A Nome club was the subject of a memo, written to RI's Charles M. Dyer by Emery F. Tobin, Secretary of the Ketchikan Rotary Club, on June
On July 3rd, a handwritten note was added to the page and initialed "RM."
wrote "lb" on August 11, 1941,
Another memo by this "lb," dated August 26, 1941, in connection with a visit by District Governor Dowrey to the Fairbanks club points to the fact that members were looking to initiate clubs in other Alaskan towns, with Nome as the prime candidate. However, the memo states
In 1945, Fairbanks Rotary Club President Frank Gray appointed a committee of C.J. Clasby, Al Polet and George Rayburn to
The Fairbanks club was only five years old at the time, having been sponsored by the Rotary Club of Juneau in 1940.
The following year, on August 22, 1946, Nome applied for its charter as a Provisional Rotary Club. A report from District Governor Roy J. Fletcher of Centralia, Washington indicated that Bud Harper, owner of Nome Motor Company, was prime mover, with Andy Anderson of Lomen Commercial Company acting Secretary. The two
According to the "Recommendation of District Governor," dated August 22, 1946, Nome Rotary
Fletcher wrote on August 24th that
In his report to Rotary International, Fletcher indicated that he had visited Nome personally.
The documents were signed and the $100 fee paid to Rotary International on August 29, 1946. In a letter of October 1st, Fairbanks club President Dan Lhamon quoted Bud Harper that
According to the application for membership, the population of Nome was 1,559.
On September 19th, Kamilla Buehler, Extension Service, USCNB (in the Rotary International Secretariat) telegraphed District Governor Fletcher that the application had hit a snag, as three of the prospective members were employed by the same firm. (Aside from that, Buehler wrote "congratulations fine application Nome.")
Provisional president Harper wrote Fletcher on September 26th to erase United States Smelting, Refining and Mining from the record of William Herbert Cameron. Buehler had suggested that Cameron might be listed as manager - U.S. Stores Department of the company
Cameroonians classification was switched to
The second USSR&M employee was Bob Long, a civil engineer and architect with the company. Long
President Harper wrote Fletcher, and Longs classification was officially listed as
Carl Glavinovich, Assistant Manager for USSR&M, retained the mining company classification. Provisional president Harper wrote
The classification problem may have delayed the granting of Nome's charter by as much as a month.
Governor Fletcher wrote Rotary Internationals Evanston, Illinois office on October 4th,
A memo typed in the top margin of another letter from Buehler, author unknown, says
Nome's application went before the Rotary International board on October 4, 1946.
On October 7, 1946, the board of directors of Rotary International voted to certify the application and accept Nome Rotary Club. The decision appears to have been unanimous. Meetings were set for noon Thursdays at the Nevada Grill Lounge, which was located on the north side of Front Street, a bit east of Lanes Way. Bud Harper, owner of Nome Motors, was first president; Christian A. Rouse, manager of mining equipment retailer Glenn Carrington Co. was vice president. Lomen Commercial Company office manager Carl Dewey Anderson was Secretary; and Kenneth McVeigh Rank, co-owner and manager of grocery store U. S. Mercantile was selected as Treasurer.
The other charter members were (bold indicates Director):
William Louis Angell
Superintendent, Nome High School
Wilfred Amede Boucher
Owner, Nome Nugget newspaper
William Herbert Cameron
General Merchandise - Wholesaling
Murlin W. Day
Pastor, Methodist Church
Carl Stephen Glavinovich
Assist. Mgr., U.S. Smelting, Refining & Mining
Boyd C. Harwood
Partner, Nome Drug Store
John D. Hudert
Superintendent, Alaska Road Commission
Robert E. Long Civil
John A. McNees
1st Assistant, U.S. Weather Bureau
Paul Arthur Mandeville
Owner, Modern Cleaners dry cleaning
Stanley R. Morgan
Officer in Charge, Alaska Communications System
Edward M. Seidenverg
Proprietor, Bon Marche retail clothing
V. G. Seiffert
Manager, Northern Commercial Company
James Bruce Tucker
Manager, Surgeon, Maynard-Columbus Hospital
Partner, Wallace Hotel
Oliver S. Weaver
President/Manager, Northern Light & Power
Richard B. Webb
Branch Manager, Wien Alaska Airlines
M. B. Young
Owner, Arctic Oil Delivery
The club charged an admission fee of $10.00, and annual membership dues of $15.00.
