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of the Yakima Valley

A special supplement to the Daily Sun News and Sun News Shopper September 14, 2012

2 - Daily Sun News

pride of the Yakima valley 2012 september 14, 2012

Port of Sunnyside wetlands project nearly 10 years in the making by Jennie McGhan

Progress is finally being made on a long anticipated wetlands project that was the brainchild of the Port of Sunnyside. The port in 2004 began the lengthy process of securing land that will be used for its new project, which is due to be constructed next year. The Port of Sunnyside purchased land southwest of Sunnyside from Emerald Ranches for $1.2 million that year. Port of Sunnyside Director Amber Hansen, who will retire at the end of this year, explained early on that environmental impact and land use studies were completed, which determined the land is suitable as a wetlands area. The land is nestled along the Yakima River and the port envisioned it as an area where industry wastewater processed at the Port of Sunnyside’s wastewater treatment plant could be cooled and would create habitat for fish and other wildlife before entering the river. For that reason, the project is often referred to as the Sunnyside Ecosystem Restoration Project. Hansen said the port also explored the option of building a wetlands as a means to increase the wastewater treatment plant’s capacity for treating industrial wastewater, which would aid Sunnyside’s economy. The year the land was purchased a $233,000 grant was awarded to the port as a result of the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill passed in the U.S. Senate. Congressman Doc Hastings toured the site of the proposed wetlands at that time, stating he was pleased the bill passed and the port could move forward with a feasibility study conducted by the Army Corps of

Engineers. Project hits a snag Progress was being made in 2005 as the Port of Sunnyside received an additional $100,000 grant from the federal government. That money was earmarked to complete the feasibility study that was initiated in 2004. The money was included in the fiscal year 2006 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill. Hastings made the announcement, stating, “The Yakima River, fish, wildlife and the local economy stand to benefit from this common sense project.” However, the support of Hastings and the Army Corps of Engineers wasn’t enough. The estimated cost of the entire project fit within the range of $3 and $6 million, and the Army Corps of Engineers was set to pick up 65 percent of those costs. But the funding was not made available by the federal government. It took another five years before things began to move along again. In 2010 the Port of Sunnyside was able to contract with Tetra Tech, which works with the Army Corps of Engineers, to develop a pilot wetlands area before proceeding with the final project. Wheels begin to spin Shortly after the design of the smaller three-acre pilot wetlands area was approved, the outlook for the port’s proposed 221-acre project was positive. The Port of Sunnyside hosted a tour of the wetlands site for the Army Corps of Engineers in May 2011. The port had worked tirelessly to get the project moving forward, having gained the support of the Yakama Nation and the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife. see “Wetlands” next page

Daily Sun News file photo

Army Corps of Engineers Biologist Bob Thomas (right) and former project manager Chris Behrens examine soil along a route that is believed will act as a natural spillway for the Port of Sunnyside wetlands project.

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Wetlands continued from page 2

The Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager, Chris Behrens, was working closely with the Port of Sunnyside, as well. He told those present for the May 2011 tour of the site, “One of the challenges of a project like this is that funding is unpredictable.” Behrens was referencing the project delays between 2005 and 2010. He said the project would have to proceed through several steps of review, but he was confident there would be progress and that the Port of Sunnyside’s wetlands project could be completed in 2013. The project, Behrens confirmed, would provide the Yakima River ecosystem with many benefits. The water, he said, would have already been cleaned through the wastewater treatment process, and the wetlands would cool it to provide fish habitat. Last November Col. Bruce Estok toured the Port of Sunnyside’s wetlands site, reporting the project was 80th out of 1,600 ongoing Army Corps of Engineers’ projects. He believed the design phase of the project

Daily Sun News file photo

A tour of the property that’s been selected by the Port of Sunnyside for its Sunnyside Ecosystem Restoration Project was undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers in 2011. Pictured during a spring tour are (L-R) Melissa Leslie with the Army Corps of Engineers, Sunnyside Port Commissioner Arnold Martin, Port Director Amber Hansen, Port Commissioner Jim Grubenhoff and former project manager Chris Behrens. Port of Sunnyside staff and commissioners provide personnel with the Army Corps of Engineers a tour of the industrial wastewater facility in May 2011.

see “Wetlands” next page

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Daily Sun News file photo

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pride of the Yakima valley 2012 september 14, 2012

The Port of Sunnyside’s lagoons are used in the wastewater treatment process. In the background are some of the industries served by the industrial wastewater treatment plant operated by the port.

Daily Sun News file photo

Wetlands continued from page 3

could be completed this year (2012), and it appears his predictions are true. The end is in sight Although Behrens is playing a different role and a new project manager, Lan Nguyen, is in charge of the Army Corps of Engineers role, progress continues to be made. This past January the Port of Sunnyside commissioners approved two payments to the Army Corps of Engineers for the port’s share of the wetlands project, $512,000. The payments weren’t a guarantee of continued progress, but Port of Sunnyside Property Development and Project Manager Jed Crowther this past summer confirmed the final design of the project was underway. He said the design is slated for completion by June 2013 but is subject to a lengthy review process. However, completion of the design will allow construction to begin next summer. “We have a four-month construction window…it should be completed by fall 2013,” said Crowther. In the meantime The port has this year been busy securing funding for the pipe system that will allow treated water from the industrial wastewater treatment plant to be transported to the wetlands site. This past spring the Port of Sunnyside was awarded a $500,000 loan from Yakima County’s Securing Investments in Economic Development Program for construction of the pipeline. Crowther said the loan has the potential of being converted to a 50/50 grant, based on job creation. The port also applied for nearly $987,000 in funding from the Washington Community Economic Revitalization Board. Crowther said $150,000 of the funding applied for is grant money and the remainder of

Daily Sun News file photo

The Port of Sunnyside annually cleans sludge from its wastewater treatment basins to ensure treated water meets standards specified by the Department of Ecology. the funding would be a loan. “Everything hinges on congressional approval for the final construction funds,” Crowther said, stating the project is ranked in the top 5 percent of federally qualified construction projects nationwide. The closer the project is to its completion date, the higher it is ranked.

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“We expect congress to approve construction funding next spring,” said Crowther. He said the entire project is expected to help restore the ecosystem and improve Sunnyside’s economy. ‑ Jennie McGhan can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email JM‑

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Annual fair about kids, community

there won’t be any state funding, the board is prepared for the worst-case scenario. Any funding from the state simply means more opportunities will be provided participants and fairgoers. Sen. Jim Honeyford, said Mensonides, has been a strong advocate for state funding provided to fairs. “But fairs need to figure out how to be self-sustaining,” she said. Schultz said fairs benefit the state, because they provide educational opportunities and produce productive citizens. However, lawmakers don’t always see the benefits. “With budget cuts at the state level and as the state struggles with its budget, we must plan to lose the $73,000 we received this past summer,” Schultz said. Planning is the primary focus of the board

by Jennie McGhan

GRANDVIEW – The annual Yakima Valley Fair & Rodeo, once known as the Yakima Valley Jr. Fair, has has made tremendous strides over the years. There have been challenges, but board members are focused on organizing the event for Yakima Valley citizens because there is a great benefit to both the youngsters who participate and the community members who attend the four-day event. “Where else is the community able to get together to see the results of hard work and skills developed by youngsters in 4-H and FFA,” said board member Michelle Mensonides. Fellow board member Shawn Schultz said youngsters develop skills that help them as adults. They learn to be responsible, organized and accountable through programs highlighted at the fair. She said the youngsters must feed and water, groom and train the animals they raise. They must keep accurate records as they raise the animals to be featured during the showing and fittings. Schultz is the mother of a 10-year-old girl who was struggling in school. Her daughter, through her involvement in 4-H, has developed public speaking skills, gained a sense of confidence and become more organized. That, said Schultz, has helped her become a better student. “She’s better in math and has gained more from being involved in 4-H than she learned in the classroom,” said Schultz. Mensonides said she knows a family that raised four children, one of whom was involved in 4-H and FFA. The children are all adults now, and Mensonides said the parents told her the influence from that child’s experiences is evident in how she conducts herself as an adult. “Her life was shaped differently,” said Mensonides, stating adults who are wellrounded individuals can contribute greatly to the community. She said they become successful and they are often concerned about the welfare of the community at large. Yvonne Graham, another board member, agrees. She said past 4-H and FFA members often can be found volunteering in the

