ETCETERA - AMVETS prepare for fair parade, flag days

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Making our town even friendlier, AMVETS Jonathan Wainwright Post 1111 of Walla Walla will fly flags downtown on fair parade day, Sept. 3; Labor Day, Sept. 5; Patriot Day, Sept. 11; and POW/MIA Day, Sept. 16.

The post's newsletter for August features an interesting historical outline of the Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days, which this year will be Sept. 1-4.

Started in 1863, it is the state's oldest fair and kicked off with the first horse race on a newly constructed track, according to www.wallawallafairgrounds.com.

Three years later, members of the Walla Walla Agricultural Society staged a showcase of the Valley's crops and current farming methods in an agricultural and industrial exposition.

It was called the Fair of Washington Territory Agricultural, Manufacturing and Art Fostering Society in 1870, then the Walla Walla County Agricultural Society event in 1874 and evolved into the Walla Walla Consolidated Agricultural Society in 1886.

By 1903, it was identified as Walla Walla County Fair Association. A Wild West Show rodeo came along in 1913-1914. Event directors changed the name to Southeastern Washington Fair in 1938.

Not done yet, it morphed to Walla Walla Frontier Days in 1992 and to Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days in 1996.

Despite all the name changes, it's provided many memories for its participants for nearly 150 years.

Post members plan to be in the fair parade on Sept. 3 with a flag float, said Commander Larry Cunnington. They also will volunteer as shuttle drivers at the fairgrounds that day.

Participating in community events is their way to make ours the "Friendliest Small Town in America," Larry said.

The newsletter also reports that volunteers are sought for the Palliative Care Program and Caregiver Support Services through the Jonathan M. Wainwright Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Volunteers receive 20 hours of training, beginning Sept. 13, to provide a compassionate presence -companionship, friendship, errands and respite - for veterans with serious injuries, illnesses or advanced chronic diseases. Call 525-5200, Catherine Zimmerman, ext. 26270, or Ed Parker, ext. 22936.

The next membership potluck will be 6 p.m. Wednesday, followed by a meeting at 7 p.m. in Golden West Estates Community room, 1425 Jasper St.

View the August AMVETS newsletter at www.amvets-wallawalla.org/Amvets_Pages/newsletter.htm

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Kaplan University awarded degrees to three area students. The graduation ceremony for its summer 2011 class was Aug. 6 at Arie Crown Theater in Chicago.

Lorna Schuster of Milton-Freewater earned a master of science degree in legal studies.

Bachelor's degrees went to Beau Blachly of Pomeroy, in professional studies, and Paulo De of Dayton, in interdisciplinary studies.

Kaplan University's summer 2011 class included more than 7,200 graduates who earned associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees, all online. More than 1,000 of them traveled from around the country to attend the ceremony, meeting face-to-face for the first time. Others watched from home via a live webcast.

Since 2001, Kaplan University, which is owned by The Washington Post Company and operates globally, has graduated nearly 40,000 students.

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A number of individuals and organizations received special recognition for contributions to a successful fundraising campaign at United Way of Walla Walla County's annual meeting Aug. 5, said Liz McDevitt, executive director.

With such aid, the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign jointly raised just shy of $442,000, well over the $420,000 goal, Liz said.

Several employee campaigns were recognized for significant increases in giving, including Macy's, Key Technology, Banner Bank, City of Walla Walla, YMCA, Bi-Mart, Walla Walla Community Hospice and Walla Walla University.

The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin was honored for its continued enthusiastic support, both through employee campaign and for the generous year-round in-kind ad support.

Community Bank was acknowledged for being a new supporter of the Walla Walla County United Way.

Employees of the Jonathan M. Wainwright Veterans Affairs Medical Center were honored for outstanding efforts in the Combined Federal Campaign.

Pete and Hedda Reid were recognized for their leadership in this year's campaign, and United Way Partner agencies were thanked for excellent service to the community.

Tim Meliah, Catholic Charities, gave a presentation on efforts to create a local youth shelter.

The meeting concluded with the election fo new board members and officers for fiscal year 2012: Gordon Wicher, president; Jennifer Seekamp, allocations chairwoman; Rob Blethen, communications chairman; Jolene Riggs, treasurer; and Gary Wagers, immediate past president. Newly elected members are Kathryn Barron, Pam Cress, Anita Funk and Shontina Gianotti-Coers.

United Way's first-ever co-generational campaign chairpersons will be Wilbur and Karen Pribilsky, son Jason Pribilsky and his wife Suzanne Morrissey.

And recognizeds for years of service were outgoing board members Shannon Bergevin, Linda Boggs, Alan Coffey and Dave Mastin.

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

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