the running, along with Carter, through the primary election season and collected delegates at the party’s national convention.

Jimmy CarterJIMMY CARTER'S 1976 quest for the presidency found a challenge with western primary votersChurch and Udall were longtime opponents of the Vietnam War with Church’s opposition dating back to 1963, well before the escalation began under Lyndon Johnson. The opposition was part of the Church’s criticism of American policy in Southeast Asia.

And though the final day of the war had been in 1975, the campaigns of most presidential hopefuls had begun by then and its political impact on the electorate still echoed into 1976.

The other favorite son was California Gov. Jerry Brown, then only two years into his first term as California chief executive, who won both his state’s primary and the Nevada primary.

Udall, who won the Arizona caucuses, finished second to Carter in the delegate contest at the Democratic National Convention and Brown third. Church won Idaho, Montana, and, in an upset, Oregon.

Jackson was a long-prominent Senate Democrat, including having been chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 1960 and had been on the short, short list for the vice presidential role with John F. Kennedy before JFK decided to pick Lyndon Johnson because of his Texas and southern ties. Thus Jackson might have already been president before 1976.

Jackson’s appeal rested on his political beliefs that were characterized by support of civil rights, human rights, and safeguarding the environment. He was one of the few members of Congress who sent his children to D.C. public schools.

But his equally strong commitment to oppose totalitarianism in general and communism in particular and support for the Vietnam War as the focus of his campaign against communism brought a hostile reception from the party’s left wing.

Jackson’s run for president in 1972 drew little support but by the time of the 1976 campaign, he was viewed as the frontrunner. He received substantial financial support from Jewish Americans who admired his pro-Israel views.

Henry M JacksonHENRY M. JACKSON was actually favored to win the Democratic nomination when the 1976 presidential campaign beganUltimately, Jackson’s decision not to compete in the early Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary spelled doom for his presidential aspirations as Carter took the largest percentage of caucus votes in Iowa and won the New Hampshire primary over four other candidates.

Jackson won the Massachusetts primary but after losing the key Pennsylvania primary to Carter by 12 points, he dropped out of the race.

I had the chance to help cover the 1976 Oregon primary for United Press International as a political reporter and so had the opportunity to see Carter, Church, and Brown on the campaign trail in that state.

One of my favorite memories from my political writer days was when I was sent to the Portland airport to interview Church as he arrived on election night, with returns showing he was on the way to a substantial victory over Carter.

So as I walked up to a smiling Church as he walked from his plane to the airport, introduced myself and asked: “So, are you going to be viewed, senator, as the new “Lion of Idaho?”

The question was a reference to Sen. William Borah, who was affectionately, and widely, known as “The Lion of Idaho” during his 33 years in the Senate, elected in 1907 as a Republican and establishing himself as a prominent progressive with fiery independence.

“I’d be fine with that,” Church responded with a smile, “as long as I don’t also become known as "'the stallion of Idaho,’”: apparently an amused reference to a lesser-known aspect of Borah’s reputation.

Despite losing the western primaries and caucuses, Carter went on to win the nomination and defeat Gerald Ford in the 1976 general election and become the nation’s 39th president. And it was losing four years later to Ronald Reagan that the door was opened in his post-presidential decades to become known for a life of service, which will be his lasting legacy.

Jackson died on September 1, 1983, of an aortic aneurysm at the age of 71, in his 30 in the Senate.
Jackson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984. President Ronald Reagan called him "one of the greatest lawmakers of our century.”

And as a closing note, it’s difficult for a one-time political writer not to offer the following observation: For a man with Carter’s experience and background to defeat three highly respected and qualified members of Congress like Jackson, Church, and Udall is an indication of the role of timing and circumstance in fate's scripting.

But the important role Carter came to play after his single term as president may be taken as evidence that fate, in whatever form, does have a plan.

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Our Mayberry aims to bring causes and businesses that want to support them together

Mayberry
Our Mayberry, a Bellevue-based company with an online platform that brings causes and businesses together to create a unique marketplace, has emerged at a critical time for non-profits and is proving itself in a new attack-hunger program with Seattle-area Rotary clubs.

Two recent developments have set the stage for the emergence of a company like Our Mayberry, coincidentally at a time when AmazonSmile, the decade-old program to donate half of one percent of Amazon purchases to charities, is being shuttered.

As co-founder and CEO Shawn Tacey explains it: “we’ve moved into the era of belief-driven marketing where businesses share their beliefs and causes in their marketing.

“But the internet and social media have also brought us to the era of surveillance capitalism, a term derived from Harvard Business School. I concluded that Internet 2.0 companies were using technology to isolate, manipulate, and ultimately automate humans and their behavior,” he said.

For Tacey, 53, a Bellevue attorney who has moved to Phoenix, the goal was to foster belief-driven marketing and push back against surveillance capitalism by imagining a community where neighbors cared about neighbors.

So the place that came to mind was the imaginary television town where neighbors cared about neighbors enough that Otis, the town drunk, could even check himself into jail at night and out in the morning while being treated with dignity and respect by Andy and Barney. Andy Griffith’s Mayberry.

Thus was born Our Mayberry as a platform that could help create that neighborhood, where businesses could care for community needs through the nonprofits that were at work meeting those community needs.

Our Mayberry was founded in 2018 and Tacey and his team, including co-founder and chief technology officer Chris Nakea, spent a year and a half working on various pilots and testing groups to get the alpha product released.

Nakea, 59, the builder and architect of the Our Mayberry platform, summarized the company’s purpose as “giving consumers the tools to take nonprofits out of having to beg for money.”


CEO Shawn TaceyCEO Shawn Tacey's goal was to foster belief-driven marketing and push back against surveillance capitalism


The company was prepared to launch in the spring of 2020 in Sioux Falls, SD, which had what Tacey called “significant ‘community capital’ and reminded him of Mayberry and, Tucson, AZ.

COVID put those launch plans on hold so the company went to work on contactless payment systems to use the Our Mayberry platform and by June of 2021, as Tacey was preparing for a major business event in Moscow, ID, to collect businesses in that area, he got COVID.

And that June 2021 experience threatened to end the company for a time as COVID threatened to take Tacey, who recalls being hospitalized and in ICU with pneumonia in both lungs, being placed on a ventilator, and in a drug-induced coma for five and a half weeks.

“I lost 80 pounds, suffered hemothorax in both lungs, sepsis twice, and was written off for dead,” he recalls. “On August 7 I woke up and started breathing on my own though my diaphragm had atrophied to less than one percent functionality.”

What followed was his comeback, which included another drug-induced coma and tracheotomy, and an x-ray of his lungs “that showed miraculously all the damage preciously indicated was gone, including zero scar tissue.”

Chris NakeaFollowing rehab, he’s been working on his physical recovery ever since, noting “I have been blessed to have use of my body, be off oxygen and be able to lead Our Mayberry in its vision and purpose.”
 
CTO Chris Nakea:
'We're giving consumers the tools to take nonprofits out of having to beg for money.'

The company’s opportunity now, with Tacey back at the helm and the business hunt well underway again, is not just the end of AmazonSmile, of which Tacey remarked “Amazon used it more as a gimmick while we use e-commerce for charity as a lifestyle.”

Also providing opportunity is the crisis of confidence and integrity facing many non-profits, such as the recent disclosures about Russell Wilson’s foundation and its use of funds and CVS, the pharmaceutical giant, using customer donations to fund the company’s charitable commitment.

The company is particularly excited about the Rotary fight-hunger campaign and its broad-based visibility.

“The Our Mayberry team and our community of partners are excited to come together in the fight against hunger with Rotary in Western Washington and plan to make this an annual event,” said Nakea.

I first met Nakea, a native Hawaiian, about 15 years ago, incidentally when I was doing some consulting for Enterprise Honolulu and we became friends but hadn’t been in contact for years until he reached out to me about Our Mayberry.

In summing up what lies ahead, Tacey said: “This company has overcome extraordinary adversity by the conviction and enduring belief of our team and investors that we are revolutionizing charitable giving and investing in ideas that benefits humanity.”
 
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The story of two boy baseball fans whose business success led them own their hometown teams

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The story of two boy baseball fans whose business success led them to own their hometown teams

The tale of two boys whose fathers took them to watch their hometown baseball teams and who grew up to be iconically successful in business and thus were able to become owners of those hometown teams could be the most heart-warming story in all of sports.

Except for the story of John Stanton, majority owner of the Seattle Mariners, and Mikal Thomsen, majority owner of the Tacoma Rainiers, and life-long business partners, isn’t a story that’s well known in detail. And it needs to be.

So before a luncheon audience at the Columbia tower club this week, Stanton and Thomsen fielded questions and shared stories and memories.

I told them, at the outset, that we’d be doing a three-part interview. First, their memories are tied to attending games with their fathers and their youthful affection for their Tacoma and Seattle teams.

Then recollections of their days as early hires of McCaw Cellular Communications, much of whose story is the lore of a company that Craig McCaw, with a key assist from Stanton and Thomsen, built over the course of the 1980s into a major player in the cellular industry.

Then their ability to become owners, in Stanton’s case, the Mariners, of which he eventually became majority owner and CEO, and in Thomsen’s case, the Tacoma Rainiers, which Thomsen described again, as he did for me in an interview a few years ago, as “a dream come true.”

Thomsen’s childhood recollections began when his father took him, as a three-year-old, to see a triple-A team play its first game in more than half a century in Tacoma. That was the first of many.

That ignited a life-long affection of a kid, then a man, for his hometown baseball team.
John Stanton (L) and Mikal Thomsen (R)

And thus, although he grew up to make his name and fortune over two decades as he became a leading figure in the cellular-mobile phone industry, Thomsen's "dream come true" is played out each year as CEO and, with his wife, Lynn, the major investor in the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.

And Stanton’s recollections were mostly of being a teenager going with his dad to see the Seattle Pilots in their lone season, 1969, before “a used-car salesman named Bud Selig moved the team to Milwaukee and became the brewers.” He recalled he cried when they moved.

I spent most of the interview tapping their recollections about being early hires of McCaw Cellular, both in their twenties in the early ‘80s.

Stanton, who was McCaw’s first hire and was soon vice chair of the company, and Thomsen, who joined McCaw soon after, became leaders of that emerging industry. And they met their wives there. Theresa Gillespie, chief financial officer at McCaw, and Lynn, who was a paralegal running stock options and handling board relations.

McCaw was really born as a cable business but, with the entrepreneurial instincts of its people, came along at just the right time with the break-up of AT&T ordered by federal court degree in 1982 and completed in 1984 with the creation of seven “baby bells.”

John Stanton and Mikal ThomsenJohn Stanton (L) and Mikal Thomsen (R)The opportunity for McCaw was in the federal designation of 734 markets, including 428 rural ones, where newly formed wireless carriers like McCaw could apply for and buy spectrum licenses to service those areas.

By the late 1980s, Stanton had focused on the opportunities created by those hundreds of rural licenses, many of which were being returned to the FCCs by those who had applied to provide service, and pitched Craig on going after them.

But Craig made it clear he was too immersed in the metro-area opportunities and urged Stanton to go do that if he wished, so Stanton Communications was born, and a two-decade story of wireless success followed.

First was co-founding Pacific Northwest Cellular with Theresa and Thomsen in 1992, then the founding of Western Wireless, of which Thomsen became president, and the birthing of VoiceStream, which was later sold to Deutche-Telecom. That became T-Mobile, whose name is now on the stadium as the Home of the Mariners.

During our question and answer, it was clear that the audience wanted to focus mostly on their baseball ownership, which brought early indication of the financial role his wife, Terry, has played in Stanton operations.

Stanton recalled when the local Mariner ownership was being put together in 1991; he really wanted to be among those owners. But he noted that Theresa advised “no way.”

“She pointed out we were dipping into our own account every two weeks to make the Western wireless payroll,” then 100 employees.

In 2001 Stanton bought out John McCaw’s small ownership share. In August 2016, he led a group of minority owners to buy out Nintendo’s ownership and became the majority owner and CEO.

Reminded that the name Rainiers had belonged to the Seattle Triple-A team before the Mariners arrived, Thomsen offered with a smile, “yes, but they were named after a beer, and our team is named after a mountain.”

The audience questions clarified the obligation both Stanton and Thomsen feel toward their communities and the role their businesses are expected to play.

When Stanton was asked about how he feels when criticism is directed toward him about a Mariners issue or decision, he said: “The worst thing that could happen to us is if people no longer cared. And criticism of our decisions means people care.”

“We have to care about our community, and that means we have to have a role in addressing community issues and challenges,” he added.

Putting an exclamation mark on that comment was the fact that attendees included Sharon Mooers, senior director of philanthropy for Year Up Puget Sound, which came into existence in Stanton’s office in 2011.

He’s been a key supporter and is chair of the organization whose mission is to "close the Opportunity Divide by ensuring that young adults gain the skills, experiences, and support" leading to careers or into higher education.
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Before there was basketball at Gonzaga there was football, including a Christmas Day bowl game a century ago

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Before there was basketball at Gonzaga, there was football, including a Christmas Day bowl game 100 years ago that drew attention on sports pages across the country.
 
The little Spokane school’s 20-year quest to use football to gain collegiate sports fame never achieved anything like the prominence basketball has brought Gonzaga, though there were moments of gridiron glory.
 
The highlight was that national visibility for the Bulldogs a century ago this week. Stories atop the sports pages of major newspapers like the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune heralded Gonzaga’s performance in a 1922 bowl game in San Diego against West Virginia, undefeated that season, including a victory over Rose Bowl-bound Pittsburgh.

Houston Stockton's stardom at Gonzaga began with 46 points against Wyoming in a 77-0 routHouston Stockton's stardom at Gonzaga began with 46 points against Wyoming in a 77-0 routThe long-ago game was originally a promoter's dream: envisioned as a post-season contest between the Notre Dame team of Knute Rockne and the Gonzaga team coached by Charles E. "Gus" Dorais, the man who had quarterbacked the Irish while Rockne played end. Both won All-
American honors at those positions in 1913, the year they popularized the forward pass.
 
