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Lee Hood, an architect of the human genome project known as HGP, envisions AI-focused HGP2


The Human Genome Project (HGP), the blueprint that represented a vital global contribution to the advancement of human health, marked its 20th anniversary this year with little notice or reflection.

Except, perhaps, for the publication by Leroy Hood, one of the key architects of that landmark project, of his book, The Age of Scientific Wellness, which may help open the door to HGP2.

Launched in October 1990 and completed in April 2003, the Human Genome Project’s signature accomplishment of generating the first sequence of the human genome provided fundamental information about the human blueprint. It has since accelerated the study of human biology and improved the practice of medicine.

It opened new avenues for research in fields such as personalized medicine, gene therapy, and genetic counseling. It has also helped us better understand the genetic basis of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Hood is actually Leroy Hood, M.D., and PhD. He got his medical degree at Johns Hopkins between undergrad and doctoral education at Caltech in Pasadena.

Hood was a professor at Caltech in the 1980s, where he developed automated methods for sequencing DNA, a process that was essential to the Human Genome Project, for which he was involved from the first meeting in 1985 at UCal Santa Cruz.

Hood was not some kid from a remote small town in Montana who found his way to a little-known small college near the mountains northeast of Los Angeles.

Caltech, officially the California Institute of Technology, is among a small group of institutes of technology in the United States and is ranked among the best academic institutions in the world. Hood, who had been guided by his grandfather and father to focus on science, was induced to go to Caltech by a teacher at Shelby High who had graduated from there and sought to convince his best students to consider going to Caltech.

And appropriately for the outcome, Hood took his advise.

Lee HoodLee Hood envisions a healthcare future guided by AI that will bring years longer healthy life.
Hood, co-founder the Seattle-based Institute for Systems Biology, also coined the term “P4 medicine,” which is the idea that healthcare should be “predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory.”

Hood envisions a healthcare future and his book details the path, with his Human Phenome Initiative mapping the way, to achieve his goal: “I want to see people move into their ‘90s (and beyond) excited, creative and functional.”

He sees the key change from healthcare of today to the healthcare of the future hinges on the optimization of individual wellness and early detection of wellness-to-disease transitions, offering the potential for reversal before the emergence of clinically diagnosable disease.

The 13-year Human Genome Project was launched by the U.S. Department of Energy, which pitched it to Congress in 1987, and the National Institute of Health. Both funded the $2.7 billion cost, with support from organizations in other countries.

Now Hood offers a look at HGP2, and he might suggest the 20th anniversary of the original HGP as a logical time to launch “2,” The Human Phenome Initiative.

That’s an ambitious plan conceived at Phenome Health, the nonprofit that Hood founded in 2021 to advance a science and data-driven approach to optimize the brain and body health of individuals.

This Project would analyze the genomes and phenomes of one million individuals across the US over 10 years with the individuals selected to reflect the racial and demographic diversity of the U.S. It’s an enormously ambitious endeavor that he believes will demonstrate to the world the power of P4 healthcare.

Hood notes that the realization of P4 health will depend on many moving parts, but no tool will be more important than artificial intelligence.
Systems are already transforming healthcare. But Hood sees those changes accelerating to such a degree that “AI will soon be as much a part of our healthcare experience as doctors, nurses, waiting rooms and pharmacies.”

“In fact,” Hood suggests, “it won’t be long before AI has mostly replaced or redefined all of those.”
And Hood’s view of the future is of one built on scientific wellness in which interaction with artificial intelligence will be a normal part of healthcare.

It’s no longer news that the medical profession is expecting AI to be part of the future of medicine.
But in his book and in a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal headlined “The AI will see now” and co-authored by Nathan Price, Ph.D., the co-author of his book, the pair make the point that doctors are turning to AI tools to help them make the best decisions for patients.

Price is Chief Science Officer of New York-based Thorne HealthTech, a health intelligence company focused on leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to map the biological features related to an individual’s health.

Offering interesting imagery to those aware of the mythological half-horse, half-human centaur, Hood said “We are fast approaching the time of centaur doctors. They will combine the best parts of human intelligence and AI assistance and be empowered to make bold medical decisions with far fewer unintended consequences.”

What Hood may have had in mind is that the most famous centaur in Greek mythology is Chiron, who was known for his wisdom and knowledge of medicine.

The Human Genome Project came about because of a fortunate convergence of focus of two important government departments whose leadership convinced the Reagan Administration and Congress of the project’s importance.

Hood will face an equally daunting challenge in the quest for funding for the Human Phenome Initiative. But we live in a different era in two important ways, one challenging and one fortunate.
Getting an administration and a Congress that are more focused on disruption than anything resembling cooperation and progress on something important to the future seems maximum difficult, in fact unlikely.

But on the plus side, we live in a philanthropic time when two women could either or both sign a check to match the cost of HGP2 with little pause and without the need for government,
With McKenzie Scott’s net worth of $64 billion and Melinda Gates’ $10.7 billion and both spending freely on worthy causes, it may be that all Hood needs is an audience to tell his story because he tells it well and with the authority of his accomplishments.