Formal engraved invitations were mailed, and the Nome Club's charter presentation ceremony was held in the Bering Sea Club at 7:30 PM on November 14, 1946. Guests included the Commanding Officer and Quartermaster of the Nome Army Garrison with their wives, the mayor of Nome and his wife, and Nome's professional and business elite and their spouses.
Fairbanks Club President Dan Lhamon, who was manager of the Northern Commercial Company Cat Department, served in the role of special representative to District 101 governor Fletcher, and was featured speaker. Lhamon's round trip fare from Fairbanks was
The program began with an invocation by Nome Rotarian Rev. Murlin Day.
President Harper accepted the club's charter, following a dinner of roast turkey with all the trimmings, including lettuce salad, ripe olives and "crisp celery," some accomplishment in the frontier Nome of the 1940's.
In his report to District Governor Fletcher, Lhamon wrote that
The club was only Alaska's 8th, and by far its most remote. To Ketchikan and Juneau, during the war years Rotary had grown into Fairbanks (1940), Anchorage, Sitka and Petersburg (1941) and Kodiak (1942).
On August 1, 1947, Nome received its first visit by a District Governor, Frank Doherty of Victoria, British Columbia. Doherty described the club as
According to Doherty's August 7, 1947 report to R.I. the Nome club in the previous year
wrote Governor Ed Warner in August 1948.
The Tacoma-based District Governor described
as the clubs most outstanding activity.
Warner wrote, though
Nome's Maynard Columbus Hospital, on the northwest corner of 2nd and West C Streets, burned to the ground on March 11, 1948.
In his report on August 10, 1948, Warner noted that after the structure burned,
This new hospital, Maynard MacDougall Memorial, served the town for almost thirty years. The Nome club was
but with only 12 attendees at the annual club assembly in 1949, according to the governor's report. Since the previous year, the club had been meeting Thursday noons at the Pioneer Grill.
asked the form.
answered Governor F. Jackson.
he wrote. The club, nonetheless, was
especially the Boy and Girl Scout troops, and there was some involvement with the Red Cross into the early 1950's.
Five years after it was founded, the Nome Rotary Club appears to have run out of steam.
In his report of August 21, 1952, Nome Rotary president Boyd Harwood wrote regarding club service
Regarding vocational service
1953-54 president Jim Walsh set an ambitious series of goals, to improve flagging attendance.
Walsh wrote, although
said Walsh, with Boy Scouts still the primary program. The club began looking into sponsoring a scholarship, and, said Walsh,
There were 12 members present for the club assembly on August 12, 1954. Governor George Maloney found the club
Rotary continued to be committed to Boy Scout Troop 666, it helped with Little League baseball and
according to president Ben Young.
In 1955, president Dewey Goodrich was urged by governor Ralph Bartholomew of Ketchikan to have every member contribute $1.00 to Rotary Foundation. Goodrich’s report to R.I. on August 27, 1956 noted that
said a report from the club to Rotary International. Nome Rotary planned to provide members
with lists of meeting dates and times for make-ups, and intended to start music concerts during the winter.
Meetings had been held Thursdays noon at the Bering Sea Club since 1950. The lounge was located in the Bering Sea Hotel at the foot of Bering Street. (The hotel burned to the ground in 1964).
In 1956, Rotary moved the meetings to noon Wednesdays.
In 1957, Rotary had
though attendance continued to be a weak point.
