News Council Praised at World’s Largest Rotary Club

Paul Ishii

Paul Ishii - President of Seattle Rotary

The Washington News Council received two strong   “testimonials” about our work during Rotary Club of Seattle meetings in recent weeks – one from Rotary President Paul Ishii and the other from former Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Bob Herbold.

On Oct. 3, Rotary President Paul Ishii told the 500+ club members that he had been the subject of an inaccurate story in The Seattle Times alleging that an employee of the Mayflower Park Hotel, where Ishii is general manager, would not be covered for lost wages while recuperating from a gunshot wound received when he helped stop an armed robber.

That was untrue: Paul will cover employee Roberto Sandoval’s wages and benefits while he is unable to work. Paul had called the reporter and the online version was corrected and the paper also printed a correction on Page A2 in the Sunday paper. However, The Times the day before had published an editorial based on the inaccurate news story that repeated the erroneous information and urged donations to a fund to pay for Sandoval’s lost wages. The editorial remains uncorrected online at the time of this writing — although The Times did print a correction on the editorial page three days later.

“It’s pretty scary to be labeled guilty in the newspaper. I felt like a shmuck,” Paul told the 500 Rotarians gathered for their weekly lunch meeting. He said he was deluged by angry emails and phone calls based on the incorrect story and editorial. Uncertain how to proceed, Paul said: “I called John Hamer of the Washington News Council at home really early on a Saturday morning and he walked me through step-by-step on what I should do.”

Paul followed my recommendations, and The Times made the corrections, which appeared within a few days, in both the news and editorial sections. Paul thanked me and the WNC for our help – and also thanked The Times for setting the record straight.

Bob Herbold

Bob Herbold - Retired executive vice president and chief operating officer of Microsoft

A week later, on Oct. 10, former Microsoft executive Bob Herbold was the featured speaker at Seattle Rotary. Here is part of what he said:

“The news media are a significant part of the problem that democracies are having in making tough decisions. Specifically, any time a politician suggests a change to just about anything, the media will find someone disadvantaged by that change and will showcase that ‘victim.’ That kind of sensationalism is what attracts an audience, be it readers or viewers. Given that virtually all politicians have as their first priority getting re-elected, they back off and shy away from change in the future.”

In the Q-and-A session, I asked Bob this question:

“Bob, you cited the media as being part of the problem. But under the First Amendment, we can’t have any government control or regulation or censorship of the media, and we don’t want that. What two or three things would you suggest that might help address your concerns about the media?”

HERBOLD: “It’s a big challenge, especially with all the media on the Internet and in the blogosphere. People can say anything they want to. There is some good information on the Internet, but a lot of it is just bias, inaccuracies, and slanted opinion.

I honestly don’t know what to suggest. It’s a real challenge. It is getting increasingly difficult for leadership to exist in a democracy, particularly the kind of very courageous leadership required to clean up the huge financial messes that so many democracies find themselves in.

“You’re going to be in business for a long time, John. The Washington News Council gets involved in cases of bad or inaccurate stories, and tries to help people who have been damaged by the media. That’s how John makes his living. And it’s an important job.”

The Washington News Council would like to thank Paul and Bob for their comments — which were completely unsolicited and a nice surprise!

NOTE: Both Herbold and Ishii have donated to the News Council in the past and have also attended some of our events.

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News Council Wins New Grants from Gates Foundation and Microsoft

The Washington News Council has just been awarded two new grants to sustain our operations in 2012:

  • A $100,000 matching grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This is the third year of a Gates challenge grant, which the WNC matched by raising more than $100,000 from other sources in 2011.
  • A $10,000 community activities grant from Microsoft. The company has donated that amount to the WNC nearly every year since we were founded in 1998.

A big THANK YOU to both the Gates Foundation and Microsoft for their continued generous support of the Washington News Council for the past 14 years. They clearly believe in our vital mission as an independent forum for media ethics. We are not only grateful, but excited to continue our important programs throughout 2012.

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13th Annual Gridiron Dinner a smashing success!

Patti Payne gives Dale a personal serenade in front of the crowd. (Click the image to view the Team Photogenic photo album)

Watch it on the Seattle Channel

Visit the photo album from Team Photogenic

The Washington News Council’s “Toast and Roast” of Dale Chihuly at our 13th Annual Gridiron West Dinner on December 15 at Fremont Studios was a smashing success.

