Teen's best birthday gifts? Contributions to Humane Society

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Jeremy Fetter, 14, devised a creative way have fun on his birthday and benefit Blue Mountain Humane Society's four-legged lodgers in one fell swoop.

He has invited his guests over the past three years to the society's animal shelter at 7 E. George St., instructing them to bring cash to support the society's work, or food for the cats and dogs.

Jeremy's 2011 efforts brought in more than $300. This time around he brought in $528.91 in cash, food and animal toys.

Jeremy's actual birthday is July 16, but with his schedule full of summer camp and other activities his party was delayed until July 30, according to parents Sheril and Jeff Fetter.

"The party went really well. The BMHS staff did a great job with the kids, taking them on a tour of the facility and hosting a water balloon game after the refreshments," Sheril said.

"The kids went home cooler and wetter than when they came and BMHS staff member Joshua Friedman, who volunteered to be the target when kids correctly answered questions, was positively soaked.

"Sara Archer, executive director, and Nicole King, customer service manager, were really great to work with as were all the staff," Sheril said.

In his birthday invitation to about 30 guests, Jeremy explained why he chose the animal shelter as beneficiary. "I love animals and have a compassion for those that need homes. I want to see them taken care of and, as soon as possible, given a loving home.

"Two years ago my party netted over $100 in donations to Blue Mountain Humane Society. Last year was over $300. This year I would like to do even more and I'm hoping that you will join me in supporting BMHS in total of $500-$1,000.

BMHS' No. 1 need is wet cat food and they can use dry cat food, wet and dry dog food, 33-gallon trash bags and bleach. Cash or checks are also appreciated.

For safety when playing with the animals, Jeremy asked partygoers to wear long pants and close-toed shoes. Also, "Siblings are welcome. Some parents will be needed to help supervise."

His invitation cautioned that "BMHS staff are working hard with us to have fun and educational activities and games (you might end up wet before it's over). We'll also have some traditional refreshments and fun. Looking forward to seeing you there!!"

Jeremy begins seventh grader this fall at Rogers Adventist School.

"His tentative goals for after high school are to either study biology and work with animals or study mechanical engineering," Sheril said.

"He really enjoys animals including his own two dogs and knows most of the dogs and cats in our neighborhood by name (and, yes, he knows most of their owners as well!)

"He's fascinated with studying, building, altering or creating any kind of machinery. In addition, he's somewhat obsessed with hot air balloons, has been on a chase crew for the last three stampedes and wants to own his own balloon someday," she said.

Sheril add that several of Jeremy's young guests contributed or bought pet food with their own money.

The bottom line?

Jeremy was pleased to make a difference for the animals and didn't miss getting presents at all.

•••

It's that time of year again. Walla Walla Sweet Onions are at the fore in some posts on line.

Corvallis author Jan Roberts-Dominguez writes about food. Walla Walla Sweet Onion recipes took center stage for a piece by Jan published recently in The Herald in Everett, Wash.

She's been cooking with the orb for a long time, but ran into more than a few glitches because while it's good in recipes that "compliment its crunchy texture and delicate flavor" like salads, relishes and fresh salsas, it loses translation and doesn't hold up in heartier stews or zippy Szechwan chicken.

On a visit to the produce section of her grocery store, she found some very sweet white corn. So sweet, she said, it was "sort of like ... sort of like ... (this is where the bolt of lightening streaked through my brain) ... sort of like a Walla Walla Sweet Onion."

She picked up some of both and added colorful sweet bell peppers and chopped olives, resulting in a relish she served up with grilled chicken breast. "It was fantastic."

It wouldn't be fair not to include the recipe, so here goes:

Walla Walla relish

  • 1 cup chopped Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (use Roma varieties until local varieties are available)
  • 3 ears of sweet corn (white or yellow), roasted (as directed below) or boiled, then cut from cob
  • 1 4.25-ounce can chopped olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped red or yellow sweet pepper
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 11/2 teaspoons (from an 0.4-ounce pouch) ranch dressing seasoning mix (any brand calling for buttermilk)

Combine all the ingredients in a 1-quart bowl. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours to blend flavors.

