ETCETERA - Rotarian provides humanitarian work in Thailand

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Pedrito Maynard-Reid, who has been a member of the Walla Walla Noon Rotary Club since 2000 and its current president, did some humanitarian work in Thailand recently.

Pedrito is also assistant to the president for diversity, a professor of biblical studies and missiology in Walla Walla University's theology department and a WWU ombudsman.

He e-mailed details of his work in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for the Turning-Over Ceremony of the Library project at Thespadet School.

"We, along with clubs in Japan, Australia, Germany and the USA, contributed to a matching grant and direct contributions totaling tens of thousands of dollars to build the Library, purchase books and equipment, and construct restrooms," Pedrito said.

"This library will not only serve the school, but will be the only one in the district and for miles around."

Pedrito led the team of volunteers in humanitarian and cultural outreach.

"For a number of years Walla Walla Noon Rotary has partnered with Rotary of Chiang Mai in assisting the LaWa Hostel for displaced children from the Thai-Myanmar hill country," Pedrito said.

Through matching grants the Walla Walla club initiated with Rotary International Foundation, they provide computers, a clean water system, modern toilet facilities and an annual university scholarship for a deserving student.

In 2009, the Walla Walla club partnered with Rotary clubs from Japan, Australia, Germany, Arizona and a couple in Thailand to build and furnish an elementary school library in the very rural hill country of Thepsadet.

The $32,000 grant provided washroom facilities, dozens of computers, chairs and desks, library books and electronic academic resources, Pedrito said.

On Oct. 13, Pedrito represented Walla Walla at the colorful "Turning-Over" ceremony.

And before the event, WWU conducted its eighth annual short-term mission trip to Thailand.

"In years past, students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends have built dormitories, meeting places and conducted weeks of spiritual emphasis in places such as Chiang Mai and Mae Sot," Pedrito said.

Asia Pacific International University, WWU's sister school in Muak Lek, has partnered with the College Place university for the past three years, working in outreach to the surrounding city and villages. The university's ongoing projects include teaching English at the public high school and in evening classes for all ages at a metropolitan community center; assisting a disabled farmer with plowing, reaping, pruning and general farm work; and working alongside APIU nursing students in delivering healthcare, Pedrito said. And in 2010, the team assisted people who suffer from leprosy and polio, and cared for many orphan children.

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Blue Mountain Pheasants Forever Chapter 258 hosted its second annual free youth hunt on Sept. 25-26, said Jim Sonne, president.

The Washington Department of Fish & Game gave them 150 birds that were raised at the Washington State Penitentiary and were released by the chapter on Sept. 24.

"Thanks to Scott Rasley of the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife the birds are no charge," Jim said.

The birds for the first day where released at a feel-free-to-hunt area off Scenic Loop and Mormon Grade Road. The birds for the Sunday hunt where released on the farm of Todd Kimball.

The 15 youths shot 37 birds during the hunt, Jim reported. They were required to pass a Washington state-approved hunter safety course and exhibited a high level of gun safety, he said. Each of the participants had to be accompanied by an adult, which included some of their fathers and Pheasants Forever members, including Jim, Gene Weinmaster (youth chairman), Al Alpass, Carl Biscard, Larry Boe, Mike Davis, George Hindecot, John Houston, Randy Snyder, Eric Tonn, Tina Tonn, Ron Fastrup, Ed Crain, Curt Upton and Dave Barnes.

"We had six hunting dogs on both days that members brought as planted birds sit tight and usually will not fly unless the dogs find them," Jim said.

The young hunters were Patric Elmenhurst, Luke Elmenhurst, Andrew Elmenhurst, Levi Laib, Bonnie Laib, Scott Kimball, Frank Nicholson, Taylor Schack, Jonathan Rasch, Nicholas Brown, Cambell Davis, Zane Patton, Skylar Gladden, Billy Kohler and Chance Laughery.

For more details about the PF chapter, e-mail Jim at jimsonne@aol.com.

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With a recent communique from former Walla Wallan Mike Streff, here's the latest buzz about his sister, Sally Streff Buzbee: The Associated Press recently named the native Walla Wallan as its AP Washington bureau chief.

Previously an AP deputy managing editor, Sally held leadership positions for the news cooperative in Washington, D.C., the Middle East and New York.

"Sally Buzbee has a wealth of preparation for this vital post," Senior Managing Editor Mike Oreskes said. "A daughter of the Great Plains, she is a trained and seasoned manager, a former correspondent in California and Washington, an expert on America's two wars and, above all, an aggressive and visionary journalistic leader."

She most recently led AP's News Center in New York, which works minute-to-minute with AP's regional and department leaders to deliver competitive coverage across text, video and photos, a release said.

At the AP Washington bureau, Sally will oversee 100 reporters and editors who work in a central multimedia newsroom, in offices at the White House and other key locations throughout the nation's capital. The bureau includes specialized units for polling and investigative reporting. It is closely integrated with AP's radio, video and interactive teams and collaborates daily with AP bureaus throughout the United States and the world.

Now 45, Sally was AP's Middle East editor based in Cairo from 2004 to late 2009. She supervised Iraq war coverage and oversaw news, staff, budgets and logistics in 16 countries from Libya to Iran.