Daily Sun News file photo

Yakima Valley Fair & Rodeo exhibits include entries in the open class division often entered by former members of 4-H and FFA. community and many of those who enter exhibits in the open class division at the fair were involved as youngsters. The three board members say youngsters who are provided out-of-school activities like 4-H and FFA are kept busy. “They have a sense of connection that keeps them from getting into trouble,” said Schultz. “They have a sense of belonging.” Graham said the community benefits in the here and now because the children are preoccupied. Businesses also benefit because “…people need to buy supplies for their animals and exhibits throughout the year. Grandview benefits during the fair because there are necessities and supplies needed throughout the week, as well.” Mensonides said she knows the stores are often inundated with customers during the week of the fair. Several stores, she said, ran out of ice on a daily basis. Others had to keep restocking store shelves. Schultz said the fair and rodeo bring in ad-

photo courtesy of Lornna Nunez

Amanda Bestebreur of Sunnyside High School’s FFA chapter shows rabbits at the 2012 Yakima Valley Fair & Rodeo. Also pictured is Gary Christensen, owner of R.E. Powell Distributing in Grandview.

ditional business. “We know extended family members travel from all over to show support for the youngsters participating in the fair.” On the flip side, the businesses give back to the fair through sponsorships and sprucing up their properties to provide visitors the best possible experience. “The businesses put their best foot forward,” said photo courtesy of Lornna Nunez Schultz. Organizing the Olen Osborn (left) proudly displays his chickens at the 2012 fair takes an all out Yakima Valley Fair & Rodeo. Pictured with him is R.E. Powell effort on the part Distributing owner Gary Christensen. of the community. There are several volunteers involved through the fair board throughout much of the year. Because there and even more who volunteer during the is so much planning involved, organizers week of the fair. must begin preparations each year before “The fair wouldn’t happen if we didn’t that year’s fair has even begun. have the support of the community,” said Fundraisers are planned well in advance, Schultz. as well, according to Graham. She said the Not everyone can donate time, which is equipment auction planning begins just well and good, because the Yakima Valley after the board completes its most recent Fair & Rodeo also relies on financial dona- auction. tions. Schultz said the board wants to expand Because of those donations, said Schultz, on ideas for the fair and improve on the the Yakima Valley Fair & Rodeo has grown successes it has had. As a result, the board stronger each year. evaluates each event as it is taking place. “This community strengthens the event, Once the board has decided if a particular which makes it possible for the fair to take aspect of the fair was successful, they brainplace year after year, making a positive im- storm to decide if there are ways to make it pact on our youth,” she said. better. Funding from the state is limited, acNew ideas, said Mensonides, are always cording to Mensonides. “The state this year being explored. funded just three-fourths of what was proGraham said, “It’s very involved work, vided to the fair last year. We must plan but the rewards outweigh the effort.” as though the state won’t be providing us funds.” ‑ Jennie McGhan can be contacted at 509-837-4500, She said by operating on the premise that or email

6 - Daily Sun News

pride of the Yakima valley 2012 september 14, 2012

Paulakis gives Sunnyside his all in many different roles by Laura Gjovaag

Many people around Sunnyside know Nick Paulakis, but how they know him depends on which hat he happens to be wearing when they come into contact with him. Paulakis has taught at Sunnyside High School for many years, so many of the students who graduate from the district know him as a teacher. He’s also been a pastor for about eight years, teaching students about the Bible and leading a flock. Many people know him as a man of God. And since 2009 he’s been a member of the Sunnyside City Council, taking on a leadership role in the city.

s ’ y r r e J

Pastor Paulakis grew up in New Jersey but almost immediately after his graduation his family moved to Yakima. He didn’t stay long, though. He traveled to Chicago to attend Emmaus Bible College. He didn’t put that education into practice as a job until he became an interim pastor for a year, then started to work at see “Roles” next

In 2009, Nick Paulakis decided to run for a city council position. He hoped to make Sunnyside a better and safer place. He said he didn’t expect all the issues he’s faced since being elected.

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continued from page 6

Calvary Baptist in Sunnyside. His role as a pastor is fulfilling for him. “I enjoy teaching the Bible,” he said. Teacher After his time in Chicago, Paulakis returned to the Yakima area and went to school at J.M. Perry Technical Institute. He took a few jobs as an auto mechanic in Yakima, even becoming a certified Mr. Goodwrench. During this time, he went to a summer camp in the mountains to be a counselor for junior high boys. There he met a “cute girl” who was the counselor for the junior high girls. They hit it off and on Sept. 5 of this year celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary.

His wife’s hometown was Sunnyside, where she worked in the school district. Paulakis soon took his skills to the district to teach others how to fix vehicles. “This is my 30th year as a teacher,” he said. He teaches auto mechanics and auto detailing at the high school, striving to give his students some skills that they can use in the future, regardless of where life takes them. “Every car dealership does detailing,” he said. “All of (my students) will at least have something to fall back on.” Councilman In 2009, Paulakis ran unopposed for a seat on the city council, and he’s been a councilman ever since. “I wanted to help the town,” he

Daily Sun News file photo

Nick Paulakis has been living in Sunnyside for more than 30 years, but has only been active as a pastor for about eight years.

Laura Gjovaag/Daily Sun News

This is the 30th year for Nick Paulakis teaching auto mechanics at Sunnyside High School. One of his goals is to make sure his students have skills they can fall back on even if they do not become mechanics full-time. said. “I just wanted to make it a better place for the kids. Not just my kids, but everybody’s kids.” Paulakis said he hoped to be able to take a proactive role in leading Sunnyside to a better future. “A lot of kids here leave after graduation and don’t come back,” he said. “I want to make it a place to come back to. I want to bring in jobs and help kids get a higher paying job.” He also noted that the city wasn’t doing well as far as safety was concerned. The gang problem was an issue when he was elected.

“I also wanted to do something about crime,” he said. “I want people to be able to walk around at night. No matter where they live in Sunnyside.” When it came down to it, the bottom-line for Paulakis was that he wanted to do more for his city. He wasn’t even aware that city council members were paid. “My main reason was to help,” he said. “The money was not an issue. To tell you the truth, I thought council members were volunteers, not paid, when I first considered running.”

Family The fourth hat that Paulakis wears is private, but no less important to him. “He is a true man of God,” said Jeri Paulakis, his wife. “He has honesty and integrity and he’s a wonderful father. For him, family comes first.” The couple raised two daughters, Hannah and Rebekah. The future If Paulakis had to limit his activities, he admits there are two things he’d prefer to do. “I would like to teach the Bible at the college level,” he said. “And I’d love to work at a zoo.” Paulakis is a big animal lover. He watches shows about animals and a favorite movie is “We Bought a Zoo”. Growing up he spent a lot of time in the Central Park Zoo, and visited the zoo in Chicago while going to school there. “In high school I told a guidance counselor I wanted to be a forest ranger,” he said. “Remember, this is on the east coast. If I had known I was coming out here…” He said that when he retires he would like to move to a place with a zoo so he can volunteer. It’s clear that Paulakis doesn’t intend to slow down any time soon. He’s still wearing multiple hats in Sunnyside and influencing many of the city’s people. “I keep busy,” he said. “And I enjoy it all.”

‑ Contact Laura Gjovaag at 509-837-4500.

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8 - Daily Sun News pride of the Yakima valley 2012 september 14, 2012

If not now, when?

Downtown Sunnyside memorial taking shape by John Fannin

More than six years in the works, Jerry Taylor Veterans Plaza at Ninth Street and Edison Avenue in downtown Sunnyside is on the grow. Since last December the site has seen new curbing, sidewalks, roadwork and installation of a third granite slab inscribed with the names of military veterans. Improvements have also included wiring work for eventual lighting and flagpoles, as well as placement of bronze eagle statues. It’s a relatively quick pace for the block-long project, which took awhile to get off the ground because it is completely funded by the purchase of the granite inscriptions honoring living and deceased service men and women. Sunnyside native and Vietnam veteran Greg Schlieve has been the driving force behind the veterans plaza. To support the effort or to purchase a plaque at a cost of $300,

contact Schlieve at 781-0799. The project is possible not only because of direct financial support, but also because of work local businesses and the city of Sunnyside have done. From a municipal perspective, Jerry Taylor Veterans Plaza is an asset for Sunnyside. That’s according to Shane Fisher, the city’s public works superintendent. “It was hard for me to visualize at first what it would be,” Fisher said of Schlieve’s plan. “But the work he’s put into it and the way it’s turned out…it’s going to be recognized as one of the most complete memorials in the state.” Schlieve says the inspiration that motivates him to see the plaza through to completion is a memorial that was dedicated about 10 years ago at the Sunnyside cemetery. He recalled how World War II veterans were in tears at being honored more than 50 years after they served see “When?” page 10

John Fannin/Daily Sun News

Jerry Taylor Veterans Plaza is personal for many local residents like Dave Shrewsberry, whose brother Roger is memorialized at the site.