In 1957-58, president J. M. Kroninger said that in addition to sponsoring Boy Scouts, one of the Nome’s club’s objectives was to
The club was
reported District Governor Mentor M. Boney in 1958. President Jim Blanning was
In recounting the past year’s service, Blanning wrote that Rotary
In 1959, Nome was
wrote president Ashby E. "Ash" Craft, who was head of the Nome Weather Bureau office and Boy Scout Leader.
Secretary was Herb Jenks, State Commissioner, Judge, Justice of the Peace, and according to District Governor Tom R. Morgan of New Westminister, British Columbia,
Nome was in a contracted phase, 1,700 population, said Morgan,
27 members showed up for Morgan’s address on September 21st. Wrote Morgan,
Between 1958 and 1959, Nome Rotary lost 6 members and recruited 8 new ones, reported president Ash Craft.
The club remained Boy Scout and Explorer sponsor, continued to spearhead Nome’s annual spring cleanup, and sponsored the annual show in October 1959
There were 23 Nome Rotarians present when District Governor Herb Lohr of Everett, Washington (phone number ALpine 2-2576) met with the club in August 1960.
Lohr wrote in his memo of the official visit.
Lohr called president Bob Grant
ohr’s suggestions were
wrote Nome president Grant in 1960.
International service was
Grant wrote. Nonetheless, Rotary managed to underwrite a $500 scholarship to the University of Alaska, and, wrote Grant,
In July 1960, the club published
by typewriter, as
The 13 members with 100% July attendance were: George Bayer, Gordon Osborn, Larry Flannagan, Boyd (Curly) Harwood, Dusty Rhode, Herb (the Jailer) Jenks, Billy Cameron, Jack Reed, Don Hoover, Bill ( Harbor) Brown, Con Potter, Keith Hedreen, and Ben Young.
Visitors for July 1960 included Senator Bob Bartlett.
In this period, Rotarians were deeply involved in the revival of dog mushing in Nome. The Nome Dog Derby, which had begun as a 20-mile race in 1956, was a two-heat 50-miler by 1961. The route took mushers out of town on Bering Street, up the road between Anvil and Newton Peaks, along the Seward Peninsula Railroad on King Mountain, down to Dexter and Osborne, and across the Osborne Road, over to Dredge #5 and back into town.
In 1961, the Nome Dog Derby was organized by the Arctic Club, a local social group, with a lot of help from Rotary. The race’s top official was Nome Rotary charter member Carl Glavinovich, and the 28-page race program was assembled and printed by Rotarians Jim Blanning and Ash Craft. Among the 46 advertisers, Rotary was one of the five who sponsored full pages.
In 1961, for the tenth year in a row, Nome listed Kotzebue as a possible site for developing a new Rotary club.
Nome had 27 members and for a year, was conducting meetings at the North Star Bakery.
To boost membership, the club had initiated competition teams, and there was another effort to create a club bulletin. Acting president Roy Snyder ("on behalf of president Jenks who is hospitalized at the present time" in Seattle) wrote that once again,
The $500 scholarship program continued.
District Governor Ed Fletcher said he
A year later, the assessment was quite different.
said District Governor A. Holmes Johnson, visiting from Kodiak on November 5, 1962.
In the confidential memo of his official visit, Johnson expressed no faith in president Snyder or the club.
According to Johnson,
In 1962, Rotary began a 10-year stint at the Seaview Room in the North Star Hotel. At the time, the restaurant was Nome’s premier dining spot.
In 1976, the hotel was absorbed by mercantiler Alaska Commercial Company. AC linked the hotel to its existing building, and the former Seaview Room became the Front Street firm’s firearms/hardware department until 1995.
In 1963, the District found the Nome club still in decline.
Governor Russell J. Richards wrote in August 1963.
wrote district governor Winfield A. McLean on August 14, 1964, after a 2-1/2 hour assembly in Nome attended by only 6 of the club’s 16 members.
