Couple meets Whittie while soaking at Iceland spa


Doug and Karen Morton found themselves relaxing on May 20 in the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa near Reykjavik, Iceland, a mere 3,589 miles from Walla Walla as an airplane flies. And baby, it is turquoise blue.

The outdoor facility is roomy enough to accommodate 1,000 guests, Karen said. About 200 people were enjoying the hot spot’s waters that day, when a young woman approached them, later identified as Kiley Wolff. She asked where they were from.

Washington state, they said.

“What town?”

“Walla Walla.”

“I graduated from Whitman College a year ago,” Kiley said.

“Now, what are the chances?,” Karen mused.

It’s not the first time Karen has bumped into folks from here who are traveling. She said two years ago in London, she bumped into John and Barbara Knowlton.

“Walla Walla is infiltrating everywhere,” Karen said

The man-made Blue Lagoon draws more than 400,000 people annually, according to details gleaned at Wikipedia. Its warm waters are swimming in minerals such as silica and sulphur “and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is reputed to help some people suffering from skin diseases such as psoriasis. Its temperature is about 98-102 degrees Fahrenheit. The site is used as a research and development facility to help find cures for other skin ailments using the mineral-rich water.

Its superheated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to run turbines that generate electricity. After going through the turbines, the steam and hot water passes through a heat exchanger to provide heat for a municipal water heating system. Then the water is fed into the lagoon for recreational and medicinal users to bathe in.

I would say it’s a small world after all, and brings to mind my own discovery in Rome in May 2012 when my aunt and I dined at an outdoor cafe near the Trevi Fountain. We became acquainted with a fellow at the next table, an artist from Chicago whose daughter turned out to be a teacher at Whitman.

Karen and I didn’t cross paths on our trips, but we followed our mutual spring travels via Facebook while I was with my folks in Greece, Switzerland, Scotland and England. Having that connection was great fun.

Walla Walla High School senior Travis Stinebaugh earned the first scholarship award from the Walla Walla High Schools Scholarship Fund in the amount of $3,000, the Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review online newsletter reported.

Wa-Hi Class of 1962 graduate Jerry Zahl, with the support of classmates and the community, has established a high school scholarship fund to help area graduates get to college. Currently the fund, managed by Blue Mountain Community Foundation, has nearly $30,000 with a goal to exceed $100,000 in the next five years.

Travis also received $427 from the Ann Weatherill Memorial Fund. He plans to earn a degree in computer science from the University of Washington.

To make a donation or learn more about the Walla Walla Public High Schools Scholarship fund, see Or contact Jerry at

Walla Walla Community College/Alternative Education Program June graduate Makayla Tucker has been awarded a dean’s scholarship for $2,000 for the 2013-14 academic year at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.

Makayla has been committed to school and worked a part-time job throughout high school.

She is planning to study criminal justice at EWU. She is the daughter of Adam Tucker of Walla Walla and Andrea Burt of Touchet.

The Walla Walla High School Latino Club recognized 31 members for exceptional dedication to the community and for personal achievements during the academic year.

Ten members received Young American awards and 21 students received Learning for Life Leadership awards.

The Learning for Life program, which supports the Latino Club as Exploring Post 311, is a subsidiary program of the Boy Scouts of America.

Awards recognize substantial achievements by youths who are active in their communities and demonstrate citizenship and leadership. Exploring Post 311’s charter organization is College Place First Presbyterian Church Men’s Breakfast Group.

Learning for Life Leadership award demonstrate exceptional dedication for those who give their time to make the program a success.

Recipients include Katherine Alvarado, Berenice Bañales, José Carrasco, Jessica Castro, Janette Castro, Kayla Crain, Lea Davidson, Christopher Esquivel, Eduardo Feria, Paola Flores, Maria Fuentes, Hanna Hampson, Cynthia Mora-Pulido, Veronica Ocampo, Teresa Olivos, Dalia Olmos, Liz Ortiz, Wilbur Pantaleon, Alexis Pasillas, Nadia Sierra and Marco Soto.

Young American awards go to students who have achieved excellence in the fields of art, athletics, business, education, government, humanities, literature, music, math, religion, science, or service and have been involved in their community.

Recipients are Jose Albarran, Vanessa Alvarado-Rivas, Maira Ambriz, Eduardo Duran, Nallely Facio, Brenda Lopez, Bertha Madrigal, Marilyn Melgoza, Cailin Price and Iris Salazar.

The Milton-Freewater Education Association has officers and building representatives in place for the 2013-14 school year, according to the group’s secretary, Roy Elia, in a release.

At the gavel is Janice Propeck, president. She will serve with Roy, and Vickie Jackson, president-elect; Caryn Houchin, treasurer; and Laurie Hackney, grievance chair.

Certified and classified building representatives will be Karen Shelton and Tiffany Key, Central Middle School; Amanda Noirot and Angie Leonetti, Ferndale Elementary; Dana Timm-Ballard and Jaque Sicocan, Freewater Elementary; Pat Holmes, Muriel Duncan and Pat Butterfield, Grove Elementary; Stacie Pickler, Jennifer Riley and Sally Beazley, McLoughlin High School; and Cindy Brumbach, bus rep.

Jennifer Cho will lead student officers for the 2013-2014 year as president of the Walla Walla High School orchestra, according to the Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review online newsletter.

Serving alongside her will be Jordon Crewse, secretary; Garrett Farrelly, equipment manager; and Velia Saldiva, librarian.

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


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