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pride of the Yakima valley 2012 september 14, 2012

Young Life focuses on community’s youth by Laura Gjovaag

The Lower Valley Young Life group has been active for nearly three decades and has helped introduce area youth to a larger world. Young Life is a non-profit, evangelical Christian organization geared toward children and young adults who are not a member of a church. The goal of the group is to give the young a comfortable environment for learning and growing. “My goal is to find a safe place for them,” said Eduardo Gallo, the area director for Young Life. “Their parents work two jobs, they have no one there for them.” Within Young Life, children have adults to look up to for mentoring and a place to go once a week for high energy meetings that help them build relationships while singing, playing games and watching videos. “Young Life introduces the young to Christ in a non-threatening manner,” said Scott Abbott, leader of the Sunnyside group. “We go to homes, no churches. The same model as Christ set out.” But while the weekly meetings are good, one of the major appeals of Young Life are the camps members can attend.

Young Life camp is described as “The best week of your life.” Abbott said if participants were asked, they would agree with the assessment. “The best way to approach new things is to step out of your own world,” said Abbott. “Then you can judge them on your own merits.” Camp allows the youngsters to leave their comfort zones and find new experiences. Jim Slinker, former leader of the Sunnyside Young Life group, took a group of 26 on a Travel Camp in 2012. “We went down the Oregon coast to the Redwoods,” Slinker said. The group camped out and visited the beach and other local attractions. “We visited the Redwoods Trees of Mystery,” he said. “Walking the trail to wonder at trees still alive and flourishing from the time of Christ. We even took gondolas hundreds of feet up, passing through the upper levels of the Redwoods.” Such trips add to the appeal of the group, but at its heart the organization only attempts to provide the basics to youth. “We reach out to teenagers and keep them out of trouble,” said

photo courtesy Jim Slinker

Suzie Chong, Kristal Trujillo, James Salazar and Jose Suarez (L-R) keep their breakfasts dry during a camping trip with Young Life. Gallo. “We want to keep kids busy in the community. We hope to give them a better life, maybe one with college in the future.”

Gallo says there are up to 15 adults currently active in the Sunnyside area, and he hopes that more adults will join. He hopes to

get teachers involved, as they are most familiar with the problems teenagers face on a daily basis. see “Young” next page


continued from page 8

in the war. “It opened up something inside them, they found an inner joy that they’d finally been recognized,” says Schlieve.

John Fannin/Daily Sun News

A work in progress means being flexible along the way. After handicap-accessible ramps were created for the entryway to the plaza, organizers erected two slabs mounted with eagles as a way to deter motorists from using the ramps for a u-turn on Ninth Street.

The veterans plaza in downtown Sunnyside is different because it is for all soldiers, whether they served at home or abroad, in peace time or in war. Schlieve says he doesn’t want current and future generations of veterans to have to wait 50-plus years to have their service recognized. Even so, he says many veterans are hesitant to put a plaque at the veterans plaza on their own behalf. That outlook quickly changes, though. “At first they say they don’t need to have it,” Schlieve says. “But their children want to see it and when they (veterans) see their name they are so appreciative.” The plaza is especially meaningful for those who lost family members in war time. “I don’t know who did it, but it’s nice,” says Dave Shrewsberry of the name plaque for his brother Roger that someone anonymously purchased. The Shrewsberrys are from Sunnyside, and Roger was killed in action in Vietnam in 1968 just shy of his 20th birthday. He died in a hail of gunfire attempting to reach one of his fellow soldiers who was mortally wounded.

Dave, who served 20 years in the Army Reserves, says he takes a look at the plaza whenever he drives by. His wife Karen works at a bank just across the street from the veterans plaza. “That memorial with all the names…it’s fantastic,” Dave said, fighting back tears. The veterans plaza was dedicated on Pearl Harbor Day in 2008. Those present for that ceremony included L.J. and Ginger Emerson, whose son Matt died while serving in Iraq in 2007. Matt’s name was among those added to the first two granite markers that was then in place. “It’s a tremendous honor that the community has given him,” L.J. said after the ceremony. “It always helps to ease the pain to know that there are so many who remember.” Now Schlieve hopes to see a second dedication ceremony take place this Pearl Harbor Day to mark the completion of phase 1 for the veterans plaza. He says a fourth granite marker will be installed by this coming Veterans Day. Schlieve notes those who purchase name plaques by mid-October can see their loved one’s name posted on the wall in time for Veterans Day.

John Fannin/Daily Sun News

Jerry Taylor Veterans Plaza in Sunnyside is taking shape, with sidewalk, lighting and street improvements made since last December. By this November, two additional granite markers will have been erected to honor those who have served in the military. Phase 2 will be the final and most difficult part of the project, Schlieve says, because it will involve erecting an additional 32 memorial granite slabs. He says that could take another six years. Counting the six years he spent on the memorial at the cemetery, it will add up to about 18 years Schlieve

has committed to seeing veterans honored in the Lower Valley. He says the years and effort have been worth it “Some people say I should get a life,” he smiles. “It’s from a sense of duty, a way to honor those who have served. If not now, when?”

- John Fannin can be reached at 837-4500 or at

september 14, 2012

pride of the Yakima valley 2012

Daily Sun News - 11

livestock and pet feed ❘ animal health supplies livestock handling equipment ❘ fencing supplies photo courtesy Jim Slinker

Young Life members pose for a group photo while on Travel Camp 2012 with former leader Jim Slinker. The group visited the Redwoods in California this past summer.


continued from page 10

Abbott said he got involved after seeing the change in a neighbor after the boy got involved in the organization. “He was a problem kid, going down the wrong path,” said Abbott. “Then I saw him step out of that and become a better person. He probably would be in prison right now if not for Young Life.” Witnessing the youngster’s turn-around

meant a lot, and now Abbott hopes to help the youth of Sunnyside to build a better future like his old neighbor did. “Young Life caters to kids that are looking for something,” said Abbott. “They can either find what they find in Sunnyside, or something they can build a better life on.” ‑ Laura Gjovaag can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email


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12 - Daily Sun News

pride of the Yakima valley 2012 september 14, 2012

Sunnyside couple not the type to stand idly by doing nothing by Jennie McGhan

Sunnyside’s James and Cher Morrow keep busy, helping bring visitors to the community for four different cribbage tournaments throughout the year. Mr. Morrow said he’s not the type of person who believes it is the responsibility of others to make things happen…instead, he has a take-charge personality and is willing to do whatever it takes to fill a void. That’s how he was able to grow the cribbage tournaments held in Sunnyside from one to four each year. Mrs. Morrow laughed, stating, “And he has a wife who’ll never stop supporting him.” In addition to the cribbage tournaments, Mr. Morrow has taken on the role of Sunnyside’s newest Boy Scouts leader. In both instances, Mr. Morrow said there was a need in the community and he realized he could meet that need. Cribbage tournaments, said Morrow, bring people to Sunnyside. He said he used to travel more often to participate in tournaments, but

hosting a few locally provides his family the opportunity to stay home, provide those within the cribbage world additional opportunities to compete and the Sunnyside VFW gains support because the tournaments are held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall. “Our local businesses also receive a little added attention, as well,” said Morrow. The tournaments are held in February, May and August. Morrow said the February tournament is a one-day event, the May and August tournaments are weekend events. One of the two tournaments in August is organized by Bob and Betty Brumley, he noted. Because cribbage is gaining interest in the community, Morrow said he happily makes custom cribbage boards that are awarded to the top four competitors at a tournament at Sunnyside’s Washington Elementary School at the end of the school year. “I would love to help more, but I work… they do a great job teaching the students the skills of playing,” Morrow said of the teaching staff at the school.

Morrow has been involved in tournaments at various levels for approximately 13 years. Mrs. Morrow said she wanted to help in any way she can. Although she doesn’t compete, she is involved in a supporting role. She developed a spreadJames Morrow of Sunnyside has the opportunity to compete in American Cribbage Congress tournaments he has organized. Here, he’s able to compete in a one-day tournament because his wife, Cher, is in charge of keeping track of the tournament statistics. Daily Sun News file photo

These cribbage boards were custom made by James Morrow as prizes presented to the top four competitors at Sunnyside’s Washington Elementary School’s annual cribbage tournament held this past spring. Daily Sun News file photo

Daily Sun News file photo

James Morrow helps young boys in Sunnyside enjoy themselves during a water camp he organized to promote interest in Cub Scouts this past summer.