About 400 people enjoyed a raucous and rollicking evening of comedy, songs, videos, slideshows and affectionate “toasts” of Dale by a distinguished array of “toasters.”

Guests gathered at a reception in Studio B, where a special “Chihulyni” cocktail was served, along with other adult beverages and tasty hors-d’oeuvres. Then they moved into Studio A where the Cyclorama wall displayed scenes of Chihuly’s many outdoor exhibits around the world.

The Nowhere Men, Seattle’s favorite Beatles cover band, played tunes by the Fab Four as people found their tables. The band also played throughout the evening, singing several parody versions of Beatles songs written for the occasion.

Dinner, catered by Kaspar’s Special Events & Catering began with a stacked vegetable salad followed by an entrée of roasted turkey with apple dressing. Dessert was a gingerbread spice cake. “Chihuly Label” wines from Dunham Cellars in Walla Walla were served at every table, thanks to Mike Dunham and Ron Sevart of the Space Needle Corporation.

Every guest also received a coffee tumbler with the Washington News Council logo on one side and the “TAO of Journalism – Transparent, Accountable, Open” logo on the other side. The tumblers were provided by the WNC Board.

Mike Egan, who has Emceed the Gridiron Dinners for more than 10 years, welcomed the crowd and introduced Father Stephen Sundborg, president of Seattle University, to deliver the invocation.

Sue Nixon, talented jazz singer and Seattle Rotarian, opened the evening with a moving rendition of “America the Beautiful,” followed by a parody version of “Yesterday” that ended with “We believe in Chihuly.”

Glass centerpieces on each table were made by students at Tacoma’s Hilltop Artists program, which Dale started in 1994. The centerpieces were underwritten by a generous donation from Jeff and Susan Brotman. A video was shown explaining how the program helps at-risk kids in Tacoma. Greg Piercy and Travis Johnson of Hilltop then talked about what the program has meant to them.

Suzie Burke, WNC Chair, and I, WNC President and Executive Director, also welcomed the crowd and thanked table sponsors. “Mille Fiori” sponsors (at the $10,000 level) included Boeing, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft, Premera, and Susan Hutchison/Charles Simonyi Fund. Sponsors at the “Macchia” ($7,500) level included Chihuly Studio and the Space Needle Corporation. At the “Venetian” ($5,000) level: Fremont Dock Company, Lynden Inc., Pemco and U-Park Systems. Plus more than a dozen table sponsors at the “Seaform” ($3,000) level.

Suzie and I also thanked a wide range of people who helped make the event possible with generous in-kind or other donations. I noted the event would not have been possible without the help of Kathy Schrier, my executive assistant, and Monica Tracey, our event planner. I also thanked Christine Kehoe, Janet Makela, Billy O’Neill and Michael Tobiason of Chihuly Studio for all their help arranging the event, along with Dale and Leslie.

Mike Egan did his traditional Gridiron Slideshow, starting with shots of his own two children followed by Chihuly baby pictures. He went through a series of early Chihuly photos with gonzo verbal captions, followed by a “Chihuly…or Not Chihuly?” segment that showed real Chihuly works and then photos of a giant lava lamp and a portrait of dogs playing poker.

An informative video of Dale’s history was shown, done by Mark McDonnell and Peter West of Chihuly Studio.

“Toasters” took the stage in pairs, led by Jeff & Susan Brotman, who were dressed in bright “Chihuly Colors.” Jeff went to high-school and college with Dale, and told stories of wild times in the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity house, which he said sometimes resembled “Animal House.” He gave Dale a multi-colored neon scarf that Dale wore the rest of the night.

Sally Bagshaw and Tom Skerritt presented contrasting stories. Bagshaw described how the “Seattle Process” had handled Chihuly’s proposal to build a “Garden and Glass” exhibit at Seattle Center. Skerritt described how he and Dale went to the movies together and ended up with melting handfuls of Milk Duds, which Dale blew like glass. (Dale said later that Skerritt made it all up.)

Allen Shoup, founder of Chateau Ste. Michelle, wore a “Team Chihuly” hat during his remarks. Jim Bianco, president of Cell Therapeutics, wore a vibrantly colored T-shirt under his jacket.

Mimi Gates, former director of the Seattle Art Museum, said: “People throng to museums to see Dale Chihuly glass, filled with joy and awe.” She added: “Your artistic creativity is marvelous and adds immensely to the prestige of the Pacific Northwest.”

