ETCETERA - E-mail, hard copy, letters and flowers, oh my

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Boy, I tell you, I needed a pretty stout constitution to process the 200-plus e-mails that amassed during my three-week vacation out of town.

I came back to a desk buried under hard-copy press releases, notes, letters and a pretty vase with six roses from a mystery admirer that dried a perfectly beautiful, velvety violet.

I'm sure the flowers were lovely while still fresh and I'm enjoying the thought behind them, too. I'd like to know who gave them to me so I can say thank you.

Many great news items abound and I'm still sifting through them, writing bits for the column as time and editing duties allow to bring us all abreast on what you‘ve been up to.

I also want to send a shout out to the road crew that redid the intersection of Bryant and Fern avenues while I was away.

I dreaded winter weather, which repeatedly ground up and spat out the patched plugs from the potholes there and forced many a car to drive through as if weaving around, well, potholes big enough to swallow a small car. (OK, slight exaggeration.) After two decades of bouncing through the divots, dodging potholes small and large, it's a lovely experience to motor any direction through that intersection on such smooth asphalt. Great job!

Oh, and am I glad to be back.

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Walla Walla Valley Academy alum Cadet Andrew E.C. Scott, son of Kraig and Julie Scott of College Place completed rigorous cadet basic training at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

Scott entered West Point on June 28 and successfully cruised through the six-weeks challenge. Also referred to as "Beast Barracks," CBT is one of the most challenging events cadets will encounter over the course of their four years at the academy, according to a press release.

The initial program gives cadets basic skills to instill discipline, pride, cohesion, confidence and a high sense of duty to prepare them for entry into the Corps of Cadets.

He received instruction in first aid, mountaineering, hand grenades, rifle marksmanship and nuclear, biological and chemical training.

His classes started Aug. 16. The West Point curriculum offers 45 majors balancing physical sciences and engineering with humanities and social sciences leading to a bachelor of science degree.

Scott, who graduated from WWVA in June 2010, expects to graduate from West Point in 2014 and be commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

The mission of the U.S. Military Academy is to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of duty, honor and country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as an officer in the U.S. Army, a release said.

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Valley Girls Barrel Racing Association awarded its first annual scholarships to Courtney Frazier and Taylor Hof, both local students.

To be eligible, applicants must be VGBRA members or their parents or grandparents must be members of the association, said Barbara Brown, VGBRA website coordinator. An alumn of Touchet High School, Courtney received a $250 scholarship to continue her studies at Walla Walla Community College. She is in her third year in the nursing program. The daughter of Troy and Maryanne Frazier of Touchet, Courtney has been an active member of VGBRA for many years. Her mother and her grandmother, Judy Frazier, are also members.

A recent graduate of Walla Walla High School, Taylor plans to pursue a degree in diesel technology at WWCC. His parents are Bill Hof and Andrea Hof, both of Walla Walla. Andrea is a former VGBRA member and Taylor's grandmother, Charmaine Beck has been a member of VGBRA since its inception is 1961.

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The Picture Lady Program needs art materials for creative reuse, the Aug. 27 Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review reported

The program is seeking art-worthy materials for use in hands-on art lessons. Some 3,050 kids in the College Place and Walla Walla elementary school community are aided through this program, which is funded by Carnegie Art Center, said Denise Slattery, materials coordinator.

Community support helps them achieve their goal, which is "Every child, Every class."

If you can supply or recycle any of the following items to the program, they'd be most grateful:

Art books, art educational games, brushes, buttons, cameras, canvas, ceramic tiles, CD cases, chalk, colored paper, coloring books, corks, craft supplies, crayons, egg cartons, fabric samples, fabric yardage, feathers, file folders, film canisters, Fimo modeling clay, foam core, frames, glitter, glue, hobby supplies, hole punchers, instruments, jewelry making supplies, knitting/crochet needles, labels, lace, leather, mailing tubes, magazines (limited), magnets, maps, marbles, matt board, notebooks, paints (watercolor, acrylic, poster, gouache, or tempera) with labels, paper of all types, pens/pencils, pins/needles, photographs, Plexiglas, Popsicle sticks, printing supplies (blocks, brayers, water soluble ink, etc.), scissors, posters, ribbon, rubber bands, rubber stamps, rulers, screen-printing supplies, sewing notions, stamps, stamp pads, staplers, string, stuffing, tape, teaching materials, test tubes and lab gear, trimmings, yarn, wallpaper, wire, wood rounds and dowels and zippers.

Donations may be made at The Picture Lady drop-off box on the upstairs landing at the Walla Walla Post Office, 128 N. Second Ave. For more information, including about donating alternative items, contact Denise at 509-240-2316 or e-mail slatterysf@yahoo.com .

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Walla Walla Choral Society is beginning its practices for the 2010-11 concert season.

Anyone can participate, said member Susan Fleming, "to make beautiful music for the enrichment of our community."

Tenors and bass singers are in short supply and are especially encouraged to attend and help broaden the lower range of voices. Rehearsals are 7 p.m. every Monday in the Walla Walla University Fine Arts Building, beginning Monday (tomorrow). There are no auditions for membership. WWCS's repertoire includes a wide selection of secular pieces, spiritual and classical works. For further details, contact Susan at 525-0449, or e-mail John Junke at junkelaw@charter.net.

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

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