FUN Stories
Hometown Heroes: Anacortes kids create weekly quarantine newspaper for their neighborhood
 
By Eric Johnson, KOMO News Anchor | Wednesday, May 27th 2020
 
ANACORTES, Wash. — A little more than 17,000 people live in beautiful Anacortes.
There's a neighborhood there and from above, it looks like a thousand other neighborhoods.
Houses and people and life. The Rutz kids look around from their front yard on 10th Street, wondering if there's anything special about their neighborhood. It sparked an idea.
"It started, I was just at home doing nothing in quarantine," Luke Rutz said.
Luke Rutz is 18. He has a little sister, Amelie (Molly), who is 11. And where Luke goes, Amelie is sure to follow. "Let's go see Joanne Dyer," Luke Rutz said. On this day they had an appointment two houses down. They were there to talk about Joanne's passion for puzzles.
"Um, what was your first puzzle?" Luke Rutz said. "Remember that?" Luke took some pictures.
"Thank you so much," he said. "Those are awesome." And the two of them are headed back home.
 
Their mom Janet looks at the world like this: "I think there's something special about knowing that everyone has something to offer and everyone has a story and everyone has something they can teach," Janet Rutz said. It's rubbed off. "So I was like, maybe I'll just try putting together like a little paper," Luke Rutz said. He started talking to neighbors and asking questions.
"I've actually learned so much about my neighbors this way," Luke Rutz said. "Like there's some people I've never talked to." For instance, he learned something interesting about a guy named Payton down the block. "I was a reporter for the Seattle Times or 41 years," Payton said.
Luke Rutz roped his brother Mathew into getting involved. Amelie didn't take much coaxing.
"I like to deliver them," she said. Luke Rutz learned to format on the computer and a weekly neighborhood newspaper came to life. He named it the "Quarantinial." And right under the name, he wrote, "Created during quarantine, born from boredom." Circulation for the inaugural edition was modest. "I think we only did 10 at the start," Luke Rutz said.
 
 
Luke Rutz learned to format on the computer and a weekly neighborhood newspaper came to life. He named it the "Quarantinial." And right under the name, he wrote, "Created during quarantine, born from boredom." Readers learned that Chris Parkinson was babysitting her grandkids more because of the coronavirus. Andrea, across the street, learned about Mr. D'amelio in the blue house on the corner. "He's been working for the census for over 20 years," Andrea said. "I did not know that." And the very next week everyone learned that Andrea hand-makes her own washcloths. In the April 26 edition, 7-year-old Audrey Miller told a funny story about her dog "Mable." There was breaking news about a water-balloon fight inked. The article said, "Prior snowball fights between inhabitants of the Miller and Salazar homes."This was the talk of the town: "Dog seen wandering down alleyway. Young child with red hair heard yelling, 'Go home, Garth!'" They constantly make fun of their dad in print, which may not be the best idea, because Dad is head of the printing department. "Every week we go in my dad's office where he prints em all," Luke Rutz said. "And we try to print three more than we need, because he said, 'if you're not growing, you're dying.'" Circulation is up 200% in four weeks. All the way up to 30. "He's a great kid and he's made something kind of tiny and kind of special," a neighbor said. Molly gets her list and she and her brother go door-to-door.
 
"Another edition," a neighbor said. "We look forward to it every Sunday."
 
"Really, everyone who gets it is always thrilled so it's nice," Luke Rutz said. "It's a good feeling." Piece it all together and you get a portrait over time; a snapshot of people getting by, finding joy where they can and of kids being kids. Turns out this place is special because it has Andrea the washcloth maker, Joanne the puzzle collector, Mr. D'amelio the census worker and Audrey's dog "Mable." It has water-balloon fights too. Evan plays music on his porch every night at 4 p.m. so come on by and say hello... And it has the "Quarantenial" newspaper, put together by the Rutz kids, who somehow, during strange times, knew all along exactly what their neighborhood needed.
 
 
A big "Thank you!" to all who helped pack and deliver meals at Food To Go this week! Fidalgo Island Rotary members were able to pack and delivery more than 140 meals this past Thursday to students in the district who could not get regular meals from the district's food service program. 
Food To Go is a local nonprofit started in 2015 that provide supplemental meals to students in need during evenings and weekends. During the pandemic, Food To Go will provide 130 supplemental meals in backpacks to children in the community each week. 
Previously, Fidalgo Island Rotary voted to provide monetary support to Food To Go to help support these meals during the emergency school closures in the form of $1,200 matching grant. Three other area clubs committee to do the same. 
Thanks to all who volunteered their time to do a little good in their neighborhood!
 