Patti Payne, a longtime friend of Dale and Leslie’s, paid tribute to them in a song: “The Way You Look Tonight.” Using a handheld microphone, she walked down to their front-row table and sang directly to Dale, who stood up for a kiss on the forehead. The crowd loved it.

Door prizes included five fabulous items. Winners’ names were drawn by Travis Johnson of Hilltop Artists. Lucky winners were Tara Ashton, Jane & David Davis, Robert Simon, Scott Shapiro and Virginia Larsen. They won, respectively, a “Bonfire Baskets” piece made by Chihuly; a Fremont Studios movie night for 30 people; two Alaska Airlines unrestricted round-trip tickets; dinner for eight at Kaspar’s with wines, and an overnight “Hot Glass” package at Hotel Murano in Tacoma, which includes a glass-blowing lesson.

The evening concluded with a tribute to Dale from Leslie, which featured a series of slides showing them together, often with their son Jackson. Leslie also brought their dog, Kobe, onstage along with a statue of a bulldog, Dale’s favorite breed.

Dale stood for some gracious closing remarks, inviting all dinner attendees to the opening of the new Garden and Glass exhibit in April. Slides of the current site were shown along with an artist’s rendition of the final exhibit.

When the program was over, VIP guests gathered for an After Party back in Studio B with sparkling champagne from Chateau Ste. Michelle and delicious chocolates donated by Theo Chocolate. Many people, including the Chihulys, lingered until almost midnight. A good time was had by all!

Visit the photo album from Team Photogenic

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Gridiron West Dinner a Big Success

The Washington News Council’s 12th (!) annual Gridiron West Dinner, (video here, pics here) held on Friday, Nov. 12 at The Conference Center at Convention Place in Seattle brought 350 people together to “toast/roast” five former Mayors of Seattle: Wes Uhlman, Charles Royer, Norm Rice, Paul Schell and Greg Nickels. Current Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn was there to introduce his predecessors, and won some points for his good-natured remarks. To no one’s surprise, McGinn was the target of a few pointed shots himself.

It was a raucous, irreverent, edgy evening of songs, comedy, videos, slideshows and often caustic comments by “toasters/roasters” — with sharp retorts by the Mayors who were targets of the barbs. Emcee Mike Egan (who actually has a day job at Microsoft), ran the show with his usual zany aplomb, appearing in costume first as a Munchkin and later as Dorothy, as the evening’s theme was “Wizard of Oz.”  A radiant backdrop of “The Emerald City” hung behind the stage, where the five Mayors sat in soft armchairs while they took their hard medicine from various friends, colleagues, and journalists. There was even a video appearance of Mayor Gordon Clinton, who reigned during the Seattle World’s Fair (watch below).

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Four extremely talented singers, dressed in spot-on costumes as Dorothy, The Tin Man, The Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion, kicked off the program with a hilarious sketch about politically correct Seattle, written by Jim Anderson of Cabaret Productions. Anderson also wrote many of the lyrics (aided by former KING5-TV President Eric Bremner and WNC President John Hamer) and choreographed the show, as well as running the technical side including lighting, video, audio, costumes and props.

WNC Chair Suzie Burke and Hamer welcomed the crowd and gratefully thanked all the table sponsors (including Boeing, Gates Foundation, Microsoft, Simonyi Fund & Susan Hutchison, Premera, Space Needle Corporation, Chihuly Studio, PEMCO Insurance, Puget Sound Energy, and a dozen others). Carly Hunt Koczarski sang “America the Beautiful” beautifully. Our new promotional video, by WNC Communications Strategist Jacob Caggiano, was shown while dinner was being served, giving the audience a look at how the WNC has “reinvented” itself in the past few months with a redesigned website, a blog page, an online community, a TAO of Journalism site, and other innovative programs. After dinner, the musical tribute began with songs such as “Follow the Politics Road” and ”We’re Here to Toast the Mayors, These Wonderful Mayors of Ours,” with the audience joining in while lyrics were shown on the big screens.

