ETCETERA - Walla Walla man saves self, family basset hound from icy death


‘Some people say Monday sucks ... but not me, I'm alive," began a Jan. 22 Facebook post by Jim Bock, KUJ news director and host of Walla Walla Live.

Remember, this was smack in the middle of the freezing rainstorm that coated the area with a crust of ice so thick we could walk on top of it without leaving prints.

Around 4 a.m. that Sunday, Jim let basset hound Sadie outside. He became concerned when she didn't return and, clad in sweats and slippers, drove his car around the block in search of her.

"I noticed how all the lawns were shiny and flat with silver frost," he recalled.

Back at his place on a 2-acre pond off Taumarson Road, he called out the back door "and that's when I heard her squeaking from the vicinity of the pond. I ran inside and pulled on denims, sneakers and a ski jacket.

"I started down to the pond in pitch darkness and saw her with her head above water resting on a loose piece of ice. In my panic I started toward the edge and immediately slipped and went head over. The ice on the pond held for about 2 seconds and then broke and I went under."

Touching bottom near a retaining wall, Jim pulled a floundering Sadie to him. "She was in bad shape. She'd probably slid down the hill and landed on the ice. I lifted her 60 pounds (plus soaked fur) out of the pond and placed her in an overgrown weedy clump of cattails hoping she could get some purchase, then looked for a way out for myself," he wrote.

Weighed down by his soaked jacket, he stripped down to his T-shirt, jeans and sneakers and hoped to pull himself out using the roots of the dead cattails.

The neighbors were too far away to shout at for help and wife Ester was in Portland over the weekend. "She had her own challenges traveling on I-5 on the worst weekend of the year," Jim said.

Struggling in that icy pond, Jim's denim jeans fell to his thighs, "thanks to my weight loss, and I could not pull them up. My hands were frozen like steaks out of the freezer. I slowly pulled myself up over the breach and was able to throw my right leg onto solid ground. I had to use my fists to punch through the silver frost to gain footholds (my pants still at half mast)."

Ham-fisted, he could neither unbutton his pants and nor yank them up. "My dog lay in the weeds still crying. She was 20 feet from me but it might as well have been 20 miles. It was just too slick to risk another fall. I pushed myself up my steep lawn and got inside. I knew I was in shock.

"Ten minutes later brave Sadie crawled through the cattails and made her way to the house. We were both alive but really in bad shape. So, yes it's Monday ... but I'm sure glad it is."

Jim followed up 10 days later. He lost his glasses after hitting his head on the ice, suffered a cracked rib and "only now am I starting to get feeling back in the pads of my fingers. The dog went to the vet and was in better health than I'll ever be even if she was in the water for 20-25 minutes."


Change is the word du jour for Pantry Shelf Food Share, which underwent a number of them in 2011.

After its manager of nearly two years, Kate Rambo, resigned in July, former manager Pat King filled in on an interim basis for 3 months while the PSFS Board of Directors interviewed candidates for the position.

Hired in October, Tom Galloway "brings a restaurant management background that has helped initiate changes in streamlining the operation for Pantry Shelf clients," said Gwyn Frasco, board president.

Pantry Shelf, which receives financial and food donations from the wider community and the six churches that formed the food share in 1971, is operated by volunteers and a paid manager, Gwyn said.

Blue Mountain Action Council Pantry Shelf receives a state grant that allows purchase of food from Blue Mountain Food Share.

Most of Pantry Shelf clients go through Helpline to access the food share, Gwyn said. Pantry Shelf also has a contract with Northwest Harvest and serves non-referral clients.

Local gardeners have been providing Pantry Shelf with extra produce for the past several years. "In 2011 more than 3,000 pounds of local fresh produce was donated to our clients and included fresh produce from the Gleaners and the Sumach Street Community Garden," Gwyn said.