But congressional concern about keeping up with China has actually given the lawmakers something to agree on and may open another opportunity for Hood’s initiative.

The Global Technology Leadership Act is a bipartisan AI bill aimed at keeping up with China. It would establish an office that analyzes how the country is keeping up with China and envisions billions being spent on crucial technologies like AI,
Hood, who was a star high school quarterback in the small Montana town of Shelby and played halfback on Caltech’s football team, is proud of his athletic ability and his staying in condition. He has shared that though he is 85, his doctors say his biological age is 15 years younger.

He joked to me he actually played in 16 Rose Bowl games, to which any football-knowledgeable person would say, “can you explain that?”

Hood answered: “Caltech’s home field was the Rose Bowl, so each home game, we could look at the 200 or so fans on our side of the stadium and the 100 or so on the other side and focus on the thousands of empty seats and say ‘we’re playing a game in the Rose Bowl—a Rose Bowl game.

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The Attorney Who Kept Mariners and Seahawks From Leaving Retires


Arthur Harrigan, the Seattle attorney who, with little fanfare or thanks, used his legal prowess to save the Seattle Mariners and Seahawks, has retired from the firm he founded in 1986.

But Harrigan, now 79, shouldn’t be permitted to ride off into the sunset without belated acknowledgment by the community whose professional teams remain here because of him, despite credit having been legitimately shared with several others.

In essence, Harrigan’s legal victories over Jeff Smulyan and Ken Behring that prevented their moving the teams to other cities paved the way for finding local owners for their teams. In the case of the Mariners, that allowed the late Sen. Slade Gorton to emerge as a hero for finding local ownership in Nintendo and owner Hiroshi Yamauchi.

Harrigan is having trouble finding the sunset as he remains involved as a funder, organizer, and chairman of an energy project designed to help save the planet.

Art Harrigan's legal maneuvering to save Mariners got no visibility but paved the way to find local buyerThe legal battles with the owners of two of Seattle’s professional sports teams came about because they were tenants of the Kingdome, having leases with King County, which was a longtime client of Harrigan’s law firm. So it fell to him to keep the teams from moving.

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 that both sides agreed to have decided some key issues relating to the lease.
Since it wasn't a court process, which would have gotten large visibility for the battle between attorneys over the fate of the Mariners, the outcome got no media attention.

So it was amusing to both Harrigan and me that after I first wrote a column about seven years ago on his success in keeping the two teams, he told me his staff, in reading the column, asked, “How come no one knew of this back in 1992?”

Harrigan's maneuvering over the meaning of wording in Smulyan's contract regarding an attendance clause accepted by the Andersen firm was key to the final outcome,

So Smulyan was required to give a four-month opportunity for a local buyer to be found. And of likely 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 $135 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 $135 million, within four months.

No one knows if, at $135 million, Nintendo's owner would have opted to pick up the cost of saving the Mariners for Seattle.

More visible was the effort to save the Seahawks since the battle with Ken Behring included a decision by the State Supreme Court.
King County hired Harrigan's firm to keep Behring from fulfilling his widely publicized intent in the winter of 1996 to leave Seattle and move the team to Los Angeles.

Behring made the argument after some tiles had fallen from the Kingdome roof, that he had concerns about the seismic security of the Dome as he announced that he was moving the team to Los Angeles.

Harrigan recalled the meeting at which he, King County Executive Gary Locke, and his assistant and chief civil deputy Dick Holmquist met with Behring and his attorney, Ron Olson, who Harrigan noted was also Warren Buffet's attorney.

He said Olson read from a yellow pad, explaining that the team, fearing earthquakes might impact the Kingdome, had to be moved to the comparative safety of Southern California and the Rose Bowl.
“Holmquist and I were trying not to laugh," he said.

"We were poised to file a temporary restraining order the moment the meeting ended, Harrigan said. “In the meantime, the trucks had already begun the moving process.”

"So when Behring and Olson left the room, I made the call, and the restraining order was filed," he added. "Had that not happened, we would have had to go to California and ask a California judge to send them back."

In the same timeframe, the NFL owners were holding their annual meeting in Boca Raton and wanted to hear what both sides had to say," Harrigan said. "I brought along Jon Magnusson and two other renowned structural engineers with West Coast seismic design expertise who explained that the idea that Southern California was safer than the Kingdome in case of earthquake was ludicrous."

The legal maneuvering all came to an end when it was announced that Paul Allen had purchased the Seahawks.

Now that the man responsible for this little-known piece of Seattle sports history has retired, there needs to be some recognition of what he accomplished.

There’s also an interesting piece of far-reaching legal history for Harrigan from when he was a young attorney in 1975 and spent a year as senior counsel to the Church Committee, the original Senate Intelligence Committee.

Chaired by Idaho Sen. Frank Church, the U.S. Select Committee on Intelligence was looking into all federal intelligence activities, including IRS activity.