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A video called “The Mayors,” (above) done by Ken Jones of KJ Video Productions (and a longtime KING5-TV videographer) brought down the house with its animated Jib-Jab scenes including the Mayors as Chippendale Dancers. Only Paul Schell was unable to attend in person, though he was “toasted” anyway as his cardboard cutout sat on stage and an “Anarchist from Eugene” ran out shouting pro-Schell slogans for the hospitality shown to radical demonstrators during the WTO convention. A mini-auction, raffle and “raise the paddle” segment led by Auctioneer Fred Granados featured several terrific items and fiercely competitive bidding. The evening concluded with a wry rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” followed by a Champagne & Chocolate After Party with Domaine Ste Michelle Brut (thanks to Carol Munro) and Theo’s Chocolates (thanks to Chuck Horne).

Special thanks to all those who sponsored tables or purchased tickets, for making this evening possible. Your generous (and tax-deductible) donations make the News Council’s important work possible. In addition, every dollar we receive this year will be matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, thanks to a special “challenge grant” arranged by Bill Gates Sr. We can’t thank Bill Sr. and the Foundation enough for their generous support of the WNC since our founding in 1998.

Our annual Gridiron West Dinners, almost always held in the aftermath of the November elections, always attract a thoroughly bipartisan crowd. The event provides a welcome opportunity for Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, Green Partiers and Tea Partiers, to come together for an evening of fun and frolic despite deep political and ideological differences. It is our hope that by enjoying a nice dinner, pouring a bottle (or two) of wine, and sharing a few laughs, people who may be deeply at odds on issues and policy will find some common ground and maybe find ways to work together better. Hey, that’s what everyone says they want these days, isn’t it?

[Also have a look at coverage of the event from Seattle Metropolitan]

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WNC Raises $100,000 to Meet Challenge Grant Target for 2010!

The Washington News Council successfully raised $100,000 in matching donations, pledges and in-kind contributions by Jan. 15, triggering payment of a $100,000 challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The WNC would like to thank all those who donated or pledged to help us meet this extraordinary challenge:

$10,000 or more: Dollar Development Company, Kemper Development Company, Charles Simonyi Fund, Clear Channel Outdoor (in-kind billboard space), Everything Under the Web (in-kind website redesign).

$5,000 or more: Microsoft, PEMCO, Premera, Doug & Janet True

$2,500 or more: Suzie Burke, Pedro Celis, Lynden Inc., Vic & Mary Odermat

$1,000 or more: Steve Boyer, Bill Bryant, Ken & Cathi Hatch, Austin Hamer, Tom Hayward, Bob & Pat Herbold, Peter Horvitz, Geoff & Teresa Hunt, Barbara Kenney, Deanie Larsen, Martin Neeb Family Foundation, Bill & Jill Ruckelshaus, Phil Smart Sr., Washington Dairy Products Commission, Michael Young

$500 or more: Everett Billingslea, John Blackman, Bob Donegan (in-kind dinner event), Kirby Lindsay, Helen Silha

$100 or more: Creigh Agnew, Karen Dunn, Reagan Dunn, Becky Cox, Denny Fleenor, Mike Flynn, Walter Liang, Chuck Rehberg, David Schaefer
$50 or more: Gene Anest, Oren Campbell, Megan Gilshire, Pete Rollins, Steve Shapiro, Dann Mead Smith

If the WNC raises an additional $100,000 in donations and pledges this year, and meets the terms of the grant agreement, the Gates Foundation will award another $100,000 matching grant in 2011.

The WNC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to promote fairness, accuracy, balance, accountability and ethics in the news media. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Donate online at www.wanewscouncil.org, call 206-262-9793 to donate or pledge, or mail checks to WNC, P.O. Box 3672, Seattle WA 98124-3672.

CONTACT: John Hamer, WNC Executive Director, 2026.262.9793

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2009 GRIDIRON WEST DINNER A SMASHING SUCCESS!

Rave reviews are still coming in for the Washington News Council’s 11th Annual Gridiron West Dinner, which was held Saturday night, Sept. 12, at Fremont Studios. Many attendees said it was the best event they’ve been to in years.

CLICK HERE TO READ COMMENTS & KUDOS

Our “toast/roast” of Suzie Burke, president of the WNC’s board of directors and owner of Fremont Dock Company, was a fun-filled evening of song, comedy, costumes, and funny but affectionate tributes to our “toastee.”

NOTE: The event was filmed by TVW. See www.tvw.org for broadcast schedule. (First showing: Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 10:30 pm on Channel 23).

