A meeting to discuss electric cars, technology and legislation.


President Sheri Hodson rang the bell flawlessly at precisely 1230 hours to start the first meeting of 2015 in proper form.  Fred Willis served wonderfully as invocateur, and Grant Blinn successfully led us in the pledge of allegiance to our nation's flag.  It should be further noted that the meeting was impeccably set up by many hands, under the superb direction of Sergeant at Arms David Cotant

Special guests

There were no visiting Rotarians.  Guests included Diane Formoso from Caring for Kids, Hazel Billingsley, today’s speaker Dick Muri, plus his legislative assistant Matt Helder, and Kevin Fries of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

Sunshine report

Happy to report that Alice Peeples can see again after eye surgery.  Key comment from Alice to the club members: So THAT's what you all look like!!  Thoughts and prayers for Sue Potter and family upon the loss of her father.  The service is January 15 at the University Place Presbyterian Church at 11 AM.

Upcoming events and/or commitments for our club

Diane Formoso asked that we attend the “Happy Hearts…Caring for Kids Dinner Auction, February 7, 5 PM at the McGavick Center.  Tickets are $35.  Get your tickets at or 253-279-9777.  She also encouraged us to buy McDonalds gift cards that are distributed to homeless families.

Marie Barth is hosting a Rotary Fireside at her house January 15 at 6 PM.  Please RSVP soon by email or phone.  Great time to bring a special someone as well.

Next Southgate Elementary School event is the annual Spaghetti Feed, meant to coincide with Literacy Night, AKA Read Across American, March 5.  Stay tuned, as there is more information to follow.  Last year it was a big push to feed all of the families who attended, and more are expected this time.  So the hands of Rotarians will be needed to help pull off this event. 

The next District Leadership Training Academy (DLTA) is March 28-29, to be held in Centralia (assuming the city is not under water).  This is an event especially designed for officers and board members to help you learn more about how Rotary "works".  Everyone is invited.  Since this one is close to home, perhaps this is the time for you to join with other Rotarians to learn more about what makes Rotary such a great organization, and how we can all contribute to that effort.

Bob Lawrence is the president of ArtsFest this year.  It will occur on May 2-3, at Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom.  The focus will be on youth art, military art, etc.  Makers’ Day will be a new feature, which is a challenge to students to solve a problem or accomplish a task in a finite time with limited equipment/resources.  The event will partner with Sister Cities again this year.

Heidi Wachter told us there is a "Listening Tour" event about a potential reduction of troops and supporting civilians at JBLM.  A reduction would have a negative economic effect on our area, and on military readiness, and so we need to have a show of force to let them know that our community actually is concerned.  The event will be Jan 21 10 AM – Noon.  McGavick Center (and not Jan. 15 as was stated at today's meeting).  An email with information will follow this.

RYLA is a most effective program targeting high school juniors.  It is a weekend-long program to be held this year at PLU, Feb. 26 to March 1.  We have not supported or participated in this event the last few years, but this year's budget has funds set aside to sponsor one student.  Lakewood Rotary normally targets Lakes HS, so perhaps we could find a student at Clover Park High School who is worthy of this professional development event (and resumé enhancer).  Sheri would like names of potential students.

President Sheri reported that our club has been determined by District 5020 leadership to be among the youngest average age clubs in the entire district.  Or at least that is true based on the information contained in our own Clubrunner statistics, which have some imaginative values for members' birth years.  Evidently the district honchos are fussy about this topic, and so members are invited to please communicate your correct birth date to Secretary Bonnie Boyle for adjustment. 

2 Truths And A Lie

Karen Fengler-Nichols asserted that she had: (1) spent time with her aunt in the Dominican Republic; (2) did some Seattle International Raceway drag racing when she was younger, in a '63 Corvette; and (3) climbed Mt. Hood.  Members seemed unconvinced about her assertion of having climbed Mount Hood, since it was offered without convincing detail.  And indeed, she did not climb Mt. Hood.  Remember that to win this game, the lies have to be believable, and the truths unbelievable.  Next week's contestant will be Jim Hairston.

Memorable fines and stories: 

Ed Trobaugh absented himself, which will assuredly be worth a story at some future date.  But he provided understudy Heidi Wachter with extensive notes. 

Sue Potter has taken a new position as Executive Director of the Fish Food Bank.  Helen McGovern-Pilant had suggested she apply and encouraged her in the process.  $50 was offered up to Paul Harris, and no notice was made of the attempt to rope Helen into the transaction. 

Fred & Ingrid Willis have been married 58 years!!

Heidi’s daughter Kate won the best Halloween costume at a Bar Association event, for which Heidi offered $20.  Naturally the unit of tender was in the form of an eponymous "Wachter".

Bob Lawrence spent 12 days in Palm Springs with family.  Using General Ed style math, Bob stated that this amounts to $75 which he donated to the Rotary Foundation.

Ellie & Chris Carr celebrated their 7-year wedding anniversary.  At the standard rate of $1 per year, Ellie rounded it up to $25

Randy Black confessed that the Lakewood Water Department sent out rate increase notices that had the rate right but the supporting table was an old one.  So he was happy to weasel out with a $5 confession. 

Today’s Speaker

Dick Muri is a retired Air Force officer, a former Pierce County Council member, and now a representative of the 28th Legislative District. And he is one of the few people (but growing) in Washington who drive an electric car. 


Electric car owners (and leasers) have the privilege of avoiding sales tax on the purchase or leasing of the vehicle, at least through June 30, 2015 when the current exemption expires.  The legislature is expected to renew that exemption for a few more years, but perhaps with an upper limit on the purchase price of the vehicle.  Someone who can afford to purchase a $93,000 sports car which happens to be electrically powered may not actually need state encouragement in the form of tax avoidance.

Electric cars are exceedingly cheap to drive, because the lost efficiencies in an internal combustion engine are not a factor.  And given the relatively cheap electricity prices in Washington, they are even more efficient and cheap to drive here.  Recharging can be done overnight on a 110 volt connection, and more quickly with special 220 volt service.  A few rapid charge DC stations are being established around the state which can fully recharge an EV in under 30 minutes.  Dick reports a reliable range of 100 miles on his Nissan Leaf, which is nearly always enough to get him through his daily commuting requirements. 

More motorists around the U.S. are embracing EVs, due in big part to the federal tax incentives and in some case state incentives. 


If you would like to know more about EVs, or if you have other legislative concerns, contact Rep. Muri at, or at (360) 786-7890.


Paul Webb has the magic ticket, but not the magic touch for ace-drawing.  So the pot grows.