This is the story of how that game came about and the effect the outcome had over the next two turbulent decades as Gonzaga pursued a dream of gridiron glory, only to become entangled in a morass that threatened financial ruin for the tiny school.
 
Gonzaga, like Notre Dame, had been calling itself the fighting Irish for years. In fact, the nickname bulldogs was used for the first time in 1921, after Dorais’ arrival.
 
According to legend, the decision on whether Rockne or Doris would be hired as Notre Dame's new head coach came down to a coin flip that Rockne won. Dorais stayed a year as the assistant, then headed to Spokane in 1920, sought out by the little Jesuit school to fulfill its dream of national prominence through football, starting with hiring a "dream" coach.

Dorais spent his first couple of seasons building a reputation among Northwest schools.

Then in 1922, Houston Stockton, grandfather of John Stockton, the renowned Zag basketball star and eventual NBA all-star with the Utah Jazz, arrived.
 
Stockton, nicknamed “Hous,” had been singled out for All-American honorable mention as a freshman at St. Mary's in Oakland the previous year, then transferred to Gonzaga.
 
Stockton quickly began to make his mark as a Bulldog. In the home opener in a new $100,000 stadium before an overflow crowd of 5,600, Stockton turned in a stunning single-game performance, scoring six touchdowns and kicking 10 conversions for 46 points as Gonzaga beat Wyoming 77-0.
 
In a Bozeman snowstorm, the Bulldogs beat College of Puget Sound, 34-0, Montana, 37-6, and Montana State, 12-0. They lost 10-7 to Washington State College on a late-game field goal.
 
Then came the official invitation from San Diego officials for the dream-game clash between Rockne's and Dorais' teams. But in its season finale, Notre Dame was upset by Nebraska, and Rockne decided to turn down the invitation.
 
So West Virginia, undefeated in the 1922 season, victor over the Pittsburgh team that went to the Rose Bowl that season and a team viewed by some as the best team in the nation in the era before rankings, was invited instead.
 
The odds against Gonzaga were overwhelming, and the way the game unfolded bore that out as West Virginia took a 21-0 lead into the fourth quarter. Then Gonzaga found itself. The Bulldogs scored two touchdowns, one by Stockton, in 10 minutes. With two minutes to go, Stockton (who rushed for 110 yards that final quarter) found future Gonzaga coach Mike Pecarovich with a pass into the end zone. But he dropped the ball. Final score: West Virginia 21, Gonzaga 13.
 
The game got an eight-column headline in the New York Times sports pages as Gonzaga won praise from coast to coast, lauded as "the Notre Dame of the West." A Chicago Tribune sports writer enthused that "West Virginia won. But it wasn't a Christmas present. Pulling a bone from an angry bulldog is not like getting a toy drum from Santa Claus."
 
Dorais and Stockton teamed for two more years, including an undefeated 1924 season. Then Stockton moved on to play professional ball with the Frankfort Yellowjackets, the predecessor to the Philadelphia Eagles, and Dorais headed for the University of Detroit, where he spent most of his coaching career.
 
A number of great players followed Stockton as Gonzaga stars. They included George (Automatic) Karamatic, who won a place on the 1936 All-America team backfield, and Tony Canadeo, known as the "Grey Ghost of Gonzaga" for his prematurely gray hair, who went on in pro ball to set the Green Bay Packers single-season rushing record.
 
Ray Flaherty, a member of the 1924 undefeated team, subsequently starred with the New York Giants for nearly a decade. Then he became coach of the then Washington Redskins, guiding them to two NFL titles and five division titles, with his teams always including a cadre of Gonzaga players whom Flaherty routinely drafted.
 
The outbreak of war ended Gonzaga's football program, one that was doomed to end at some point, having cost the school $60,000 in its worst year and providing less than a dime of profit in the best.
 
 It's been almost eight decades since the blue-and-white uniforms were packed away for the last time. And 70 years since the dilapidated wooden grandstands of Gonzaga Stadium were razed to make room for the Crosby Library.
 
 Old photographs carefully packed away in the basement of the Administration Building are the last tangible reminders of the days when Gonzaga pursued the mirage of big-time college football fame.
 
Gonzaga was among the first of a score of little western colleges, mostly catholic schools hoping to follow Notre Dame to schools to pursue an Ozymandian delusion that football could be the ticket to a wealthy campus and national renown.
 
 For Gonzaga, basketball has indeed brought the prominence and financial success that football was never destined to do. But football will always be the ghost in Gonzaga's closet.
 
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Alaska Airlines' 15th Fantasy Flight Saturday from Spokane to Santa 'Displays basic goodness of people'

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“This Fantasy Flight experience always resets my faith in humanity,” said Eric Hrivnak, the pilot who usually is at the controls of Alaska Airlines’ annual flight from Spokane’s airport to the North Pole with a 737-900 filled with needy kids, and their elves, to visit Santa Clause.

The 15th year of Alaska Airlines’ Fantasy Flight, with this year’s flight taking place Saturday, December 10, with 61 orphans and foster kids and 108 elves aboard, got a special Seattle airing before a Columbia Tower Club audience at an interview with the “elf” who has guided the event for 22 years and two key Alaska employees.

For the Club members and guests on hand last Wednesday to hear from Steve Paul, known as Elf Bernie for this event, and pilot Hrivnak and cabin attendant Carole Scallon, it was a heart-warming experience to hear about what all three described as “the basic goodness of people.”

Or as Hrivnak described it to me before the luncheon interview: “Seeing this incredible group of volunteers help these children experience Christmas makes you believe in Santa Clause.”

“The basic goodness of people” and “faith in humanity” are, unfortunately, phrases that are less likely to come to mind these days. That makes the event all the more important to the adults who make it possible and those who hear of it as to the kids, four to 10, who experience it.

Scallon has actually been involved in the Fantasy Flight since before Alaska became the participating airline in 2008, replacing United, which merely filled one of its Spokane planes and taxied around the airport.

She was aboard in that 2008 initial Alaska Fantasy Flight but told me “before Alaska took over from United, I helped my niece, who was a United Flight attendant.”

“This opportunity has been a gift to me,” she added. “A chance to give back. And I love being with the children laughing, dancing and having fun.”

<B>Pilot Eric Hrivnak - </B> <I>Pilot Eric Hrivnak - "It makes you believe in Santa Claus."United Airlines actually did the fantasy trip from 1999 to 2007 but it was a commitment of the local United team rather than the company itself, with United’s Spokane team corralling an airliner overnighting in Spokane. But because there was no provision for the “flight” to carry the kids aloft, the plane taxied around and stopped at a hangar for the Santa visit.
 
It was while he was traveling for Itron, the Spokane-based global energy and water management company, that Paul saw a poster at the airport promoting United’s “flight” in 2000, and with that, he was hooked and thereafter took charge of overseeing all the planning and resolving the challenges.
 
He was asked to step into a leadership role in 2006, and his first crisis came as they prepared for the 2007 flight only to learn that United had no planes available in Spokane. So he recalled, “we had to revert to school buses on the field surrounded by emergency escorts with flashing lights. Actually, it worked because all the windows were fogged up, and the flashing lights as we headed to the North Pole made it very magical.”
 
“After the 2007 problem, I reached out to United about more of a commitment, including a plan for a plane and a flight,” Paul said. “They had no interest. The Fantasy Flight leadership approached Southwest. They had no interest either.”
 
“My neighbor knew some people in Alaska’s marketing department, and when I reached out, they were enthusiastic about providing a plane and crew and were quick to say, ‘of course, we can take off.’”

Paul has been president and CEO of Northwest North Pole Adventures, the 501c3 that oversees everything related to planning and carrying out this special event. In his other life, he is a digital IT program manager at Engie Impact, a Spokane energy management company.

<B>Steve Paul, a/k/a Steve Paul, a/k/a "Elf Bernie," has guided the event for 22 years.For longtime readers of The Harp, this story will be familiar because I’ve written of it in each of the past dozen years, since I first learned of it from my friend, Blythe Thimsen, then a Spokane magazine editor who wrote a story on her experience being an elf.

I’ve come to describe the spirit that settles over all those involved as the Magic Dust of Christmas Caring. That magic dust is evidenced by the Spokane residents who help prepare for months for the flight, the businesses that donate all the products that make the event happen, and the Alaska employees who participate as crew and elves. And the airline itself for making its now 15-year commitment to plane, crew, and a large slice of the caring.
 
Once the flight unloads the children and the elves at the North Pole, it comes time for each child’s personal visit with Santa, who will have received their lists ahead of time. A gift will be selected for each from their lists so Santa can reach into his sack and say, “I got your list. Look here!”

And when I asked Hrivnak for some of his memories of the children and Santa, he left a few dry eyes in the Tower Club audience. So the rest of this column belongs to him in his notes to me:

"2011 was the first time I was involved with this charity.  I picked up the 'turn,' which is a single, one-day trip.  I was just looking for a little extra Christmas money.  A day prior to the turn, I received an email stating I would be flying the Spokane Fantasy Flight for 60 children. I was not sure what this was about, but I knew it was related to Christmas. (Thankfully, I at least had a Santa tie.)
 
On the way over to Spokane, Carole briefed me on the flight.  I decided to come up with a flight profile that would be entertaining for the kids.

Alaska Christmas Flight 3Flight attendant Carole Scallon - 'This opportunity has been a gift to me'After experiencing the 'North Pole for the first time, I was hooked and knew I had to be involved with this charity.  It was a life-altering experience that made me thankful for how good my life was from being a professional Pilot.  I felt a duty to give these kids the proper experience of flight.
 
The following year, I learned how to work with the kids before the flight.  I gave them red and green beads from Carole, signed their passports, and asked them about their flight experience.  I’d make sure to help the ones that are really nervous about flying. For most of the children on this flight, it is their first time in a real airplane.
 
Since 2011, I have flown this Fantasy Flight eight times as a First Officer and once as a Captain.  Each time, there was a story that affected me from a touching moment of the day.

  • - The 'Elf' counselor who needed a few minutes to cry in the first class LAV, because this flight was the first time she saw her child smile.
  • - The 10-year-old girl who wanted to return the ornament with her name on it, because she never had a Christmas tree before to hang an ornament.
  • - The little girl with pigtails who told Santa, 'there’s no way you have a bike for me; that would be too much.'  Santa directed her to look behind a Christmas tree. She found a new bike with her name on it.  Her excitement and joy from that bike brought tears to us watching.
  • - The kids at the North Pole tossing the fake snowballs at everyone that Carol had provided.
  • - Seeing the kids get fitted for new winter boots.
  • - Watching the kids snuggle in their new blankets during the last event of the evening, listening to Mrs. Claus read Polar Express.” 

There used to be other airlines that did Christmas flights to one extent or another for needy kids, but 2020 halted all. And a search in preparation for this column didn’t turn up any such holiday trips, an indication that Alaska, which resumed the flight in 2021, is now alone in providing this annual trip for children.

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Three 'women of influence' in Cle Elum could compete with any for their focus on the region, and the planet

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The quality of female leadership that has emerged and, in some respects, become the norm atop business and civic ranks in the Puget Sound area was on display again recently with the Business Journal’s 16th annual Women of Influence event.

But it has become clear that female leadership talent is not limited to the Puget Sound area and thus should be celebrated more widely until it becomes obviously unnecessary to even single out women for recognition.

That lead-in is by way of setting the stage to introduce a trio of influential women in the Upper Kittitas community of Cle Elum, each of whom could compete for recognition on at least even terms with any female, or male, leaders anywhere in the state and beyond.

Here is a look at the three: Lynn Brewer, Patricia Galloway, and Cheri Marusa, all of whom I’ve come to know and respect over more years than they or I wish to count. And each of whom I have written about in previous columns.

Brewer first made a name for herself as an Enron whistleblower, became an in-demand speaker, and wrote a book about what happened at the Houston energy giant that was a Wall Street darling until, in 2001, it became the largest corporate bankruptcy ever to that time.

After that, she sought to create businesses to track corporate and government conduct and ethical behavior. That included, as COVID swept across the state in 2020, suing Gov. Jay Inslee for the ineptitude of his Employment Security Director over the unemployment compensation disaster that has never really been explained.

Now she’s on a quest to help save the planet with a campaign to make hemp growth a key method of sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, including constructing hempcrete buildings.

As part of that initiative, she has created the Autonomous Climate Technology Ecosystem (ACTE), for which she has a patent pending.

Lynn Brewer topaz enhance faceai sharpenLynn Brewer - Focus on growing hemp to reduce carbon in the atmosphere.ACTE was invented as part of her effort to focus on hemp for climate crisis easing. ACTE, she explained, was created based on her days at Enron and her knowledge of trading carbon credits in the regulatory markets. The invention is designed to use technology to generate uniform carbon credit certificates.

She also has a partner from Ukraine, Sergiy Kovalenkov, who is a civil engineer who builds hempcrete homes, sequestering the carbon the hemp has absorbed for as long as the buildings last, basically a permanent removal of carbon from the atmosphere.
 
In September, Brewer harvested her first crop of industrial hemp, which grew to 18 feet from 52 acres in the town of Kittitas. It’s likely to be followed elsewhere in Washington and other states and nations with hemp crops.

The focus for Galloway, as with Brewer, extends beyond the state and the nation. Brewer has hemp projects on two continents and possibly a third, and Galloway may be the most prominent consultant globally in constructing nuclear power facilities.

Galloway recalls that, as a youngster, art was the love of her life, and she won several awards for her pencil sketches But when an engineer brought renderings of buildings done by engineers to her high school class since she frequently sketched buildings, her life was set on a different course.
 
She not only became a civil engineer, but in 2003 she served as the first woman President of the American Society of Civil Engineers. And she currently serves as an arbitrator on construction and energy litigation cases.

She is chair and former chief executive of Pegasus Global Holdings, an international management consulting firm that she and her late husband, Kris Nielsen, headquartered on their ranch northeast of Cle Elum. The company has representative offices in Australia, Brazil, and Japan.
 
