Milton-Freewater opens its homes to 44 youth exchange students



The population of Milton-Freewater swelled Feb. 4 with the influx of 44 Rotary Youth Exchange Students visiting from around the world.

Members of the Milton-Freewater Rotary Club and others with children in Milton-Freewater schools provided homes for the young people, who came from Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Russia and Switzerland, according to Robby Robbins' Feb. 9 Rotary Club meeting report.

The exchange students participated in various activities through Feb. 7. The Eastern Oregon tour is part of their school-year stay in Oregon. Most activities throughout the year are spent in the Portland area.

The visitors spent several morning hours at Central Middle School, Ferndale, Freewater and Grove Elementary schools on Feb. 5 then visited attractions in Pendleton that afternoon, including the Pendleton Woolen Mills and the skating rink.

They skiied and played in the snow for a day at Spout Springs Ski Resort, a first-time experience for some.

They also toured Clay in Motion art studio and Milton-Freewater itself before enjoying an evening of movies, Nintendo Wii, games and karaoke. Rotary members Debbie Lee and Nora Kramer helped prepare a potato bar for the kids.

For their final night, the group went to a dance in La Grande with another 40 of the exchange students, who were visiting Union County.

The exchange students have been in Oregon since the start of the school year and have been hosted by families all over the northern part of Oregon, said Milton-Freewater School District Superintendent Marilyn McBride.

Marilyn is hosting an Italian exchange student in her home this year and was excited to see the other students visit Milton-Freewater. She has hosted Rotary exchange students for nearly 10 years.

Also at the Rotary meeting, James Polson, instructor for the McLoughlin High School Technology Student Association class, brought along two students, Sam Perry, chapter president; and member Jeff Vaughn.

Students in this program are encouraged to learn about the principals and applications of engineering. The American Industrial Arts Student Association started in 1976 and became TSA in 1988. More than 2,000,000 students have participated in it since its inception.

Current membership is 150,000 middle and high school students nationwide who aspire to be future engineers, scientists and technologists. Forty-five percent are female and 75 percent are college bound. With 26 members, Mac-Hi's chapter is one of six in Oregon.

One of their projects involved designing a bridge structure from material like balsa wood, then testing the strength as a supporting structure. Other recent projects include promotional graphics and designing race cars.

The Mac-Hi team will represent Oregon during national competition June 28-July 2 in Baltimore. The conference theme is "TSA: Tomorrow's Leaders." Local members are currently holding fundraising events to pay for the trip.

For additional details, contact James at 541-938-5591 or online, see for more about the program.


From the A&W Rootbeer Drive-In at 2139 Isaacs Ave., circa 1963-1964, to the YWCA Apartment House on Birch Street that was razed to construct the Ice Chalet in 1964, retired librarian Joe Drazan has compiled 1,000 photos of historic Walla Walla from the pages of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.

Specifically the photos and occasional articles on the CD are from the pages of old U-B Progress Editions from 1934 to 1976.

The collection is another project of Joe's to raise funds for the Walla Walla Public Library, 238 E. Alder St. At $10 per CD it works out to one cent per image, Joe said. He just completed a collection of images for Pomeroy's Garfield County Museum and is busy on his next project.


Members of the Walla Walla Columbia County School Retirees Association will host a Teddy Bear Tea from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at St. Francis Social Hall, 722 W. Alder St.

A gala tea, story corner, photographer, raffle, silent auction, doll and bear exhibits, teddy bear store and more are part of the event. The tea is the association's primary fundraiser.

The group uses the proceeds to provide annual scholarships of $1,000 each year, said Deanna Aichele, communications chairwoman.

Admission is $5 at the door and children must be accompanied by an adult.


JeanAnn Mitchell with P.E.O. Sisterhood Chapter AP, Milton-Freewater, said members selected Victoria Lidzbarski as the recipient of a $700 scholarship from the International P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education.

P.E.O. is a philanthropic educational organization with more than 240,000 members.

They strive to provide educational opportunities for women.

Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic record, character, seriousness of purpose and financial need. Competition for PCE grants is nationwide and intended for women whose education has been interrupted.

Victoria graduated in 2005 from Whitman College and is currently enrolled in a master of education in school counseling at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.

P.E.O. Chapter AP recommended Victoria to the P.E.O. PCE international office for the award.


Baseball fan Terry Gottschall responded to a recent Etcetera column item about noted local baseball players.

A professor of history at Walla Walla University, Terry teaches Western civilization, Western thought, modern European, classical and East Asian history, with a specialty in 19th-century German naval history, according to WWU's Web site.

Terry felt the list from Fort Walla Walla Museum for its exhibit of "Great and Near-Great" baseball players was incomplete.

"How could any list of recent minor league ballplayers leave out the name of John Kruk, who played in Walla Walla in 1981, forever enshrined in the Hall of Shame for bailing out of the batter's box against Randy Johnson in the 1993 All-Star Game?" Terry noted.

Terry thinks the Museum should also consider Elmer "Tiny" Leonard, who played for the Walla Walla Bears in the Western Tri-State League in 1912-1913.

Nicknamed for his height of between 6-feet 3 inches to 6 feet 5 inches, Tiny played for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1911. He pitched in five games and earned a 2-2 record and a 2.84 ERA.

Connie Mack sent Tiny down to the minors to gain more experience. He joined the Spokane Indians for the 1912 season. He then played for Walla Walla, in a lower minor league, in part because he met a young Walla Wallan, Adah Julian, during his college days in California, Terry said.

The Leonards wed in Walla Walla in 1915.

Tiny played two seasons here, where he led the league in winning percentage both years. He went 13-4 in 1912 and 19-5 in 1913. He retired in 1915 after playing briefly with Portland in the old Northwestern League.

Tiny and Adah moved to Seaside, Ore. They opened a candy store, where Terry said Tiny achieved substantial local fame as the "Taffy King" for his shop's primary product.

"Thus, I nominate him for inclusion in your exhibit." Tiny is pictured in several photos in the Museum's collection of the 1913 Walla Walla Bears.

He deserves a place "both for his baseball performances and his reign as Taffy King. It might not be Cracker Jack but it still sticks to your teeth!" Terry quipped.


The Senior Round Table nutrition program, Meals-on-Wheels and meals in congregate settings are open to those 60 years or older.

Some younger disabled people may also qualify, according to the February issue of The Center at the Park's Bottom Line newsletter.

Hot meals are delivered Monday-Friday and frozen meals are available for weekends with a suggested donation of $3 per meal.

Participants can reside in Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield and Asotin counties.

So if you have a friend, family member or neighbor who is interested in this program, check with the coordinator at 527-3775, for more details.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Contact Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at or afternoons at 526-8313.


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