Harrigan discovered that other intelligence agencies were obtaining tax returns from the IRS and using the information for their own purposes. In one instance, the goal was to prompt an IRS audit of a Minnesota citizen to take place during the 1968 Democratic Convention so that the individual could not attend.

Harrigan determined the IRS wasn’t initiating its own audits of individuals but was responding to requests from other federal for the returns of individuals whose activities the agency was concerned about.

He said when he appeared before the full committee, Goldwater, Church, Mondale, and others, to tell them what he had learned, Mondale was outraged that one of his constituents was among those abused by the process.

“Mondale called a full-day committee hearing,” Harrigan remembered. “In the meantime, I had already told the IRS Commissioner what we had learned, and before the Senate hearing, he had already adopted new regulations to ensure nothing like that could ever happen, installing audit rights against any agency that has sought tax information from the IRS. We had the hearing. The Commissioner reported that he had already stopped this in its tracks. Frontpage NY Times the next day.”

As to the climate-aiding energy project that is still on Harrigan’s business plate, where it has been since he first got involved a dozen years ago, it's called Advanced Rail Energy Storage (ARES),

It’s basically “highly efficient’ electric rail cars running uphill and generating energy, converting electric power to mechanical potential energy, which is delivered when the cars are deployed downhill.

Harrigan and prominent Bellevue business leader Spike Anderson provided much of the initial and continuing funding for this system which CEO Howard Trott, another Seattleite, has in recent years led. The ARES system has already attracted attention from utilities around the country.

It’s been seven years since I did a column on the project, headlined “Seattle investor friends focus on ‘The Holy Grail of Energy’ train project,” indicating their long-term commitment to the time and cost of bringing the project to final deployment.

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Memorial Day salute to those who chronicle the deeds of sons and daughters who fought our wars


Those who fight the wars that political devils create are sometimes also tagged as evil. But some journalists convinced that those warriors deserve to be remembered, chronicle their sacrifices and thus merit special recognition for ensuring that the sons and daughters who fought our wars are remembered appropriately.

That was the lead of my Memorial Day column of two years ago, which was a reflection on those who write of the warriors who fight our nation's wars to ensure their sacrifices are remembered.

That column included my longtime friend and former UPI colleague, Joe Galloway, whose three books and a movie about the battle of the Ia Drang Valley made him perhaps the best-known correspondent of the Vietnam War He died three months after that Memorial Day of a massive heart attack at the age of 79.

And it included my then-recently acquired friend, Scott Huesing, a retired Marine Corps major who guided his men of Echo Company through battle in the deadly urban battlefield of Ramadi during the Iraq War and then wrote about his experiences in Echo in Ramadi.

Huesing, in a small-world connection, but maybe not so small, explained to me when we met in San Diego in August of 2020 that as he wrote Echo in Ramadi, "it was the voice heard in Galloway's We Were Soldiers Once...and Young that left a great mark. It shared not just the stories of battle but of people. That power of human connection is so vital to me in all things."

Huesing's book became a number-one best-seller after it was published in 2018. It was described by a prominent reviewer as "so gripping it will be read by a generation of grunts and leaders, vividly depicting how, in crisis after crisis, mutual trust pulls a unit or a business through."

Huesing said he sent autographed copies of the book "to those I owed something, and Joe was one. Joe sent me a heartfelt note and a glowing review of my book. Although we've never met in person, Galloway and I understand the uncertainty of war and the most certain danger it brings close to one who endures the worst of what humanity provides, a connection that is something irreplicable"

Scott Huesing wrote of leading his Marines into war in Iraq in Echo in Ramadi
Scott Huesing

Now Huesing, 53, whose 24-year career in the Marines spanned 10 deployments and who led combat operations in 60 countries, seeks to help other veterans to become authors. One of those he introduced me to in an email exchange in which he described me as "fellow Marine and friend" was Andrew Biggio, whose book The Rifle. Was then about to go on sale days after that 2022 Memorial Day.

The Rifle is described as "an inspirational story and hero's journey of a 28-year-old U.S. Marine, Andrew Biggio, who returned home from combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, full of questions about the price of war. He found answers from those who survived the costliest war of all — WWII veterans."

The promotion for his book goes: "It began when Biggio bought a 1945 M1 Garand Rifle, the most common rifle used in WWII, to honor his great uncle, a U.S. Army soldier who died on the hills of the Italian countryside. When Biggio showed the rifle to his neighbor, WWII veteran Corporal Joseph Drago, it unlocked memories Drago had kept unspoken for 50 years. On the spur of the moment, Biggio asked Drago to sign the rifle.

Andrew Biggio's The Rifle collected the stories of WWII vets who held and signed his M1 and relived memories

Thus began this Marine's mission to find as many WWII veterans as he could, get their signatures on the rifle, and document their stories.

For two years, Biggio traveled across the country to interview America's last-living WWII veterans. Each time he put the M1 Garand Rifle in their hands, he recalls that their eyes lit up with memories triggered by holding the weapon that had been with them every step of the war.

