Latino Club’s contributions make fairgrounds shine


Visitors to the annual Walla Walla County Fair & Frontier Days may be unaware that an assemblage of helping hands spend hours prepping the grounds to make them fresh, tidy and attractive.

Among the volunteers who make it so are Walla Walla High School Latino Club members who worked the two Saturdays and evenings before the fair to groom the grounds.

Adviser Bill Erickson said 47 club members and adults volunteered more than 290 hours at the Pavilion where they swept and mopped floors, cleaned glass display cabinets, hauled unused items downstairs, wiped down woodwork and weeded around the outside.

Besides earning first place for their youth float parade entry, club members passed out more than 1,700 American flags along the parade route.

They also hosted Mariachi Huenachi as part of their parade entry and provided support for the Wenatchee High School group as it played four times at the fair Pavilion.

The group’s attendance at the fair was sponsored by the Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days.

As Exploring Post 311, the Latino Club raised funds for its projects through management of a concession stand and the sale of food and cola products in the grandstand during the Wednesday concert, Thursday Demolition Derby and three nights of the rodeo.

Collectively, 79 club members and adults spent 757 hours supporting the fair, Bill said.

Latino Club promotes higher education, community service and cultural and leadership experience for its student membership.

Student-members are dedicated to serving the community and looking toward the future by developing plans to continue their education after high school, Bill said.

Walla Wallan Nancy Ross-Ludwigs heard from friends and former Walla Walla residents Dr. Guy (a neurosurgeon) and Mary Gehling who on Sept. 8 were hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc.

The couple, who’ve retired to live on the Oregon Coast, told Nancy their hike took them around the tallest peak in the Alps, through portions of France, Italy, Switzerland and back to France.

“We are staying in huts and when we drop down into towns and villages we are in small hotels,” Mary emailed. “It’s hard, but gorgeous. We are staying on a hut in the Italian Alps tonight after a two-night rest in Courmayeur, Italy.”

After their two-week trek, they planned five days in Provence, France, and then a visit in Germany.

Nancy herself is a world traveler of sorts. She was born and grew up in Walla Walla where she was active in theater and graduated with the Walla Walla High School Class of 1949.

She earned her bachelor’s in communications and a master’s in speech/drama from Washington State University and a master’s in library science from the University of Washington. She worked for the Rand Corp., an early think tank, before moving to Europe

She went overseas as a young woman to be a librarian in Holland. Heading next to Germany, she was civilian CEO of a procurer of commercial entertainment for the U.S. Army in Europe from 1964 to 1991.

Her contracting office was self supporting, she said, taking 5 percent from its entertainment contracts to support her organization, headquartered in Heidelberg. The business brought in everyone from go-go dancers and rock bands to Johnny Cash, she said.

As if being a real estate specialist for more than 12 years isn’t enough to keep a person occupied, Nancy has been a consulting rosarian accredited by the American Rose Society and is active in the community, holding offices in the Walla Walla Art Club, Walla Walla Reading Club, Symphony Guild and the Walla Walla Community College Quest Steering Committee.

She also been involved in dog handling, drama, P.E.O., Eastern Star, Lioness Club and auctions.

Elsie Tillotson German is on the verge of celebrating her 102nd birthday Tuesday, according to longtime friend and neighbor Doug Saturno. It’s quite a feat to live into one’s 100s, he said. Doug has known Elsie since he was a 12-year-old junior high school student.

Earning a bachelor’s from Western Washington University and a library science degree from the University of Oregon, Elsie started her teaching career with two years at a one-room school near Pilot Rock, Ore. She also taught eight years at Ferndale School before taking time off to raise sons William and Alan German with husband Ward German, whom she married on May 17, 1936.

She worked at Sharpstein Elementary School teaching first- and second-graders, then was librarian for nine years at Pioneer Junior High School until retiring at 62 in 1973, according to her caregiver, Maureen Bridgeman.

The Milton-Freewater native was born Oct. 8, 1911, to George and Elizabeth Warner Tillotson.

A member of First Congregational Church, Elsie has four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Ward died in 1998 and William died in 2012.

Remember Pirate, the poor, frightened dog that was desperately injured when Leslie Stubbs Kroum and husband Russell caught him under a shrub near their home?

After medical treatment and recovery from life-threatening injuries including an eye so damaged it had to be removed, the lhasa apso has a new home.

The area where his eye once had been has “healed nicely and he took little time in navigating his surroundings without it,” Leslie said in a Facebook post.

She said posts to “Facebook friends, business challenges and the assistance of a skilled journalist close to $1,000 was donated in Pirate’s name for the shelter and vet to care for other injured animals.”

Leslie said a fellow member of the Interlake High School Class of 1974 saw her Facebook posts and felt Pirate was the dog for him.

Roger Johnson had suffered a significant loss this past year, thought he could work with Pirate and they could help one another heal, Leslie said.

“We get the animals we need to help us on life’s journey,” Leslie said.

“Much thanks to those of you that helped in various ways.”

Members of the Washington State School Retirees’ Association will host four AFS exchange students as well as another from Sasayama, Japan, during their 11:45 a.m. luncheon meeting Monday in the Walla Walla School District Board Room, 364 S. Park St.

Hogara Ikuma from Japan is being hosted here for a yearlong exchange by Walla Walla High School Principal Pete Peterson and family.

Guests at the luncheon also include Wa-Hi students with AFS Martin Ortiz from Argentina, Ecem “A-Jay” Turkkan from Turkey, Mathika “Fatin” Klongsamut from Thailand and Valter Seraphim from Mozambique. Their host families are Chris and Barry Blackman, Tim and Susan Bennett, Fred and Edith Liebrand, and John and Ruth Ladderud.

Ecem, Mathika and Valter are here on Youth Exchange and Study merit scholarships through the U.S. State Department Division of Education and Cultural Affairs.

Walla Walla has hosted students from the YES program through AFS for seven years and has hosted AFS students every year since 1997.

Robert Keatts, chairman of the Walla Walla-Sasayama Sister City Committee and an AFS volunteer, is accompanying the exchange students to the luncheon.

It was cider making time in Walla Walla County when Edison Elementary School students visited former Walla Walla Public School teacher, speech pathologist and speech therapist Milt Ross’s third-generation Springcreek Farm for their annual apple cider pressing field trip.

The Edison second-graders could try their hand at cider-making, rotating every 15 minutes to teaching stations around the farm, according to a release from the Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review online newsletter.

For their science curriculum, students took soil collection samples. They participated in corn field and garden explorations, a scarecrow relay and collected items for an art project.

Brown & Sons of Milton-Freewater donated fresh apples for the kids to munch on and several retired district teachers helped, said field trip coordinator Mary Lynn Thompson, current speech-language pathologist at Edison.

She and Ross started the field trip experience in the 1980s.

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


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