Etcetera - 11/04/11

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From 1-4 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month, anyone can jam with other musicians at the Milton-Freewater Senior Center, 311 N. Main St.

Participant Patricia Tanner said the jamboree is led by Little Joe McCutcheon and David Cratty of Pendleton-based country, blues and rock band Chinook Winds.

Patricia said they mostly play country music and all y'all are encouraged to bring along musical instruments and tappin' toes. "We're raising money for the senior center and we have a lot of fun, too," Patricia said. There is a $2 admission fee and refreshments are served. The next opportunity to rock the country appears to be Nov. 12.

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Ten area students acted as ambassadors while on their homestay visit Oct. 5-16 in Sasayama, in Japan's Hyogo Prefecture.

In fact they were great in that role, said Robert Keatts, chairman of the Walla Walla Sister City Affiliation Committee. He and Kim Hays, Dustin Palmer and Reggie Gonzalez chaperoned the group.

Students from Walla Walla High School were Mitchell Huffman, Colton Jordan, Aaron Enriquez, Colleen Gibbons, Jordana Storm, Manuel Aguilar, Tanya Esquivel, Reid Magnaghi and Devon Pellham and senior Paige Palmer from Touchet High School.

"The journey to Sasayama is long, but the end result is enthusiastic people waiting at Sasayama City Hall for our arrival. Host families, city officials, Sasayama Sister City members and a few strangers were eager to shake hands, hug and join in much laughter," Robert recalled.

The group visited City Hall and met Mayor Takaaki Sakai and Sister City Chairman Hata. Robert made a donation from the WWSCCAC for use in relief following the devastating earthquake and tsunami. He said with other donations from Walla Walla it added up to $10,000. He also gifted Walla Walla Sweets baseball memorabilia, including a baseball signed by team members.

The students visited Tanba Pottery, which dates from 1180; and the Kondacho Tachikui area known for its stunning mountains and cultivated fields. They enjoyed Japanese cuisine and a tea ceremony and time with host families, shopping, visiting temples, a museum, castles and a festival. They met with students and saw some of their programs at various elementary through high schools.

Before the Walla Walla Sister City delegation departed for home they took in a "see you again" farewell at the Sasayama Community Center at which host families, city dignitaries, Sister City officials and passersby gathered.

"With moist eyes, happy hearts and memories of happiness Walla Walla-Sasayama Sister City Affiliation Committee members and the delegation of students completed another two week home stay in our sister city," Robert said. The home stay program had been going strong since 1994.

For more details about this program, email robert_wwscc@yahoo.com or call him at 525-0049. Tentative trip dates for 2012 are Oct. 3-15.

Contact Annie Charnley Eveland at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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