ETCETERA - Walla Walla couple's grandson goes nose to nose with Hillary Clinton

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Two London-based newspapers ran photos of Walla Wallans Jonathan and Melissa Webster's 3-year-old grandson in their online editions in early December.

The 3-year-old son of Andrew Webster-Main, formerly of Walla Walla, came eye-to-eye with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and gave her marching orders, so to speak.

Despite two weeks in a global email pursuit to obtain permission to reprint the darling pictures, I was unsuccessful, but you can view them online at tinyurl.com/78flw7m.

Toby Webster-Main, son of Andrew, Walla Walla High School Class of 1989, and Erin Webster-Main, was at an embassy function with his parents to meet Hillary.

Andrew is U.S. consular chief and Erin is political officer on the U.S. Embassy staff in Yangon, Myanmar, (formerly Rangoon, Burma). The former first lady met with employees and their families at the embassy before seeing pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

According to Jonathan and Melissa, Toby accidentally broke his leg while playing at their home in late October and had to be airlifted to a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, to have the leg set. He's since been sporting an electric lime-green-hued cast.

Erin told her in-laws that she asked Hillary if she would like to sign his cast, "and I told her that she was the first person Toby allowed to sign the cast. So she looked at Toby and asked 'would you like me to sign?' Toby replied, 'OK' and held up one finger -- 'but only ONE word.' So she asked, 'how about Hillary?' Toby agreed, 'OK.'"

Members of the press on hand for Hillary's junket captured the pair in close negotiation and Erin laughing when Toby indicated he'd accept the one word on his otherwise pristine cast. No one else had been allowed to sign it, Jonathan said.

Hillary went to Myanmar for the first visit to that southeast Asia nation by a U.S. secretary of state since 1955, according to news reports from London-based newspapers, the Guardian and Daily Mail, which both published photos of the tiny negotiator and Hillary.

She visited in a tentative rapprochement after Myanmar had been estranged from the West for 50-plus years.

She met Prime Minister Thein Sein and parliamentary officials in the new capital, Naypyitaw. She also dined with Aung San Suu Kyi.

In a subsequent meeting with U.S. Embassy staff at The Hague Dec. 8, Hillary told the assembled crowd, "I met your former coworker, Erin Webster-Main and her three-year-old son, Toby, while I was visiting the mission in Burma. And Toby broke his leg; he's now wearing a cast, and so his mother wanted me to sign the cast. And as the child of a true diplomat, he negotiated for a while. He had to decide where and then he had to say, 'Only one word,' so he got 'Hillary,' and that was it. But it was a reminder of the interconnectedness amongst the entire State Department family, from one post to the next."

Married since 1999, Andrew and Erin have two sons, Samuel, 5, and Toby and daughter Solveig, 7 months.

•••

A Thanksgiving feast and attractive tablescape provided youngsters in Assumption Schools's Early Learning Center Early Lights pre-school program the opportunity to put into practice their table manners curriculum.

The children and ELC director Catherine Wolpert enjoyed their meal on Nov. 22 in their classroom.

The children created the menu and brought all the ingredients for a great feast, said Nancy Metro, director of admissions and community relations at Walla Walla Catholic Schools.

"The table was set so beautifully. We all sat down to the feast and used the great manners that we have been learning this last month: napkin on lap, elbows off the table, please pass the yams, wait until we are all served to eat, chew with your mouth closed!!! The children did a wonderful job," Catherine said.

"Could you ever believe that sitting at a table with nine 4- and 5-year-olds would be so enjoyable? It was delightful." The children's families contributed to make the meal a success.

Little Lights pre-schoolers are Jaxon Jones, Janey Doohan, Amberlyn Nichols, Daniel Balof, Jamey Didelius, Lauren Rhode, Jacob Mason and Gianna Martuscelli.

A slide show of the event is at tinyurl.com/7u5c7f4.