She said her consulting engagements “typically involve megaprojects defined as more than $1 billion and are generally in the energy and infrastructure industries.”

Patricia Galloway Patricia Galloway - Globally prominent consultant on nuclear projectsGalloway is convinced a key to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stave off the worst effects of a warming planet” is a renewed focus on nuclear power.

“Given the upward trend of Greenhouse gas emissions, the limit of 1.5 degree Celsius of warming that the Paris Agreement hopes to achieve and attaining a net-zero economy by 2050, significant reductions in carbon emissions just isn’t possible without nuclear power,” she said. “Nuclear reactors have operated reliably and carbon-free for decades.”

She has also begun to focus on the advanced deployment of “smaller modular reactors (SMR) “ that she says have a lower output and a significantly smaller footprint.

“They can be factory built and assembled and will create new opportunities for co-location and distributed power generation as well as the answer to rural communities..”
 
As for Marusa, her focus is the growth and advancement of the Upper Kittitas County region, where she proudly proclaims herself a “fourth-generation Cle Elum housewife.”
 
In 1999 she emerged from that housewife-and-mother role with a campaign to bring enhanced emergency medical services to the Cle Elum area, founding Life Support. She has served as president since then and helped guide its dramatic impact on the Upper County.

I first met Marusa in 2003 when I was among a handful of Seattle-area business people she convinced to go on the board of her 501c3 Life Support organization.
 
As I wrote in an earlier column, she sought my advice on several occasions for her initiatives since then and paid little heed to my counsel of "Cheri, that simply isn't going to happen" and went on to make them happen.
 
Cherie Marusa Cherie Marusa - Face of citizen activism on behalf of her causes.The first of those unlikely successes for which I said "not gonna happen" related to Life Support when her lobbying on behalf of emergency medical services wound up with a $2.7 million legislative appropriation at a time of severe financial challenge for the lawmakers.

I had the same advice when she went after lawmakers for a $2 million plus grant for a Junior Achievement Center in Yakima to provide financial literacy programs for young people in a new JA learning center, a facility that the business community in Yakima supported with additional dollars.
 
Her persuasiveness with legislators to support her causes prompted House Speaker Frank Chopp to enlist her support, again as a volunteer, for his One Washington initiative, sending her on the road to visit communities and small towns in the central and eastern parts of the state to learn of issues challenging them.
 
Over the years, Marusa has become what I called in an earlier column the cause of causes. In addition to raising money for Life Support, she has launched programs to revitalize the town of Roslyn, bring big-city healthcare to the upper county and enhance student education programs across the area east of the cascades.
 
I suspect the influential impact of all three will be felt increasingly as the needs each of these women addresses come more to the fore.

And with a daughter, Meagan, who is now chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, and another, Eileen, who is a mother guiding the growth toward womanhood of three challenging daughters, enjoying watching women of influence is a personal as well as a professional benefit. And, of course, watching their mother, Betsy, whose successful influence they represent, as well as their brother, Michael, whose success professionally and as a father, he readily credits to the influence of his mother.
 
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CougsFirst! Focus on 'Cougs doing business with Cougs' sets WSU community apart from others

WSU
The greeting “GoCougs” shared by all in the Washington State University community, from staff, including President Kirk Schulz, to faculty, current students, and alums, likely sets WSU apart from the rest of academia.

When I think of “GoCougs,” which sometimes gets shared with me as a greeting because, despite being a Gonzaga grad, I’ve had various ties to the Pullman campus, I try to envision a universally shared Princeton greeting of “GoTigers” or a UCLA “GoBruins.” Or even the University of Oregon president greeting all with a “GoDucks!”

And thus, it’s not surprising that an organization apparently unique in the academic world has emerged and grown across the state and beyond called CougsFirst! It’s a business network that encourages WSU alumni and friends to interact with each other in a business environment.

CougsFirst! seeks to educate WSU alumni and friends about businesses owned, managed, and affiliated with WSU alumni and encourages Cougs to do business with those in the network.

“It’s about Cougs doing business with Cougs,” explained Seattle radio personality and podcaster Paul Casey, who was among the early supporters of CougsFirst!, which was formed In 2010. “We have about 300 in the network now but with 250,000 alums, who knows what the next level could be.”

A trade show, which was the idea of Coug-alum Debbie Nordstrom, attracted 45 to 50 exhibitors to the Bellevue Hyatt, and the idea has led to semi-annual trade shows where Coug-alum companies display their products and seek business.

Casey got involved first as a financial supporter by subsidizing a booth at the trade show and became a board member about four years ago.

Paul CaseySeattle radio personality
Paul Casey sees Cougs First!
as 'Cougs doing business with Cougs'
I used the word “unique” because, apparently, WSU is the only institution of higher ed where an administration, faculty, and alum group has come into being with the sole purpose of supporting companies and businesses created or run by alums.

The organization hired its first executive director last March, turning to a highly successful local Pullman business owner, Tony Poston, to guide the organization going forward.

Poston’s business began as College Hill Custom Threads focused on enticing students at various colleges to be College Hill reps to market merchandise on their campuses. The business, now simply College Hill, earned Poston inclusion in 2015 in the Inc 5000, the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

His firm’s sales pitch is simply “If you’re a current, full-time college student with an entrepreneurial spirit, we’d love to meet you. You’ll work with organizations on your campus to select designs and merchandise for events and other marketing initiatives.”

Poston noted that, for the first time, next year’s spring trade show will include a career expo, bringing “hiring” into the “products and services” focus of the event, given the challenge that finding the right employees has become.

The organization was just struggling to survive when, a decade ago, prominent Seattle business owner and family-business supporter Howard S. Wright III, then a member of the board of governors of the WSU Foundation, leaped in.

Wright is a member of the iconic multi-generation Howard Wright Seattle family that, among other things, owns and operates the Space Needle. He is head of the Seattle Hospitality Group that he created 20 years ago and chairs today to support family businesses.

He recalls that he went to the late WSU President Elson Floyd and said, “we need to get behind this effort.”

So they did become key supporters of the effort, then being championed by Bellevue financial advisor Glenn Osterhout as the leader of the effort.

Intriguingly, Osterhout had already led the WSU part of an effort to convince the 2008 Legislature to turn down a proposal by the University of Washington to have the state provide $300 million of the $600 needed to refurbish Husky Stadium.

He enlisted the help of alum Mike Bernard, a Bellevue business tax advisor who was a member of the board and an officer of the Association of Washington Business, who told me “rallying Cougs to that effort to halt the stadium funding paid off.”

Perhaps, but before that legislature was even a month old, the lawmakers, guided by House Speaker Frank Chopp and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, tossed cold water on the idea. Both evidenced concern as the recession that slammed home later that year was already showing signs of what was coming.

As Overhout, who had been WSU student body president, was seeking to get the CougsFirst! group underway soon after that, he turned to Bernard to join the launch team. That team also included Cougar football legend Jack Thompson, Rob Tobek, and Paul Dent, executives with USI Insurance, and mortgage banker Kyle Basler.

Schulz, who succeeded Floyd after his death from cancer in June of 2015 as WSU president, has been a strong supporter of CougsFirst!, providing an endorsement that Casey says is “vital to our organization.”

“It gives us instant credibility with any organization inside or outside of WSU,” Casey added.
Legendary 'Throwin' Samoan' Jack Thompson created Quarterback Golf Tournament in 2019

Mike BernardMike Bernard credits WSU alums' effort in 2008 legislative defeat of proposal for $300 million in state dollars for renovation of Husky StadiumSchulz explained his support, “CougsFirst! is taking engagement of alumni and friends with Washington State University to the next level. And it is building out a network of Coug leaders, entrepreneurs, business owners, and community leaders with one thing in common – supporting Washington State University.”

Thompson, nicknamed the Throwin’ Samoan for his Samoa roots, set an NCAA record for most passing yards in his 1978 senior season and was a founder of CougsFirst! He brought an annual Quarterbacks Classic golf tournament to the organization three years ago.

Thompson, now business development manager with Cross Country Mortgage, said more than two dozen former Cougar quarterbacks were on hand for the first event, which Drew Bledsoe and Mark Rypien helped organize,
 
Football fans will recall that Rypien and Bledsoe, like Thompson, had NFL careers following their WSU time, with Rypien guiding the Washington team to the Super Bowl title in 1992 and being named the game’s MVP.

The quarterbacks were not the only sports figures involved with CougsFirst! since Mikal Thomsen, majority owner of the Tacoma Rainiers, has been a member since the organization launched, And Casey is among the minority owners of the Tacoma franchise.
 
Perhaps amusingly, Casey thinks the organization's future may include helping other colleges and universities create similar organizations.
 
“We often get contacted by someone at another school asking how we put CougsFirst! together,” he said. “Our first inclination was to say ‘go to hell! Then some of us thought that maybe helping others could be a source of income.”
 
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Huntsman World Senior Games 35 years on, a vision fulfilled

WorldSeniorGames_St_George_Utah
The late Jon Huntsman had a vision that a multi-week, multi-sports event called the World Senior Games, even if held in a remote corner of Southern Utah, would draw thousands of what some might describe as the elderly to recreate and compete with their peers.

So senior athletes, ages 50 to 100, have responded annually by the thousands to St, George, no longer a remote section of Utah but rather a city that has, for the past two decades, been one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. And that’s what Jon Huntsman, who died in February of 2018 at 80, had in mind.

The Huntsman family continues to open the Games personally, with a warm welcome to the athletes and the lighting of the torch in traditional Olympic fashion during the Opening Ceremonies. This year the family member was granddaughter /Ruby Earl.

So it is that the Games turned 35 this year, with 11,000 seniors from 33 countries competing over the past two weeks in everything from badminton, pickleball, volleyball, and softball to individual competition, as in track & field.

I was there this year, for the eighth time to compete in the 100-meter event, now in the 80 to 84 group, since the Games groups competitors in five-year increments. Thus the youngest, 50-year-olds, compete in the 50-54 age group, then 55 to 59, 60 to 64, etc.

When I first learned of the games in 2002, I was pleased to learn that they weren’t really “world games’’ in the sense you didn’t have to be world-class to compete. That meant some competitors are world-class while others, like me, didn’t have to be, though I had won the 100 and 200-meter events at the Washington State Senior Games in 2000 and 2001.

Jon and Karen HuntsmanJon & Karen Huntsman, had a vision that the World Senior Games would attract thousands of seniorsI figured I wanted to compete in something called the World Senior Games, an ego trip some might suggest, so I traveled to St. George in ’02 and took sixth in the 100, which had 24 competitors, and was somewhere back in the pack for the 200.

The 100 meters that year was evidence of the mix of those drawn to seniors' competition.

The winner was a guy named Gary Sims, formerly a pharmacist in Southern California, who had never run competitively until he was 50. He won in St. George half a dozen times and held the meet record for the 100 and 200.

The second-place finisher in both events was John Ross, a professor at the University of Edinburgh. He was a European champion in the 100 and 200 and regularly made it to St, George.

They were well in the distance, and I saw the backs of their shirts as we headed down the track.

I didn’t run in the Games again until 2011 when successful colon cancer surgery while various friends were battling the disease, or had lost, made recovering from the required weeks of rest and getting in shape and running the most important goal I could imagine.

The fact that it was the 25th year of the Games was an additional lure, and I was pleased to tell friends I finished third and thus have a medal from the anniversary event.

I also made sure to compete in the 30th-anniversary games in 2006, and the fact there were no Games in 2020 made it essential to be in St. George for the 35th this year.

Seeing the backs of the runners ahead of me is part of the memory of each event, though I managed to take second place in 2015. And so it was last week when I shook hands with three runners who regularly set a pace a couple of seconds faster than my now 19 seconds. Four of them finished ahead of me this year.

Kyle M. Case, 48, has been the CEO of the Games for 15 years, and they have become a family affair for him and his commitment to the thousands of seniors who gather in St. George from many nations.

“I have been blessed to award both my parents at the Huntsman World Senior Games, including several golds,” he said of his mom, who runs the 5,000 meters, and his father, who pitches horseshoes.

“They have really caught the spirit of active aging and what the games are all about, and I’ve been proud as I could be to watch their athletic success unfold.”

“And this year I had the opportunity to hang a bronze medal on my wife in her first year of eligibility for her performance in the 50-meter track event,” he said proudly of his wife of 27 years, Mindy Hyde Case. “We have two amazing kids, McKinley Wood, 26, and Christian Case, 23.”

For CEO Kyle M. Case, the Huntsman World Senior Games he has guided for 15 years have become a family affairFor CEO Kyle M. Case, the Huntsman World Senior Games he has guided for 15 years have become a family affairIn addition to individual events like track & field, golf and tennis, there are many team sports like volleyball, basketball, and softball, and the competitiveness is no less on display in those events.

But as the teams acquire a group focus and commitment in competition, they sometimes bring that group commitment into their everyday lives back home, as with the Colorado Wildfire Senior Women’s Softball Club of Denver.

I learned of the Wildfire softballers in a chance meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn, where many teams and individuals were staying because it's adjacent to the Game headquarters at the Dixie Center.

I had a problem with my laptop (I have to do my column and emails even if on personal travel) in the lobby and asked if anyone had computer savvy.

So Melissa Beverly, an executive with an Indiana software company named Orchardsoft, came over and sat down at a table in the lobby with me and took care of the problem.

It turns out she plays, “wherever the coach puts me, but mainly outfield, second base, or pitcher. But mostly centerfield at the Games.”

When we talked later, she explained, “we have multiple teams in age groups ranging from 50s to 80s. We not only play softball but do volunteer events locally and mentor two high school softball teams in the Denver area.”

There’s an easy camaraderie that emerges as runners warm up on the track and the infield, preparing for their event.

Thus I walked up to two runners with their Barbados tops to meet them. They were part of the 14-woman and four-men Barbados team, and one told me he had been at the Games 10 times, winning three times. Both were in their 60s.