"During 2011, Pantry Shelf gave out 102,883 pounds of food to 7,929 individuals. The Pantry Shelf Board is deeply grateful for all the community response to the operation of the food share."

Pantry Shelf is in the basement of First Presbyterian Church, 325 S. First Ave., with its own entrance off First Avenue. It's open from 3-5 p.m. Monday and 1-3 p.m. Wednesday and Friday. Monday and Friday operation is for families of all sizes; and Wednesday is for senior citizens and families of one to two people.

Board members represent founding churches: Gwyn, from First Congregational; B.J. Selde, secretary, from First Presbyterian; Mollie Storey, treasurer, from Central Christian; Hank Henderson, from St. Paul's Episcopal; Sue Hopkins, from Grace Methodist; and Robertta Hunt from Pioneer United Methodist.

For more information or to volunteer, call 526-4169


They're cookin' with Walla Walla Sweet Onions in Burlington, Vt. writer Sophie Pollack interviewed Judith Jones, Julia Child's editor for the 40-year-old "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Judith includes a classic French stew recipe in her own 2009 cooking opus, "The Pleasures of Cooking for One."

The one-pot beef bourguignon recipe calls for Walla Walla Sweet Onions: "Fingerling potatoes from South Village Farm in South Burlington and Walla Walla onions from Pete's Greens in Craftsbury are the right size for making stew," Sophie noted.

I'm not sure if the onions were bought from the Walla Walla Valley where they're grown exclusively and which makes them official, or grown in Vermont, which would make them not Walla Walla Sweet Onions, a protected trade proper noun, by the way.

There are 20 growers listed at who produce and ship Walla Walla Sweets. It is a unique variety produced in the federally protected growing area of the Walla Walla Valley of Southeastern Washington and Northeastern Oregon. Sweet onions grown outside this production area cannot be marketed as Walla Walla Sweet Onions or there are stiff federal penalties, the site noted.

Judith has a small operation of grass-fed beef in Walden, where she lives part-time. She recently retired as vice president and senior editor from Alfred A. Knopf, the New York publisher that handled Julia's famous cookbook.

Also an author, she edited John Updike's work and rescued for publication a rejected manuscript, "The Diary of Ann Frank." Find Judith's beef bourguignon recipe at


MidwayUSA Foundation awarded Walla Walla Gun Club a "very limited-edition" set of four "Almost Perfect Rifle Battery" Winchester Model 70 hunting rifles to be used as a fundraiser for the club's new shooting range.

The matched set will be limited to only 100 sets produced, said Bob Bloch, club secretary-treasurer. The four rifles will be chambered for .22-250 Remington, .270 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .375 H&H Magnum, and are intended to cover the entire spectrum of use, from varmint hunting to big game, Bob said in a release.

In the Club's grant application letter, Bob said they plan to use their portion of the proceeds toward the rimfire and air rifle range, for which they presently have no sponsor. The name of the new range would thus become the MidwayUSA Foundation Rimfire and Air Rifle Range.

"Apparently, the foundation liked it well enough to entrust one of the very first sets of rifles produced to our stewardship," Bob said. The club is expecting to receive them by the end of March.

The grant comes with conditions: the club must share 50 percent of the proceeds from this fundraiser with MidwayUSA Foundation, which will earmark the funds for youth shooting support nationwide; WWGC is obligated to use its share of the proceeds for youth shooting activities too. Therefore, the rimfire/air rifle range will be built to accommodate youth shooting activities by such groups as Boy Scouts, JROTC, 4-H/FFA and others.

As there is no public rimfire range operating in Walla Walla County, this one has been needed for many years, Bob said.

The suggested asking price for the set of rifles is $10,000. "The method of raising the money is left up to the WWGC, so any suggestions would be immediately appreciated," Bob added. Those interested in bidding on the set may contact "Since Winchester will only make a very limited number of these sets, they are sure to be prized by collectors," Bob added. View the rifle set at and at the MidwayUSA Foundation website.

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


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