US Navy Captain and the USS Port Royal

Captain Nick Richards, USN, Ret. spoke at La Grande Rotary this last Tuesday. His presentation focused on the USS Port Royal, the cruiser he commanded for four years. He demonstrated how the antimissile systems operated by sending a “bird” out every two seconds to intercept incoming missiles. These ships constantly patrol the seas and provide the United States with an umbrella of protection for the rest of the fleet. Captain Richards attended the recent decommissioning of the ship in Hawaii and reported that thus far, she has not been replaced.

Special Olympics Picnic

Last Tuesday, La Grande Rotarians invited Special Olympics participants to an evening of food and fun. A dozen Rotarians served at the Riverside Park picnic. The photo above highlights Dave Koza and Jeff Crews’ antics in preparation. Grilled burgers and dogs and all the trimmings started the evening as honored guests munched down watermelon and cookies for desert. Capping the evening, a favored pastime, Bingo, won prizes for the guests. Each year, La Grande Rotarians hold the feast as a celebration of the accomplishments of Special Olympians and to mark the close of summer.

Watershed Enhancements in Region

This week at the La Grande Rotary, Alan Childs, of the CTUIR Fisheries, gave a presentation about the history of the Columbia River drainage system how humans have altered the fish productivity with removal of beavers, use of logging dams, canneries, channelization of rivers, and construction of dams. To mitigate these problems, the US Congress passed laws to improve lost habitat and put some species of fish on the endangered or threatened list.

Locally, the State, Bonneville Power Authority, tribes, and agricultural groups have been working together through the Grande Ronde Model Watershed to meet all needs of the river system. Project Manager, Alan, and the tribes are working on initiatives that restore habitats, increase wetlands, and enhance fish passage. Recent restoration work on the upper Grande Ronde near the gun club has improved river conditions by increasing pool habitat in the area by 300%, increasing water storage and lifting water tables, decreasing the water temperatures, and improving riparian vegetation and tree growth as water floods the original flood plain.

For more information about the work of the CTUIR and  fisheries see:

La Grande Projects!

This last Tuesday, La Grande City Manager, Robert Strope, presented a list of potential improvement projects being considered by the City Council. The $3M funds for these improvements would come from the federal  American Rescue Plan Act. The list was brainstormed by city departments and included road improvements, utilities extensions for new housing developments, a fire engine, land acquisition for a new police department complex, and a recreation center. Robert gave a brief presentation of each need including pictures of several city streets that need repair. After considering the list, Robert invited the Club to rank-order the items.  Robert displayed what the council had prioritized as a comparison.  Road improvements were high on the list as were additions to utilities for a new housing development. Click on the link to see the list

Daddy Daughter Dance! What a hoot!

Happy faces abounded at the 7th Annual Daddy Daughter Dance May 7th.  Dads, grandads, uncles, and others escorted their fancifully dressed dates to rock to the tunes of DJ Curran Holden. The fun time featured a food buffet including non-stop Dominos pizza, finger foods, and a chocolate fountain. Faces were painted with flowers and butterflies and formal portraits were taken to commemorate the event. Heather and Jessy Watson led the La Grande Rotarians in organizing the dance. Support from sponsors helped offset costs and ticket sales were used to sponsor local high school scholarships; the community literacy project, READ TOGETHER!;  and support for rural young women of poverty to attend high school in El Salvador.

Interview with a Ukrainian Mom.

Brent Clapp of EO Alive TV showed an interview with Zee Gimon this last Tuesday at La Grande Rotary. Zee reported conditions on the ground from Kyiv, Ukraine. A mother of two, she explained how they lived a typical day in the county’s capital sheltering in the basement of a church and moving to an interior hallway when they hear air raid sirens. Her husband is helping defend the city. She only has seen him for a few minutes in the last two weeks of the war. After the interview, the Club heard news that she and her children have escaped to Poland. Her desire was that we pray for peace and for the safety of the people of Ukraine. See the interview at:

Daddy-Daughter Dance

Save the date!  Two opportunities

for the 2022 La Grande Rotary

Daddy-Daughter Dance:

                      May 7

    1:00 – 3:00  or,  6:00 – 9:00

      Union County Fairgrounds

More information to follow. Watch

Facebook or contact Heather Watson

To see how you can sponsor or help

with this year’s event.

Professor Speaks on Ukraine

Phillip Travis, Ph.D., History, Washington State University zoomed into Rotary this last week with a presentation on the Ukraine crisis. Dr. Travis joined the EOU history department in 2014 as a visiting assistant professor and is currently an adjunct instructor. His research and teaching interests include the United States and the world, international relations, transnationals, politics, propaganda, diplomacy, military history, and the study of empire in U.S. and world history. He gave La Grande Rotarians an overview of the historical background of the conflict and highlighted the complexity of the geo-political issues.



Here is a draft of a video we hope to have for each age range, 1-6.


This month the La Grande Rotary Club launches a community literacy program aimed at encouraging families to Read Together! Airing at the Granada Theater on all three screens, previews will invite parents and children to redeem their admission ticket for a free book at Cook Memorial Library. Inside each book are video links to instructions on how to read with different age ranges of children. The program is sponsored by Windscapes Marketing and the Granada Theater, Mountain Valleys Reading Council, the Cook Memorial Library, and La Grande Rotary.

911 at the Pentagon

Christy Wheeler, retired Navy Commander, spoke at noon Rotary this past week. She gave a detailed perspective of what her experiences were on 9/11 at the Pentagon. While the loss of life that day of 125 Department of Defense employees was high, the toll could have been much higher considering 10,000 people who work at the building. The sector that was hit was undergoing renovations so was lightly occupied. Further, the building was so solidly constructed that the plane only penetrated the bottom two floors. Individuals on the top two floors escaped before the building collapsed.  Although Christy was uninjured on that day, she still feels the impact of that plane and the tragedy of that day.