Club Information
Welcome to Boise Rotary
Service Above Self
We meet Thursdays at 12:00 PM
Historic Hoff Building, Crystal Ballroom
802 W Bannock St.
Boise, ID  83702
United States
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  Cheryl Godbout:  Editor
  Todd Fischer:  Photography

Mary Monroe played the piano
Dwight Pond gave the invocation.
Past President Ron Gambassi filled in for President Dirk Manley.
Ken Howell introduced the visitors:
Laura Mulkey, who is apply for membership.
Bill Von Tagen introduced his son Will, who was a Rotary exchange student. A cautionary tale: he studied in Germany and has been living there for two years working on his latest film.
Bruce Mills, a potential member.
David Riffe introduced Travis Brown, who moved to Boise a few years ago. He is looking for work in operations. He is married, with three young kids, lives in Star/Eagle, and moved from Richfield, Utah. In 1986, he was an interpreter in Czech at the summer Olympics in Atlanta.
He also introduced Rosie Bleymeier, a realtor with Keller Williams. She recently moved back from Tennessee to Eagle.
Dwight Pond introduced Jim Ignize, who spent most of his life in California. He is leaving the insurance industry, fell in love with Boise, and wants to invent Jim 2.0 here.
Visiting Rotarian Keevan Henry from Richmond, Washington.
Visiting Rotarians Amy Bird, Lisa Beary, and Scott Caufield, from Boise Southwest.
Three things:
11/11/1918 at 11:00 a.m. a temporary peace was signed to end World War I.
11/11/1938, Armistice Day became a holiday.
11/11/1954, it was changed to Memorial Day.
Ron had each member who is a veteran stand and say what branch they served in.
Rake Up Boise was this Saturday! Seven small yards to rake and an afterparty at Bill Von Tagen’s. Broght rakes, eye protection, and power blowers.
Dictionary hand out was  Friday at Jefferson Elementary, 2:30 p.m., on Latah. For many of the kids, this will be the first book they’ve ever owned.
Social event – cider and beer tasting at Donna Jacobs’, Wednesday 11/14. Bring beer or cider to share, and your significant other and potential members.
Phil Brubaker put out thank you notes from dictionary recipients.
Red Badgers:
Rourke O’Brien– visited his old club last Friday. After 27 years, he’s a visiting Rotarian! Moved to Boise three months ago from Seattle. Two sons ages 20 and 23.
Katie Marconi – works for St. Luke’s. Married with two young kids
Rob McQuade– married with two young kids. The youngest at six months has started sleeping through the night.
Mannie Liu - new to Boise from China and enjoying the Rotary club and the Rotarians with big hearts.
Happy dollars:
Bill Von Tagen – happy because there is a fundraiser at the Historical Society Saturday night at the new museum.
Gary Mahn – happy his daughter Beth won her election for Ada County Treasurer. She is a red badger in the club and she is busy issuing the tax bills (Booo!).
Mason Fuller – happy to be going on a pheasant hunt in Mitchell, South Dakota.
Beth Markley – last weekend was the annual weekend in Buhl interviewing outbound exchange students. Selecting candidates involves about 500 volunteer hours from Rotarians.
Song: Phil Brubaker led us in singing two verses of “This is My Country,” with Mary Monroe at the piano.
Vern Gentry introduced the speaker, Mia Russell. She grew up in Boise, graduated from Eagle High, and went to Socca University in California. She studied abroad in Japan. Three years ago she became the executive director of the Friends of Minidoka – the Japanese internment camp near Jerome.
Mia Russell:
Minidoka was one of ten relocation camps during the war. The Japanese first came to the U.S. in around 1900, many to Hawaii and the Pacific Coast – 90% were along the coast. They became strong competitors in the agriculture industry.
The causes of the internment were racism, war hysteria, and failure of political leadership, all identified in a Congressional report in 1982.
Racism against the Japanese was rampant leading up to the War. In fact, the U.S. did not allow citizenship to Asians until 1953, which prohibited them from owning land. All Japanese living in the U.S. were required to register as aliens.
War hysteria: After Pearl Harbor, the FBI arrests Issei (a community leader) and imposed curfews on all Japanese. Finally, executive order 9066 was signed, and shortly thereafter both aliens and citizens of Japanese descent were required to show up at camps within one week. They were forcibly removed from their homes and each was assigned a tag to attach to their clothing.
The people who ended up in Idaho were sent from Washington, Oregon, and some from Alaska. They had been detained in local fairgrounds for up to six months, and then were brought to Idaho.
Minidoka house about 14,000, with 9500 at peak population, operating from 1942 to 1945. It was a 1 mile by 3 mile property, surrounded by fences and eight guard towers. People lived in barracks that provided little shelter as they were not weather tight. Their only contact to the outside world was mail order catalogues. It was -20 degrees in the first winter, and the coal shipment was late.
Younger residents had a lot of fun, but saw a lot of breakdown in family structure. Life continued, so people had marriages, births, and deaths. They eventually put together schools in the barracks, though they had no supplies.
Residents were able to get work assignments outside of camp. The local farmers relied on the prison population to bring in the harvest. Many of the residents also joined the U.S. military while they were in the camp. They were classified as 4C enemy aliens, and stripped of their service. Later, they were put in the 442nd combat team, a segregated unit, which became one of the most decorated units in history. They fought all over the world. The 442 was the Purple Heart Battalion, because they had so many war wounded.
When the camps closed, people were given a one-way train ticket and $25. Many folks returned to the pacific coast, but residents often did not welcome them back and they faced continued discrimination. Veterans received land and homes under the Homestead Act.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act. Reagan and subsequent Presidents signed apology letters and paid redress to those who were incarcerated. However, recipients say the apology letter was much more important than the redress.
The Friends of Minidoka is working on getting more education into classrooms and onto PBS, so that more people are aware of the Japanese Internment. They also have done and continue to do restoration on the site.
For questions, contact Mia Russell at (208) 863-0076 or All are invited next summer to the ribbon cutting on the new visitor’s center.
Only a few families stayed in Idaho following the internment – most moved back to the coast, or to the Midwest.
Bill Von Tagen talked about a friend who participated in siting the internment camps. The friend said the tunnels in the Sierra Nevada was a primary reason for the internment. The government was concerned that if a saboteur bombed one of the tunnels, it would have cut off the defense contractors from the war effort. Having known his friend, he concludes that the internment was wrong, but it was rationally based.
Mia agreed that the internment was rationally based – the biggest cause was the failure of political leadership. The intelligence was clear that there was no risk or danger requiring the internment. In fact, not a single person was tried or convicted for espionage during the war.
Minidoka is a fee-free park and is open every day. It has a 1.5-mile trail with 22 interpretive sites. The temporary visitors center is not open until spring. If you call Mia ahead of time, she can do a private tour. Next spring, when the visitor center opens, there will be many more services.
Thank you to Scott Learned for taking the notes this week!
Russell Hampton
National Awards Services Inc.