What has brought grown men to their knees and wiped out entire civilizations? Water ... or the lack of it, that is. Well, up on our surrounding benches, some of our neighbors are feeling the effects of low flowing or arid wells. Not to be discouraged, they have joined forces and ordered up a well digger to help out.

Up on Bartlett Bench David Flynn, for the Burns Brothers, will be the first to drill as they have to haul water to the cattle from far off distances. Need is always first hereabouts. Iris Mallory and then Don Hughes from Eden Bench will follow. Soon all will be able to run a shower and do the wash at the same time, a luxury not everyone has been able to indulge in.

Welcome 2006! The new year was ushered in with several get-togethers in the valley. We had quite a few neighbors stop in for appetizers and libations. Our teacher Stephanie Haggard, fresh from surgery, attended with her husband Dwain. Dwain traveled from Montana where he is working as superintendent for the Hays-Lodgepole school district to share the holidays with his family. Shirley and Dick Hone came with Shirley's brother Ervin Hafer and wife Consuelo. Shirley and Dick are now full-time neighbors, having moved in permanently to the great house on the end of Eden loop. Welcome and what a great addition to the community!

Arriving from out of town were part-time neighbors Ed and Anne Novak, accompanied by Ed's mother and son and George and Lynn Robinson from Washington. The Novaks and Robinsons have neighboring cabins across from each other on Eden Bench. Also, representing Eden Bench were Don and Marilyn Hughes who visited with us and then went on to welcome in the new year at Mark Heuett's annual party.

The Moore brothers came stag, but we all hope to welcome Lila Moore home soon, as she is now out of the hospital and recuperating in a rehabilitation facility in Clarkston. Mom Zeller and I were especially flattered that the Flynns, David and Cory, took time out of their own party to stop by and wish us a happy new year.

This is starting out to be another fine year for the North End.

Grounded by fogA few weeks ago while taking their grandson Clinton to the hospital, Art and Nancy Cannon were grounded with the thick fog layering the road to Clarkston. Not to worry, Clinton was just having a little trouble after having his tonsils taken out, but they decided to err on the side of safety and stay the night in a local hotel. The weather sure has been acting up lately.

Oh, yes, while waiting for Clinton's results; the Cannons got to see Lowell Moore and Bonnie Pierce who where there to visit Lila.

The Mendez families have had some wonderful news, tempered by some very sad. Guadalupe and Alvaro Mendez, along with soon to be big brother Salvador, have found out they will be welcoming a baby boy in late March. Unfortunately, while vacationing with family in Mexico, Rosa Mendez was notified that her brother was killed in a car accident in California. Our condolences to the entire family and our hearts go out to our former neighbor Rosa.

On that unhappy note I'm sure you all have heard that our town will be one less as Skip Matlock passed away Jan. 3.

Besides being missed by our community many travelers had grown to rely on Skip for repairs to their vehicles and flat tires when they traverse our roads. Skip proved to be a friend to many and everyone wishes to let his wife, Red, know that they are here for her in what ever capacity they may help.

I send my personal condolences, as four years ago, on the same day, my father passed away. Things will be sadly quieter around town now, especially during the Thursday "31" game at the Troy Oasis. It's so sad that we have this unhappy news.

Engagement announcedWell, here's something that should cheer us up: I've just heard that our own Rick Madigan of the fish and wildlife department and his longtime girlfriend Sue are now engaged. Oh, that's such good news - our congratulations and best wishes to them both!

The Wallowa County Library is looking for a volunteer for its board from the North End. The board only meets during the day a few times a year. They would sure be happy to have someone interested call them at 426-3969 and ask for Susan.

You know, just to show you the ingenuity of us down here in the valley, I ordered two sets of measuring cups from the Pampered Chef from Jane Curry (no relation). Well, Jane no longer sells it herself, but darned if she didn't get me in touch with a little gal out of Joseph who took my order. When the cups arrive she will take them into David Curry, who works at the local Safeway, who then will take them home to his Dad, Jeff, who we all know is our local road crew in Troy, and he will then bring them down to the shop where I can conveniently retrieve them. It sounds complicated, but it works! Just like the book courier of the local Troy library, Rhan's Sanitary. Yep, our local garbage person picks up books from the Wallowa County Library on various Thursdays before coming to pick up our garbage in Troy. Marilyn Hughes, our school custodian, or myself will then meet him to exchange them with bags of read books to go back to the county library. Only with the help of concerned business like Rhan's could we afford to keep our local library in recent books.

People helping people. It's good to live here in the North End.

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