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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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Posts from — January 2011

February Events: Shake the Cabin Fever!

It’s February, and, although this winter has been mild and fairly dry, now is when the rainy days start to get to you. So get out there! Here are some events to keep you moving toward spring:

February 3 Chinese New Year! Celebrate at your favorite Chinese restaurant. We’ve invited 20 neighbors for a New Year’s dinner at a local buffet. It’s an EASY way to entertain and celebrate the holidays at the same time. The holiday on the full month 15 days later so you have plenty of time to plan a party. This is the Year of the Rabbit. Gung hay fat choy!

February 5 – Don’t miss the International Guitar Night Concert at the historic Columbia Theatre in Longview. The four world renowned guitarists are from England, Italy, Brazil and the US. Tickets are available through the Columbia Theatre.

February 12-13 – Looking for a romantic event? Head for the Toast to Passion Weekend at the Maryhill Winery. View a photography and art show while tasting the fine wines of the 2009 Washington State Winery of the Year.

February 18-19 – Have the quintessential Pacific Northwest experience by clamming on the Long Beach Peninsula. Dates are always tentative until last minute testing is conducted. ZEST had a great time clamming at Ocean Park last year. Get out your bucket and clam gun!

March 1Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, comes to Longview for a lecture scheduled by the Lower Columbia Community Action Program. No matter where you live, Greg’s inspiring story is worth the drive. Details and tickets here.

February is such a short month. Don’t let it slip by without getting out in the great Southwest Washington!

January 31, 2011   No Comments

The 10 Minute Conversation: Alan Rose

Alan Rose of Woodland is the author of two published novels, The Legacy of Emily Hargraves (2007), a paranormal mystery, and Tales of Tokyo (2010), a modern quest novel based on his years of living and working in Japan.

He organizes WordFest, the monthly gathering of writers and readers in SW Washington and is the host of the KLTV program, “Book Chat.” He is also one of the organizers of Word Catcher, the annual literary festival in Kalama.

Alan is also the Director of Community Relations and Development at Lower Columbia Community Action Program (CAP), the largest private non-profit social service organization serving Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he has lived in Tokyo and Melbourne, Australia.

We spoke at Lava Java, coffee house at the I-5 Ridgefield Junction.

How did you come to the Pacific Northwest?

I lived the first 18 years of my life in Vancouver, then did my undergraduate work at Willamette University in Salem and from there I went to the School of Theology at Claremont, California, for my post-graduate work and where I also worked with two churches.

I returned to the Pacific Northwest and spent a year by myself in my parents’ trailer up on Lake Merwin, where I began writing fiction.

After emerging from the wilderness back into the world (I much prefer the wilderness), I served a church outside of Seattle and from there had the opportunity to teach English as a Second Language in Tokyo. From there I went to Australia and traveled around the Pacific Rim, finally returning to the Pacific Northwest 12 years later.

If you didn’t live here, where would you like to live?

Three of my favorite places I have visited and could live are Niigata Japan (in the Japan Alps), the south island of New Zealand and Tasmania. All remind me of the Northwest — lots of mists and mountains.

What’s special about the Pacific Northwest?

Its mystical quality–clouds, mists and mountains. I expressed this in my novel, Tales of Tokyo, where after months of the extreme heat and humidity of the Tokyo summer, the refreshing rains of autumn arrive:

He walked back through the soft rains to his aparto. Leaving the light off, he fixed himself some Market Spice Tea and sat by his open window, inhaling the freshness of the air. A reflective hush and quiet contentment settled over his little world of Fudo-Mae, and he sat a long time in the dark, drinking his tea and listening to the rains. For a native of the Pacific Northwest, rain possesses an almost mystical quality: listening to it, you learn to go deep; when you were a child, it put you to sleep, its soft patter on the roof lulling you; its misty curtain hung over your world transforming it into a magical realm of friendly spirits cloaked in clouds.

The gentle sound shushed, calmed and quieted his soul. For the first time in months he felt refreshed, at peace, and whole. unrolling his futon, he went to sleep to the whispering rain, dreaming of home.

What is your favorite place to relax in SW Washington?

My hillside five acres overlooking the Lewis River Valley, 10 miles upriver out of Woodland. It is my sanctuary. It is my retreat.

What is one thing that would surprise people about you?

That I am an introvert by nature. My job and my community organizing require me to be an extrovert, but I really am a loner, much more comfortable in my own solitude.