•••

Creative types in the Walla Walla Community College Admissions/Bookstore edged out the competition to win a Can Sculpture Contest sponsored by the WWCC chapter of Phi Beta Lambda members.

PBL is a professional business leaders group associated with the national Phi Beta Lambda organization. Its members are WWCC business, accounting and office technology majors.

The winners got six more votes than WWCC Business Services and received a trophy donated by Melody Muffler for Best Can Sculpture, said Mike Hays, PBL advisor in a release.

Other entries came from the WWCC Library, WWCC Water Center and PBL. Students and staff voted for their favorites by donating a non-perishable food item. The sculptures ranged from 175-300 cans each and at least 400 non-perishable food items from the votes, said Mike, who estimated about 1,400-1,500 food items.

All cans from the sculptures and food items donated for voting were turned over to the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank. Altogether, Gail McGee, food bank manager, said PBL donated 1,252 pounds of non-perishable items.

PBL members hosted an annual children's Christmas party on Dec. 11. In January they plan to put on a Dress for Success Style Show and Job Seeking Skills Workshop. They sponsor a number of fundraisers and community service activities throughout the school year, Mike said. In spring WWCC members will host the state PBL state conference and competitive events here. Participants who earn first places in state competition will be eligible to compete at nationals in San Antonio.

•••

Abby Larreau, a DeSales Catholic High School senior, garnered the Abajian Motors Student of the Month award.

A profile of her achievements can bee seen in commercials aired this month on the public access channel, said Nancy Metro, Walla Walla Catholic Schools director of admissions and community relations.

"Abby has risen to the top of her class, but holds her position with grace and a sense of humor endearing her to teachers and students alike," said Kathy Ruthven, school counselor.

Abby has served in class and ASB offices almost every year and has been a leader in the Girls League service club.

"She can be trusted to manage her time wisely, to listen to others' ideas, and to carry out a number of duties with complete reliability," Kathy said.

Abby's shown her dependability as a leader while helping to run a Red Cross blood drive with the National Honor Society and leading a team to win a Knowledge Bowl meet,

•••

When motivational speaker Stu Cabe communed with area students, he simply encouraged them to be nice.

Based in Littleton, Colo., he works around the country with students and teachers to help build strong school communities and improve campus culture and climate.

Founder of the Ovation Co. - Standing Up for What is Good, Stu met with students in sixth through 12th grades and student leadership teams.

He was keynote speaker at all-school assemblies at Pioneer and Garrison Middle and Walla Walla High schools during his two-day visit. And he sat in for an interview with Jim Bock for the KUJ In-Depth radio show.

While at Pioneer, students and staff gave a Flash Mob dance performance and donned newly designed "Be Nice" T-shirts during their assembly. Pioneer teacher Chris Plucker produced a video highlighting Stu's speech and the dance performance. It's posted on the Pioneer website at resources.wwps.org/pioneer/

"I ask students to do the right thing, not necessarily the popular thing," Stu said in an item posted at Walla Walla Schools Week in Review online. "You never have to apologize for being nice."

•••

Local motorcyclists saddled up to collect bedding, personal hygiene and cleaning supplies for the homeless receiving assistance at Christian Aid Center in Walla Walla.

Members of the Amigos and Los Santos clubs and local Red & Gold club collaborated, said Cathe Kujawski in a release.

On Nov. 19 the motorcyclists convened at the Milton-Freewater American Legion Hall to kick off the fun ride. American Legion Post 24 served as the event's staging place, received donations from community members and offered refreshments to those who participated.

More than 80 pillows, approximately 40 blankets, miscellaneous personal hygiene items and numerous cleaning supplies were loaded into the back of two vehicles for transport to Christian Aid Center, Cathe said.

At the front of the pack was Santa, who led the procession to Christian Aid Center.

Additional fun rides are in the works to benefit local non-profit organizations, she added. Cathe is adjutant-treasurer, Blue Mountain Chapter 46, Disabled American Veterans in Milton-Freewater.

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

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