Daily Sun News file photo

Youngsters in the community have the opportunity to enjoy cribbage because Sunnyside’s James Morrow believes in keeping the game alive through events like this tournament in 2010.

sheet program that helps statisticians keep track of cribbage scores. That spreadsheet program was recognized by officials within the American Cribbage Congress, and Mrs. Morrow was invited to help keep track of statistics at a large tournament in Reno earlier this year. The couple said they most enjoy the local tournaments because those events provide them the opportunity to visit with friends from all over the region. Mr. Morrow jokingly said, “My motivation is that I like to be in charge.” He said it makes it easier to have his wife helping because her role as statistician provides him the opportunity to compete. Mrs. Morrow said, “He also doesn’t want the interest among younger players to fizzle, so he helps them learn and develop an interest in cribbage.” Mr. Morrow laughed and said cribbage can be interesting “…because you can come home from winning a tournament only to be beaten by your nephew…it’s an equal opportunity card game.” That’s not to say it isn’t competitive. In fact, Morrow says the competition can become quite interesting. The Cub Scouts pack is a different matter for Morrow. He said starting a new troop came about as a result of his interest in helping youngsters. There hasn’t been a local Cub Scouts troop for a while. “There used to be two,” Morrow said, stating the troops that did exist didn’t re-charter and local boys had to join Cub Scouts in other

communities like Zillah. Former Sunnyside Police Chief Ed Radder is on the Boy Scouts council and encouraged Morrow to get involved. Further support was offered by Sunnyside Presbyterian Church, which offered the use of its facilities for a new Cub Scout troop. This past summer Morrow hosted a camp for youngsters interested in learning more about Cub Scouts. There were 15 who joined the new troop and five more have expressed an interest, he said. The Morrows didn’t stop there. They helped youngsters and fathers learn a creative activity during the recently held Almighty Dads Day event sponsored by Family Connections Yakima Valley. “If you don’t get involved, it won’t be there,” said Mrs. Morrow, explaining why the couple is passionate about helping community organizations and organizing the cribbage tournaments locally. She said there are always opportunities for community members to take an interest in meeting local needs. Unfortunately, not enough people are willing to step forward and get involved, said the couple. “Too often people make excuses rather than stepping in and making time to help their community…a few people do, but more need to be involved,” said Mrs. Morrow. Mr. Morrow agreed, stating he found opportunities to help others by getting involved in activities and organizations that he feels strongly about. He said he believes others could do the same if they made it a priority to do so.

september 14, 2012

pride of the Yakima valley 2012

Daily Sun News - 13

X-ray department shows a lot of heart by Laura Gjovaag

Lead-lined, cinderblock walls, all employees wearing special badges and limited access, mostly via key card might mislead a person into the wrong impression of the X-ray department at Sunnyside Community Hospital. The lead walls are to prevent any radiation leakage from the powerful machines that can look into the human body for problems. The badges are radiation detectors that will alert the staff to any possible leaks. And access is limited because the machines are both sensitive and expensive. Despite the daunting description, the department is full of friendly people determined to make their patients as comfortable as possible. A staff of 18 runs the department, all of them X-ray technicians and most of them with expertise in other imaging modalities (methods of viewing the interior of the human body) as well. And while most people think of the department as a place to get photos of bones, the technicians do far

more than that. “We don’t just take pictures,” said Miguel Martinez. He pointed out that technicians test bone density to help people deal with osteoporosis, and also work in the operating room, helping with surgeries. Other equipment shows the action of internal organs, such as the intestinal tract. The department is always staffed and aims to have at least three people on duty at all times covering most of the areas of expertise. “Ultrasound can be on call,” said Cherillyn Damron. “But they will respond within 30 minutes if we need them.” Damron said the technology has advanced in the 15 years she’s worked in the department, requiring staff to learn how to operate new machines, but the patients stay the same. “We get the trauma patients, the kids with broken bones,” she said. They also experience the joy of maternity patients and the worry from patients with conditions yet to be diagnosed. The hospital has been able to keep up with the technology, and boasts the only

Laura Gjovaag/Daily Sun News

Casey Ruggles demonstrates the 3-D Ultrasound that can show expectant mothers a complete view of their unborn baby.

digital mammography lab in Yakima Valley. The technology allows for better views of interior tissue, including the ability to magnify areas, resulting in more accurate diagnoses. Another technological advance, according to manager Coleen Goulet, is the ability to quickly send digital imagery to other hospitals. “It cuts down on time,” she said. It is particularly useful in trauma cases when the patient is airlifted to another hospital, such as Harborview. Laura Gjovaag/Daily Sun News Laura Gjovaag/Daily Sun News “The patient arrives and the Sunnyside Community Hospital has the only dig- Older women in particular have a high risk ital mammography available in the Yakima Valley. for osteoporosis, which is a disease that surgeons have already had The results of the digital photography (bottom thins bones. The DEXA machine, being op- time to study the problem,” she screens) are clearer than older technology (up- erated by Miguel Martinez, can test bone said. Nuclear medicine may per right) and give the physician the ability to density. Done regularly, the test can detect sound scary, but it can involve thinning in the bone due to osteoporosis. zoom in on suspected problem areas. amounts of radiation smaller than what a normal person gets from the environment. Instead of radiation being aimed at or through a person, radiopharmaceuticals are taken internally and the machine scans to see where the particles go and what the body does with them. “Nuclear medicine shows function,” said Jason Root, a specialist in nuclear medicine. “It’s not like anatomy. We aren’t reading bones. We see what the system is doing while it’s happening.” As a result, patients being treated on the machine must lie still for a long time, potentially hours. “I have music I play for patients,” said Root. “And we have designs on the ceiling to look at.” Comfort is the focus of the department. Patients have enough to worry about, so everyone working there strives to make sure the people they see do not experience additional stress. Some of the happiest patients who visit the department are expectant mothers who come in to get an ultrasound. The Laura Gjovaag/Daily Sun News Nuclear medicine allows doctors to see how the internal organs are working. Here, hospital can produce 3-D images of an unborn child for the parents to view and Jason Root operates the machine while Sheila Cerda settles into the cot.

technicians love to get good images of the soon-to-be-born. The best images are sometimes printed out and posted just outside the department’s doors for others to view, showing a bit of the happiness that can be found inside. ‑ Laura Gjovaag can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email

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14 - Daily Sun News

pride of the Yakima valley 2012 september 14, 2012

Join us in Celebrating Chevrolet and C. Speck Motors 100 years of servicing you.

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Amber Schlenker/Daily Sun News

Fireman and EMT Mickey Gilley backs a fire engine into the fire station after checking the vehicle for proper tools and accessories in case of an emergency.

City residents dig deep into their pocketbooks for Sunnyside firefighters by Amber Schlenker

Sunnyside residents can sleep easy knowing local firefighters are working around the clock to ensure citizens’ safety. The valley can take pride in the fact that 17 fulltime staff work night and day, standing by in case of an emergency. In addition to those, there are 20 volunteer firefighters who are ready and waiting for the call to aid area residents. In addition to the readily available staff, all firefighters, paid firefighters and volunteers, are certified emergency medical technicians. So in addition to honing the skills to extinguish dangerous fires, local firemen operate a residential ambulance service, where all firemen can aid in emergency situations. Sunnyside Fire Chief Aaron Markham

says the EMT certification course isn’t easy. It’s a grueling 180 hours of testing skills and smarts to ensure patrons in need of help get the adequate care. But most of all, valley residents can be proud of themselves for passing a $5.3 million bond issue to ensure the Sunnyside Fire Station will soon get a facelift and upgrade. The 20-year bond is allowing the fire department to construct a new firehouse that will be 10,000 square feet larger than the current facility. Building plans include adding additional fire-engine bays, the purchase of a ladder fire engine, an additional building along with the modernization of the current building and more parking areas. The city has already purchased nearly 10,000 square feet of land next to the current station, located at 518 S. Eighth St. An see “Dig deep” next page

100 years....4 Generations and still going strong!

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september 14, 2012

pride of the Yakima valley 2012

Daily Sun News - 15

Dig deep continued from page 14

Sunnyside firefighter Mickey Gilley and Battalion Chief Bill Harris (L-R) hold up the building plans for the new fire station that is set to be constructed this fall.

interfund loan in the amount of $250,000 was used to purchase the nearby vacant lot and office building. The recently passed bond issue will be used to help repay that loan. Markham says analysts have already begun testing the soil on the land next door, and determining how to fill the old medical facility’s basement. Right now, engineers are nearly half finished with the necessary paperwork and planning for the new structure, and Markham says the team will hopefully break ground on the project sometime this fall. When it’s all said and done, the current facility that was built in 1964 will have a new auto-sprinkler system and a modernized look, in addition to the 10,000 square foot addition. ‑ Amber Schlenker can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email ASchlenker@

Amber Schlenker/Daily Sun News

Sunnyside Fire Chief Aaron Markham looks over building plans for the fire station that was built in 1964.

Pictured here is a dual view of the kind of fire engine the Sunnyside Fire Department will purchase with some of the money that local voters recently approved via a $5.3 million levy.


Proud to NOT leave you hanging at harvest time Amber Schlenker/Daily Sun News

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pride of the Yakima valley 2012 Daily Sun News - 17

Sunnyside’s history lives thanks to loyal volunteers and help from city hall by John Fannin

Bonnie Dunbar’s astronaut suit stands in one corner, complete with freeze-dried food packets. Downstairs you’ll find one of the biggest and most in-depth displays of historical farm tools and barbed wire in the state. These are just a few of the items tucked away at the Sunnyside Museum. Staffing the museum and tending to its historical holdings is all done by a group of 14 volunteers that make up the Sunnyside Historical Association. Their responsibilities range from cleaning and vacuuming to serving as docents that welcome and inform visitors to the museum during its open hours of 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday from May through December. In between there is also a bit of interior design to prep for big open houses and even some cooking to make sure there are plenty of refreshments on hand. John Saras is the board’s president, and he says the museum came about in 1971 when a funeral home building and land was offered to the city with the provision that it be maintained as a museum. Since then, the city has maintained the grounds and exterior of the museum. Now city hall is taking an interest in making see “History lives” next page

John Fannin/Daily Sun News

John Saras, president of the museum’s board, looks through historical documents and writings included in the Sunnyside Museum’s collection.