The Games were founded in1987 by John Morgan Jr., who died this past January, and in 1989 Huntsman, chairman of the Huntsman Corp., which would eventually be the world’s largest chemicals company, became the game's principal sponsor. He and his wife, Karen, had their own vision of the event’s potential, not only for the seniors drawn to compete but for the region and the state.

After his 1995 surgery for prostate cancer, one of four cancers he battled, he and Karen pledged $100 million to construct a state-of-the-art cancer center in Salt Lake City, the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

It’s owned by the State of Utah and designated by the state legislature as its official cancer center.

The entrepreneurial Huntsman's chemical-derived products included Styrofoam containers for eggs before he turned 30 and clamshell containers in which McDonald’s packages its Big Macs before his 40th birthday.

He and Karen opened the Games yearly until a couple of years before his death.

It’s interesting to look at the growth that has occurred in the past quarter century in St, George, and the surrounding region, known as "color country" for the flat layers of red sedimentary rock carved into buttes, mesas, and narrow canyons.

As the thousands of Games-bound seniors have visited the region with its physical attraction and sunshine-dominated weather, the growth that has accompanied the games, and been at least partially due to them, has been phenomenal.

The first year I ran, the city’s population was around 50,000. By the time of my second visit in 2011, it was about 80,000; this year, it’s about 100,000.
 
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Differing views on accountability as key to public safety highlight the race for prosecuting attorney

Port-of-Seattle
While the outcome of races here and around the country in which partisan politics at its most bitter is on display and attracting maximum voter attention, the most important contests may be eluding people’s attention.

 But that’s becoming hopefully unlikely for the King County Prosecuting Attorney race, where the ratcheting up of attention is evidenced by the major coverage in the Seattle Times Sunday and Monday on the two candidates and their views.

It’s not partisanship that’s at issue in the contest for the seat being vacated by retiring 15-year veteran Dan Satterberg, which hasn’t been an open race for more than four decades, but rather different versions of implementing criminal justice in the county.

One candidate is Leesa Manion, who currently runs the prosecutor’s Office as chief of staff while overseeing nearly 600 employees and a budget of $80 million. If elected, she would be the first female and first person of color to hold the job.Leesa MannonLeesa Mannon

 The other candidate is Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell, who spent 19 years in the prosecutor’s office after being recruited by longtime and highly respected late prosecutor Norm Maleng, before running for the Federal Way City Council. He then led the effort to switch to a strong mayor form of government and was later elected mayor of Federal way three times.

He believes that a change in direction is needed in the King County Prosecutor’s Office and that the status quo is not an option.

The prosecutor’s race was not on my radar until a few weeks ago when I visited with HomeStreet Bank Chairman and CEO Mark Mason, who has been touting Ferrell's candidacy. Mason has been high visibility about concerns for safety in the downtown Seattle area where the headquarters of his bank, a fixture on Seattle for 100 years, is located.

“I’ve witnessed firsthand the deterioration of public safety in Seattle as our employees have experienced assaults and drug-abuse issues on public transit and on sidewalks on the way to work,” Mason said. “As a result, my employees are afraid to come to work.”

“As I sought to understand the drivers of the decline in public safety, I now know that the policies and mismanagement of the King County prosecutor’s office are significant contributors to the problem,” Mason added.

Now he’s seeking to get endorsements for Ferrell’s candidacy from as many business organizations and key individuals as possible.

Ferrell, incidentally, is an intriguing candidate in that he was a Republican, including running for a seat in the legislature, until he switched parties and has been a Democrat since 2012.

His explanation should endear him to moderates of both parties: “The GOP started moving too far to the right for my comfort,” he said, adding, "I think most voters in this election will be more concerned about my views on safety than on the fact I was once a Republican.”

Among those who have endorsed Ferrell is Mike Heavey, former state representative, state senator, and King County superior court judge. He’s since gained fame as the founder of Judges for Justice, a local organization with a national focus on seeking to free those who have been wrongfully imprisoned.

“Jim Ferrell is an excellent lawyer who was always mindful about public safety and holding offenders accountable,” said Heavey, in whose court Ferrell often appeared during his years as a deputy prosecutor, including five years under Satterberg’s leadership.

“But at the same time, he has a compassion toward the defendants as fellow human beings,” Heavey added.

And it’s the issue of holding offenders accountable vs. compassion toward them, particularly compassion toward defendants who are juveniles, that is likely to become a much more prominent issue dividing Ferrell and Mannion, and their supporters in the final weeks before the General Election.

Jim FerrellJim FerrellThe issue is called Restorative Community Pathway (RCP), a program created by the prosecutor’s office last November to offer diversion for young people involved in a range of felony crimes. These include organized retail theft, assault, residential burglary, and unlawful possession and display of a firearm.

Mayors of Kent, Auburn, and Renton in addition to Ferrell in Federal Way, have expressed concern with the program’s diversion of firearm crimes as their South County communities are experiencing record-high levels of gun violence.

The mayors collectively agreed they support restorative justice for simple misdemeanor crimes for first-time juvenile offenders, but “failure to prosecute felony crimes is taking King County in the wrong direction and is making our communities less safe.”

And they also express concern that they were neither consulted about nor made aware of the plan before it was put into place.

The race for prosecutor has already divided the mayors of the county’s communities and in several cities, the mayors from their police forces, most notably Bellevue.

Police guilds in Seattle, King County, Bellevue, Kent, Federal Way, and Des Moines have endorsed Ferrell. Bellevue Mayor Lynn Robinson has endorsed Mannion. But Bellevue is more complex in its key endorsements in the race, with city council member and former Bellevue mayor Conrad Lee and council member Jennifer Robertson having endorsed Ferrell.

Of her lack of endorsement from the police organizations around the county, Mannion makes that basically a badge of honor because of her helping establish the public integrity unit in the prosecutor’s office that reviews police use of force.
“The unit’s review would not appear fair and transparent if I am endorsed by police unions,” she told one media outlet.

But she does boast endorsements from Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, County Executive Dow Constantine, and former Gov. Gary Locke, as well as county council members Claudia Balducci and Sarah Perry.

Of the RCP program, Ferrell says, “deferrals are an important part of the criminal justice system when matched with the proper judicial oversight and accountability measures. The problem with the RCP program is it lacks both accountability and oversight. The serious felony crimes included in RCP are adult crimes and should be removed from the program.”

Supporters of RCP, if they actually hope to sell it to the public, should be in the lead of having outside research to evaluate its success or failure or outline possible changes going forward.

Those long involved in juvenile justice or in working with juvenile offenders will likely remember the late ‘70s documentary, “Scared Straight,” about a group of juvenile delinquents and their three-hour session with actual convicts.

The program was conceived by a group of inmates at Rahway State Prison in New Jersey, an inmate group known as the "lifers." They were shown berating and screaming at and terrifying the young offenders with four-letter words in an attempt to "scare them straight" so that the teenagers would avoid prison life.

Versions of the idea were picked up in other states and put in place over the course of the next two decades with little evaluation of their success.

 But an array of studies in the late ‘90s, including a report to Congress in 1997 and one by the prominent Pew Charitable Trust, concluded the programs “increased delinquency relative to doing nothing at all.” Several noted that “agencies that permit such programs must rigorously evaluate them.”

HomeStreet’s Mason made the unarguably legitimate point in an op-ed piece in the Business Journal that “any program that allows offenders to avoid charges for their crimes must come with accountability.” Since the county council approved the RCP program, voters should look first to the council members for an accountability program.
 
Maybe the King County program could be renamed “Coax Straight,” gentle treatment and guidance from various non-profits involved in a program for the juvenile offenders in the hope they won’t offend again.

During his deputy prosecutor days, Ferrell, incidentally earned lasting courthouse recognition for his actions when one defendant appearing in court broke away from his police guard and sprinted down the hall seeking to escape.

Farrell, an outside linebacker and special-teams player for the Huskies in the Don James era, sprinted down the hall after the escaping defendant, tackled him, and brought him back to court.
 
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Cantwell's role in CHIPS bill passage was a revival of the dying art of seeking bipartisanship

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The ability of members of Congress, either House or Senate, to work across the aisle to gather support from the other party for a proposal that requires bipartisanship to move toward final approval seemed to have become a dying art in this era of stark divisiveness between the parties.

Thus the ability of Maria Cantwell, Washington’s junior U.S. senator, demonstrated an across-the-aisle ability that was key to the passage and presidential signing of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 to subsidize U.S.-made semiconductor chips led to a rare but welcome act of bipartisanship. The so-called CHIPS bill passed the Senate with a 64 to 33 majority, with 17 Republicans voting in favor, and passed the House with a 243-187 vote, with 24 Republicans voting for the legislation.

In a place where feelings rather than facts frequently guide decision-making, since feelings, after all, are what politics is all about, Cantwell used facts to overcome the politics that were in play in the Senate Republican caucus after GOP minority leader Mitch McConnell told his side they were not to negotiate on the CHIPS bill.

With a comment that had amusing implications, perhaps, as Cantwell is looked to in seeking bipartisanship on future issues, she remarked, “The leadership politics just got in our way, and we just had to figure out a way around all that. And so we did.”

The “way around all that” was teaming with Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York to invite all 100 Senators to a classified briefing in a secure room on the national security imperative of passing a competition package before the August recess, a gathering that attracted about 60 Senators split equally along party lines. But she also credits Indiana Sen. Todd Young, who is completing his first term this fall, with his work on the Republican side of the aisle.
 
Cantwell had organized at least three previous classified briefings for members of the conference committee, but she wanted to hold one for all Senators to make a broader case for the legislation. The House held a similar all-members classified briefing on the legislation that week.

Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, and National Intelligence Director Avril Haines met with the Senators for nearly two hours, and the group of Senators reportedly asked 30 to 40 questions on the various national security implications of relying on chips made in China or Taiwan.

"Afterwards, I just remember members talking on the floor about it and saying, ‘Well if we can fall behind in one area, why can’t we fall behind in others?’ And so let’s get going,” Cantwell said.
 
“Today marks the start of the turnaround for U.S. chip manufacturing,” Cantwell remarked as the bill was signed. “More than a dozen companies are expected to make announcements in the next few months about expanding the chip supply chain in the United States,” she added.
 
“America wins, and workers win, and consumers win because every product dependent on semiconductors: cars, trucks, computers, phones, and farm equipment – will start to have a more reliable supply,” said Cantwell, who has chaired the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation since 2011, 11 years after she was elected to the Senate at the age of 42.
 
As the first woman to guide the important Senate committee, as well as being selected to co-chair the Senate Democrats’ new high-tech task force and earlier this year being named one of four “legislators of the year” by the Information Technology Industry Council, the lobbying arm of the high-tech industry, her leadership talents are being well recognized.
 
Maria CantwellMaria Cantwell found a way around leadership politics in getting across-the-aisle support for CHIPS semiconductor subsidyAnd an across-the-aisle leadership, as evidenced in the final steps on CHIPS would be a welcome re-emerged talent in the divisiveness-driven\ Congress.
 
In fact, one of her predecessors as Washington’s U.S. Senators was Warren G. Magnuson, who guided the Senate Commerce Committee for 22 years and was among the most respected members of what he liked to refer to as “the world’s most exclusive club” and he treated every member of his “club” as his friend.
 
Of course, your party must stay in control for 22 years to chair a committee for that long!
 
I’ve been a fan of Cantwell’s since I learned she was one of two Democrats among the eight votes against a measure called the America Invents Act proposed by President Barack Obama and supported by the vast majority of his Congressional Democrats. The measure, the first major change in patent law in decades, was touted as clearing the way for start-up and entrepreneurial innovation to find success against the tech giants by making first to file rather than first to use the new keystone of patent law.
 
Clearly, her high-tech background as an early employee and vice president of marketing at RealNetworks, a Seattle-based provider of artificial intelligence and computer vision-based products and an early pioneer in internet streaming-media delivery, gave her a unique understanding of the little guys’ tech struggle with the big guys.
 
I became aware of the act when I invested in a tiny company called VoIP-Pal, a penny stock company then based in Bellevue that had patents for most forms of voice-over-internet protocol, which by then had been, in essence, infringed upon by the major tech companies who were thus being sued by VoIP-Pal.
 
And the appeals board set up under the act could be, and was, composed of attorneys who had once been employed by one or another of the tech firms, Amazon, Verizon, T-Mobile, Twitter, or Apple, that were being sued for patent infringement.
 
So I began to search the background of the creation and passage of an act clearly doing the opposite of what it was promised to do.
 
As part of the research, I found a video clip of Cantwell giving a speech on the Senate floor in which she wound up with a heated comment: “This act is clearly favoring the big guy against the little guy,” explaining her “no” vote. In essence, leadership politics was getting in the way of doing the right thing.

A little-remembered example of her willingness to work across the aisle, even if it involved pushback against her leadership, was in May of 2010 when she joined 39 Republicans to block the Senate from ending debate on financial regulatory reform legislation, proving a “no” vote on the motion to proceed to a vote.
 
Despite the majority effort, Cantwell said she felt the bill, as it stood, failed to close loopholes in unregulated derivatives trading.
 
The bill then went back to the House, and as she recalls, “tough new rules on derivatives trading were added during conference negotiations.”

So now, as Cantwell is likely looked to for other cross-the-aisle initiatives, at least one comes to mind.

She promised some Senators concerned about the possibility of U.S. semiconductor manufacturers making investments in China or Taiwan for chip production that the CHIPS legislation provided “guardrails” allowing the government to “claw back” money if companies violate restrictions on investment in China. But it’s not unlikely that some subsequent legislation may be required to keep the companies on the straight and narrow.
 
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Lynn Brewer seeks to assist two crises, global warming and aiding Ukraine, with hemp growing

HempField

I’ve known Lynn Brewer to be a disruptive influence since I first met her two decades ago, soon after she had left the then-iconic energy company Enron and become an in-demand speaker on why she became a whistleblower before the Houston-based giant’s bankruptcy.

