FFA teams place in national competition

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Walla Walla High School FFA Chapter members made up two of 35 teams that participated in the 2009 National FFA Agricultural Issues Forum Career Development conference Oct.21-24 at the 82nd National FFA Convention in Indianapolis.

FFA adviser Arch McHie attended with Ag Issues team members Natalie Crum, Emily Larreau, Natalie Norby, McKenzie Sirmon, Audrey Smith and Levi Swenson, who placed fifth; and with Floral Team members Elise Pettyjohn, who was the 20th-place individual, and Sarah Fuller, Desiree Helm and Brianne Javaux. The Floral team earned 17th place out of 46 teams.

The Issues team placed first in its heat during the preliminary round and lost to Montana during the semi-finals, Arch said.

"You always want to win so I know both teams were a little disappointed. However, to place as high as they did is still quite an accomplishment. I am very proud of them. They represented our school and community very well."

The Issues Team received many comments from the judges, who congratulated them on such a high number of community presentations.

"It's this kind of support from the community that consistently puts us at the top," Arch said.

The Floral Team's contest takes 11/2 days to complete. Each student took a 50-question exam and answered 10 problem-solving questions. Each had to identify 40 out of a possible 200 plants. There was a team activity and each had to do six practicums: a job interview, face-to-face selling, make an arrangement and a corsage, identify and control a plant disorder and transplant plant cuttings.

Adviser Lindsey Butcher and alumni member Jill Bughi worked with this team during the convention. Jill was really helpful because she competed in the contest while in high school, Arch said.

Four moms and a dad also attended, including Mary Crum, Tami Sirmon, Brenda Swenson, Kelly Smith and Brett Larreau.

Formerly Future Farmers of America, FFA is a national youth organization of 506,199 student members, all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture as part of 7,429 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

National FFA changed to its present name in 1988 in recognition of the growth and diversity of agriculture and agricultural education.

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A number of fundraisers held in October, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, yielded a surprise for organizers. "We were surprised to find that when we tallied up all the small fundraisers that are held throughout the community by groups and individuals to benefit our patients, it came to $28,000, said Kathleen Obenland, director of public affairs at Providence St. Mary Medical Center. People raising money in nine events ranged from an Elvis impersonator to a volleyball team to beauticians, Kathleen said.

Two events were sponsored by Providence St. Mary. All the rest were community events held independently by groups and individuals.

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Judy Treman, a volunteer and friend of the City of Walla Walla Dog Park at Fort Walla Walla Park on Dalles Military Road e-mailed to add to details shared by Cindy Godard-Gross in Etcetera Nov. 3. Judy aims to clarify possible choices for communication about the dog park. They are:


It may be confusing, Judy said, but the intent is to offer wide-open, friendly communication about dogs and the dog park in Walla Walla to the countless active dog-lovers.

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The City of Walla Walla Parks amp; Recreation Department, in cooperation with Super 1 Foods, held a youth pumpkin carving and coloring contest for youngsters from age 3-12. The free pumpkin carving contest held forth at Super 1, 710 S. Ninth Ave., the afternoon of Oct. 30. Kids ages 3-6 colored their pumpkins, and those 7-12 years old carved their pumpkins.

Participants brought their own carving utensils along with an adult to supervise. The following participants placed in the contest: ages 3-6, Imosencia Aguilar, first; Miriam Meza, second; Zachary Long, third. Ages 7-9: Jaidan Long, first; Annaliese Meza, second; Julissa Virrey, third. Ages 10-12: Jocelyn Sotelo, first; Ruby Chavez, second; Mia Garcia, third.

Winners received gift certificates from Super 1, which also gave each contestant a goodie bag and a trick-or-treat bucket. Super 1 employees served as judges, said Angela Potts, recreation coordinator with Parks amp; Recreation. A full schedule of other classes and events is viewable online at www.ci.walla-walla.wa.us. For more details, call Walla Walla Parks amp; Recreation at 527-4527.

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