ETCETERA - Walla Walla couple bring mobility to young people in Central America


22222What he's referring to is the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. Eight years ago, while in Hanoi with Wheels for Humanity, he and the group distributed donated wheelchairs to needy children, giving them increased mobility and a degree of freedom.

Since then, he and wife Marianne Alderson, who works with him here in town, amassed wheelchairs for distribution abroad through the group now called UCP/Wheels for Humanity.

Wanting to go on such a mission again, they jumped at the chance to be part of a team that over Thanksgiving week in November fitted about 100 chairs, mostly for children, in Alejuela, Costa Rica. From all over the country, people brought their children, predominately with cerebral palsy, to get a wheelchair or to have a chair they received from UCP/WFH in previous years, adjusted for growth, Michael said.

The couple have worked in the wheelchair industry here for 20-plus years.

"The experience of helping that many people over just a few days is very moving," Michael said in a release.

"We work hard to get equipment funded and get a lot of gratification from our jobs of providing much-needed wheelchairs and other items. Being able to fit and dispense multiple chairs day after day for a week was a pretty moving experience. We are looking forward to our next distribution with UCP/Wheels for Humanity."

A story about their effort in 2003 generated interest and donations, he said. In the ensuing years, they have donated approximately 400 wheelchairs, all from Walla Walla and the surrounding area.

For more details, contact Michael at 1622 Plaza Way, or call 526-0318, ext. 1678.


An Eagle Court of Honor Dec. 30 recognized the efforts of three scouts who achieved Boy Scouts of America's highest rank of Eagle, according to a release from Lori Wahl.

The honorees were Mathew Zimmerman, son of Don and Sue Zimmerman; Graeme Johnson, son of Glenn and Sharon Johnson; and Tyler Wahl, son of Pat and Lori Wahl.

Graeme, 18, is a Walla Walla High School graduate who enjoys music, rugby, tennis and the outdoors. For his Eagle project, he rebuilt a sliding door and made six signs for Builders Resupply, a nonprofit organization that accepts donations of construction materials and sells them back to the community at a reduced cost.

Tyler, 20, graduated from DeSales Catholic High School, and is a sophomore at Carroll College in Helena, Mont. He is interested in hockey, rugby, climbing, swing dancing and learning about computers.

For his Eagle project, Tyler built a shot put pad, discuss pad and long jump approach ramp at Assumption School. He put hours into digging, designing and completing his project to help the school's track and field program.

Mathew, 18, is a senior at DeSales who enjoys four-wheeling, skiing, hunting, racing RC cars and hanging out with friends. He constructed pit tables for the Xtreme RC car club in town for his Eagle project. The eight tables can be used to work on cars during races.

A number of other Eagle Scouts attended: Jay Jessee, Al Sutlick, Tyler McCoon, Daniel Taggart, John Hockersmith, Joey Jensen, Nick Poolman, Pete Poolman and Ty Holmes.

The new Eagle Scouts recognized an adult who had great influence in their scouting career by awarding Mentor Pins to Dana Taggart from Mathew, Al Sutlick from Graeme and Kate Hockersmith from Tyler. Past and present scout and assistant scout masters attending were Jay Jessee, Al Sutlick, Doug and Dana Taggart and Pat and Lisa Sharkey.


Native Walla Wallan Kay Lynn Stevens-Pugh, an assistant professor of psychology Columbia Basin College in Pasco, received a National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Award.

The honor is given for high standards in teaching and for Kay Lynn's overall performance at CBC, where she has taught for nine years.

She expects to attend the NISOD conference in Austin, Texas, in May, according to her mother, Linda Sutherland Stevens of Walla Walla. Kay Lynn is also the daughter of the late Bob Stevens.

She graduated in 1988 from Walla Walla High School and earned a bachelor's in psychology summa cum laude in 1992 from Washington State University and a master's in psychology in 1996 from WSU.

From 1996-2000, she was a counselor and instructor at Walla Walla Community College, and continued there for the next three years as director of advising and testing. She joined the faculty at CBC in 2003. She comes from a long line of teachers: her great-grandmother, grandmother and mother were all teachers.

She and husband Kenny Pugh reside in Touchet. Kay Lynn is also interested in horses and competes in National Cutting Horse Association events, said her mom. Two years ago she won the Western National Finals $5,000 Non-Pro Class in Ogden, Utah. And Kenny is a cutting horse trainer at Don Noble's facility.

On Jan. 14, the couple won awards from the Washington State Cutting Horse Association, which held its 2011 banquet in Moses Lake.