With each visit and every story told to Biggio, the veterans signed their names to the rifle. 96 signatures now cover that rifle, each a reminder of the price of war and the courage of the soldiers.

Biggio noted that he realized of the WWII vets "they were leaving us at an alarming rate, and their knowledge was leaving with them."

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, 325,574 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are alive, but around 296 die every day.

Biggio said the M1 being held by the veterans, who averaged 94 years of age, "acted like a time machine to take them back 75 years, and I asked them to tell me about their most stressful experiences." And thus, the book took form.

Biggio told me that about half of those whose stories are contained in the book have died since it was published. But among those still alive, most have become friends, and he has taken four or five at a time to France for book signings.

Now another group of interviews will be included in The Rifle 2, which is due for publication in September.

Biggio brought deeply rooted ties with the New England veterans community to the book project as the founder of Boston's Wounded Vet Run, a motorcycle rally nonprofit through which he's helped raise more than $1 million for wounded veterans.

Huesing has created his own non-profit to aid veterans. His is Save the Brave, devoted to providing companionship and stress-management tools to veterans with programs to address psychological and emotional challenges.

The most visible of those is Save the Brave Offshore, which provides offshore fishing opportunities for veterans at no cost, with Huesing sharing his view that nothing "can cure the effects of PTS better than connecting with fellow veterans in shared experiences on the water."

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Lisa Brown's credentials in Spokane mayor's race include legislature, academia and state


When I sat down with Lisa Brown in downtown Spokane's Davenport hotel for an interview on her decision to run for mayor of Spokane, it was a day after Gov. Jay Inslee announced he wouldn't seek a fourth term. So I couldn't help but kid her about "why aren't you running for governor?"

When I mentioned that the following day to a mutual friend, he said: "That's not as much of a joke as you think, Mike. She has better credentials to run for political office than Jay Inslee, who was merely a member of Congress with a healthy ego 12 years ago when he decided he wanted to be governor."

Those credentials include being the majority leader of the Washington State Senate, a role she held for eight years, then serving as chancellor of the WSU Spokane campus, in which role she helped set the stage for the launch of WSU's Elson Floyd Medical School. Then Inslee named her to be director of the state Department of Commerce, the role she is leaving to run for mayor.

She now hopes to parlay what she would characterize as a background of leadership into the job of Spokane mayor, seeking to unseat Nadine Woodward, who is running for a second term.

Both Woodward and Brown have more visible political ties than is usually the case in nonpartisan municipal races. Brown's Democratic ties, including close friendship with U.S. Sen, Maria Cantwell and in Olympia for at least the rest of Inslee's term, are a key part of her background. And Woodward has close ties to several Republican groups, including keynoting last weekend's Mainstream Republicans of Washington conference in Leavenworth.

And those partisan connections could play a role in the outcome of the race for the top elected position in the city that is the economic center for a region stretching over three-state and two Canadian provinces. It's a region viewed as more conservative than liberal.

But Brown polled 52 percent of the Spokane County vote in her unsuccessful run in 2018 against GOP incumbent Cathy McMorris Rogers in the heavily Republican Fifth Congressional District.

lisaLisa Brown's background includes having been the majority leader of the State Senate.

I asked former Spokane mayor John Powers, a Brown supporter, what are the key challenges Brown faces in her race against Woodward, who was a local TV personality before winning the race for mayor in 2019.

"There's a bit of a perception in centrist and conservative communities that she is too progressive," said Powers, who became head of economic development organizations in King and Kitsap counties before retiring and returning to Spokane to go into real estate.

"But I think that's not accurate," Powers said. "She understands better than most the process of getting things done by discussion, compromise and resolution," he added.

According to the local Spokesman-Review, Brown appears to have the backing of the majority of Spokane's city council, who are progressive. "She also has the support of several leaders of color in Spokane," the newspaper noted.

"Black leaders in Spokane have clashed with Woodward's administration over roundtables on police reform and her decision to locate a police precinct in the former East Central Library."

"Visible homelessness, housing affordability and the perception that crime is worse downtown are real issues that I will take on," Brown told me. "But building on our strengths as an increasingly diversified regional economy is a key theme for me."

"I plan to be a mayor focused on economic development," Brown said.

'The cluster model we helped create at the Commerce Department is dramatically present in Spokane with the clusters of aerospace, healthcare and emerging technology, which can be built on to be keys to the future."

Spokane is my hometown, where I retain personal and business ties. So I've been intrigued to see the downtown develop into a surging business core while watching downtown Seattle decline to a level from which some bet it won't fully recover.

And I think a growing visibility for Spokane may accompany that Seattle core decline. And part of Spokane's economic success, dating back its 1974 World's Fair, has been that leaders have understood the importance of the fact The River Runs Through It.

And now that riverfront focus has extended along the north bank to include The Podium, the adjacent Spokane Arena that houses concerts and sports events and a new $35 million outdoor football and soccer stadium across the street which will open later this year.

So the area is developing into a true sports and entertainment district and that represents another cluster that will require close relations between city hall and the Public Facilities District that oversees those facilities and the role they will play in Spokane's economic future.