McLean ascribed the low attendance to high government and school turnover, busy summers, the shut down of mining, the recent deaths of two charter members,
McLean wrote to Rotary International that the Nome Club recognized
Conclusions as to general committee activity were "lousy." He suggested that the Nome group
Apparently, three ex-Rotarians wanted to return. Back from vacation, past president Jim Blanning was assigned the task of strengthening new member information as well as information for older members.
On April 2 and 3, 1965, Rotary packed the old Nome School Multipurpose Room on 3rd Avenue with "Showboat Time," an elaborate musical production written, choreographed and performed by Rotarians.
The minstrel show was a hit, though according to reviews, it was long on local humor and slightly less long on talent, a "turkey," said one Rotarian, "but fun."
Talent included Fred "Kewpie" Cavota singing "Nobody" backed by a chorus which included Jim "Buttercup" Blanning, Frank "Hootchy" Couch and Don "Hummingbird" Hoover. The show was such a success that Rotary produced several other original stage shows over the next few years. Hope for a club rebound continued.
On July 20, 1965, Governor John Morrison of Ladner, British Columbia labelled the Nome club as having
Nome Rotary President Frank Couch was expected to breathe hope into the club. Past president Jim Blanning was Secretary.
In 1966, Rotary offered its 2nd annual stage production, April 16 and 17. Like its predecessor, the western-themed "Wagon Wheels" was created entirely locally, and elaborately costumed by Rotary wives.
1967’s show was "Century Notes," a farce written about old Nome. Most of the action took place in the lobby of the Gutter Palace Hotel and the bar of the Sleazy Saloon. The show entertained Nomeites March 4 and 5.
And in 1968, Rotary went south of the border with its themed show, "Fiesta," on the Multipurpose Room stage March 8 and 9. During their annual visits in the mid-60’s, District Governors gave club leadership generally high marks.
Attendance remained marginal, especially during the summer, and club activity stayed low but always with hopes and promises for the future.
In 1968, Governor John Vandenzich called committee activity
In 1969, Governor Harold D. Stafford stated that
As far as anyone could remember, Nome had not sent a representative to a district assembly or conference. Rotary’s elected secretary resigned to join the Nome Lion’s Club, and Lou T. Cox took his place.
A major in the U.S. Army, Cox
Stafford wrote in 1969.
As for president Thor Weatherby, Jr. of the FAA, Stafford said he was
The $500 local scholarship continued, and Rotary was struggling to donate $400 to complete payment on a $2,500 operating table for the hospital.
Still, wrote Stafford,
wrote governor Floyd W. Hines of his visit to Nome July 15, 1970.
9 Rotarians were present for the two-hour assembly. The club was
"too busy doing nothing,"
"which is a common condition in an isolated arctic villa.
Generally doing nothing. No one attends district conference or convention. Government employees transfer every 2 years.