Under her leadership, the AP opened a news bureau in Saudi Arabia, one of the first Western agencies to do so, and expanded coverage of Iran. She led coverage of the 2008 Israeli offensive in Gaza, the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war, the Darfur crisis and terrorist cells in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and elsewhere.

Prior to her assignment to Cairo, she was assistant chief of bureau in Washington, supervising foreign affairs and national security coverage in the wake of the invasion of Iraq and guiding the news agency's daily news production from the nation's capital.

Sally spent her early years in Walla Walla with parents Eldyn and Monica Streff, who had moved here in December 1962 from South Dakota.

She attended Green Park Elementary School. After the family moved away, she eventually graduated from Olathe (Kan.) South High and earned a journalism degree from the University of Kansas.

She married John Buzbee, a fellow UK journalism grad and longtime newspaper reporter. As a foreign service officer, he is currently employed by the State Department in Washington, working on Israel-Palestine issues. The Buzbees reside in northwest Washington, D.C., with school-age daughters Emma and Margaret, Mike said.

Sally started her AP career in 1988 at Topeka, Kan. She was a correspondent in San Diego prior to moving to Washington in 1995. She later earned a master's of business administration from Georgetown University.

While in Walla Walla, Eldyn worked for International Harvester, which was located in what is now the Walla Walla Community College automotive building.

A nurse, Monica was employed at the former Smith Nursing Home on Alder Street. In December 1975 Eldyn transferred with International Harvester to California, then to Texas in 1977 and finally to Olathe in 1980, where they retired and reside still.

A 1975 Wa-Hi alum and JROTC participant, Mike graduated in 1979 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1979-2000, retired from the military in Manassas, Va., and works in Alexandria, Va. Mike and Sally's other siblings include Pam Streff, who attended Wa-Hi until the family moved away during her senior year. She graduated from San Jose State University, and is a nurse in Sacramento, Calif. Their sister Sue Heyroth graduated from the University of Texas and teaches in Anchorage, Alaska, and Mary Jane Baker, their youngest sister and an alumna of UK, teaches in Kansas City, Mo.

"Due to their extensive overseas time, Sally and family have not been back to (the Walla Walla area) in a number of years," Mike said. But he, his wife Sara, and sister Pam were in town for the Wa-Hi Class of 1975's 35th reunion in July.

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Walla Walla High School Latino Club members tapped Spanish teacher Daniel Ojcius and psychology teacher Julie Johnson for the club's September Staff Members of the Month honors.

This recognition is based on their faithful service to students who are Latino Club members, a release from Bill Erickson said. As staff members, the instructors are making a significant impact on all students at Wa-Hi.

One student said, "Mr. Ojcius is an enthusiastic teacher who makes learning Spanish fun. He is thoughtful to students and has a great sense of humor. The best AP Spanish teacher ever!"

And another student noted that "Mrs. Johnson is wise and gives a lot of advice. She is the best teacher I ever had and has taught me a lot."

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While looking for information one day on the Internet, I came across the State of the State for Washington Latinos at www.walatinos.org/partnersAlumni.cfm.

The best part is that a number of current and former advocates and community partners are from this area, including Nancy Carter and Teri Barila, Walla Walla Community Network, Commitment to Community; Bill Erickson and Diana Erickson, Walla Walla High School Latino Club; Roger Bairstow, Broetje Orchards.

The website notes that State of the State for Washington Latinos in 2006 was produced as a community partnership between the Walla Walla Latino American Community Forum and Whitman College.

The project had support and participation from individuals and groups, including Melinda Brennan, Early Childhood Education Program, Walla Walla Community College; Andrea Valencia, Walla Walla Public Schools; Andrew Dankel-Ibaez and Victor Chacn, WWCC; Diana Erickson and Cindy Gregoire, Walla Walla Public Schools; Bill Erickson, Wa-Hi Latino Club; Yolanda Esquivel, Walla Walla Migrant Head Start Program; Suzanne Morrissey, Blue Mountain Heart to Heart; Vance Norsworthy, Walla Walla Juvenile Detention Center; Cynthia Selde, Walla Walla Latino American Forum; and Melinda Townsend, Helpline of Walla Walla.

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Walla Walla Blossoms, a sculpture by Tacoma artist Mauricio Robalino, was installed recently at Edison Elementary School, the online Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review noted.

The Washington State Arts Commission's Art in Public Places program funded the artwork, which was selected in part by a school committee.

Principal Josh Wolcott said the sculpture helps welcome people to the school.

Also known as the one-half of 1 percent for art program, the art commission received funding from the new Edison construction and construction at the Washington State Penitentiary to fund Walla Walla Blossoms and a mural that will be installed at Edison in spring.

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Lincoln Alternative High School benefitted from a $1,000 grant through the Sam and Annie McLeod Community Fund of the Blue Mountain Community Foundation. Proceeds will help fund the school's yearbook project, according to the online Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review.

"Lincoln is very grateful for this grant," said Principal Jim Sporleder.

"As we continue to grow, we continue to add programs that will benefit our students and provide opportunities that they would have in a traditional high school setting. We are going to use this grant to help us provide our student with a hard copy yearbook. This will give us a down payment to begin the process."

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

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