The realization of that cluster emerging, coupled with events already long part of the Spokane sports scene gave me the opportunity in February 2022 to suggest that Spokane should take the nickname "Sports Town USA."

The idea actually came to mind as I watched high school and college runners from across the country at a track event in February 2022 at the city's still gleaming new indoor 200-meter six-lane track that boasts the nation's newest and one of the few hydraulic-banked running tracks. That means the ends of the track in the $53 million Podium near downtown are hydraulically elevated for sprint events and lowered for other events.

There might actually be little argument if Spokane claimed the title of the nation's basketball capital. Afterall, it's not only home to a Gonzaga Bulldog basketball team that has dominated the nation's collegiate ranks for going on a quarter century, but the city also hosts on one weekend each year the 3-on-3 basketball tournament called Hoopfest that is the largest event of its kind in the world. Or as the event launched in 1989 touts itself, "the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament on earth," attracting a quarter-million fans, 450 courts spanning 45 city blocks and drawing 6,700 teams.

Then of course, for the world of runners, there's the Lilac Bloomsday Run. The 7.4-mile run marked its 46th anniversary this past weekend, celebrating the 1977 launch of the event by Spokane resident Don Kardong, who had finished fourth in the marathon at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

I'm still waiting for someone in Spokane to have the courage to say: "Of course we should be Sports Town USA. And we are going to start a campaign to claim the title." Maybe Lisa Brown in her run for mayor.

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Divided communities are putting small-town newspapers to the test of journalism integrity

In a divided nation where some openly suggest civil war lies ahead, leaders and some elected officials in various communities across the land seem to be intent on producing a script that would bring that about. And thus local media in little-known places like Cottonwood, CA, and McCurtain County, OK, are being put to a real test of journalistic integrity, and even courage.

So this column is about the battle being waged by newspapers in some small towns, suggesting you don’t have to be a major newspaper or one in a major city to be called to serve the people’s right to know. And know with accuracy.

And in an era where many newspapers in towns and cities are being purchased by companies that have been described as corporate strip-miners seemingly intent on destroying local journalism for the profits, it’s heartening for advocates of quality local journalism to see that quality occurring..

One of those local journalism dramas is unfolding in McCurtain County in Southeast Oklahoma, where clean rivers and lakes and forested foothills have attracted North Texas residents in growing numbers.

And now it has attracted national attention with an AP story distributed across the country with the lead paragraph noting “the growing optimism about the county’s future took a gut punch.”
That came about when the local daily newspaper, the McCurtain Gazette-News, reported on a conversation among several county officials, including the sheriff and a county commissioner who were caught on tape discussing killing journalists and lynching black people.

The tiny Gazette-News, with circulation of about 4,000 and not even having a website, is locally owned since 1988 by the Willingham family, which also owns the local weekly Broken Bow News.

 But many of the other 200 or so newspapers in the state covered the story, including the role of the local newspaper that broke the story.

Residents gathered over the weekend in Idabel, the county seat, to demand the removal of the local officials. Not the kind of protest those in big cities expect from residents in rural America, such negative expectations amounting to prejudiced and divisive thinking in itself.

The governor has called on the state attorney general to investigate and take action to remove the officials, if appropriate. And the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association suspended three McCurtain County Officials
So now over to the Shasta County town of Cottonwood, midway between Redding and Red Bluff in Northern California. And covering the divide that has developed in the community of 6,200 is Dani Chamberlain, a former columnist with one of the local dailies who started an online magazine she named A News Café, that documents local affairs, and readers came with her.

But then Covid shut down the state, and laid bare the bitter fault lines that divided this community.

Residents angry over pandemic closures began filling county meetings, sometimes forcing their way inside, and directed their ire at elected officials who enforced only the minimum restrictions required by the state.
One local resident, Carlos Zapata, warned the board of supervisors at a meeting in August 2020 to reopen the county or things wouldn’t be “peaceful much longer.” Chamberlain has written of Zapata extensively, including calling him “an alt-right recall kingpin, militia member, semen-purveyor, former Florida strip-club owner.”
And another resident said at a board of supervisors meeting in January 2021: “When the ballot box is gone, there is only the cartridge box. You have made bullets expensive, but luckily for you, ropes are reusable.”

.But there was more than just a backlash under way. The anger coalesced into an anti-establishment movement backed financially by a Connecticut millionaire named Reverge Anselmo, who Chamberlain described as having a longstanding grudge against the county over a failed effort to start a winery.

The response of parts of Chamberlain's community has left her shocked: “This isn’t how it’s supposed to be to be a journalist. I shouldn’t go to my car afraid one of these guys is gonna bash me in the head with a baseball bat,” she said.

And the situation in Cottonwood has attracted international media attention, with a major story last week in the U.S, edition of the respected United Kingdom newspaper, the Guardian.

I reached out to my one-time UPI colleague, William Ketter, long one of the nation’s most respected media executives, for his thoughts and he called fhe McCurtain County situation “beyond the pale.”