What is coming up that you are excited about?

Greg Mortenson. (Lower Columbia Community Action Program is bringing the author of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools to Longview on March 1st. Details and tickets here.) He has been an inspiration to me and a number of people I know. I think that at this time in our history, we are in need of inspiration and certainly Greg Mortenson can be an inspiration to us with the idea of what one person can accomplish.

January 24, 2011   No Comments

Dr. King Lives on in SW Washington

How do you do justice to the memory of one of the world’s most important leaders for equality and peace? The life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was remembered with music, poetry, video presentation and an inspiring sermon on Saturday, January 15 at Clark College. The Dream and the Dreamer, a breakfast celebration, also honored Vancouver’s Earl Ford, who received the Mosaic Compass Award.

From Clairece Rosati’s moving performance of Stevie Wonder’s “Visions” to the dramatic poems of Emmett Wheatfall on slavery, civil rights movement and the Constitution, it was a time to reflect on the incredible life and impact of Dr. King.

Dr. Terryl Ross of Oregon State University shared a documentary video “The Door to Equality is Voice Activated,” which interspersed clips of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement with comments from OSU students on what needs to be done now to achieve equality.

In his impassioned sermon, Pastor Matthew Hennessee of Portland’s Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church asked: “We have the stories. Do we have the courage and the heart” to make a difference and stand up for justice? “We’re too worried about what the cost will be…The problem is the 18” between our heads and our hearts,” he said. “We have the intellect to understand,” he pointed out. “We need to close the gap.” Pastor Hennessee also honored Coretta Scott King, a personal friend. “I didn’t just marry Martin,” she had said. “I married his cause.”

Event organizer Deena Pierott shared advice that she received from award winner Earl Ford. When she expressed concerns about running her company he told her she could “stay on the porch or run with the big dogs.” She chose to “run with the dogs,” working to expand her business, Mosaic Blueprint, an international job recruitment and placement firm. Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt presented Earl with the Mosaic Compass Award for outstanding community service and diversity advocacy. Earl is past president for 10 years of the Vancouver Chapter of the NAACP, among many other achievements.

You cannot remember Dr. King’ courage and actions without being inspired to do more. In his words: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just that the first step.”

January 16, 2011   No Comments

Four Weekends in January: Get Out There!

Yes, January 2011 has FIVE weekends. But whether you celebrated at a gala or fell asleep before midnight, your New Year’s Weekend is behind you. What about the next four weekends? No need to migrate south across the Columbia or drive to Seattle. Check out these SW Washington activities:

Weekend 1: January 7-9
Go snowshoeing. The Mount St. Helens Institute is kicking off a series of snowshoeing trips on January 9 with a 3.3 mile roundtrip to the Trail of Two Forests and Ape Cave. Trips are filling fast so register online to purchase your slot in the class. (Note: if you miss this weekend, there is another trip on January 30 plus February 13, 27, and March 13 and 27)

Weekend 2: January 14-16
Go fly a kite. Think kite flying is only for hot, windy days? Not so. You can join the Windless Kite Festival at the Long Beach Elementary School in Long Beach. You can even take a lesson in windless flying. Combine this with the annual Crab Dinner hosted by Ilwaco High School Booster Club at the Long Beach Elks Club and you’ve got a great plan.

Weekend 3: January 21-23
Go to the theatre. Love the Gershwins? Then you won’t want to miss S’Wonderful , a NEW Gershwin musical that celebrates the music and lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin. Travel to Longview to the Columbia Theatre for this one evening only performance on January 21.

Weekend 4: January 27-29
Go for jazz. You can end the first month of the year at the 49th Annual Clark College Jazz Festival in Vancouver on January 27-29. More than 60 high school vocal and instrumental jazz ensembles will perform during the three day competitive festival.

Or go for rock. And if jazz isn’t your favorite, you can always head to Centralia to hear the Kingsmen. Remember Louie, Louie the 1963 hit, which was investigated by the FBI, and love child of high school marching bands? Well, that classic lives on and will be performed by “The Fabulous Kingsmen” on January 29 at the President’s Scholarship Performance concert at Corbet Theatre at Centralia College. They will also play other hits from the 1960s. Tickets are here.

Jazz, rock, a musical, kites, crab, snowshoeing. You’ve gotta love it here. Have fun!

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January 4, 2011   No Comments