ETCETERA - Rotarians spruce up Berney playfield with new tree planting

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What a releaf: Early spring has brought on plenty of tree planting in the Walla Walla Valley.

The community is more beautiful because of efforts by members of Rotary Club of Walla Walla, who on two occasions planted a variety of trees.

On April 14, 21 Rotarians planted dozens of trees on the playfield at Berney Elementary School, including ash, hackberry, Japanese plum, sunset maple and others.

More efforts involved giving complimentary trees to homeowners in the Berney neighborhood so they could enhance their parking green spaces. All of the trees were purchased locally and tallied 80 planted.

Rotary also participated in Arbor Day at Berney School. Fourth-graders and their teachers received starter trees to take home. Rotary donated 140 starter trees in small cups.

For the past 25 years Rotary Club has participated in tree plantings about twice each year. Over the years Rotary has been instrumental in planting more than 5,000 trees throughout the Valley.

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An article in Real Simple magazine included comments from Michelle Janning, a research fellow with the Council on Contemporary Families and an associate professor of sociology at Whitman College.

The article by Julia Edelstein, "What Women Can't Let Go," examines media depictions of women as being better homemakers and housekeepers by nature than men.

"We've all seen commercials like this: A child makes a mess, and Dad has no idea how to clean it up. Good thing Mom is in the next room! She brings order to the disarray and delivers a message in the process," the article notes.

"Ads often convey the idea that women are inherently better at household chores than men," said Erica Scharrer, a professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

In 2004, she looked at commercials aired in one week on prime-time TV shows. "Of 477 characters depicted completing chores, 305 were women and 159 were men. Of the male characters, 50 percent were portrayed as comically inept. By contrast, more than 90 percent of the female characters were portrayed as competent."

"If commercials promote the notion that the wife ‘knows best' when it comes to home upkeep, then decorating-themed TV shows make it a point of pride. On the DIY Network and HGTV, home maintenance is characterized as a creative and empowering endeavor. The programming is a double-edged sword," Michelle said in the article. "Women may feel excited by decorating and cleaning, but it still siphons their time and energy away from other activities," she said.

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In its early days, the prison here was called the Walla Walla Penitentiary. However as public figures looked at celebrating the town's centennial in 1936, they felt a new name for the penitentiary would be appropriate.

Walla Walla should be disassociated from an identity with a prison, they reasoned. After all, the area is famous for the Whitman Mission and monument, which give it some of its historical cachet.

"This historical shrine offers the people of this community a rallying ground around which they can gather," said Jack E. Wright, Centennial Committee vice president, in a U-B article from the day.

"The Walla Walla Valley should be far more widely known for this shrine of early Northwest endeavor than as the location of one of the state's major correctional institutions. It is this objective toward which we are striving."

James A. Wood, associate editor of The Seattle Times, added that "Walla Walla suffers in being so closely identified with the ‘pen' in the public mind. The common allusion is to the ‘Walla Walla penitentiary,' in a way as if all Walla Walla were no more than a commodious hostelry for convicts."

Making a change in the name was supported by Mayor Dorsey M. Hill and Postmaster George B. Day, the article noted.

The Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce and Union-Bulletin accepted proposals, including naming it something totally disassociated with the town's name, along the lines of other prisons, such as Sing Sing, San Quentin and Alcatraz. "Tarrytown" was recommended by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce. At some point Washington State Penitentiary came to the fore. This fodder came from an article local retired librarian Joe Drazan found while going through back issues of the paper. See Joe's vintage photo collection at www.wallawalladrazanphotos.blogspot.com/

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Pioneer Park Aviary benefitted from youthful enthusiasm and hard work when two 4-H groups rolled up their sleeves for the birds, said caretaker Joanna Lanning.

On April 3, Ranch and Home 4-Hers pruned and raked all the pheasant enclosures, weeded, spread bark and in general beautified the aviary.

"The weather was perfect and this wonderful group, accompanied by leaders and parents, accomplished a great deal," Joanna recalled.

The sun shone again when Dry Creek 4-H Club, with 17 members and nine adults, tackled a big project in the upper pond enclosure at the aviary on April 21. During their two-hour stint the volunteers removed large piles of shrub debris that had recently been cut down by park maintenance employees.

"They also pruned and weeded along the pond, making the area look terrific. It was very warm but that didn't stop this dedicated group," Joanna said.

"The work that the clubs performed was outstanding, it would have taken me months to accomplish what they did in hours. The members of both groups worked extremely hard, were very polite and are very interested in the aviary and the birds that live here.

"We appreciate the kids, their parents and their leaders so much. What a contribution they are to our community.

"They all had a great time and felt very accomplished," said Trina Judd about her Dry Creek 4-H members.

Annie Charnley Eveland will be back in the office on May 22. Items for the Etcetera column may be submitted to annieeveland@wwub.com or, if too timely, to Alasdair Stewart at alasdairstewart@wwub.com. Call Stewart at 526-8311 for more information.

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