But it’s intriguing to see her attention now focused on the kind of disruptions that could bring the type of changes that would have a positive impact on the crisis of global warming as well as the more imminent crisis of helping restore a war-torn Ukraine.

First, the global crisis, where her current effort is for sure disruptive in a globally beneficial manner, for the creation of what she has named the Autonomous Climate Technology Ecosystem (ACTE), for which she has a patent pending. ACTE was invented as part of her effort to focus on hemp for climate crisis easing.

ACTE, she explained, was created based on her days at Enron and her knowledge of trading carbon credits in the regulatory markets. The invention is designed to use technology to generate uniform carbon credit certificates.
 
“The uniformity of the certificates automatically generated using artificial intelligence and other climate technology to quantify and qualify the carbon sequestered allows these certificates to be actively traded by Wall Street.”

She foresees the use of drones, satellites, and probes to detect carbon data from grassland, forestland, cropland, settlements, wetlands, and agricultural by-products derived from industrial hemp, like straw, corn, or any other agricultural waste, to allow anyone who owns or leases land to request carbon credit certificate.
Lynn BrewerLynn Brewer seeks to create focus on growing hemp to help fight global warming and related project to aid Ukraine's restoration
“Rather than clear-cutting the trees and receiving, for example, $200,000 for the timber, someone can keep the timber and sell carbon credits derived from the carbon dioxide sequestered in the trees and potentially receive more than $1,000,000 for the carbon credits,” she said.  
 
The patent is key to a multipart effort Brewer has found herself immersed in this year and is an initiative to draw this country in line with the rest of the world in the growing of hemp, a plant that grows to be 15-to-18 feet tall with the majority of the leaves and flowers being grown at the top.

The hemp plant, used by humans for about 10,000 years as a source of food and building material and at one point the most dominant cash crop on the American landscape, was made illegal in the late 1930s because the plant is the source of cannabinoids and THC and an anti-marijuana campaign across America in the ‘30s culminated with the plant being classified as illegal.

One of the uses of hemp fibers is in industrial products, including building blocks, basically called Hempcrete, that resemble concrete blocks for construction but are deemed to be carbon neutral because they sequester carbon.  

Growing hemp is a process already years in development in many parts of the world, promoted by the EU across Europe, but legalized in this country only four years ago after more than 80 years as an illegal plant because hemp and marijuana both come from the cannabis plant. The industrial hemp plant must contain less than .03 percent of THC under regulatory guidelines.

In those countries where building with hemp is well underway, including South Africa, two Cape Town businesses are partnering to expand a five-story building to 12 stories by adding levels constructed with blocks from Afrimat Hemp.

“Our hemp is like bamboo, growing tall shoots that are not allowed to produce more than .03 percent THC and is not smoked!” Brewer explained.

In fact, developments relating to her hemp-growing initiative have come in a rush this year, including her patent, which she says will revolutionize the way carbon credits are generated.

First was the planting of 52 acres of industrial hemp in the town of Kittitas, not many miles from her home in Easton. By the time of the first harvest in a month or so, the stalks will have grown to 18 feet or more.

Peter WhalenPeter Whalen will partner with a Ukrainian Hempcrete builder in the first veteran's rehab center to assist Ukraine orphan-refugeesThen this spring, she was appointed to the State's Task Force for the creation of a Hemp Commodity Commission, whose launch is an indication that there is a monetary future for growing the hemp plant that has only been legal since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

An indication that her work isn’t going unnoticed is that she received an invitation to compete for Elon Musk’s Carbon Removal X-Prize of $100 million for carbon removal innovation, which is what hemp does in spades, sequestering two to three metric tons of CO2 per acre in the soil and up to 6 tons per acre in the plant.

“And,” Brewer explained, “These amounts accumulate in 90 to 120 days in the hemp, whereas a forest takes a minimum of 10 years to have the same sequestering effect.”

Evidencing an intriguing perspective on the profit value of helping save the planet, Brewer told me: “Buying and selling carbon credits should be as easy as ordering a product off Amazon.com. And anyone should be able to purchase a carbon credit certificate, whether it is a company that needs to offset its greenhouse gas emissions, a trader interested in market speculation, a broker selling climate-risk hedges, a young adult who wants to invest in the carbon credit market, or a grandfather who wants to buy a carbon credit certificate for his newborn grandchild.”

Now the Ukraine aspect of her focus. Brewer has put together a strategic partnership with Peter J. Whalen, a veterans advocate I’ve also written about, and who is proposing that his Invictus Foundation build treatment Centers of Excellence across the country for veterans’ rehabilitation from traumatic brain injuries. He is looking to use his wounded-veteran status to bring federal funding to a project in Ukraine.

Brewer contacted Whalen, a Vietnam veteran, after reading my column on him and learned he had been approached by someone in Turkey who sought to partner with him for building projects in Ukraine using Whalen’s wounded-veteran status to gather available federal funds.

Turns out that people around the world are looking for ways to get their hands on some of the millions of U.S. dollars that will go to aid Ukraine’s restoration.

“Why should we work with turkeys rather than directly with people in Ukraine,” Brewer remembers joking to Whalen. And thereby hangs the opportunity for her to introduce a Ukrainian builder named Sergiy Kovalenkov as a sort of new American hero once he gets to be known, as he will, as a co-founder of the U.S. Hemp Builders Association and now at work on building a facility in Ukraine to house orphans and homeless victims of the war.

Completion of his facility requires another $230,000 that Brewer has committed herself to raise, telling me she hoped to find opportunities to get people to donate pennies, dimes, or dollars to be part of aiding the Ukrainians.

Kovelenko is a Kyiv civil engineer builder who built the first hempcrete home in Australia.

Brewer describes him with a chuckle as “looking like he just walked off the beach at Malibu.” He's been building hemp homes for a dozen years with his company, Hempire, and will help develop a hempcrete building for Whelan’s first veterans center, which he hopes to locate on a 200-acre spot near Orting that is owned by the state.

In addition, Kovalenkov will be Brewer’s technical advisor for her hemp farm and negotiate deals, as with the French company that manufactures the block-making machine that Swiftwater will use to manufacture hempcrete blocks to use in building hempcrete homes that are pest resistant, mold resistant and fire resistant.

Brewer said her Swiftwater SPC (social purpose corporation), which is a division of her Swiftwater Holdings, “will take an investment position” in Whalen’s first center with her hemp to come from the acreage in Kittitas “sufficient to manufacture enough hempcrete to build the 15,000 square foot center from the 52 acres grown this year.”

“And the 200 acres that Whalen’s Invictus Foundation brain trauma centers will sit on would be sufficient to grow, with an agricultural designation, hemp that will be used for building transitional housing for veterans, with the first target being veterans among Seattle’s homeless population,” Brewer said.

 
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Mariners owner John Stanton, 'first and foremost a fan,' excited about team's surge into All-Star break

Safeco-Field-Seattle-Mariners
As the Seattle Mariners commence the post-All-Star break half of a season that ended its first half with sizzling success unseen in this area for two-plus decades, analysts and sports writers struggled to determine what brought about the success of a team went from a disastrous season start to now the most interesting in all of Major League Baseball.

Certainly, watching the team’s commitment to victory as a group of young men and the emergence of a couple of all-star players who have been hits off the field as well as on have been satisfying for long-suffering fans.

But I think it’s equally interesting to catch the excitement of the guy who occupies the owner's box, seeing a team that is finally achieving what has (clearly) driven John Stanton since the direction of the franchise became his as owner six years ago, giving his community and its fans a winning team.

Stanton became the CEO and majority owner of the Mariners in April of 2016 after the ownership group he led completed its purchase of the Mariners from Nintendo of America, and later that summer, Major League Baseball formally approved the sale of the Mariners to Stanton.

John StantonJohn Stanton
Mariners owner John Stanton's site set on enjoying the second-half run as '...basically just a fan'
He had become an owner in 2010 with the purchase of the 10 percent that John McCaw had held since the original ownership group that was put together in 1992, headed by Nintendo of America, at a time when Stanton, a telecom innovator, and entrepreneur, wanted mightily to be involved as an owner but admitted he didn’t have the capital available to join the group at that time. He was launching Western Wireless and once told me he and his wife, Theresa Gillespie, were paying his 100-some employees out of their personal checking account.

Buying out one of the cellular-icon McCaw brothers was appropriate since Stanton had been the first hire for Craig McCaw in the mid-80s when he created McCaw Cellular and helped him grow the telecom company over the rest of that decade before leaving with Craig’s blessing to launch Western Wireless.

Over the next decade, Stanton’s leadership satisfied many shareholders of the wireless companies he created and guided.

Since I was among those shareholder beneficiaries, I offer a story I shared with Stanton 20 years ago about my wife and me deciding we had an interest in investing in wireless companies. So, we bought stock in Western Wireless in 1992 for $15 per share.

The shares grew in value into the $60s before Western Wireless spun off Voicestream Wireless, a subsidiary created in 1994, into a separate publicly traded company that was soon trading in the mid-80s, as I recall, making the Western Wireless and Voicestream shares together worth about $130.

When I visited Stanton at an event in the early 2000’s I told him, prompting a chuckle: “my wife and I burn incense each evening before your picture in thanks for the shares’ performance.”

Voicestrean Wireless, in fact, in 2002, was renamed T-Mobile as it became the Bellevue-based subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom and now has its name now on the Mariners’ domed stadium.

So now Stanton’s sights are focused on satisfying ticketholders, who apparently will be coming to T-Mobile Park in the coming days in stadium-filling numbers, reminding me of a quote I included in a pre-season column recalling that 1992 opening day and the new group of local owners that would save MLB for Seattle: “I am first and foremost a fan. I love the game and everything about it.”

Stanton told me in one of our interviews how he attended Seattle Pilots games as a 14-year-old watching his hometown team with his father in the team’s only year of existence and said he recalled crying when the Pilots left town for Milwaukee.

Now the Mariners, who brought a record of 22 wins in their last 25 games into this week’s All-Star break, head into the second half with a record of 51-42 and trail the Astros in the American League West by nine games.

Whether playoffs or further post-season activity lie ahead to remind Mariner fans and the communities the franchise serves of what the last playoff 21 years ago felt like remains to be seen.
 
There will be heroes who perform at the plate, in the field, and with their competitive zeal between now and October, and their efforts may restore memories of the achievements that long-time Mariner fans recall.
 
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Growing awareness of holistic healthcare guides natural medicine group's national initiative

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The Institute for Natural Medicine (INM), capitalizing on what its president and CEO Michelle Simon calls a growing awareness of the importance of holistic healthcare, hopes to be at the forefront nationally of focusing on “whole person health to address the tsunami of chronic health concerns in our country.”

Simon, a naturopathic physician graduate of Bastyr University, is convinced that expectations of a “more health-savvy populous” will accelerate the demand for integrative medicine, which is defined as healing-oriented medicine “which emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient and takes into account the whole person.”

Under the leadership of Simon, who also holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of North Carolina, INM has grown since she took the reins in 2013 from a Seattle non-profit focused on creating an awareness of the value of natural healthcare to a national organization aimed at changing the healthcare paradigm.

And it will soon have a for-profit arm she plans to incorporate as a Social Purpose Corp., a business structure that in Washington makes the social purpose of the company more important than shareholders’ consideration, to help address the growth needs emerging from the 501c3’s activities, which have begun to be national in scope.

INM is focused on expanding the awareness nationally of naturopathic medicine and broadening the availability of naturopathic physicians as keys to its efforts on behalf of holistic medicine, which by definition is about lifestyle changes, noninvasive remedies, and enhancing the body’s ability to heal itself.

COVID likely has helped create an awareness of "whole person' health as it became clear those with underlying health issues faced a much greater risk of greater impact or death than healthy individuals.

"COVID has provided the need for individuals to recognize that taking charge of their own health, to the degree they can, is vital," Simon said.

An awareness of the emergence of educational facilities focused on what used to be called alternative medicine, which was part of the pushback by conventional medicine, has given way to the term “integrative medicine” with clinics often offering medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, and providers of other health-related services like acupuncture to patients.

The organization’s programs involve a three-pronged effort that includes a public awareness campaign, a residency program that has expanded to three states, and a childhood-nutrition program she calls Naturally Well, which teaches grade school kids about nutrition and teaches them to cook in a nine-week, hands-on program.

Michelle SimonIt was Simon’s telling me about her Naturally Well which was launched in San Gabriel, CA, with funding from the San Gabriel Valley Medical Center Foundation Fund, noting that San Gabriel was chosen because of the incidence of chronic disease combined with low income and high ethnic diversity.
 
INM CEO Michelle Simon on nutrition education:
"Send me your fourth graders!"


She told me children were the focus of what her organization hopes will become a family nutrition-awareness program because experience has shown that youngsters in about the fourth grade are both old enough to be educated and old enough to take such an education effort home to basically work on their parents.

She reminded me that the national campaigns for stopping smoking and getting seat belts were mounted at the grade school level and joked that her campaign could well be called “bring me your fourth graders.”

A similar initiative is underway in rural North Carolina.

When INM was founded in 1993, naturopathic physicians were licensed in only seven states. Now 22 states and territories license naturopathic doctors and one of INM’s initiatives is to seek to get naturopaths licensed in states where they are not yet licensed.

In Washington, incidentally, naturopaths prefer to be called "naturopathic doctors" since, in some states, naturopathic healthcare providers are permitted to call themselves naturopaths without having graduated from an accredited institution.

INM’s Residency Consortium is a collection of 14 multi-provider, multi-discipline, integrative-medicine clinics in three states, a few in Southern California, most in Washington State, and one in Simon’s home state of Vermont, which she explained has “a strong scope of practice for naturopathic medicine.”

But there is still a healthcare-delivery battleground that has conventional medicine often pushing back against broadening the acceptance of naturopathic medicine and licensing naturopaths.

And sometimes the battle in one state or another bears an uncomfortable resemblance to a political fight when naturopath-licensing proponents find themselves in the legislative arena. Such was the case in North Carolina last year when a bill to permit licensing of naturopaths became a pitched battle on the legislative stage and wasn’t approved.