" Most members were past Presidents "who are loyal in their own way." "The club is following the same pattern as the town," Hines said. "Population receding, as well as the economy...the future is poor." A year later, District Governor Stan Smith termed Nome’s new President "a young keen Rotarian, a mining engineer at heart but now a retailer with music store...made President one week ago when elected President transferred. Most probably the best thing that could have happened to this club." The President was Leo B. Rasmussen. The club was so thin at this point that Rasmussen was the second president in a row who assumed the office with less than one year of membership under his belt. Even at that, Smith called Rasmussen one of only "one or two seasoned Rotarians." Rasmussen, incidentally, was thrust into the Presidency less than three weeks into the Rotary year, and only one week before the District Governor’s visit, when school administrator George White was transferred out of town. He was, wrote Smith "a mining engineer at heart but now a retailer with music store." In 1971, Rotary supported both Boy and Girl Scouts, and continued to do so for several years Governor John T. King called Nome "a fine club" in 1972. "Their long suit is community service." King said "attendance good for such remote area...community service, fellowship, willing workers," though there wasn’t much depth. The "club has only two or three seasoned Rotarians," King wrote. District governor E. L. "Andy" Andrews’ August 16, 1973 assembly was cancelled by bad weather. Nome’s runway was being rebuilt. Andrews was eventually shuttled to Nome by small plane, missing the scheduled assembly by two hours. "Unable to schedule another," he wrote. President Paul Sterling drove Andrews to meet Rotarians around town "at their place of business. Found good and interested Rotarians, solidly behind their quiet spoken president," wrote Andrews, in lieu of a formal meeting. Andrews judged that Sterling, who was the administrator for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was "well respected by all. Apparently determined to build up his club and have a good Rotary year." According to Andrews, Nome Rotary was publishing "a good monthly bulletin. Do not have cliques. Direct the Midnight Sun Festival and parade." Rotary’s attendance remained low because of the large number of community leaders who were periodically transferred out of town. In 1974, Rotary had 25 members. 8 were under 40 years of age; 9 were in their 40’s; 8 were 51 and older. Nome Rotary’s goal was, over a 4 to 5 year period, to raise funds for a swimming pool for the town, a project led by Rotarian Jesuit priest Rev. Jim Poole, S.J. Governor Amos J. Alter of Juneau said Nome was a "good club serving a vital purpose under great handicaps of very small community, inadequate meeting place...." "Vocational and International committees may need special help," Alter wrote. November 11, 1974, Nome suffered a disasterous Bering Sea storm surge. Among businesses flooded was the North Star Hotel. Flood waters filled the basement, and smashed through the Seaview Room’s picture window, virtually destroying the hotel’s first floor. Rotary moved its meetings to the Methodist Church for a few months, and shifted to the Fire Hall on Bering Street in early 1975. Most meetings were catered "under plastic" by Nome Business Ventures (Ernie and Betty Gustafson), and some were brown baggers. Though only 6 Rotarians had attended the annual assembly, Rotary District Governor Robert D. Ladd gave an address to 13 Rotarians "plus 14 Rotary-Anns" on August 25, 1976. Ladd reported to Rotary International that Nome enjoyed very quality membership, was heavily involved in the new swimming pool project, and with a quarter of the membership being past presidents, had a solid knowledge of Rotary. He considered GTE telephone manager Vaughn Munn, in his second year as President, "very effective and dedicated, and Stan Summers, the club Secretary, "fine citizen...good leader and do-er." In the minus column, Ladd noted that attendance, international service and membership development were lacking. And the club still lacked a newsletter. Wrote Ladd, "Vaughn has tried and surveyed Kotzebue - but not ready yet - too few classifications." By 1977, Nome Rotary Club had collected $50,000 toward a Nome swimming pool, according to a report by President John Poling. The club had 23 members. "We provided funds for a children’s softball team," Poling wrote, adding that the club continued a "substantial annual scholarship award." Nome sent "a large quantity" of schoolbooks from the local school to a school district in the Philippines. The club did not enjoy tax exempt status, and lost a substantial sum to federal income tax paid on interest on the pool seed money. In 1979, Nome Rotary president (school superintendent) Darroll Hargraves "indicates a strong sense of leadership," wrote Governor John Schaeffer. There were only 5 present for the club assembly on July 17th, but 22 Rotarians attended Schaeffer’s address to the club on the 18th. 1980 District Governor Ben Cashman called Nome "a weak club because of its distance from other clubs and the smallness of its membership. It is difficult to see how this club can grow very much....it would be hard to develop a really strong club in such an isolated area." There is little information available on the club for the following three years. In 1983, the club’s meetings moved to the Fort Davis Roadhouse, on the Nome side of the Beam Road, where they remained for five years, despite a few members’ objections to the restaurant’s remote location two miles east of town. Theoretically, the club had 27 members. Apparently few were active.