Special thanks to all of this year’s table sponsors, including:
“Center of the Universe” Level — Boeing, Sharon Gantz Bloome, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Kemper Development Company, U-Park System.
“Fremont Bridge Level” — Brown Bear Car Wash, Fremont Dock Company, Horvitz Foundation, Microsoft, Pacific Futures Trading Co., PEMCO, Charles Simonyi Fund.
“Waiting for the Interurban” Level — Dollar Development, Gorton Legacy Group, Lynden, Inc., Premera, Puget Sound Energy, Rowley Properties.
“Fremont Troll” Level — ABC Enterprises, Berntson Porter, Discovery Institute, Fremont Chamber of Commerce, Fremont Tugboat Company, Fremont Rotary, Holy Names Academy, Northwest Seattle Industrial Association, Alan and Nancy Sclater, Seattle University, Wallace Properties, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Wallingford Boys and Girls Club, Wells Fargo Bank, Women of Washington.

Thanks, too, to all those who bought individual tickets for themselves, friends and colleagues, and helped fill tables.

Mike Egan, Master of Ceremonies, began the evening by welcoming guests. Father Peter Ely, Vice President of Seattle University, gave a moving invocation. Sue Nixon, a well-known Seattle jazz singer, sang the national anthem beautifully.

WNC Executive Director John Hamer and Acting Treasurer David Schaefer recognized past Gridiron West Dinner honorees who were there (Mike Lowry, Slade Gorton and Kemper Freeman Jr.), thanked table sponsors and introduced a video explaining the News Council’s mission.

After a delicious dinner catered by Kaspar’s with wine from Columbia Winery, Honorary Chair Kemper Freeman Jr. (last year’s “toastee”) welcomed the crowd and listed some colorful words that have been used to describe Suzie. He was followed by a personal video done by Ken Jones that chronicled Suzie Burke’s family history.

The Cabaret Productions Singers, arranged by Jim Anderson and David Koch, sang a medley of songs including “Suzie B” and “Shake Up, Little Suzie,” followed by the Washington News Council “Glee Club” (i.e., board of directors), who sang “If You Knew Suzie, Like We Know Suzie, Oh, Oh, Oh, What a Gal!” Other songs by the Cabaret Productions Singers included “Fremont, Fremont” (to the tune of “New York, New York”), “Me and My Landlord Suzie” (to the tune of “Me and Bobby McGee”), and “The Lady is a Champ” (to the tune of “The Lady is a Tramp”). CLICK HERE FOR LYRICS .

Emcee Mike Egan, dressed in a Russian Army officer’s uniform, did a side-splitting slide show “revealing” that Suzie Burke was actually a KGB agent who had been assigned by the Kremlin to spy on Seattle by posing undercover as a Republican in Fremont! Later in the program, Egan appeared as a Fremont “nude bicyclist” and rode around the stage to uproarious laughter from the crowd.

“Toasters” of Suzie included Rob McKenna, Washington State Attorney General, and Tom Carr, Seattle City Attorney, followed by Stan Emert, Symetra Community Affairs Director, and Liz Swift, Principal of Holy Names Academy.

Seattle comedian Pat Cashman “toasted” Suzie before conducting a mini-auction of 5 items. Cashman’s routine was hilarious, highlighted by a surprise demonstration of his electric nose-hair trimmer.

Reagan Dunn, King County Councilman, brought the house down with his line: “What do Sarah Palin and Suzie Burke have in common? They can both see Communists from their front yards.”

Table centerpieces were wooden replicas of the famous “Fremont Guidepost,” made by Westlake Woodworks.

Raffle prizes went to those who bought Suzie Burke “Bobbleheads” as raffle tickets, with the winners drawn by Kurt and Amina Kapasuzoglu, two of Suzie’s grandchildren.

Suzie’s three children — Gwen Kapasuzoglu, Mike Osterfeld and Kirby Lindsay — “toasted” their mother with affectionate stories and anecdotes. They were joined onstage by spouses and other family members.

Suzie’s final “response” to her toasters was funny and feisty — no surprise to those who know and love her. A video of Eddie Cantor singing “If You Knew Suzie” ended the evening’s program.

An After Party in The Village at Fremont Studios featured champagne and delicious chocolates donated by Theo’s Chocolates. An open mic was provided for friends to offer more “toasts” to Suzie. Festivities went on until midnight.

Special thanks to Mike Egan of Microsoft, Jim Anderson of Cabaret Productions, and Scott Jonas of Fremont Studios for making this event such a big success. And to Monica Tracey, event planner, and Kathy Schrier, WNC executive assistant, for making the event possible.