But in Wisconsin, legislation approved last year to license naturopathic doctors was a recent win.

Joseph PizzornoThe West Coast, particularly Oregon and Washington, is at the forefront of the success of naturopathic medicine with maybe half of the estimated 8,000 licensed naturopaths nationally practicing in the West. That’s logically ascribed to the fact that one of the nation’s seven naturopathic universities is located in each West Coast state.
Joseph Pizzorno,Bastyr University founder,
was a master at fighting medical-acceptance
battles 
for naturopathic doctors

Portland-based National University of Naturopathic Medicine is the oldest naturopathic educational institution in the country and Bastyr University on Seattle’s Eastside, co-founded in 1987 by Joseph Pizzorno, who served as Bastyr’s first president for 22 years, maybe the most respected. Bastyr’s campus in San Diego was established in 2012.

Under Pizzorno’s leadership, Bastyr became the first accredited institution in the field of naturopathic medicine in the world. He moved Bastyr to its 51-acre campus on Seattle’s Eastside in the ‘90s and now-retired president Dan Church launched Bastyr’s San Diego campus.

His credentials include having been appointed by President Clinton in 2000 to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and by President Bush to the Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee in 2002,

Pizzorno was a master at fighting the medical battles and in fact, had to beat back in the Washington Legislature in 1987 in an effort to discontinue licensing of naturopaths, the success paving the way for him and two others to found Bastyr later that year. Pizzorno is the co-author of the internationally acclaimed Textbook of Natural Medicine and the best-selling Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, which has sold a million copies in six languages.

Pizzorno, a member of Simon’s board who travels the globe creating relationships, has seemed to relish his encounters with conventional medicine, including when I noted Wikipedia’s definition of naturopathy as “considered by the medical profession to be ineffective and harmful, raising ethical issues about its practice. In addition to condemnations and criticism from the medical community, such as the American Cancer Society,[naturopaths have repeatedly been denounced as and accused of being charlatans and practicing quackery.”

“Looks like the ‘Quack Busters’ got to write up the Wiki definition,” he told me with a chuckle, noting that Wikipedia entries frequently relate to donations.“ Those of us who are advancing this medicine use the number of times they go after us as a measure of success.”

Despite the decades of rejection by conventional medicine of the focus and principles of naturopathic medicine, the growing awareness of those turning to natural medicine as their healthcare of choice, or maybe their co-choice, has clearly been a major formative influence for MDs and their clinics and hospitals to develop functional medicine and integrative medicine as part of their disciplines.

In fact, the National Institute for Functional Medicine, which includes healthcare providers of various disciplines to help patients address how and why illness occurs, has a board representative of an array of disciplines. Pizzorno was elected chair of its board last December, succeeding an MD.

And Simon shared a recent major success story from Oregon where the National University of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, after what she characterized as “decades of effort,” announced it was partnering with Oregon Health Science University to launch a department of integrative medicine, which will include three ND’s on the team.

INM has its own collaborations as Simon noted that her organization is working with the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress to create a white paper on non-pharma approaches to chronic back pain, which she described as “one of the drivers of primary-care costs and a leading reason for the opioid epidemic.”

One of the nation’s most prominent healthcare facilities to put a high-visibility focus on integrated medicine is Cleveland Clinic, which in 2014 became the first academic medical center in the country to establish a functional medicine program with a focus on chronic disease management.

As the Cleveland Clinics website explains, “Functional medicine providers spend time listening to you and gathering your medical history. We use this information to identify the root cause(s) of the illness, including triggers such as poor nutrition, stress, toxins, allergens, genetics, and your microbiome (the bacteria living in and on your body). Once we identify the triggers, we can customize a healthy living plan for you.”.

But ironically, Ohio is one of the states in which naturopaths are not licensed to practice at this point.

Nor in Kentucky, where a recent $47 million donation to the University of Louisville will be used to create a new campus focused on holistic health and health promotion.

In those and the cases of other states where naturopaths aren’t licensed to practice, naturopaths can be involved in the planning and administration of healthcare, just not delivering services directly to patients.

As an example of Simon’s belief that “there is a national movement toward whole-person health, she noted the Walmart family member Alice Walton is creating a new medical school focusing on it.

“The whole Health School of Medicine will help medical students rise to the health challenges of the 21st century through a reimagining of American medical education that incorporates mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health, the elements of whole health, to help people live healthier and happier lives,” Alice Walton explained of her healthcare vision.
 
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Whalen's support for wounded veterans envisions building treatment Centers of Excellence

invictus_games_logo
When Peter Whalen created the Invictus Foundation in 2010 to provide support for wounded veterans, he likely had no idea of the path he would follow or the contacts he would make over the following decade leading to his recently announced 10-year, $100 million plan to build eight regional Centers of Excellence to treat Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress.

Stops along the way for Whalen, a Vietnam veteran, included laying out a plan for a prominent New York developer/philanthropist to create a series of veterans-care facilities at military bases across the country, doing a favor for a British Lord representing Prince Harry’s quest for the Invictus Games and picking a prominent coach of disabled veterans to become his foundation’s vice-chair.

Appropriate for a Memorial Day column is the story of Peter Whalen and his Invictus Foundation that he founded to honor the memory of his brother-in-law killed in action in Vietnam by seeking to aid wounded veterans, and appropriate as well as the group of veteran-support contacts he made along the way over the past decade-plus.

“The Invictus Foundation was founded to honor my brother-in-law, Norman R. Stoddard, Jr who was KIA’d in Quang Tri Province 11/17/1970,” Whalen recalled.

“He was a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment. He shipped out in October 1970 and six weeks later the knock came on the door of my in-laws. He was just 21 years old.”
“I was in school at the time in St. Louis and when I walked through the door after classes, I knew by the grief-stricken look on my wife’s face what had happened-Now that damn war included my brother-in-law as well as some of my battle buddies,” Whalen said.

“For most of us who served in Vietnam, it has been a scar on our psyche for our entire adult life. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for me to honor all, especially Brud. Gone way too soon in a war that took an entire generation of potential from this great Nation,” said Whalen, whose time in Vietnam was 1966 to 1968 with the First Cavalry Division in the Central Highlands.

He was a hospital administrator and healthcare executive for 40 years before retiring and turning to his wounded-veterans cause.Peter WhalenPeter Whalen's Invictus Foundation envisions national treatment Centers of Excellence

The developer-philanthropist connection was with the Fisher Family whose Zachery Fisher created the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which came into existence a year after his death in 1999.

The Fisher family, under the guidance of Zachery’s sons, including Arthur, turned to Whalen to write the business plan to establish a national network of satellites for the National Intrepid Center of Excellence the Fishers built at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

His business plan for the Fishers served as the model for his own regional Welcome Home Networks that provide coverage of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, marriage & family counselors, substance abuse counselors, and mental health workers, whose number now stands at 730,000 behavioral health providers across eight regions and all 50 states.
 
It was Zachery’s grandson, Ken Fisher, whom Whalen met in connection with Prince Harry’s desire to create the Invictus Games, then learned that Whalen had trademarked Invictus Foundation so sought to get permission to use the name.
 
“What was I going to do, tell the prince if he uses the Invictus name, I’ll sue him?” Whalen joked.

So he agreed that Prince Harry could use the Invictus Foundation name for sports while he retained it for health usage. In both cases, they emphasize the definition of Invictus. Unconquered.
 
It was in the process of working with Fisher in seeking to land the 1925 games for Seattle that he met Lord Charles Allen. Lord Allen, Baron Allen of Kensington, chairman of Balfour Beatty Plc, (the leading international infrastructure company), Chairman of Global Media & Entertainment Group (the largest commercial radio, digital and outdoor group in the United Kingdom) whom he described as a man whose wealth and media involvements were “a cross between Ted Turner and Craig McCaw.”
 
“He has deep pockets and an international network of contacts that could help me raise the funding for the Centers,” Whalen said. “He is definitely a potential funding source.”
 
Allen, a member of parliament, is a friend of Prince Harry, who tapped him to chair the Invictus Games Foundation and thus he and Whalen connected and became friends because of the Seattle effort to land the 2025 games, which it turned out will be held in Vancouver.
 
It was in meeting with Whalen in August for a column I did on the Seattle effort to land the 2025 games that I learned the wartime experiences of Whalen in Vietnam and Harry in a tour in Afghanistan brought both to understand the need to help heal the wounded warriors physically, psychologically, and socially. And both expressed the belief in the power of sports to assist that effort “to shine a light on the unconquerable character of servicemen and women.”

Bryan HoddleBryan Hoddle, "Soldiers coach," will help oversee the capital construction campaign for CentersIn fact, it was in a communication with Allen that Whalen first shared the plan to finance the $15 million capital construction campaign with what’s known as philanthrocapitalism, noting the corporate structure will be that of a healthcare REIT that “fuses the valuation of land with an ROI from operating profitability.”
 
“Investors have a choice of investing for purely philanthropic reasons or an adjusted rate of return on investment given their affinity for the vision and mission of the Invictus Centers, "Whalen said. “The philanthrocapitalism model will be harnessed with a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) governance that will allow investors to realize gains through the real estate the Invictus Centers are built upon as well."
 
Whalen’s plan is that the existing Welcome Home Networks will feed into the regional centers, each to be built for $15 million. The first will be in the Puget Sound area and for that, he suggests a site of some 200 acres the state owns near Puyallup “would be ideal,” providing the “pastoral setting” that he wants for each regional center, as well as proximity to a military base, in this case, JBLM where one of the Fishers Intrepid Centers is located.
 
In fact, Whalen noted that the Intrepid Center at JBLM served as the model for his regional centers with the key difference being the Intrepid Centers, aimed to help active-duty military, are located on military bases while the Invictus centers are for veterans located near but not on the military facilities.
 
Interestingly, the centers will also provide services for police and fire public safety officers, with Whalen explaining: “Many public safety officers have the same stressors as our active-duty military and veterans. In fact, many of them are ex-military. It is also a group that needs help. I have spoken to several police chiefs in the State who agree that is the case. “

The Foundation’s capital construction campaign efforts will be supported and overseen by two vice-chairs who are members of its board of directors, one of whom is Bryan Hoddle, one of the nation's most recognized and honored track and field coaches whose attention to developing young athletes and counseling coaches came to include aiding disabled athletes and since 2002 with wounded veterans.
 
Hoddle, by coincidence the subject of several Harps (search Flynn’s Harp: Bryan Hoddle) has an expert knowledge base in consulting with military and veterans’ organizations on the treatment of injured soldiers and veterans. He is often referred to as the Soldiers Coach and one of the most memorably touching videos he once shared with me shows him running around the track with a blind veteran running along with him, his hand on Hoddle’s hand.
 
I asked Hoddle about his involvement in helping guide the creation of the centers and he said: “lately I’ve been hearing comments about our wars are over. Not for these men and women. we send them over there, bring them back and they don’t get the support and care they need to transform back into society.”
 
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Egil Krogh's reflections on Watergate as "integrity lost" belonged in Gaslit miniseries

Egil-Bud-Krogh_-banner
There has to be a bemused reaction to the outpouring of national media interest, including from late-night TV personalities, to the eight-part Starz miniseries Gaslit, an off-beat approach to re-examining the nation’s most notorious political scandal, Watergate, through the formerly obscure character of Martha Mitchell, wife of President Nixon’s trusted insider, John Mitchell.

A key to the attention being generated for Gaslit, based on the 2017 first season of Leon Neyfakh’s Slate podcast Slow Burn and which premiered last Sunday, is clearly that Julia Roberts stars as Martha Mitchell, an unlikely whistleblower on the Watergate break-in that occurred 50 years ago next month, and Sean Penn plays her husband.

It’s unfortunate that nowhere among the many characters portrayed during the course of the series is there a place for Egil (Bud) Krogh, who was a young Seattle attorney who gained a seat at the center of power as assistant to Nixon's key advisor and former Seattle attorney John Ehrlichman and thus personal attorney and advisor to the President. Krogh took personal responsibility for Watergate and the evil that unfolded after it, all of which he blamed on a break-in he had orchestrated nine months earlier.

As I read about Gaslit and the half-century-old history it brings to light anew, I realized that a large portion of the population watching the series will be learning of the Mitchells and many of the other Watergate personalities for the first time, to no particular benefit except learning a bit of history.

But the story of Bud Krogh could provide a lesson in integrity that would have been valuable for all at a time when the word "integrity" is so remote from the current political climate that politicians who hear the word may not even know how to spell it and certainly not be able to define it.

For Bud Krogh, the lessons from the fall of a president echoed down the years less as a bitter memory than as a reminder of integrity lost. He felt it was important that the events of 1972 that led inexorably to the resignation of Richard Nixon two years later be kept ever in the minds of not only elected officials but also those who work for them
 
Egil Krogh's reflections on Watergate wereEgil KroghEgil Krogh
of Integrity Lost and could have been
a valuable part of the mini-series Gaslit

The series reminded me of a column I did a decade ago to mark the 40th anniversary of Watergate, a 2012 column that was an interview with Krogh, with whom I had become friends because of columns and a series of interviews I did with him before various audiences after we met in 2007.

The interviews and columns first occurred in 2008, 40 years after the 1968 campaign in which two other Washington State figures had key roles: then Gov Dan Evans, who was the keynoter at that year’s Republican National Convention, and mountaineer Jim Whittaker, who had become the closest aide to Sen. Robert Kennedy in the months of the campaign leading up to Bobby Kennedy’s assassination.
 
Krogh, who had just passed the bar in 1968 after graduating from law school at the University of Washington, actually didn't have a part in Nixon's campaign. Instead, being left to run the Seattle law practice of John Ehrlichman, the prominent Seattle attorney who helped engineer Nixon's general-election victory and became Nixon’s chief domestic advisor.
 
Krogh told me once with a chuckle that after the election, Ehrlichman returned to Seattle to close his law office and said to him, “how would you like to come back and work for the president?”