Kay Lynn won the WCHA year-end championships in the non-pro class, the $15,000 novice horse/non-pro rider class while riding Cat With A Hat, and the high money-winning non-pro rider, which came with a saddle as the prize. She also was the NCHA Area 1 high money-winning non-pro, and will receive a bronze trophy from the NCHA for that. NCHA Area 1 includes Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Kenny won the WCHA year-end championship for the $10,000 novice horse class, which is an open rider division, on Cats Chilly Chilly, owned by Michelle Havens. He placed third in the WCHA year-end race in the derby class (for 4-year-olds) on Smart Spooky Cat, owned by the late Bill Benson.


Walla Walla-Columbia School Retirees Association is set to award two $1,000 scholarships to prospective teachers and/or candidates in other school-related fields that will student teach or do an internship in an educational setting, said Gordon Taylor in a release.

Candidates must be graduates of a high school in Walla Walla or Columbia County and student teach/internship between September 2012 and June 2013.

Applications are available from Mardel Bierwagen at 525-6117 or Applications are also available at and are due by April 1.

Local members of the WWCSRA hosted executive director of the Washington State School Retirees Association Ed Gonion and wife Diane during their January luncheon.

Ed spoke about issues coming this session in the Washington state Legislature, Gordon reported. Ed "emphasized the importance of timely email messages to the legislators and noted that with a membership of well over 17,000 our concerns would be heard." The state office notifies members about bills presented for vote. Even in difficult financial times Ed felt it important for members to maintain a "can-do" attitude.


The verdict from Read Aloud Dad, at, gives author Andrew Clements's clever "Double Trouble in Walla Walla" is his "SNAP IT UP!" recommendation.

Published by Lerner Books, its 32 pages are filled with lush, colorful illustrations by Salvatore Murdocca.

Read Aloud Dad keeps his anonymity, but said he started his website in September 2010 because he discovered the power of reading and its impact on his twin daughter and son, who are now 4 years old, unless they've had a birthday since last August.

"Who am I in every day life? I'm a master of different trades: scientist, freelancer and dad. The perks of my read aloud 'job' include spending quality time with my two little pumpkins with whom I also developed a common set of references and experiences through books. Plus I get to enjoy all the children's books that I secretly wished to read and never did."

Not only that, but he's having a blast with the website. He buys all the books he reviews and blogs about, so there's no influence or conflict of interest with expressing his opinion.

A reader recommended "Double Trouble, which is how he heard about it. "Wowie-zowie!," he wrote online. "It is a big gem -- as the book is 13.4 x 9.2 inches. A smashing size for reading aloud! Then I ordered. I was so excited! My kids would be all hippity-hoppity when they saw it!

The story focuses on Lulu, until Lulu told teacher Mrs. Bell that she felt like a nit-wit because her homework was higgledy-piggledy. "Last night it was in tip-top shape, but now it's a big mish-mash. Mrs. Bell said, "Nit-wit? Higgledy-piggledy? Mish-mash? Lulu, stop that flip-flop chitter-chatter or you'll be in double trouble!"

The plot becomes more topsy-turvy, what with the pitter-pattering, hodge-podge and yak-yaking that ensues.

Find out more about Read Aloud Dad's recommendations in his reviews and tips about book sets, picture and chapter books, illustrated editions, other formats, treasuries and his bestseller lists.


A Whitman College alum got the nod from Gov. Chris Gregoire to serve on the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, based in Olympia.

Appointee Ted Willhite now lives in Twisp, Wash., and is a lawyer who practiced law for 40 years in the civil justice system in the Seattle area.

The board awards about $200 million in grants statewide every year for the development of parks, trails, boating and other outdoor recreation facilities; farmland preservation; and habitat conservation.

"We're very excited to welcome Mr. Willhite to the funding board," said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which supports the board in its work. "His extensive knowledge of environmental issues, trail use, boating and other outdoor activities makes him an excellent choice for helping determine how to best invest in Washington's great outdoors. He also has the perspectives of rural and urban living, and eastern and western Washington."

Ted is active in community groups such as the Methow Valley Community Center, Methow Valley Food Bank, Native Plant Society Okanogan Chapter and Methow Conservancy.

He also has served on the Washington State Oil Spill Advisory Committee and been active in the Alaska Wilderness League, Nature Conservancy, Washington Trails Association, Olympic Coast Alliance and Pacific Crest Trail Association.

He's skiied, hiked, climbed, biked, sailed, kayaked and/or dived on every continent. He and his wife recently completed hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. He received a bachelor's degree in political science from Whitman and his law degree from the University of Washington.

Since 1964, the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board has awarded more than $1 billion for more than 5,000 projects in every county of the state. The grants have leveraged nearly $735 million in local contributions, bringing the total investment to more than $1.7 billion in Washington's great outdoors.

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

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