On July 1, 1984, Governor Robert .W. Graham wrote that Nome was "a small club in a wholly remote area composed of fine people who are totally isolated from R.I. and for whom paperwork is an anathema. They perceive little need for affiliation with R.I. and lead an independent frontier existence." Graham wrote that he "pleaded" with the Nome club to send someone to the district conference. However, he wrote "This club would probably function without R.I. There is a need for the club but they are most remote from R.I. or any perceived need for it. We may need an Alaskan district!" Robbie Fagerstrom was president 1984-85. Governor William R. Wood thought Fagerstrom was "a real ‘comer’ - genuine, perceptive, eager to revitalize Rotary." Wood spoke to an assembly of six Nome Rotarians plus three wives on September 10, 1985, calling Nome "probably the most isolated club in District #503." Rotary continued high school scholarships, and built one of the club’s most visible improvements to Nome, East End Park. Under the direction of Rotarian Larry Rose, Rotarians raised funds and tossed their backs into the labor, building a volleyball net, a shelter and picnic tables. For the next couple of years, the Nome Rotary Club held its own. Board meetings were infrequent and the membership remained small but steady. Only six members attended the 1987 Nome assembly. In 1988, according to district Governor Robert F. Brodie of Anchorage, Nome was "struggling, officially shows 14 members. Turnover of residents creates problem of sustaining members and officers." In order to obtain an Alaska games of chance and skill permit, an organization must have a minimum of 25 members. In an addendum to Rotary’s 1988 spring bingo application, President Wayne Carlson, MD listed 17 Rotarians and 12 wives. "Being new to the Rotary," Carlson wrote, "I was reminded that the ‘Rotary Ann’s’ (sic) (wives) or ‘Rotary Andy’s’ (sic) (husbands) are members of the club unless organized otherwise." Accordingly, Carlson’s tally put membership at 29 for the purposes of Alaska gaming. When Nome’s president-elect moved away from Nome, Vice President Dan Karmun was thrust into the presidency in 1988 and took charge of the rebuilding of the club. Nome Rotary was at low ebb, and it was up to Karmun and the handful of Rotarians to keep Nome’s Rotary Club alive. Karmun and the half-dozen active Rotarians succeeded in their rebuilding. Within two years, the club was the most active it had ever been. Earlier, Karmun’s spiritually-oriented nature had gradually earned him the unofficial title of club chaplain. Incidentally, Karmun was the only Rotarian worldwide with the classification "Reindeer Herding." In early 1988, meetings were moved to the Nugget Inn Lounge, located in the Nugget Inn hotel along the sewall at Bering Street. Members would gather meals at nextdoor Fat Freddie’s restaurant (for most, plates heaped with salad bar goodies), and carry them to a long table in the empty bar where the small meetings were conducted. Though she’d been a Rotarian for only 3 months, former teacher Sandra Medearis volunteered to be Secretary, and District Governor R. Brodie labelled Medearis a "key figure in organizing the club." According to the few long-time Rotarians who remained, the club almost folded during this period. There were far fewer active Rotarians than the 12 shown on the club roster, a very small dedicated core, and members were moving out of town at an alarming rate. The club began to grow by almost a member a month, as Rotarians did everything they could to bring in new blood. Four Rotarians who joined that summer served as President over the next seven years. Despite the low numbers, Rotary continued to generously support local charities, contributing a total of $250 a month to various Nome organizations. And in 1988, after 42 years, Nome lost its distinction of being Alaska’s only bush Rotary club, with the charter of the Barrow (Nuvuk) Rotary Club. 19 of Alaska’s 30 clubs were located in either southcentral Alaska or Fairbanks, with 9 clubs in southeast Alaska.
