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Community is strong in Wallowa County

Published on April 18, 2017 2:17PM

You don’t need to spend much time in Wallowa County to get a good sense of community. Everyone seems to be involved in one way or another, and most of them appear to be open to a newcomer joining in the fun.

That was evident Friday night at an event featuring several readers at Fishtrap in Enterprise. The place was packed out; we were lucky to get a seat.

Writers are near and dear to my heart. I can’t really remember ever wanting to be anything else when I “grew up.”

Although journalism is somewhat at the opposite end of the spectrum from what was read Friday, the amount of talent in and around the community is obvious. And I’m pleased to say that two who shared their works are columnists for the Chieftain.

Maybe one of these weeks I’ll write this column in quatrain or perhaps Haiku.

Fishtrap is taking a “reading” breather for the summer months, but we anticipate many more such events this fall and into next winter.

Another great example of community was the full house that turned out for the Enterprise School Centennial Celebration Thursday. All of the children in the district, along with around 200 members of the community, packed into the gym for the event.

And although it was a substantial ceremony, everyone down to the youngest students seemed to enjoy each minute.

The star of the day was 101-year-old Neva Forstrom Grover who traveled from Portland to attend. She attended Enterprise schools beginning with her sophomore year and graduated in 1932. Now that’s longevity.

Around 200 folks packed into the Joseph Community Center Saturday night to see Haley Miller crowned queen of the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo. It was a terrific evening highlighted by some really great grub.

It is encouraging to see the level of support for the rodeo and all that goes with it. We’ve lived in several communities where the idea of hosting a PRCA-sanctioned rodeo had come and gone. It’s a lot of work, as anyone who has ever served on a rodeo committee will tell you.

This year’s event seems to be coming along nicely under the direction of Terry Jones and his board, and we can’t wait to attend in July. There was even an announcement about a spinoff event from the Eschler family. We’ll have more to report on that shortly.

One thing a new resident of the county cannot help but notice are the amazing supplies of wood chopped and ready for consumption. Our neighbor must have at least a year’s supply on hand. It’s like a second currency.

Rich Wandschneider is looking for several specific pieces of wood –– ponderosa, douglas fir or cottonwood –– from which a traditional Nez Perce dugout canoe will be fashioned. It will be built following old photos and historic canoes held by the Nez Perce National Historical Park in Spalding, Idaho.

Wandschneider is assisting artist Allen Pinkham Jr. in finding a 30- to 40-foot straight run that is 26 inches or greater in diameter. Not dead, but dying is okay, Rich says.

If you can help, call the Josephy Center at 541-432-0505.

Wahl is editor of the Chieftain and can be reached with story suggestions at editor@wallowa.com.


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