There is an Ehrlichman character in two of the eight Gaslit episodes
 
After the June 17, 1972, arrest of five people for breaking in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Washington, D.C., Watergate building investigators found that the perpetrators were connected to Nixon's re-election campaign, which was run by John Mitchell.
 
Krogh recalled for that 2012 column that even though he had moved from the White House to be Undersecretary of Transportation by then when he picked up the Washington Post that June morning in 1972 to read of the arrest of those who had been caught in the Watergate break-in, he said he recalled one thought: "My God, that's my fault."
 
The reason for that reaction was that as co-director of the White House special investigations unit called the "Plumbers," Krogh had nine months earlier, in September of 1971, approved a covert operation as part of a national security investigation into the leak of the top-secret Pentagon Papers to the New York Times.

The covert operation was a break-in at the office of Lewis Fielding, the psychiatrist for Daniel Ellsburg, who had released the Pentagon Papers. Krogh hired G. Gordon Liddy and H. Howard Hunt to do that break-in, the same men who were arrested at the Watergate break-in.
 
“I had made it seem that it was okay to do a break-in in the name of the President,” he told me to explain his sense of personal blame.
 
It's that certainty about his personal responsibility for what became Watergate, even though he knew nothing about the break-in before reading about it that morning, that guided his thinking and involvements through the following decades as a sort of personal quest for redemption.
 
His 2007 book, "Integrity: Good People, Bad Choices and Life Lessons from the White House," had a second run the month before I caught up with him by phone as he was en route toward a Pennsylvania speaking engagement and I asked him how the sales were going. "It's selling better now than at the beginning, he replied. “The issue of government integrity seems more relevant to people today," a comment that would obviously be at least equally true in 2022.
 
He also developed and was sharing a decision-making model he called The Integrity Zone, which was designed to help people make integrity-based choices in their professional and personal lives.
 
The dedication in his book, written with the help of his son, was a telling reflection of that lifelong campaign: "To those who deserved better, this book is offered as an apology, an explanation, and a way to keep integrity in the forefront of decision-making.”
 
The book itself details the lessons of Krogh's lifelong effort to make amends for what he describes as a "meltdown of personal integrity" in the face of issues of loyalty to the president and to the power of the office.
   
Krogh eventually went to prison for almost five months after pleading guilty to criminal conspiracy for engineering the break-in at Fielding's office.

He told me that Nixon had offered to pardon him but that he had pleaded "Please, Mr. President, if I ever hope to get to practice law again, I will need to have served my punishment."
 
Krogh recalled in several of our discussions over the half-dozen years we were friends, that after Nixon's resignation, his personal path toward reconciliation involved a visit with Fielding to apologize to him for what Krogh told him was "an unacceptable violation of the rights of a genuinely decent human being."
 
Then followed a visit with Nixon in California in which Krogh recalls basically saying: "Mr. President, I apologize to you because everything that's happened was really my fault."
 
Krogh left Seattle soon after that 2012 interview, he had returned to Washington to be a Senior Fellow on Ethics and leadership at the Center for Study of the Presidency and Congress and Counselor to the Director at the School of Ethics.
 
Reviewing the 2012 column and thus recalling his words and thoughts is what made me realize that the mini-series should have provided a role for Krogh, who died In January of 2020 at the age of 80.

An amusing close to this column is that Krogh once told me that even the famous meeting between Nixon and Elvis Presley, who wanted to help the President tackle the nation's drug problem, had an outcome that simply lacked integrity.
 
"Elvis asked if the president could get him a special badge from the bureau of narcotics and, even though he wasn't entitled to that kind of a badge, I told the president I'd get one," recalls Krogh, who had actually arranged the Elvis meeting. "Elvis not only got a badge, but he carried it for seven years and he simply shouldn't have had that badge."

Krogh told me that in arranging the 1970 meeting, he had needed to explain to Nixon who Elvis was!
 
A historical note is that at the time of our conversation he told me that of all the requests made each year to the National Archives for reproductions of photographs and documents, the one that was requested more than any other was the photograph of Elvis and Nixon shaking hands at that December 1970, visit. More requests than for copies of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

The Day Nixon met Elvis, published in 1974, was Krogh's other book, basically a picture journey through that day.
 
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Mariners Opening Day — memories of the '92 season when local ownership was assured

mariners_1992_logo

When the Seattle Mariners take the field for their home opener on April 15, some will recall the season 30 years ago that took two opening days three months apart to confirm that the future of the Mariners would be in Seattle, with a team of local owners, buttressed by a Japanese businessman devoted to Seattle, thus ending the uncertainty of the franchise.

This year's home opener against Houston will mark another anniversary of national importance. It was on April 15, 75 years ago that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the old Brooklyn Dodgers so 2022 Opening Day will also be Jackie Robinson Day, leading to a weekend of activities in which the Mariners will help celebrate that anniversary.

It's on occasions like a three-decade anniversary of local ownership when those involved find that little-known facts of the story come to the forefront of memory for sharing.

chuck armstrongChuck Armstrong
was Mariner president for George Argyros - 22 yrs for the local ownership group
Thus this Harp, a revisit to one I did five years ago, will be dedicated to a collection of several such stories related to that Mariners' accomplishment that made opening day 1992 special for not just the 56,000 fans on hand but also for supporters across the region.

It was in December of 1991 that U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton learned that his effort to convince Nintendo CEO Hiroshi Yamauchi to invest, not as a baseball fan but to repay the community that he felt had helped his company become successful, had paid off.

And it was on January 23 of 1992 when the announcement of the group of local investors to be named the Baseball Club of Seattle and led by the Japanese billionaire would buy the team to keep it in Seattle.

But it would be three months beyond opening day in 1992 before The MLB ownership committee recommended approval of the purchase of the team by the Baseball Club of Seattle. So while there was more optimism that April about the franchise staying here, the approval issue still had people holding their collective breath.

There was an appropriate major celebration at Safeco Field later to recognize Gorton for his essential role in finding local buyers after then-owner Jeff Smulyan announced he was planning to sell the team, triggering a clause that gave 120 days to find local owners.

The 120-day clause provides interesting memories for those most closely involved, and retired Mariners president Chuck Armstrong shared a couple of those memories in a telephone conversation.

Armstrong was attorney and advisor for George Argyros, the Southern California businessman who had purchased the Mariners in 1981 from the original ownership team, and Armstrong served his first stint as president of the Mariners when Argyros sent him up from Southern California a couple of years later.

The 120-day provision had been inserted in 1985 when Argyros and King County Executive Randy Revelle were negotiating a change in the Kingdome lease and Argyros suggested it as a "closer" to getting county council approval.

Armstrong recalls that the reason for suggesting the provision was that Argyros "didn't want to go down in history as the guy who sold to a distant owner and thus let the Mariners leave town without providing time to find local owners."

"He was okay with a new owner living elsewhere, as long as he didn't move the team," he added.

Armstrong recalls "George never gets credit for this."

But Argyros did become basically loathed in Seattle in 1987 when he sought to buy the San Diego Padres to have a team closer to his Southern California home after the death of owner Ray Kroc. Armstrong said the possible Padres purchase was suggested by Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth's, who said he would find someone to buy the Mariners.

Armstrong was also involved in trying to help sell the Japanese ownership to MLB, remembering that he called his friend, George W.Bush, then managing partner of the Texas Rangers explained the challenge and asked if his father, President Bush, might be interested in helping with the issue.

"One day the phone rang and a woman said: 'the president is calling.' I asked 'President of what?' and she said a little icily, how about President of the United States.'"

Armstrong said it turned out that Baseball Commissioner Faye Vincent had worked for the elder Bush in the oil fields and they had remained friends.

Arthur HarriganArthur Harrigan's
legal maneuverings opened the door for local owners to buy the Mariners at a 'local price' millions below the actual value
"I can't honestly tell you what, if any, role the president took in our issue, though both Bushes indicated they had no problem with a Japanese owner" chuckled Armstrong, who, since no one in the new local ownership, knew anything about running a baseball team, was brought back as president on July 1, 1992. He retired in 2014.

Another recollection, truly little known, except for those closely involved with the effort to save the Mariners, is of the legal battle in which Seattle attorney Arthur Harrigan won the right for local ownership to be sought.
 
That occurred because there was another aspect to that 120-day provision that Argyros provided and it was an attendance provision, a provision that basically provided that if Seattle fans didn’t want to support their team, there would be no requirement to search for local ownership.
 
Thus came a crucial role for Harrigan, whose firm of Calfo Harrigan Leyh and Eakes got into the battle because it represented King County and Smulyan was seeking to abandon the county-owned Kingdome.
 
The venue for resolving the future of the Seattle Mariners franchise was what amounted to an arbitration hearing before Arthur Andersen, the national accounting firm agreed to by both sides to decide some key issues relating to the lease and the team.
 
Since it wasn't a court process, which would have gotten large visibility for the battle between attorneys, Harrigan's maneuvering over the meaning of wording in Smulyan's contract regarding the attendance provision and whether it triggered the 120-day clause got virtually no visibility and was thus little known except to those involved, but I had fun telling the story in my 2017 column.
 
Harrigan's argued interpretation of the lease-requirement wording was accepted by the Andersen firm, so Smulyan was required to give the four-month opportunity for a local buyer to be sought. Then of perhaps equal importance, Harrigan successfully argued that there should be a local value lower than the open-market value.
 
The accounting firm agreed and set a "stay-in-Seattle" valuation at $100 million, rather than the national open-market value of $130 million that it had determined.
 
That created the opportunity for Gorton and others to lead the effort to keep the team in Seattle to find a local buyer for $100 million, rather than $130 million, within four months. And that led to Nintendo.

John Ellis, the widely respected, retiring CEO of Puget Sound Power & Light, was a token partner, along with retiring Boeing CEO Frank Shrontz, to add business respectability to the wealthy but lesser-known Microsoft and McCaw Cellular entrepreneurs group.

Ellis was picked to lead the group's effort to gain baseball's approval, becoming managing general partner, eventually becoming CEO and guiding the team through the rest of the '90s, and setting the stage for the team's 2001 MLB record-tying 116 victories.

John StantonJohn StantonOne of the most interesting stories and one that I've felt should be shared ever since I first heard it, is how now CEO and majority owner John Stanton had wished with all his might to be part of the ownership team in 1992 but told me some years ago "I didn't have the money."
For those who might find that startling or amusing, remember that wireless pioneer Stanton had then recently departed McCaw Cellular with Craig McCaw's blessing to launch Stanton Communications with his wife, Theresa Gillespie, and they had sunk all their capital into that venture. The company would, in 1994, become Western Wireless, which went public in1996 and spun off VoiceStream Wireless in 1999.

"We had the opportunity to invest in 1992 and passed because we were funding payroll for about 100 employees out of our personal checking account," Stanton told me in an email.

"In 2000 we had the opportunity to buy John McCaw's interest in the team. And we have been involved since then."

I asked Stanton for this column to share with me his feeling about baseball and his answer provided the perfect close:

‘I am first and foremost a fan; I love the game and everything about it; Opening Day reminds me of every Pilots and minor league game I attended with my father (he passed before opening day in 1978) and every game I have attended with my wife and sons. To quote a line from James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams 'This field, this game -- it's a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again.'"

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Leen Kawas' comeback: Managing General Partner of Propel Bio Partners, a new fund for life sciences start-ups

Propel-Life-Science-Fund
When I did a column five years ago citing a comment from Melinda Gates to a large audience of women that the technology industry was dominated by “a sea of white guys,” I noted that it was actually a woman, Leen Kawas, a then-32-year-old immigrant not yet a citizen, who was the dominant face of the biotech sector of technology in this state.
 
In recalling that column, I remembered making the point that Kawas was the beneficiary of a large group of investors who were believers in her, in her commitment and in her company, Athira Biotechnology, as she was at the leading edge of the emerging field of regenerative medicine, destined to halt or even reverse the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
 
I revisit the column here because of the corporate rollercoaster ride Kawas has been on over the past 18 months, first preparing for and taking Athira public in October of 2020. Then being placed on leave in June of 2021 for obscure allegations relating to her doctoral paper at Washington State University nearly a decade ago, then being forced by Athira’s board to resign her CEO role last September after an investigation of the doctoral paper allegations was completed, but results never announced.

Remember this is the young scientist who was co-inventor of Athira's lead drug candidate ATH-1017 and also invented several of the innovative drug candidates in Athira’s pipeline.
 
Dr. Leen Kawas co founder and managing general partner of new fund Dr. Leen Kawas,
Co-Founder, Managing General Partner - 
Propel Bio Partners LP
Now comes news of Kawas’ giant of all comebacks, easing the anger toward the board of Athira that has been the shared emotion for most of that large group of investors who never wavered in their support of Kawas. Now, in essence, she is past the pain of Athira, realizing that what she and her patents put in place there is still likely to become the vital drug she and those who invested in her anticipate.
 
So now rather than building one vital world-changing biotech company, her future will be in helping numerous entrepreneurs, including biotech ones, build important companies.

It was announced in no less than the Wall Street Journal that Kawas is co-founder and managing general partner of a new investment firm called Propel Bio Partners LP, which will seek to raise a pooled investment fund of $150 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Of particular significance to the investor world, her co-founder is Richard Kayne, prominent Los Angeles-based asset manager, former Cantor Fitgerald principal, and founder of Kayne Anderson. He will be Propel’s general partner.
 
Propel says it plans to invest in life sciences companies at various stages of development, seeking “to help founders and management teams fulfill the urgent mission to advance human health with disruptive therapies and technologies.”

Propel Bio Partners has quickly attracted some who were early investors in Athira, originally named M3 Bio. Thus it was announced at almost the same time as news of Propel Bio’s formation that John Fluke Jr., who remains on Athira’s board, and Carol Criner, vice president of strategic accounts for the global enterprise solutions company HCL Technologies, were planning to invest.

“Leen is a visionary entrepreneur with a unique blend of drive, intelligence, and demonstrated business acumen. In six short years, she built a company from the ground up, taking it through the early stages of drug development, through its public offering, and into the final stages of developing its potentially game-changing therapy,” Kayne said.