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WNC’s Gridiron West Dinners Held in Seattle & Spokane

SPECIAL OFFER: “Bobbleheads” of Slade Gorton & Tom Foley, which were sold at this year’s dinners, are still available: Join the Washington News Council at the $50 level, and get your choice of either. Join at the $100 level or above, and get one of each. Join “100 Friends of the WNC” and get SIGNED versions of both Bobbleheads. Call 206.262.9793 to join or use the “Click&Pledge” box at the top of this page.

Tom Foley & Slade Gorton “Toasted” at Gridiron West Dinners in Seattle and Spokane; Foley ill but said, “Go ahead and roast me!”

The Washington News Council honored former House Speaker Tom Foley and former Senator Slade Gorton at TWO gala Gridiron West Dinners this year. A total of nearly 500 people attended the two events, which are getting rave reviews from those who were at one or both dinners.

The Seattle dinner was held on Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center. (It will be broadcast on TVW on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. and repeated subsequently. See www.tvw.org for viewing schedule.) The Spokane dinner was held on Saturday, Nov. 11 at The Davenport Hotel. The WNC’s annual events are billed as “toasts,” but some call them “roasts.”

Slade Gorton and his wife Sally attended both events. However, Tom Foley was honored “in absentia” because he was recently diagnosed with a heart problem and was unable to travel. Foley sent a letter expressing his regrets, and the full text was read aloud in Seattle by Honorary Dinner Co-Chair Bill Gates Sr. and in Spokane by Honorary Dinner Co-Chair Jennifer Dunn.

After receiving the letter on Nov. 1, the WNC decided to turn the “toast” of Foley into a “Get Well” tribute. A life-sized photograph of Foley was onstage next to Gorton at both events. All guests were invited to sign an oversized “Get Well, Tom” poster card that will be delivered to him soon. Foley sent “responses” to his toasters that were read aloud. Both dinners were videotaped and copies will be sent to Foley.

The WNC’s annual Gridiron West Dinner has become one of the most popular events of the fall. Always held in the week after Election Day, it is a bipartisan gala with songs, comedy, video tributes and affectionate “toasts” by and of prominent political, business, civic and media figures.

“Toasters” in each city took the stage in pairs to aim their remarks at the two honorees.

“Toasting” Foley in Seattle:

Phyllis Campbell & George Nethercutt, Norm Dicks & Jack Lein

“Toasting” Gorton in Seattle:

Jim Ellis & John Ellis (with Patti Payne), Mike McGavick & Rob McKenna

“Toasting” Foley in Spokane:

Father Bernard Couglin & Janet Gilpatrick, Jack Geraghty & George Nethercutt

“Toasting” Gorton in Spokane:

Jennifer Dunn & Mike McGavick, Jim McDevitt & Cathy McMorris

Table sponsors (in one or both cities) included: Avista, Boeing, Microsoft, Gates Foundation, King County Journal, PEMCO, Preston Gates Ellis, Puget Sound Energy, Premera Blue Cross, Paine Hamblen, The Gallatin Group, Fremont Dock Company, Gonzaga University, Building Industry Association of Washington, Frank Russell Company, Lynden Company, KPLU-FM, TVW, Seattle Mariners and the Gorton Legacy Group.

Mike Egan, Master of Ceremonies at the last several Gridiron West Dinners, emceed at both events and presented his hilarious “slide show” of Foley and Gorton photographs (starting with their baby pictures). A moving video tribute to the two honorees (including old home movies) was once again produced for the events by Ken Jones and Larry Cali.

Exclusive to both 2006 Gridiron West Dinners were fabulous “Bobbleheads” of Foley and Gorton. These were the table centerpieces and many were auctioned off at the two events. However, some are still available for purchase (see caption above for details). The Bobbleheads are limited-edition collectors’ items, designed by David Horsey, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, exclusively for this year’s WNC Gridiron West Dinners. (Special thanks to David for designing them and to the Seattle Mariners for underwriting the costs.)

Music and songs (this year’s song parodies were from “West Side Story”) were provided by Cabaret Productions, under the leadership of Jim Anderson. And the Washington News Council’s Board Members sang their traditional group song — always a highlight of the evening! (Sample lyrics: “There’s a case for us, somewhere a case for us….”)