This month, the Fidalgo Island Rotary International Committee sent $2,300 to our sister club in Copán Ruinas, Honduras, to help provide COVID-19 relief. Due to a lockdown in Honduras, most banks, restaurants and businesses have completely closed. The area has imposed a strict "stay home" order, which keeps citizens indoors most of the day. People have been severely affected by job loss, due the the collapse in tourism and the severe shutdown measures in place in the town, as well as loss of income and access to savings. To help, the Rotary Club of Copán Ruinas developed a food bag for about $11 that should feed a family for about two weeks. Funds from FIR's International Committee helped purchase supplies and food for these bags. 
In response, the president of the Rotary Club of Copán Ruinas sent the below email: 
Dear Walt:
I am pleased to greet you. I wish you and your family are doing very good.
Through this letter, I want to express, in the name of my Rotarian colleagues and myself our most sincere gratitude for the support you recently provided. Especially because this situation has generated an economic paralysis in our communities. 
You may rest assured that these resources will be distributed as food to the most vulnerable communities of our towns. We will keep you informed of the distribution.
Once again Please receive our gratitude, in the name of the people in the communities, my colleagues, and myself. 
 
Sincerely ,
Mayra Arias de Welchez
President
Rotary Club
Copán  Ruinas, Copán
 
At the end of March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was already well-known in the United States. Many states and regions were locked down, with large outbreaks of cases in major cities. Even those areas and hospitals with the most advanced technologies were finding it difficult to keep up with the demand for treatments and testing. As Fidalgo Island Rotarians watched as local medical professionals begin to grapple with the pandemic, our thoughts turned to sister cities, such as Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where we knew a lack of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies could greatly hinder the emergency responses to the COVID-19 outbreak in that area, and have dire consequences for the population there. 
This month, the Fidalgo Island Rotary international committee worked with other Rotary clubs and donors to pay to reroute a shipping container full of supplies (including masks, antiseptics, cotton-tipped swaps, oxygen tubing and more) from a warehouse in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Ouagadougou. The container was originally bound for maternity clinics in the southwest of the country, but seeing a great need, FIR authorized Ouagadougou to use the PPE and other supplies to help with COVID-19 relief efforts. In the above photo, the president of the Rotary Club of Ouagadougou poses with medical supplies while unloading the container.
Click to see more photos of the transport being unloaded and a donation ceremony, and read a message from the Rotary Club in Ouagadougou. 
 
 
The Fidalgo Island Rotary board voted over email/telephone this week to provide a grant to Food To Go, a local nonprofit that provides meals for children. During the pandemic, Food To Go will provide 130 supplemental meals in backpacks to children in the community each week. Four clubs in the region, including ours, will pay a total of $5,000 to support this program during the COVID-19 pandemic, with each club paying $1,250. This is a matching grant, so our donation of $1,250 will be matched, making FIR's total donation $2,500. 
Food To Go Anacortes is a weekend backpack food program for Anacortes students that launched in September of the 2015/16 school year. It's goal is to provide healthy and nutritious supplemental weekend meals for those children in our community that don’t have enough to eat over the weekend in order to improve their health and their ability to learn. To learn more, click here.
 
During this time, Food To Go is also seeking volunteers. For questions about the program or to volunteer, contact Bill French. 

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Fidalgo Island

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Speakers
Stephanie Hamilton - Anacortes Chamber Director
Jun 09, 2020 7:00 AM
Anacortes Chamber of Commerce activities
Steve Hoglund - Finance Director: Anacortes City
Jun 16, 2020 7:00 AM
Financial Status Resulting from COVID 19
John Dumas or Dan Worra - Port of Anacortes
Jun 23, 2020 7:00 AM
Status of the Port of Anacortes
Kimberlee Anderson - Samish Tribal Administrator
Jul 07, 2020 7:00 AM
Childhood Early Learning Programs
Club Assembly
Jul 21, 2020
Club Assembly
Oct 13, 2020
Carol Tichelman
Oct 20, 2020
District Governor visit
Jan Vigre or Speaker to be Announced
Nov 03, 2020 7:00 AM
Foundation Program Presentation