“I applaud the courage of the Willingham Family and the McCurtain Gazette-News for pursing public records and aggressively reporting on suspicious conduct of the sheriff’s office and the county commissioners. That’s what good, responsible local newspapers do. They are not intimidated.”

On the news “dark” side, though, there are too many newspapers now that lack the courage to even write stories that would upset an advertiser let alone face threats from some in the community upset at the local news coverage.

Ketter is the senior vice president for news at a newspaper company named Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., (CNHI), which owns 80 local newspapers, mostly dailies, and digital sites in 26 Midwest, Southwest, Southeast and Northeast states.

“My company’s newspapers focus their coverage on common concerns and interests of the communities we serve…We take our watchdog role seriously,” Ketter said.

Ketter’s background, in addition to his time at UPI, includes serving as editor of the Quincy Patriot Ledger, a suburban Boston daily, for 20 years, then editing the Lawrence, MA, Eagle-Tribune, where his staff won the Pulitzer prize for breaking news coverage in 2002.

As a long-time journalist, I’ve been concerned about the future of the daily newspaper industry as it has become the focus of companies like Alden Global Capital, dubbed by vanity Fair as “the grim reaper of American newspapers,” buying them and tearing them down for profits.

Thus I’ve been intrigued by Ketter’s company.

CNHI’s ownership is pleasingly unusual. The Alabama Retirement Systems bought CNHI, which had grown from a handful of newspapers in 1997 to one of the nation’s largest local newspaper groups, in 2019.

And every indication since then is that the retirement systems’ intent is that the newspapers, magazines, websites and specialty products that are part of CNHI make service to their communities a priority, with the premise that profits will follow media done right.
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As NHL playoffs unfold — 32 Bar and Grill overlooking Kraken Ice Complex may be the most popular


As Northwest hockey fans thrill at the play of their playoff Kraken and media explore every aspect of the young team’s performance, I thought I’d offer a look at the restaurant at Kraken headquarters that fans are flocking to.

The 32 Bar and Grill overlooking Kraken Community Ice Complex at Northgate may well become the most popular family restaurant in Seattle as the NHL playoffs unfold. And beyond.

Certainly, Kraken President and CEO Tod Leiweke and his management team might say a special family-friendly place to watch the record-setting young hockey team is an important part of what’s taking place this year.

Tod Leiweke(R) and Buoy mascotTod Leiweke(R) and Buoy mascotAnd 32 is destined, as the Kraken hockey team set an NHL record for victories in an expansion team’s second season in earning a playoff berth, to fashion memories present and future to go with the memories built into it.

The restaurant's east side is huge windows overlooking two ice rinks, one of which is the Kraken practice. Both are busy much of the day with hockey players of all ages or just skaters.

The man the Kraken hired as a consultant to create the food and beverage experience at the restaurant overlooking two ice rinks a floor below is Mick McHugh, whose iconic F.X. McRory’s Steak Chop and Oyster House in Pioneer Square epitomized The Irish Pub.

McHugh, who closed McRory’s in 2017 after 40 years of capturing the loyalty of baseball, football, and soccer fans, was told by Rob Lampman, now Kraken COO, “We want to do McRory’s hockey bar.”

McHugh took that to mean not that he was to create an Irish pub but rather a food and beverage experience like that which made McRory’s unique for those who became the regular crowd,

And since 32 opened in the fall of 2021, its “regular crowd” has come to feature families with youngsters from grade school on up, most clad in Kraken soccer gear, many of the kids to be on the ice rinks below before or after joining their parents to dine. And McHugh is on hand most lunches cleaning tables and picking up dishes.

And the man responsible for already building Seattle sports memories as the guy who, as CEO of the Seattle Seahawks, guided the NFL team to its first super bowl in 2006, is excited about the memories to come with the Kraken.

“This team is a really big deal for Seattle,” Leiweke enthused as he brought the Kraken mascot, Buoy the sea troll, to meet me and take my picture with him. Leiweke’s office and those of other executives and employees are down the hall from the restaurant in the $90 million state-of-the-art practice facility. It's their eating place as well.

“This is the largest improvement in wins, with 19, and points, with 40, for any team from its first to second season in NHL history,” Leiweke offered.

It hasn't seemed to get visibility in all the media attention focused on the Kraken locally or nationally, but two other teams that Leiweke served as CEO are also in the playoffs this year.

Leiweke was the head man with the Minnesota Wild, third this year in the Central Division when Paul Allen plucked him in 2003 to be CEO of the Seahawks. He guided the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl two years later, though they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He was hired in July of 2010 to become CEO of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Storm and run the Tampa Bay Times Forum

The Lightning are in these playoffs as third-place finishers in the Atlantic Division.

I recall that in 2012, as Leiweke and I were trading emails about the Seahawks, one of his emails included a photo of the sun setting on Tampa Bay with his comment: “This is my paddle board space.”