“Under Leen’s leadership, I believe Propel is uniquely positioned to identify excellent opportunities to assist entrepreneurs along the path to success,” he added.

The investment firm’s team includes senior associate Dasom (Christine) Yoo, former Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center business development manager.

And its advisory board includes Ronald Lee Krall, former GlaxoSmithKline chief medical officer, and current NIH Foundation director,

“I am looking forward to providing promising and passionate entrepreneurs the same opportunity that Ric Kayne and others gave to me when I started Athira,” Kawas said in a press release announcing propel Bio's launch.

Richard Kayne prominent Los Angeles based asset manager will be new funds general partner Propel Bio Partners LPRichard Kayne -
prominent Los Angeles based asset manager will be New Funds General Partner Propel Bio Partners LP
In statements coinciding with the fund's announcement, several of those advising or investing in the new fund, including Fluke and Criner, who were early investors in Athira, made it clear that their involvement was an endorsement of Kawas as an entrepreneur, leader, and scientist.

Those who are longtime readers of The Harp may well recall that Kawas has been my focus on a half dozen occasions, dating back to when I met her in the fall of 2013 before she had been named M3 CEO.

Because her drug was initially focused on Parkinson’s and my wife, Betsy, has been suffering with Parkinson's since 1999. I took to helping Leen meet potential investors through the fall of 2013 and all of 2014.

I told her "You are my company."

She liked to chuckle when she would tell people that I introduced her to the first 200 people she met in Seattle, Spokane, and Southern California, beginning even before she was formally made CEO in January of 2014, Among the first in Seattle were Fluke and Criner. Carol was the first woman I introduced Leen to and she became the first female investor and a mentor.

As I watched Leen's presentation ability, I quickly became comfortable introducing the young Jordanian woman to friends I felt could, if they wished to, ante up the $50,000 that was then the ask.

One was Richard Sudek, then recent past chair of the five-county Tech Coast Angels, which was the largest angel investor group in the nation. Thus at that point, he was likely the best known angel-investment leader in Southern California.

Sudek, who had returned to academia at Chapman University in Orange County, agreed in spring of 2014 to sit for Leen’s computer slide presentation and when she finished, Sudek, leaving me stunned, said: “If you have an advisory board, I’d be happy to be on it.” Sudek has never wavered in his support of her since then.

An accidental introduction allowed me to advise Leen that fate had already determined she would be a success. That came about at Suncadia when Leen was preparing for a presentation I had arranged for a board I was on and I went into the lobby to get coffee. Jim Warjone then retired as CEO but still chairman of Port Blakely Companies, saw me and we caught up for a few minutes since I hadn't seen him in several years. Then he asked what I was doing there and I told him, he asked if he could sit in on the presentation.

So he did and before long he called me to tell me he had decided to invest. He has shared with me several times in recent years when Leen comes up in conversation: "She is the smartest person I've ever met!"

At one point, Kawas cautiously explained to me M3’s focus had to shift from Parkinson’s to Alzheimer’s because it was easier to raise money for a drug to reverse Alzheimer’s and the company was now in a multi-million dollar raise preceding its planned IPO. But she added that “as soon as we finish with approval for Alzheimer’s we'll be 60 percent of the way along when we shift our focus to Parkinson’s” and indeed the trials for Parkinson’s have already gotten underway.

As Leen and I became close friends because of our common goal, at one point she asked: “Can you invest?” So a couple of days later I wrote her a check. A few days after that she told me Fluke had agreed to invest and I asked her if she had deposited my check. She said she hadn’t and I said “if you don’t deposit my check as your first investor before you deposit Fluke’s then tear mine up.”

Now she was certainly aware that a guy with his own family venture fund was of greater long-term investment value than a retired newspaper publisher. Nevertheless, she deposited my check that afternoon, so I have been able to say I was her first investor. And as her image and impact become more far-reaching in the future with her new biotech fund, it becomes ever more satisfying to say that. Because we are close friends, Fluke has been okay but tends to look aside if he's around when I have occasion to tell someone that I am investor number 1.

By 2015, Leen was finding biotech executives and funders beating a path to her door so my introductions were no longer needed, but we remained friends as I was able to turn my attention to other things but watched as she continued to grow a cadre of followers, frequently those for whom Alzheimer's and Parkinson's had personally impacted their lives.

One was Michael Nassirian, a retired Microsoft key executive and an Iranian whose father, who had headed the Iranian oil company, had died of Alzheimer's.

When Nassirian heard Leen's presentation at a Bellevue Chamber event, he approached her after her talk and told her he wanted to be involved and asked how much she needed.

Because of the Leen connection, Nassirian and I have become close friends and meet regularly and I'm sure one of those future meetings will relate to Propel and the need for him to be involved.

When Leen was once asked at an event about what's the difference between the technology industry and biotech, the answer she gave may help guide the future conviction of entrepreneurs drawn to her industry and to her fund.

"Would you rather be part of the industry that will create new instruments that people will be able to hold in their hand or would you want to be part of an industry whose role will be to help create a new hand?"
 
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Aggression in Ukraine ends 30-year ties between Washington State and Russia

Ukraine_Flag
Watching Russia in a warlike and aggressor role in its unprovoked war on Ukraine has likely brought a mix of sadness and regret for those who recall the time in 1994 that Boris Yeltsin, first president of the Russian Federation, stood before a Seattle luncheon audience of 800 that included ambassadors from many nations and shared his vision of a special relationship between this state and his nation’s Far East.

The unlikely but real relationship between a state and one of the world’s most powerful nations that began to develop more than 30 years ago and reached a high point in the ‘90s came to a sad but necessary end last week as both the state of Washington and the non-profit Council for US-Russia Relations ended ties with Russia because of its military aggression against Ukraine.

carol vipermanCarol Viperman - Founder, Foundation for Russian-American Economic CooperationGov. Jay Inslee last week ordered state agencies to cut ties with Russian institutions and the Council for US-Russia Relations condemned the “military aggression by the Russian Federation against the Ukrainian sovereign nation and people,” adding ‘We call for the earliest cessation of hostilities and withdrawal of Russian Federation forces from Ukraine.”

Derek Norberg, President and Founder of the Council of U.S.-Russia Relations, and Executive Director of its subsidiary Russian American Pacific Partnership (RAPP) said in advising me of the council’s action last week: “We are unable to continue, given the current situation.”

Although there was a trio of important events in that special relationship, mainly an economic one, for Washington State and the Russian Federation, the relationship was guided over two decades mainly by the Seattle-based Foundation for Russian-American Economic Cooperation and its founder and president, Carol Vipperman.

The first of those special events was the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle, which were never envisioned to be held in Seattle when media mogul Ted Turner, troubled by the political boycotts of the Olympics by the U.S, in 1980 and by the U.S.S.R. in 1984, decided to sponsor an international sporting event. The first games were held in Moscow in 1986 with the second destined for the U.S. four years later.
 
Even before the Moscow games opened, sports promoter Bob Walsh created the Seattle Organizing Committee to bring the games to Seattle. On June 19, 1986, the Committee won the bid from Turner for the 1990 games, outdoing five other cities that had hoped to be selected, and Walsh began putting together a $180 million production.

Seattle hosted those second Goodwill Games in July and August of 1990. Thousands of athletes from nearly a hundred countries competed at local venues, including the UW, the Tacoma Dome, and Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center that was built for the games. By then the U.S.S.R., was mid-way through its three-year dissolution that resulted in the emergence of 15 independent republics, including Russia.

The Games’ keynote address, a very brief welcome, came from Ronald Reagan, who had finished his second term just 18 months earlier. The Cold War was then almost over with what President Reagan had once described as “the Evil Empire” on the brink of collapse.

It was actually the year prior to the Goodwill games that Vipperman, a Seattle marketing consultant, was invited to join a U.S. group invited to go to Moscow and Leningrad to look in on newly formed cooperatives designed to pursue U.S. business approaches. She returned and launched the Foundation.

 
Derek NorbergDerek Norberg - Founder, President Council of US-Russia Relations“Remember April of 1989,” Vipperman replied when I asked her what her expectations were informing the foundation. “It would be seven months before the wall fell. We felt if we could do business together we’d be less likely to go to war.”

Derek Norberg, founder, President Council of US-Russia Relations
 
And so for the next 22 years, FRAEC would be a leader in the quest to build economic ties between the two nations.

Ralph Munro, then-Secretary of State, actually went to Russia on a people-to-people mission in 1983, a time when the tensions in the relationship between our two countries were at a peak.

“The Russians thought we were going to wipe them out,” Munro recalled. “All they seemed to want to talk about with an American was how we were going to kill them. Then I ran across people who thought there was hope.”

Then a year following the Games, as business relationships were being pursued both in the Russian Far East mainland and on Sakhalin Island, Alaska Airlines decided to commence summer service to the port town of Magadan, and Khabarovsk, the largest city in the Far East. Alaska eventually extended its service to five cities in the rugged Far East of Russia.

It's worth noting that Seattle is 500 air miles closer to Magadon than Moscow is. Vipperman said, “The Alaska flights were meaningful to both sides.”

Munro recalled taking eight to 10 trips to the Russian Far East, including one on which he “took the first boxes of Washington State Pears to that region and they went crazy for them.”

In 1992 the new Russian Republic opened its first consulate office in the U.S. in Seattle, with what was described as “jubilation.” Chicago, with a large Russian population, had expected to be selected, but it was Seattle.

“We got the consulate, and they gave us a consul general, Georgiy Vlasken, a visionary guy who wanted to make things happen,” Munro said.

Vipperman recalled that Vlaskin was “a vegan vegetarian and never drank,” which brought back an amusing memory of my encounter with him when Vlaskin invited me and three of my editorial people to come to his Capitol Hill home for a get-acquainted lunch.

As the four of us sat down, Vlaskin poured a vodka for each of us and offered a toast. As he drank down his vodka, I did the same. Then he poured another and drank it down, so I did as well.

It was a day on which I had to drive to the airport for an afternoon flight to Spokane so I was a bit edgy when he poured a third vodka for both of us and drank his down. I carefully downed mine and told him that was all for me.

When I later related the incident to Vipperman, she laughed and informed me he always had water in his vodka glasses.

Washington State’s relationship soon grew to include most West Coast states and several in other parts of the country.

“The vision was originally for Washington State and we led states by a long way in trade and commerce,’ Norberg of the Council of U.S. Russia Relations told me. “And we had the only operating joint U.S.-Soviet joint venture company, Marine Resources Co. International,” a company with which Norberg held a variety of management positions in the 1990s.In the late 1980s, Norberg worked on Soviet fishing joint-ventures in U.S. waters off Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.

Ralph MunroRalph Munro - Former Secretary of StateNorberg’s Russian-American Pacific Partnership held its 26th annual meeting last July, a bilateral gathering that attracted 90 participants from both Washington, D.C., and Moscow as well as representatives from seven states and seven eastern Russian regions. Among presentations was one by John Sullivan, U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation, who said there are now some 1,100 U.S. companies operating in Russia.

Sullivan noted that “during times when our two governments do not see eye to eye on many issues, annual meetings like RAPP assume even greater importance. Such meetings between businesspeople, entrepreneurs, academics, and students, and regional and civic leaders serve to explore the many avenues for potential cooperation and provide ballast when the bilateral relationship is strained.”

Then came the Ukraine invasion. And that has left little but reflection.

“We have no interest in having anything to do with Russia now,” said Norberg. “I don’t think there’s going to be much return to anything normal. There’s no path for Russia to return, except without Putin.”

Alaska Airlines’ service to the Russian Far East was driven by both the pursuit of a business opportunity as well as our interest in building cultural ties between regions of the Far North,” said Joe Sprague, president of Horizon Air who was Alaska’s senior vice president for external relations when I did a column a few years ago recalling the Russian Far East service.

Alaska had to discontinue the connection in 1998 when the Russian economy collapsed. In an email to me for this column, Sprague said: “Regrettably, the business opportunity did not fully materialize and there were significant logistical challenges. It’s unfortunate because, as we see today, those bridges of understanding are more important than ever.”

Alaska’s innovative outreach to the Russian Far East actually went back almost two decades earlier, in the early ‘70s, when the Seattle-based carrier began charter service to the Soviet Union’s Siberia as a result of what has been described as “secret negotiations” between the airline and Soviet Authorities.

When the U.S. Department of State learned of the deal, it decided not to block the plan, indicating it didn’t want to create a negative response from the Soviet Union. It might also be assumed the agency wanted to avoid a negative response from Washington State’s two U.S. senators, Warren Magnuson and Henry Jackson, then among the Senate’s most powerful members.

Joe Sprague - Horizon Air PresidentJoe Sprague - Horizon Air PresidentI have my own Russian memories since part of the Goodwill Games involved conferences and hosting Russians. Thus as the publisher of the Business Journal, I agreed to host a journalist. So Mikail (Misha) Bonderenko, a 39-year-old journalist who was actually the president of the young journalists of Europe, became not only part of the PSBJ staff for a couple of weeks, but also my family’s house guest.

Through him my wife and three kids had the unique experience of learning first hand about Russia and Russians since later Misha asked me if we would host his wife and 9-year-old daughter, Masha, and Dasha, who lived with us for a time as we introduced to the growing Russian community in the Seattle area.

Meanwhile, Misha and I created a Russian newsletter with the intent of keeping interested business people informed of developments in Russia.. But we couldn’t generate enough newsletter sales to keep him interested, in part because he had a career to build and I lost track of him.

Vipperman recalled for me winding down her organization in 2011 because funding, primarily from government sources, was winding down as relations between the two nations were deteriorating.

She recalled, “getting the most touching emails from people all over the world” when word of FRAEC’s closing spread.

But she said she remained hopeful about the future until returning from a photo workshop on Mt. Rainier “I turned the radio and the top item on the newscast was that Putin was going to run for president again in 2012.”

"I was glad no one was around to hear the four-letter words that spewed out," she chuckled.
 
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