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The Sunnyside Museum’s holdings also feature plenty of writings documenting historical figures of the area, such as Ben Snipes.

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18 - Daily Sun News

pride of the Yakima valley 2012

september 14, 2012

School district spokesman gives his all to Sunnyside by Laura Gjovaag

People tend to not notice Curtis Campbell as he goes about his business, quietly working in the background to make Sunnyside a better place. But he’s an integral part of the area, holding a key position at the Sunnyside School District and volunteering for leadership positions in many organizations around the area. The latest responsibility that Campbell has shouldered is the chairmanship of the Lower Valley Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. He’s already been on the board for three years, chairing the event in 2010 and 2011 and working on publicity in 2012. He was asked to come back as chair for 2013. In addition to that role, he also serves on the United

Way Lower Valley advisory committee, on the board of Sunnyside’s Promise and is starting a term as the vice president of electronic communications and marketing for the Washington School Public Relations Association. Campbell didn’t have such lofty plans growing up in Sunnyside. He was raised in town until he turned 12, though he says he spent a lot of time on his grandparents’ farm. When he turned 12, his parents purchased a farm near his grandparents and he spent the rest of his youth there. When he was about 14 and a half his grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. As a young man Campbell’s grandfather had worked in a uranium mine in New Mexico. “They didn’t have masks or protective gear back then,” said Campbell. “They didn’t

know about the danger.” His grandfather had only retired six months earlier. Soon he was unable to run the farm, and Campbell took on the responsibility. “I’d get up early to do the chores,” he said. “Then my mom would come over and drive me to school.” He was an eighth grader at St. Joseph’s in Sunnyside. After his grandfather passed away, Campbell’s grandmother sold the farm. The experience was a defining moment in his life and is part of the reason he works so hard for Relay for Life. “It’s a huge time commitment. It’s about 125 hours of personal time, total,” he said, mentioning that he’d gotten his wife’s approval before agreeing to be chair again. “She understands how important my grandfather was to me and how I do it in his memory and honor.”

Daily Sun News file photo

Curtis Campbell works with Sunnyside students on a school newspaper. While he attended Eastern Washington University he worked on the school newspaper as opinion page editor. Campbell attended high in his freshman year, but he trician and machinist and school in Grandview. His continued to play pick-up he considered following in his dad’s footsteps when he budding basketball career games. His father was an elecsee “Spokesman” next page was cut short by an injury

History lives continued from page 17

the museum and its holdings more accessible to the public. Public Works Superintendent Shane Fisher is in discussions with the Sunnyside Historical Association on how best to install an ADA-compliant handicap ramp. An existing interior ramp connecting the upstairs and downstairs portions of the museum do not meet ADA requirements, Fisher says. There is no exterior ramp to get into the museum, and Saras says there are some tours that bypass Sunnyside and its museum for that very reason. Getting a bathroom that’s also handicap accessible is also key, as the current one is about 100 years old. Interim City Manager Frank Sweet is an advocate for the museum. “This is just fantastic!” Sweet said as he and Fisher toured the museum following a recent historical society board meeting. “It’s a hidden gem and we need to find a way to market it.” Meanwhile Saras, wife Sally and a loyal band of volunteers keep the museum open and humming, hosting everything from class reunions to the Ben Snipes family to school tours. “I’m intrigued by the past history of people and places,” says Saras, a board member and volunteer for more than 25 years. He says his favorite display in the museum includes genealogies. “That tells you more about Sunnyside than anything else,” he smiles. Saras is also partial to photographs displayed at the museum, especially those with notes that depict the locations of where the historical sites are in relation to today’s

John Fannin/Daily Sun News

Sunnyside City Hall is gaining an awareness of the needs for updating the museum, as Interim City Manager Frank Sweet (L) and Public Works Superintendent Shane Fisher (background) take a tour of the site with museum president John Saras. Sunnyside. “The old pictures tell you what Sunnyside was like,” he said. Charlene Arriaga is another board member. “I felt called to be part of it,” she says of volunteering at the museum. Arriaga says she’s most intrigued by the numerous books in the museum’s collection that detail Sunnyside and Lower Valley history, such as those written by Roscoe Sheller. “It’s

so interesting to read about the history here,” she says. Make that not only interesting to read about Sunnyside’s history…but to help preserve and display it for current and future generations. - John Fannin can be reached at 837-4500 or at

september 14, 2012

pride of the Yakima valley 2012 Daily Sun News - 19

Daily Sun News file photo

Curtis Campbell sits next to former Sunnyside High School Principal Chuck Salina. In his administrative position in the school district, Campbell has witnessed the dramatic improvements over the last few years.

Spokesman continued from page 18

Left to right: Samantha Bentley, Marra-Lynn Rodriguez, Jamie Kleinow, Dr. Joanna Fischer, and Dr. Sherrie Hockett. Kneeling: Vanessa Romero and Sarah Bull. Not pictured: Heidi Faith and Melissa Garza

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(509) 837-4166 graduated. But a short time at ITT Technical Institute Daily Sun News file photo convinced him otherwise. He went to Spokane instead and attended Spokane Curtis Campbell also volunteers is a great showcase for Falls Community College before transferring to his time for other organizaWould you like more copies of Pride our area! Copies are available DAILY SUN tions, including United Way and Eastern Washington University. at our office at 600 S. 6th Street, the American Cancer Society’s He thrived at Eastern, working on the newspaper Sunnyside, or by calling 509-837-4500. You can also and dating a high school sweetheart who he later mar- Relay for Life. Campbell’s grandrequest copies and view the full section via our ried. He stayed at Eastern after graduation to earn his father passed away from cancer of the Yakima Valley website at! when Campbell was a teenager. Master’s degree in public administration. He was the opinion page editor at The Easterner, EWU’s newspaper, for three years. He said he really enjoyed the job. “I’m glad I stayed and did my Master’s program there,” he said. “It allowed me more time at the paper.” Campbell’s sweetheart graduated a year before he did and they were married that year. She got a job in Umatilla, but he was still attending school in Cheney. “I would spend four days at school then drive down to Richland to be with my wife,” he said. Then she got pregnant, to the couple’s surprise. “I missed the first two trimesters,” he said. “I graduated in June, and to be named by Wine & Spirits had a son in September.” After earning his Master’s degree, he decided to take some time off Magazine as one of the American and take care of his child, but it didn’t last long. Wineries of the Year “I got restless after about four months and started looking for work after about six months,” he said. Campbell didn’t limit his search, looking for jobs in Seattle and Portland. He didn’t expect to find work locally, despite a desire to return to the Lower Valley. “It was always my dream to come back and be back with my parents,” he said. Then his wife landed a job in Sunnyside. A couple of months later, while visiting his family, he spotted an ad for the director of executive services for the Sunnyside School District in the Daily Sun News. “I thought, I’m a good writer, I know public administration, I could do that,” he said. Hours: Open daily from 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Fall Cellar Sale Now Campbell says he can’t imagine being anywhere else. The posiSeptember 22, 2012 tion has given him a front seat to the positive changes occurring in the 9:30 am - 2 pm Our tasting room is located in Paterson, WA – Sunnyside schools. MUSTANG CAR SHOW 30 minutes south of Prosser on Highway 221. “It’s just amazing to see,” he said. October 7, 2012 Campbell continues to give of his time in volunteer service and works 10 am - 3 pm hard at his job. He has a good attitude toward the job and life in general. For additional information: Catch the crush “I give 110 percent,” he said. “If you can’t do that, what’s the point?” Please call us at 509-875-4227



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20 - Daily Sun News

pride of the Yakima valley 2012

september 14, 2012

Miss Sunnyside Program director credited with going above and beyond her duties by Jennie McGhan