No back to McHugh and recalling that while his McRory’s bar boasted a Guinness World Record designation as the establishment with the most bottles of public spirits, more than 1,600 brands of whiskey, 32 features 1,432 hockey pucks from around the world embedded in the bar top.

“I wanted to establish the spirit of McRory’s, so I worked hard with getting the back bar zigged and zagged and got its mirrors up to the ceiling,” McHugh said.

“It was Lampman’s idea to do the pucks in the bar top,” McHugh said. “So we sent a letter to the International Ice Hockey Federation seeking to spread the word to send us pucks.”
“I also encouraged them to hire a food and beverage manager and had one in mind,” he added.
Mick McHugh (L) and Ken Moriarity, the 12-restaurant team

Mick McHugh (L) and Ken Moriarity, the 12 restaurant teamMick McHugh (L) and Ken Moriarity, the 12 restaurant teamSo Ken Moriarity, who had worked with famed restaurateur Victor Rossellini as a teenager and then later opened his own Classic Catering that had been forced to close during COVID, was the man McHugh wanted. McHugh had also worked with Rosellini early in his career.

Moriarity was hired near to the opening of the facility, a little ahead of when he was budgeted, McHugh said, “to avoid his being hired by one of the big food firms.”.

But Moriarity has an unusual added responsibility in that the Kraken Center has a second restaurant on the first floor, necessitated by an NHL rule that facilities owned by teams have breakfast and lunch available for players.

In addition, NHL food facilities must have a nutritionist. Thus the nutrition focus required for the player's restaurant, provided by a person under contract who works with the players on training as well as nutrition, benefits the offerings of the family restaurant on the second floor.

McHugh said he urged management to buy a pizza oven, which he described as “a good bang for the buck for parents and kids, providing for things like pizza parties.”

As I visited with McHugh and Moriarity at 32 as they prepared for the opening-night TV-viewing crowd for what turned out to be the victorious playoff opener in Denver, I suggested to Moriarity that the 300-person capacity of the place was going to be strained.

That will be increasingly true as fans headed for games at the Arena are discovering the best parking is at Northgate, where they can stop in at 32 before or after games that are a light rail trip to the Arena.

Plus, Moriarity noted that one of the ice rinks was going to serve as a skating-party facility where skaters could watch the playoff games at the same time as they skated.

And I kidded McHugh, actually semi-kidding, that the last missing factor in the 32 bar is the eye-catching wall-sized portrait of the McRory bar itself by the late renowned sports artist LeRoy Neiman.

McHugh relishes the retelling of the Neiman-painting story. The artist was being featured at a showing of artwork in Seattle and was brought to dinner at McRory's.

McHugh recalls Neiman's enthusiasm that evening, saying, "I've seen all the great bars and never seen a bar like this! How many bottles do you have?" "I told him we had maybe 800 bottles on the back bar and then asked him, 'Why not paint it for us?'"

"After some back and forth, he finally said it would cost $100,000, two first-class plane tickets from New York to Seattle and being put up at the Four Seasons, and he'd agree to do the sketch and painting the following St. Patrick's Day," McHugh recalls. "But after doing the bar, he hit an artist's wall about how to do all the bottles," he added.

While McHugh goes on in detail with enthusiasm about how the final addition of the bottles came about. The short of it is they arrived at Neiman's apartment in Manhattan with two gold bars worth $25,000 as the down payment on completion of the painting. Neiman still resisted because of his block over how to do the bottles until his wife suggested a collage of labels that McHugh would soak off the bottles and mail them back to Neiman. That's how the painting finally emerged.

As we talked on the phone this week, he said, “I’m looking at it right now on my condo wall. We’ll see.”

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'Declaration of Innocence' fitting closure from Judges for Justice for two men's end of 24 years in jail

A “Declaration of Innocence” document presented by the CEO and founder of Seattle-based Judges for Justice to two men at a dinner on the evening of their release from Ohio prisons was a fitting closure to their 24 years behind bars for a crime they had nothing to do with.

Michael Heavey, former Washington state legislator and retired King County superior court who created Judges for Justice (JFJ) a decade ago, presented the document, signed by him and three other retired judges to Karl Willis and Wayne Braddy Jr,

The two Toledo men, convicted in early 2000 of the 1998 murder of 13-year-old Maurice Purifie, ‘were grateful to have four judges proclaim them 100 percent innocent,” Heavey remarked following the dinner.

Karl Wilis (L), Mike Heavey, Wayne Braddy and Deborah Fleck in front of Ohio courthouseKarl Wilis (L), Mike Heavey, Wayne Braddy and Deborah Fleck in front of Ohio courthouseAs the two men emerged from court the morning the judge pronounced them free to go, they wore gray hoodies emblazoned with the initials O.I,P., standing for the Ohio Innocence Project, which had launched the effort to free the men, in cooperation with the retired judges group.

