Etcetera - 05/27/11

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Several area residents became naturalized citizens during recent ceremonies. Among the 116 people who took their oath of allegiance in April 29 ceremonies in Spokane, at least three live in Walla Walla, according to a release from Linda Armbruster with the Spokane U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office.

Maybelle Johanson is from the Philippines. She came here with a religious group on a special visa, met her soon-to-be husband and immigrated. Now, she lives in Walla Walla, is the mother of two and is a registered nurse in orthopedics and neurosurgery at St. Mary Regional Medical Center.

From Venezuela, Oskar Rojas is a physical therapy technician at a hospital. Both he and Maybelle are very happy to be citizens, and look forward to all that citizenship offers.

And Beatriz Esquivel, formerly of Mexico, met her future husband while on vacation.

Olga Tkachev of Walla Walla became a U.S. citizen in late May at Shaw Middle School in Spokane, according to a release from Sharon Rummery. Olga was one of 57 citizens who took the oath of allegiance as 620 students cheered them on and received a first-hand civics lesson in the bargain, Sharon said.

Olga came here from Russia as a 14-year-old refugee in 1990. She spoke no English when she entered eighth grade. She now is a middle school teacher's assistant.

Saxophonist Lucas Simpson garnered an 11th place during the Oregon State Solo Contest on April 30.

The McLoughlin High School junior placed in the high saxophone division at the Oregon School Activities Association State Solo Contest at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, performing the Concerto in Eb for alto saxophone by Alexander Glazounov. Lucas qualified for the state solo contest by winning first place in the Oregon Music Educators Association District Solo Festival in Pendleton on March 5, said Mike Agidius, band teacher.

This is the second year in a row that Lucas has won at the district solo festival and advanced to the state solo festival.

Lucas plays in Mac-Hi Jazz Ensemble and Walla Walla Valley Band.

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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