Incredible travel packages donated by Noble House Hotels were raffled off at the dinners.

They included multi-night stays (plus airfare) at the Inn and Spa at Loretto in Santa Fe, New Mexico; the Portofino Hotel and Yacht Club in Redondo Beach, California; and the Paradise Point Resort and Spa in San Diego, California; also, overnight stays at the Edgewater Hotel on Seattle’s waterfront and the new Hotel Deca in Seattle’s University District.

Both evenings ended with a song by the Cabaret Productions singers to the tune of “America”:

“I like to be in America,

OK by me in America,

Our press is free in America,

And that’s the key to America!”

Previous Gridiron West events have honored:

2005 – Bill Gates Sr. and Mimi Gardner Gates

2004 – Jennifer Dunn and Gary Locke

2003 – Jim Ellis and John Ellis

2002 – Al Rosellini, Dan Evans, John Spellman, Booth Gardner and Mike Lowry

2001 – Jean Enersen, Kathi Goertzen and Susan Hutchison

2000 – Emmett Watson

1999 – Adele Ferguson, Dick Larsen, Mike Layton and Shelby Scates

If you missed previous Gridiron West Dinners, you don’t want to miss this year’s, when we will “toast” Bill and Jill Ruckelshaus on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007, at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center. SAVE THE DATE!

To guarantee two seats, join “100 Friends of the WNC” (see Click&Pledge box above).

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WNC “toasts” Bill Gates Sr. and Mimi Gardner Gates at 7th Gridiron West Dinner!

The Washington News Council “toasted” Bill Gates Sr. and Mimi Gardner Gates at our 7th Annual Gridiron West Dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005, at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center.

More than 600 people attended this fun-filled gala evening of comedy, song, gentle “toasts” and affectionate tributes. Mike Egan of Microsoft emceed again this year, with music by Cabaret Productions.

“Toasters” included Susan Brotman, Peter Donnelly, Jim Ellis, Dan Evans, and the Gates siblings: Bill Gates, Kristi Blake and Libby Armintrout.

Bill Gates Sr. was an original member of the WNC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation generously helped fund the council during its first six years. Mimi Gardner Gates is the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director of the Seattle Art Museum.

The Honorary Host Committee for the event included: Libby & Doug Armintrout, Kristi & John Blake, Jeff & Susan Brotman, Jane & David Davis, Peter Donnelly, Jim Ellis, Dan & Nancy Evans, Bill & Melinda Gates, Bill & Ruth Gerberding, Gerry & Lyn Grinstein, Andy & Susan Hutchison, Janet Ketcham, Kerry & Linda Killinger, Joe & Susan Knight, Bill & Sally Neukom, Bill & Jill Ruckelshaus, Herman & Faye Sarkowsky, Stan & Ingrid Savage, Jon & Mary Shirley, Patty Stonesifer & Michael Kinsley, and Bagley & Virginia Wright.

Table hosts for the event were:

Philanthropic ($7,500) Level — Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, King County Journal, Microsoft, Bill & Sally Neukom, Symetra Financial, Washington Mutual, Virginia Wright & Ann Wyckoff.

Artistic ($5,000) Level — Boeing, Costco, Jane & David Davis, Bruce & Jolene McCaw, PEMCO, Hunter Simpson, University of Washington.

Cultural ($3,500) Level — The Gallatin Group, “Just the Neighbors,” Premera Blue Cross, Puget Sound Energy, Sandy Schoolfield & Jon Kechejian, Weyerhaeuser.

Civic ($1,500 Level) — ArtsFund, Dr. Richard & Edwina Baxter, Chris & Cynthia Bayley, The Benaroya Company, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, Fremont Dock Company, Gorton Legacy Group, The Keller Group, Grant Larsen, Lynden, Inc., Noble House Hotels, Port of Seattle, Preston Gates & Ellis, Rockey Hill & Knowlton, Herman & Faye Sarkowsky, Seattle Parks Foundation, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stephen Silha, Jim & Fawn Spady, Technology Alliance, TVW, U.W. Law School, Robert & Betty Utter, Vulcan, Washington State Farm Bureau, YWCA.

The following companies and individuals provided special help or in-kind services: Alaska Airlines, Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, Larry Cali & Ken Jones, David Horsey, Microsoft, Noble House Hotels, Preston Gates & Ellis, and Symetra Financial.