When those associated with the Miss Sunnyside Program are asked about Director and Chaperone Teri AlvarezZiegler, the words easily begin to flow. She has been directing and chaperoning the Miss Sunnyside candidates and court members for nearly seven years. “I am inspired by the girls…I feel rewarded by the joy they have participating in the program and hear younger girls pronounce they want to become candidates,” AlvarezZiegler said, stating she doesn’t know when or if she will ever give up her responsibility to the program. “As long as they’re (the participants) having fun and want to be around me, I’ll keep doing it,” she laughed. Alvarez-Ziegler said she spent a year following the past director, Jennifer Heberlein-Golden, before taking on fulltime responsibility for the court. “When I came aboard I decided the director and head chaperone should become one position because the girls are already familiar with the director,” she said of the changes she made after that initial year. The change, Alvarez-Ziegler said, was a good one because the head chaperone was attending events that would benefit the director. Serving in both roles, she said she has had the opportunity to network with other directors around the state. The position, as well as the committee posts, doesn’t come with a paycheck. Alvarez-Ziegler and the committee members are volunteers. Alvarez-Ziegler said she isn’t in it for the money. She is involved because she enjoys pageants, and she likes watching the young ladies involved in the program grow and change. “Even the candidates change during their time running… they have the opportunity to gain a sense of self-assuredness, they learn public speaking skills, they learn to network and they gain a sense of community awareness,” said AlvarezZiegler. Each year the candidates catch a glimpse of court life by participating in the Grandview Community Parade, getting involved in community service projects and spending time with community members at a variety of events. “For the girls, it’s an accomplishment,” said AlvarezZiegler of the young ladies as they spend their summer

photo courtesy of Teri Alvarez-Ziegler

Although she doesn’t often make it into photographs with the Miss Sunnyside court, Teri Alvarez-Ziegler (far left) takes a moment to enjoy a little bite to eat in this photo with 2008-09 court members (L-R) Audra Hays, Rebekah Paulakis, Avalon Valencia and Ivette Torbay.

photo courtesy of Teri Alvarez-Ziegler

The 2011-12 Miss Sunnyside court members are all smiles as they take time out of their schedule for a photograph with Miss Sunnyside Program Director and Head Chaperone Teri Alvarez-Ziegler (center). The court members are (L-R) Miss Sunnyside Abigail Ramos, and princesses Geordan Skyles, Cheyenne Schultz and Kayla Amaro. months preparing for the pageant in September. Sue Babcock is on the Miss Sunnyside Program Committee. She said Alvarez-Ziegler has a lot of energy for the Miss Sunnyside Program, and Babcock is amazed that Alvarez-Ziegler invests so much time in it. “She does so much,” said Babcock, stating AlvarezZiegler doesn’t just transport all the court members to parades and ribbon cuttings. She explained Alvarez-Ziegler organizes the annual Miss Sunnyside Pageant, collects and accounts for raffle drawings, ensures the court’s banners are correct and purchases the court’s necessities. “We are one of few towns with a royalty luncheon. Although the parents are in charge, Teri arranges the location and assists the parents with the planning,” said Babcock. Going above and beyond is what Audra Hays, 2008-09 Miss Sunnyside third princess, says makes Alvarez-Ziegler popular with the candidates, court members and science students at Sunnyside High School. “I met Teri my sophomore year…she’s the one who suggested I run for the court,” Hays said, stating Alvarez-Ziegler has a knack for cajoling youngsters whom she believes in. Hays said Alvarez-Ziegler mentored her and has served as a mother figure to her from the beginning. “She’s still a mother figure to me,” said the former princess. She said Alvarez-Ziegler escorts the court members to various events, but she spoils them along the way. She makes little purchases from her own pocket, taking care of “her girls” wherever they may be. “There are no words to express how she changes your

life,” said Hays, stating Alvarez-Ziegler welcomes the past and present court members into her home, she takes time to keep in touch with them and connects with them wherever they may be in life. Hays said she still seeks Alvarez-Ziegler’s advice and the pair get together whenever possible. As a result of the lasting bond, the past court members try to help Alvarez-Ziegler when they are needed, as well. Hays said the past court members on occasion receive requests to assist with the candidates. “Teri has asked us to assist with mock interviews,” she said. For Hays it is about being able to return the love AlvarezZiegler has given. She is able to help younger girls become better people, as well. “Teri truly cares about those with whom she comes in contact with, especially the girls in the Miss Sunnyside Program,” said Hays. Babcock said Alvarez-Ziegler “…has a very big job…she goes above and beyond for any one citizen to make sure Sunnyside is represented in a positive way.” Alvarez-Ziegler said, “The court members and their families become my family.” She said she enjoys the connections and although it is a big job to direct and serve as chaperone for the program, “…it’s about prioritizing. “I enjoy every moment of it.” ‑ Jennie McGhan can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email

september 14, 2012

pride of the Yakima valley 2012 Daily Sun News - 21

Bronze society brings history to life in downtown Sunnyside by Laura Gjovaag

Once you’ve joined the bronze society, you’re in it for life, claims Bill Flower with a smile. Members give as much as they are able and together contribute to make each project a reality. The whole effort started when Sunnyside started to make plans for its centennial celebration in 2002. According to Flower, the Foundation for the Community of Sunnyside wanted something that would honor the history of the city. Descendents of Ren Farrell, the first man of European descent to live in the area, started a campaign to honor their ancestor. Fred and Ann Whitney became a driving force for what would become the first Sunnyside bronze statue. Farrell had worked for Ben Snipes, a cattleman whose activities had a huge impact on the entire Lower Valley. The foundation agreed that a statue of Farrell was a good way to honor Sunnyside’s centennial, and the bronze society was formed to make the statue a reality. The society focused on fundraising as well as the logistics of where the statue would be placed and how it would be made. Sunnyside artist Desiree Dawn designed the statue of the early cowboy branding a calf. Thanks to the efforts of Flower and the Whitneys, along with other early members of the bronze society, the statue of Farrell quickly became a reality. It was dedicated June 16, 2001, in a ceremony that also rededicated the restored cabin Farrell had lived in when he came to the Lower Valley.

Daily Sun News file photo

Table models make up a huge part of the fundraising efforts of the bronze society. The limited edition statues are sold by subscription and cast at the same foundry as the full-sized statue. After casting, the mold is broken. The statue was such a success that the bronze society immediately planned two more statues for the city, both honoring the history of Sunnyside in very different ways. According to Flower, the bronze society is a subcom-

mittee of the foundation and it is further divided into subcommittees for each statue planned. The next two statues led to two more subcommittees, one of which lasted see “Bronze society” page 23

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22 - Daily Sun News

pride of the Yakima valley 2012

september 14, 2012

At the Sunnyside School District, we take PRIDE in our Students, Staff and Community!

Sunnyside High School graduated a record 329 students in 2012.

Sierra Vista students working in their school’s computer lab.

Taking pride in what makes us great! The Sunnyside School District continues to grow with many students who are eager and ready to learn. We are ready for the challenge of assisting our students in gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to become successful. The District has an excellent teaching staff, strong administrative leadership and dedicated support staff. We provide our students with updated curriculum and technology. All of this happens in current, well maintained and safe facilities. The City of Sunnyside is a great place to live, work and raise a family. The Sunnyside School District is pleased to have such great support from our parents and community.

Sunnyside School District offers its students updated technology and curriculum to support their success. Above: A Chief Kamiakin student shows off his high score on the math drill he performed using an iTouch Below: Students participating in Sunnyside High School’s College in the Classroom program study marine biology aboard a floating lab in the Puget Sound.

september 14, 2012

pride of the Yakima valley 2012 Daily Sun News - 23

Bronze society continued from page 21

much longer than originally intended. The second two bronzes were planned to honor industry in the valley. The first would be a statue of a child doing her chores and the second would be a statue of H. Lloyd Miller, who is considered the father of the Roza Irrigation District. While the “Morning Chores” bronze design by Desiree Dawn was finished before the design of the H. Lloyd Miller bronze, the Miller bronze was installed and dedicated first. Miller’s bronze was originally scheduled to be dedicated during Sunshine Days and the celebration of the centennial, but the dedication was delayed because the statue wasn’t finished. The bronze of H. Lloyd Miller was eventually dedicated Dec. 7, 2002 and was designed by Kurt Pierson. But while “Morning Chores” was designed relatively early, it spent a long time waiting to be finished and placed while the society raised funds. It wasn’t until six years after the design was finished that “Morning Chores” was dedicated on June 21, 2007. The subcommittee of the bronze society worked that entire time, but another bronze was already in the planning stages as well. According to Cathy Mears, who chaired

the Bonnie Dunbar Bronze Committee, the idea to honor the Sunnyside native and former astronaut was being discussed 10 years prior by Flower. The idea was enthusiastically supported by many in the educational community, and the committee was formed to work on it. Desiree Dawn again did design work on the statue. The group began meeting monthly in 2010 with the hope of erecting the statue in mid-2011. “Two factors essentially determine the length of a bronze project - financing and schedules of the artist and artisan,” said Holly Adiele, Secretary of the Bonnie Dunbar Bronze Committee. Illness and other delays meant the original goal of the committee wasn’t met. Despite the problems, the committee got the job done. “The key requirements for any suc-

Daily Sun News file photo

Bonnie Dunbar and her niece pose in front of the statue dedicated to Dunbar in July of this year. The Dunbar project was enthusiastically supported by the public, with 22 of the 24 table models sold before the installation.