The O.I.P effort was spurred by former King County Judge Deborah Fleck and her son, Tyler Fleck, who is married to a cousin of Braddy. Fleck challenged the prosecutor by writing behind-the-scenes letters questioning the convictions while her son created a website, www.freewayneandkarl.com, and they helped turn the tide.
The final chapter came to be written when Ohio Innocence Project deputy director, Jennifer Bergeron, contacted local Toledo TV station WTOL 11 in 2019.  Brian Dugger, an award-winning investigative journalist, spent hundreds of hours investigating this case.   WTOL aired his broadcast, Guilty Without Proof,, in August of 2019 and aired an update in August of 2020, bringing public attention to these wrongful convictions.

For years, Lucas County prosecutor Julia Bates staunchly defended the aggravated-murder convictions. However, in open court on March 28, Bates supported Braddy and Willis being released, noting that the case had attracted the attention of "retired judges from far away from Ohio.”
Karl Wilis (L), Mike Heavey, Wayne Braddy and Deborah Fleck in front of Ohio courthouse

What Heavey refers to as “turning the court of public opinion” is the process by which Heavey approaches cases Judges for Justice has decided are instances of wrongful conviction.

Heavey’s premise has always been that “the vast majority of people are good, honest, and kind. And once educated, they will not tolerate an injustice in their midst. In the end, the good people of Ohio, friend-to-friend and neighbor-to-neighbor, saw the injustice and demanded it be rectified. The public swell to right the injustice motivated the prosecutor to do the right thing.”

Heavey’s organization’s effort to create public support for the wrongfully convicted is almost the reverse of what got those people to prison in the first place.

As he has explained it: “any shocking crime generates fear in the community. Fear generates pressure on law enforcement and that pressure leads to what we call a ‘wrongful conviction climate’ where pressure leads to tunnel vision and its perverse by-product: noble-cause corruption.”

The Ohio case is the second high-visibility victory for Judges for Justice this year.

The January exoneration and release from prison of Albert “Ian” Schweitzer, a native Hawaiian man, after he had served 21-plus years of a 130-year sentence for the 1991 kidnap, rape, and murder of 23-year-old Dana Ireland on the Big Island drew national attention.

Heavey noted that “our 14-part documentary, Murder in Hawaii, seen by thousands of Big Island residents, changed public opinion from ‘They are cold-blooded killers’ to ‘they are innocent men wrongfully convicted.’”

As part of the public pressure Heavey mounts, he noted that “at the end of episode 11 we give the names, addresses and phone numbers for the prosecutor, mayor and police chief. We then tell viewers if they believe the case should be reopened and the real killer be pursued, please contact these offices.”

“There were over 37,000 views of Episode 11 and if just one percent, 370 people, contacted them, they would have been inundated with calls and letters,” Heavey said with a chuckle.

But there was no reference during the dramatic final court proceeding in which Schweitzer was released, nor in the media coverage on national tv news or newspapers from Seattle to New York, of the part Judges for Justice played in turning public opinion in Hawaii in Schweitzer’s favor.

And that represents one of the key challenges for Heavey’s organization: It lacks sufficient visibility with much of the financial support coming from retired Washington State superior court judges.

In addition, former Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander has been supportive “with advice and dollars” and former Justice Richard Sanders has also been supportive, Heavey said.

He notes that Judge Jay White (ret.), a Kent resident and former King County Superior Court judge, “has been an unofficial co-CEO of JFJ for the past four years and is my right arm and backbone.”

Thus it may be appropriate to celebrate the 10th anniversary of JFJ as an occasion to launch a fund-raising effort on the group’s behalf. That’s likely to be quickly echoed by his close supporters and friends, like U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, a close friend since they were freshmen in the state house of representatives in 1987 and prominent investor John Rudolf, who has already expressed interest in such an effort.

Both are part of what Heavey refers to as his "bucket brigade" of donors.

A last case on JFJ's list, for now, is the case of Patty Rorrer, serving two life sentences in Pennsylvania for the 1994 murder of a woman and her infant that snagged worldwide attention during the search for the missing woman and baby.

More than 20 years after her conviction, JFJ is helping to build the case that she was innocent.

I have done several columns on Heavey and his organization in recent years and have been continually surprised by the fact that in an era where concern about injustice to minority-community members has soared, attention to Heavey’s organization has not.

I recently asked Heavey, 76 and a decorated Vietnam veteran, if there are other cases around the country of wrongful imprisonment that he could get involved in and he said: “there are dozens of requests from around the country” out of, he guessed, “thousands.”

“I’d love to have the funding for us to pursue 20 to 40 cases where we believe the person is innocent,’ he added.

The case that provided the launch for Judges for Justice was one with the highest possible visibility, the trial, conviction and imprisonment of his daughter’s high school friend, Amanda Knox. After Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were arrested in Italy in 2007 for the murder of her roommate, Heavey believed her innocent and got heavily involved in turning back Italian justice.

Heavey and others from more than 5,000 miles away in Seattle helped turn the tide of public opinion in favor of Knox and Sollecito.  Knox and Sollecito were finally freed in 2011 after serving four years in Italian prisons.
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Marking Women's History Month with a recollection of two women who had key roles in my history

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

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


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

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


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

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'


“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

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

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

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

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

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


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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