In 1989, governor Art Buswell of Fairbanks observed that Nome Rotary was "good. They are attracting new members. They are active in the community. They are imbued with a vision of the sponsorship of a Rotary Club in Provideniya..." In July, the Nome Cub Scouts had been the first ordinary American citizens allowed into the Soviet Far East, a pioneering trip of 32 adults and Scouts. That initial group included four Nome Rotarians, all future Nome Rotary Presidents: Sandra Medearis, Joe Davis, Tom Busch and then Cubmaster Glenn Martin. July 5, 1989 (Russian time), the four and a Fairbanks Scout official who was also a Rotarian held an informal makeup meeting in Provideniya, inside the Soviet Union. 1989 Nome Rotary President Stan Foulke was especially interested in furthering Alaskan/ Russian relations, and took a leading role in developing a club in Provideniya. That year, Rotary moved from the Nugget Inn Lounge to the Polar Cub Restaurant, just west of the Nome post office. Wednesday noons, Rotary occupied the west nook of the T-shaped sandwich shop. There just wasn’t enough room for the club, however, and in mid-1989, the club settled on Solid Green Bingo, the Board of Trade bingo parlor, with lunches catered by Solid Green on a steam table. Members complained that the room was uncomfortably large for the small group, and it was too boomy. Reverberation prevented members from hearing the podium from more than a few feet away. Attendance waned, and in 1990, the club switched to Milano’s Pizzaria in the "Old Federal Building." For a decade, two Nome Rotarians, both of them past Presidents, had been contributing to the Paul Harris Foundation. On February 14, 1989, Leo Rasmussen and Vaughn Munn were finally recognized as Nome Rotary Club’s first Paul Harris Fellows. In 1989, the club initiated an autumn membership drive, dividing into two groups and offering members points for each guest invited. At the end of the year, the group with the lowest score treated the winners to a banquet dinner. Held first in the elementary school commons and later at Nome Eskimo Community and in the XYZ center, the affairs evolved into a focal social point of the year. Rotary was "gaining back membership. New members are enthusiastic," said District Governor Buswell. In 1989 the club voted to make all Nome Rotarians sustaining members in the Paul Harris Foundation, assessing each member an extra $25 per year on top of the regular $75 annual membership fee. The board decided to match members’ contributions to the Foundation. Doing so, Nome Rotary became one of the first clubs with 100% Paul Harris participation. President Foulke and past Presidents Robbie Fagerstrom and Dan Karmun achieved Paul Harris Fellow status on November 21, 1989. With finances seemingly inexhaustible, Rotary contributed $1,000 to bestow Paul Harris Fellow status upon long-time former member Fr. Jim Poole, SJ, who was in town on a visit. The club matched another $2,000 for four Fellows who left Nome within the year, exhausting the only two sources for the foundation match: membership dues and meeting fines. As a result, the club did not have the resources to honor its matching commitment to its other two dozen members, or even pass these members’ actual contributions along to the Foundation. At the time, few were aware that the club had already spent all non-gaming funds on the big Paul Harris matches. In 1990, the club assumed responsibility for Nome’s longstanding Memorial Day "Polar Bear Swim" as a service to the community, providing certificates to swimmers and a large driftwood warm-up bonfire, at no charge. Elected president for 1990, Nome Nugget reporter Sandra Medearis became the first woman president throughout the entire Alaska/Yukon Territory/British Columbia Rotary district. Medearis also holds the distinction of being the first Nome Rotarian to attend a District Conference, held in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. "She runs a very good meeting," wrote Governor Bob Smith of Anchorage, who observed that the club "has been through many ups and downs but always seems to continue along." By October 1990, Nome Rotary had sent Rotary International charter papers for a new Provideniya club, and Governor Smith was hopeful that the Provideniya club President would be able to attend the District Rotary conference in Whitehorse the following May. International politics, however, blocked formation of the new club, not at the level of governments, but within Rotary itself, which had decided that all Russian club development would be channelled through clubs in Finland. Meanwhile, Nome Rotary was supporting all kinds of projects. The club resumed sponsoring the town’s spring cleanup and Boy Scout troop 98, which had just been revived by local parents.