Daily Sun News file photo

The Ren Farrell statue was the first dedicated in Sunnyside and celebrates the life of the first man of European descent to live in the Lower Valley. Farrell homesteaded in the area and his descendents still live in Sunnyside.

Daily Sun News

cessful community project, of course, are a good idea and a couple of truly dedicated people,” said Adiele. The dedicated people in the case of the Dunbar bronze were Flower and Mears. “We’re nuts,” said Mears when asked what drove her to join the society. “I’ve known Bonnie most

file photo

lped bring water H. Lloyd Miller he rth of Sunnyno to the arid fields Irrigation Canal. a oz R e th side with s sed on a famou His statue is ba l, na ca ding in the photo of him stan as the first wags lifting his pant le through. ur po to d ter star te

Daily Sun News

file photo

res” in 2007. “Morning Cho il ve un rt ou th C e century. Miss Sunnysid g a cow in the 19 in ilk m Members of the rl gi ld r-o s a 14-yea The statue depict

of her life.” Mears said she felt that Dunbar is someone who ought to be honored for not only her hard work, but for her willingness to come back to Sunnyside repeatedly and share at the schools to inspire another generation. “We do it so poorly, thanking those who do so much for us.” The Dunbar bronze was dedicated July 16, 2012. Whether the reason is personal, such as honoring an ancestor or a friend, or educational, the people of the bronze society have enhanced the city of Sunnyside with their efforts. “The placement of the four bronzes near the Sunnyside Museum, the Ben Snipes Cabin, the Sunnyside Park and the center of town helps anchor the traditional heart of the community and creates a reason for visitors to stroll and snap photos,” said Adiele. “With so much commercial activity shifting to the highway, anything that creates downtown interest is a good thing, I think.” And the bronze society isn’t done. Flower said that it will continue to meet as needed. “If people have an idea,” he said, “all they have to do is come up with a funding scheme.” ‑ Laura Gjovaag can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email

24 - Daily Sun News

pride of the Yakima valley 2012

september 14, 2012

Jewelers passionate about their business by Amber Schlenker

Dale Beck loved jewelry so much that in his high school days, he’d drag his soon-to-be wife into jewelry stores. “He just loved jewelry,” Jennifer Beck said. Since his senior year in high school, Beck knew he wanted to be a jeweler. What caught his attention the most was the challenge of making jewelry and mixing different precious metals, that many said could not be done. “I wanted to prove them wrong and do it,” he said. “So I learned how to.” Beck Co. Design Gallery opened its doors in Sunnyside in 1985, and for nearly 27 years the married couple has been hard at it. They even often travel to Europe, to keep up with trends and fashions that have to do with jewelry. Here is just a “They (Europe glimpse of the jewelry designers) collection of Ellensburg Blue gems the are ahead of us by at least five years,” Mrs. store carries. Beck said. Nearly 10 years after opening the Sunnyside store, the couple decided to expand their brand to Prosser, in 1996. Now the two run both the Sunnyside and Prosser locations with gusto. Mrs. Beck says, though she never planned to be a jewelry designer, she loves it. Her favorite part of the everyday grind has to be working with people. “You get to share an emotional time with people,” she said, noting much of her job consists of helping customers find the perfect engagement ring for their loved ones. “I get to share a lot of happy times with people,” she added. In addition, she says she loves working with her hands, and even earned a scholarship as a youngster in woodworking. She even toyed with the idea of becoming an interior designer. Mr. Beck, of course, has always loved jewelry and loves everything about the business. But the duo says the thing that has kept them going for so long is their loyal customers. “We just have to thank our customers who

Exquisite jewelry, such as this sapphire blue necklace, is something customers can find at Beck Co. Design Gallery in Sunnyside or their Prosser location, 723 Sixth Street.

have been coming back to us for years,” Mrs. Beck said. The independent jewelry company offers many precious metals, diamonds and gems, but one of their hot ticket items is the “Ellensburg Blue.” They can also custom design jewelry pieces, and that’s probably Mr. Beck’s favorite part. Too, it’s being his own boss. “Yeah, I love being my own boss,” he said with a chuckle.

The dynamic duo has no plans of retiring anytime soon, they love what they do, and get to help people with exciting times in their lives. What more could they ask for? ‑ Contact Amber Schlenker at 509-837-4500, or email

Jennifer and Dale Beck stand at the store front of their Sunnyside business, which is located at 528 S. Sixth Street.

Amber Schlenker/Daily Sun News

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pride of the Yakima valley 2012 Daily Sun News - 25

26 - Daily Sun News

pride of the Yakima valley 2012

september 14, 2012

Sharks still chomping by John Fannin

Two generations later, members of the Jim Trull family still find themselves treading water, thanks to the Sunnyside Rotary-sponsored Sharks summer swim team. Trull’s daughter, Julie Schilperoort, swam for the team while in high school and currently she has two children who are Sharks, who finished their 2012 season this past July. “It’s a lifetime sport,” says Trull. “It’s helping me be a better swimmer,” adds Schilperoort’s 10-year-old son, Clay. Schilperoort is a treasurer for the Sunnyside Noon Rotary Club, and something of a cheerleader for the swim program. She says it’s one of the few team sports where athletes work together from varying age groups. Shark swimmers range in age from five to 18 and they all root for each other. That includes the parents. “There’s a great family atmosphere,” Schilperoort says. She adds that it takes a family to keep the summer swim program afloat, as parents take turns helping out with everything from timing the various events to manning vendor booths. That also includes the need to shuttle their children back and forth between early morning practices and late night swim meets. It’s an exhausting schedule. Kelly Harrington is president of the swim parent’s group, and she agrees. Harrington sees the difference it makes in her daughter, Aydan, a member of the summer swim team. “She’s extremely focused and very organized because of the time involved,” Harrington says. “It’s great for her.” Harrington says the sheer physical effort and time commitment to be a Shark has a fringe benefit besides keeping kids in shape.

Rotary team still in the swim of things after more than three decades in the pool

“They sleep well at night,” she smiles. Harrington emphasized she is just one of many parents who make the commitment day in and day out during the Sharks’ summer season. It’s a big task given this year’s team had 121 swimmers, the biggest group yet. “Parental involvement is huge,” she says. “We have a great group see “Sharks” next page

Jennie McGhan/Daily Sun News

The 2012 league championship meet featured a formal opening ceremony, during which the Sharks proudly presented their team’s banner. Sunnyside Shark Clay Schilperoort earned top honors at the league championships in the 10&U individual medley with a record time of 3:14.03, smashing the old mark by more than 20 seconds.

Jennie McGhan/Daily Sun News

Jennie McGhan/Daily Sun News

Catching some air at the 2012 league championship meet is 8&U Sunnyside Shark Tayler Bonzi.

Jennie McGhan/Daily Sun News

First-year Sunnyside Shark team member Makilie Hernandez is pictured competing in the 12&U, 50-yard butterfly during the swim league championships.

Jennie McGhan/Daily Sun News

Reflecting on awards won during the 2012 swim league championships are Sunnyside 12&U competitors Emily Banks (L) and Jolissa Mendoza.

september 14, 2012

pride of the Yakima valley 2012 Daily Sun News - 27

pRIDE in our Lower Valley Communities

At Lower Valley Credit Union we understand the importance of giving back to the community. That's why we support our schools with School Supplies each year, field a team and raise funds to walk in the Relay for Life, plus the numerous other community sponsorships that we support in Sunnyside, Grandview, Prosser and throughout the Lower Valley. We proudly invested in the Lower Valley with 3 full-service branches. We care about our




community because just like you we are HomeGrown. We live, work and raise our families in the Lower Valley and want to make it the best it can be. Come in Monday-Thursday 9-5 or Friday 9-6 and see why Lower Valley Credit Union has been the choice of Lower Valley residents for more than 60 years. Or visit us online at or on Facebook!

Relay For Lif e

Jennie McGhan/Daily Sun News

Watching the action in the Naches pool earlier this summer are (L-R) Sunnyside Head Coach Patrick Elerding, Scott Davis, Gilbert Newhouse, Assistant Coach Danielle Newhouse and Sylvia Newhouse.


continued from page 26

of parents, everybody’s committed.” Harrington also expresses appreciation for community support from Sunnyside to help keep the program a sure thing during an era where park and recreation programs have been trimmed by the city. That’s not to say the city of Sunnyside isn’t supportive of the swim program. see “Sharks” page 30

sunnyside Sunnyside LVCU staff front row (L-R): Ellane Jepson, Karen Clark, Michele Robertson, Veronica Garcia, and Suzy Fonseca-CEO. Back row: Josh Beck, Mireya Espindola, Alyssa Haak, Jonica Bridges, Nikki Dunkin, Ryan Tudor, Maria Casillas, Trish Drollinger, Adriana Clara, Stephanie Morales and Tony Garcia. Inset photos: Rita Gutierrez and Nereida Alvizo.