To roast corn: Prepare two ears of corn for roasting by removing all the silk and all but one layer of the husk. Dip each ear in water to moisten, then arrange the ears (with the husks covering the kernels), on a baking sheet. Roast in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and when the ears are cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off the cob. Each ear should yield 1/2 cup of kernels.

Yields 3 1/2 cups relish.

Jan has authored five cookbooks, including, "Oregon Hazelnut Country, the Food, the Drink, the Spirit," and blogs at www.janrd.com.

•••

The family legacy of educators will continue through Melissa Faye "Meisha" Horner of Walla Walla, who is completing a dual major in special ed/elementary ed at Western Washington University, Bellingham, during the 2012-2013 school year

WWU recognized Meisha's superior scholarship -- a 4.0 gpa -- by including her on the 2012 spring quarter president's list. She plans to do her student teaching in fall 2013.

A congratulatory letter to Meisha from Western noted that "Each quarter, a few of the hardest-working and most dedicated students reach this goal.

"This is an outstanding achievement and indicative of the commitment you have to your education. Your success came through your own personal sacrifices and hard work in the pursuit of knowledge."

Meisha graduated from Walla Walla High School in June 2007. Her sister Meghan is a 2004 Wa-Hi alumna and summa cum laude from Eastern Washington University in 2009 with a degree in secondary education in physics.

Parents Jeff and Natalie Horner of Walla Walla said their daughter is following in Natalie's mother's footsteps. Meisha's grammy Phyllis Edwards taught special ed and elementary ed in the Walla Walla Public School District for 25 years and her great-grandma Ethel Bingham taught elementary ed and remedial reading in Utah and Idaho for many years.

Before Natalie was sidetracked by marriage, family and accounting, she said she also headed down the teaching path.

•••

Zonta Club of Walla Walla honored Kayla Huxoll and Claudio Nuñez with $500 scholarships.

Kayla graduated from Waitsburg High School this year and Claudio from Prescott High School.

They both were senior class valedictorians and were active in their communities. They plan to study nursing at Walla Walla Community College this fall and continue their education in the fields of nursing and medicine, with a view toward serving society while at the same time advancing their own professional careers, said Zonta member BJ Selde in a release.

Founded in 1919, Zonta International is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. There are more than 30,000 members of 1,200 Zonta Clubs in 63 countries and geographic areas. Zontians volunteer their time, talents and support to local and international service projects and scholarship programs.

The local chapter of Zonta International has been active in Walla Walla since 1953. It has awarded scholarships to local students every year since.

For more information about Zonta's activities in Walla Walla, call 509-522-9439 or email vselde@charter.net. For information about Zonta's programs worldwide see www.zonta.org/.

•••

In a piece Seattle native Daytona Strong wrote for Wanderlust & Lipstick, Your Destination for Women's Travel, she talked up our corner of the state because of the whole wine buzz.

"Its wines are big, bold, and nuanced, with winemakers primarily focusing on red wines but also offering some excellent whites. The Walla Walla Valley is home to more than 100 wineries plus a number of excellent restaurants, picturesque landscapes, and a growing arts scene, making it the ideal getaway for those looking for a break from big city life while still having plenty to see and do," she noted.

She planned to take participants on a tour to some of her favorite wineries, introduce them people who make the town special and giving them ideas about where to stay and what to do. "You'll learn how to enjoy a wine tasting weekend to the fullest, whether you're traveling with friends, looking for a romantic escape with your significant other, or are bringing the kids along (yes, it's possible to have a kid-friendly tour!)."

Beth Whitman of West Seattle founded and is editor of Wanderlust and Lipstick and WanderTours. She travels the globe, combining touring with volunteer work, adventure trips, travel writing and business.

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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