Jonathan Borofsky, the artist who created the “Hammering Man” statue in front of the Seattle Art Museum, generously approved the manufacture of 70 limited-edition miniatures of “Hammering Man” to use as centerpieces. All were sold either before or during the event, nearly half at the guaranteed bid price of $500 each.

“This was our most successful event ever,” said WNC Executive Director John Hamer. “Now the only question is: Who should we ‘toast’ next year? Suggestions welcome!”

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WNC “toasts” Locke and Dunn at 2004 Gridiron West Dinner

The Washington News Council “toasted” Governor Gary Locke, Democrat, and U.S. Representative
Jennifer Dunn, Republican, on Friday, Nov. 5, 2004, at our 6th annual Gridiron West Dinner, at the Washington
State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle.

This gala bipartisan event came just three days after Election Day. Nearly 550 people attended, from politics, government, media, business, academia, law, and other sectors. They were treated to a fun-filled evening of comedy, song, video tributes and affectionate “toasts” of our honorees.

To read comments on the event, please click HERE.

Both Locke and Dunn had “family tables” with their spouses, children and other relatives and close friends.

(NEWS FLASH: Just a few hours after the dinner ended, Mona Lee Locke gave birth to their new baby daughter at Swedish Medical Center. Some speculated that the evening’s laughter might have induced labor.)

Both Locke and Dunn had announced that they would not seek reelection this year and will be retiring from office in January 2005. The Gridiron West Dinner is modeled after the Gridiron Club Dinner in Washington, D.C., where political and media leaders poke fun at each other in good-natured comedy, skits and songs.

Highlights of this year’s Gridiron West Dinner included: Emcee Mike Egan’s photographic history of Gary and Jennifer’s changing hairstyles over the past 40-plus years; Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist David Horsey’s retrospective of his best cartoons of Gary and Jennifer over the past 20 years; and a video tribute to Gary and Jennifer produced by Larry Cali and Ken Jones of KING-TV.

“Toasters,” who took the stage in pairs, included Martha Choe & Slade Gorton; John Carlson & Mary Charles; and Dick Thompson & Patti Payne. Payne did a musical tribute, accompanied on the piano by John Ellis and joined onstage by Jennifer Dunn’s husband, Keith Thompson, and her two sons, Reagan and Bryant.

After the “toasts,” Gary and Jennifer each took the stage to respond to their “toasters.” Jennifer recited a list of the “Top 10 Reasons I Will Miss Being in Congress.” Gary replied specifically to each of his “toasters,” and gave as good as he got.

The audience was entertained by song parodies sung by “The Beetles” of Cabaret Productions. Another highlight was the entire Washington News Council singing a song to the tune of “Sgt. Pepper”s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (“Washington News Council”s Watch Dog Board”). To read parody lyrics, click HERE.

Past Gridiron West Dinners have “toasted” Jim Ellis and John Ellis (2003); the five living former Governors of Washington (2002); television anchors Jean Enersen, Kathi Goertzen and Susan Hutchison (2001); former Seattle P-I columnist Emmett Watson (2000); and former political reporters Adele Ferguson, Dick Larsen,
Mike Layton and Shelby Scates (1999).

Nearly 50 tables of 10 were sponsored by corporations, foundations, or individuals. “Baby Kissers” ($5,000) table sponsors included Boeing, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Kemper Development Company, King County Journal, Microsoft, Pemco Financial Services, and Starbucks. “Back Slappers” ($2,500) table sponsors were The Gallatin Group, Premera Blue Cross, Puget Sound Energy, Safeco, Sandy Schoolfield & Jon Kechejian, and Weyerhaeuser. “Glad Handers” ($1,000) table sponsors included Apex Foundation, The Benaroya Company, Evans School of Public Affairs, Gorton Legacy Group, Merriman Capital Management, Port of Seattle, Regal Financial Bank, Rockey Hill & Knowlton, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Wes Uhlman & Associates, Washington Dairy Products Commission, Weyerhaeuser, and the Wingood Foundation. Many individuals also sponsored tables, including WNC members Richard Baxter, Suzie Burke, Carolyn Duncan, Cyrus Krohn, Barry Mitzman, Chuck Nordhoff, Stephen Silha, and Robert Utter.

The event was filmed by TVW and broadcast statewide. It will be repeated (see www.tvw.org for schedule.)

Videotapes and/or DVDs of the event will be available soon. Please call 206-262-9793 to reserve a copy.

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