While the finemaster is away, the mice will play. Oh, and we learned about the County Council.
Notes from the Feb. 24 meeting of
The Rotary Club of Clover Park
 
20 Rotarians were joined by guest speaker Jani Hitchen, the Pierce Co. council’s District 6 representative.  Jeannie Hill led us in the invocation as well as the 4-Way Test, and Randy Black led the flag salute.  The Rotarians in attendance are all to be commended for doing a much better job at muting their microphones when not talking.
 
Future Programs
March 3           Greg Horn, District Governor Visit
March 10         Daniel Wirth, ED of S. Puget Sound Red Cross
March 17         Melody Meyer, Pierce Co. Noxious Weed Control Board
 
Sunshine Report
Jeannie Hill noted that she had heard from Ramona Hinton, who was calling from her bi-weekly chemotherapy appointment.  Ramona continues to do well with that therapy.  Ramona noted that she had checked in recently with Fred and Ingrid Willis, in the wake of Fred’s stroke last week.  A CT scan showed up as normal, meaning no detectable damage, but Fred is still struggling to find his words sometimes (aphasia).  Their family members are nearby, and coordinating care and shopping.
 
Fun And Fines
Ed Trobaugh was out, since his wife Pam had recently had minor surgery and needed to go in to get her stiches out.  So President Teresa Nye led the way by confessing that her son Patrick had picked up another college acceptance, this time from Saint Leo’s in Florida, a Division 2 lacrosse team.  There is also potential for an ROTC scholarship.  So Patrick will have some deciding to do among the several east coast schools where he has acceptances. 
 
No one else had done anything worthy of confessing about, and so we moved promptly to…
 
This Week’s Program
Jani Hitchen is the new representative for District 6 on the Pierce County Council, filling the seat vacated by the recently retired Doug Richardson.  She comes from a long background as a science teacher in middle and high schools, most recently at Graham Kapowsin High School.  She also has political experience as a Precinct Committee Officer, and a negotiator for her teachers’ union. 
 
Hitchen mentioned several priorities garnering her attention, including the county-wide housing shortage and the homelessness problem.  She noted that the two are related, but that homelessness is not strictly a supply issue.  She is hoping that County agencies can work on preventing homelessness, to avoid having to grapple with the actual homelessness problems.
 
Youth is a priority, including support for brand new parents with kids aged 0-5.  Studies show that helping at that age can dramatically improve performance later in school.
 
Hitchen noted that she came to the County Council after seeing all of the things that the County was not doing for Parkland area residents, where she makes her home.  And she has had a difficult learning curve, realizing how hard it is to get a bureaucracy to take actions. 
 
During Q&A, there was a discussion of Parkland and Spanaway perhaps eventually incorporating as cities.  Hitchen noted that those areas do not have the same types of infrastructures already in place that Lakewood had when it incorporated in 1996.  And they do not have the same tax base to support it.
 
The Council is doing a performance audit on all of the various homelessness services available, trying to find the gaps in coverage.  The Tacoma Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) has been spending a LOT of money on free testing for Covid.  The County will continue to support the TPCHD, but there are questions about what happens when the federal money dries up.  Some County functions actually saw a drop in expenditures due to Covid, and now the budget folks are going to have to grapple with whether those functions will bounce back.  Some budget amendments are going to be forthcoming.
 
When asked about giving up teaching to take this job on the County Council, Hitchen admitted that she does miss being in the classroom with students.  She hopes to get back there someday.  In the meantime, she is hopeful of finding something to do in terms of tutoring or mentoring, perhaps with a Boys and Girls Club.  Kerri Pedrick spoke up and said that her organization, Communities In Schools, is always looking for mentors and job-shadowing opportunities.  Rotarians who are interested can contact her at kerri@lakewoodcis.org.
 
And Hitchen welcomes citizen’s input.  Her email is jani.hitchen@piercecountywa.gov.
 
And Finally…
In honor of our guest speaker’s teaching credentials, here are some all-time great test question answers.