Prosser LVCU staff front row (L-R): Gil Shaw-Mgr., Grandview LVCU staff front row (L-R): Phil Robillardand Janice Bretthauer. Back row: Yolanda Plata, Mgr., and Jose Manzo. Back row: Maribel Cantu, Erika Aranda and Sandi Holland. Inset photo: Heather Anita Bentley and Eva Herrera. Carrizales

Your Home-Grown Credit Union! Lower Valley Credit Union is proud to have played a part in the success of the Lower Valley for more than 60 years.

Our Staff and Board of Directors is made up of local business people who know the importance of a strong, locally-owned and managed credit union.

your home-grown credit union

301 S. 7th Street • Sunnyside • 837-5295 1019 W. Wine Country Rd. • Grandview • 882-9916 580 Wine Country Rd. • Prosser • 786-2711

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By any name, Eagle Rehabilitation an asset for Sunnyside, residents by John Fannin

Locals have known it for many years as Hillcrest Manor and in the near future its name may yet change again. Whatever you call it, the facility now dubbed Eagle Rehabilitation at Sunnyside is a plus not only for the city, but for the Yakima Valley as it has grown in its care not only for residents, but especially for patients who need rehab time from illness or surgery before returning home. Just last month the Sunnyside facility opened the doors on a $3 million expansion that jumped its therapy area by 10-fold. Starting next month it will be owned by Vancouver-based Prestige Health Care, which purchased all 10 of Eagle Healthcare’s facilities, including those in Sunnyside and Grandview. “We are still discussing branding of the communities, but we will very likely change the Eagle name to Prestige,” says Hollie Fowler, who works for Prestige as director of sales and marketing. Harold Delamarter is Prestige’s president and CEO and he is impressed with Eagle Rehabilitation’s improvements and with the network of care centers in the Eagle chain. “We are looking forward to welcoming the staff, residents and families of these new communities into our family of care centers,” Delamarter says. “Our team is dedicated to providing life-enriching experiences to help residents and communities thrive in ways that are purposeful and personally meaningful.” There are plenty of meaningful changes afoot at Eagle Rehabilitation that have already improved the quality of life for residents and patients. Mary Arthur is Eagle Rehabilitation’s administrator, and she says the new 24 private rooms will make it possible for patients in recovery – whether it be from heart attack, stroke, surgery, injury or illness – to have much-needed therapy. “We want the rooms to fill up and empty,” she says of serving patients, then sending them back home after they are rehabilitated. With the expansion, Eagle Rehabilitation has added a modern state-of-the-art therapy gym and staff has grown by more than 25 percent – from 85 to 110 employees -including the addition of three new therapists and a speech therapist. “I like the bike. It keeps me in shape,” Olga DeLeon says with a big smile as she pedals through a therapy session with physical therapist Jerry Poff. “It just gives us a lot more ability to help them in their rehabilitation and get them back home,” Poff says. Patients receive therapy – ranging from recovering muscle control for day-to-day tasks to assisting patients who have

Improvements, including new landscaping, are also visible on the exterior following a recent expansion at Eagle Rehabilitation at Sunnyside.

John Fannin/Daily Sun News

John Fannin/Daily Sun News

Families are welcome at Eagle Rehabilitation at Sunnyside, as Laura Jacobs cuddles with great-grandson Andrew Perez.

John Fannin/Daily Sun News

A place to heal both body and soul, Eagle Rehabilitation at Sunnyside just recently completed a $3 million expansion that includes a chapel for worship services and personal reflection.

trouble swallowing – on the weekends and not just Monday through Friday. “Stroke victims can’t wait over the weekend to get therapy,” Arthur said. “They lose vital functions in those first days.” There’s also the added benefit of being close to home instead of having to travel to Yakima or the Tri-Cities. Upgrades at Eagle include all aspects of life for patients, such as a new chapel and

John Fannin/Daily Sun News

Chef consultant Richard Hull whips up some colorful and tasty finger foods at Eagle Rehabilitation at Sunnyside. a menu that offers a selection of seasonal entrees for each meal. Further, the center has brought a consulting chef – Richard Hull of Yakima - on board to bring a focus on fresh fruits and vegetables and adding tasty variety for plate and palate. Meals are all homemade on site and the halls of Eagle Rehabilitation are filled with scents of fixin’s in the kitchen. “The food is a lot better and the patients eat better,” says Evon Morris, Eagle’s dietary manager. see “Asset” next page

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John Allen, medical director for Eagle Rehabilitation at Sunnyside, visits with patient Barbara Merz.

continued from page 28

Good food, therapy on demand and a brand new building. Whether it keeps its current name or changes to Prestige, Eagle Rehabilitation at Sunnyside is once and for all the comforts of home in a medical and therapeutic setting – and close to home to boot. - John Fannin can be reached at or at 837-4500

John Fannin/Daily Sun News

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Jennie McGhan/Daily Sun News

Adrian Heffron of the Sunnyside Sharks is pictured in 14&U, 50-yard butterfly action during the Mid-Valley championships this past July.


continued from page 27

Sunnyside attorney Steve Winfree had two children participate in the Sharks program, and he applauds the city’s commitment to maintaining an Olympic-sized, 50-meter pool in Sunnyside, one of only three in the Yakima Valley. Of course, that commitment also includes reserving the pool for each of the Sharks’ seven home meets each season, as well as for daily practices. Year-in, year-out, the Sharks are competitive in their big pool, as well as venues around the Mid-Valley league. For more than 30 years that competitive spirit has come through in more ways than one. Patrick Elerding coaches the Sharks and he says the team rewards more than just those medalists who finish at or near the top of the pack at each meet. For example, he says ribbons are given to swimmers who improve on their personal best time in an event. “Ninety percent of them improve in some way during the season,” Elerding says. A 2005 graduate of Sunnyside Christian High School and 2004 WIAA State champion in the 100-yard breaststroke, Elerding says the Sharks have taught him an entirely new perspective. “I’ve learned a different type of competitiveness,” Elerding says. “Back then it was all about winning,” he says of his championship high school years. Now he says it’s not just about who wins, but recognizing the hard work swimmers face to improve their times regardless of where they finish. It’s hard work that children and parents – two generations – put forth each and every season for the Sharks. “At the end of the season you’re glad it’s over, but you wouldn’t do it any other way,” Winfree smiles. - John Fannin can be reached at 837-4500 or at

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he Port of Sunnyside works for the economic growth of our area by providing prime site ready industrial property along our I-82 corridor here in the Lower Valley. The port has a successful 48 year history of business development and promotes a complementary mixture of industry, agriculture, commerce, manufacturing, food processing, warehousing and support services. That along with abundant and affordable energy, a capable work force, an excellent transportation network and favorable tax structure the Port of Sunnyside is a positive force in the growth of the Lower Yakima Valley. Industries we support locally include: Andrus Roberts, Centennial Tank, Curfman Steel, Darigold, DRR Fruit, Envirotech Services, Inc. Independent Foods, Johnson Cannery, Johnson Fruit, KIE Supply, LTI/ Milky Way, JM Eagle, Inc., Sunnyside Beauty Academy, Swofford-Halma Clinic, U.S. Grape, Valley Processing and Yakima Chief, Inc.

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The Port levies a tax in Yakima County which is paid through your annual property tax payments. The Port has the ability to tax at $0.45 per $1,000 in assessed valuation of your property. In 2010 the actual levy was $0.41 per $1,000. The total county assessed valuation is $1,258,239,451 which makes the Port’s 2010 levy amount at $513,988.

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World traveler brings smiles and music to S'side students by Laura Gjovaag

The folk music is so tonal, it uses quarter tones.” The students could play back a tune after hearing it, but were unable to read music. He also said they picked up bad habits and poor fingering choices from each other. But they wanted to learn and he was able to help. “Lessons with a qualified Western instructor are rare in that part of the world,” he said. “They are always grateful to have it. Teaching there was wonderful.” He said he has set up Skype sessions with some students to help them along. Walker believes everyone should have access to music and artwork. “Take away art, and you take away humanity,” he said. “My job as an artist is to go out and change the world as much as I can. I need to take what I know and pass it on to the students.” He has been working on that goal in Sunnyside, trying to teach not just particular pieces of music but a way of thinking about and enjoying music. “If I know you’re going to grow up and be a surgeon, but I can teach you to attend and appreciate operas and then pass that on to your kids, I’ve done my job,” Walker said.

Bruce Walker is a very busy man. Director of orchestral studies in the Sunnyside School District, he teaches sixth through twelfth grade orchestra in the district, at four different levels, as well as a choir class. He says he teaches about 210 children in a trimester. Walker also taught a beginning stringer class before school four days a week last year, open to anyone who wanted to attend. He said one mother who wanted to learn came to class every day, making noticeable progress over the year. But when he’s not teaching, he spends time working on earning advanced degrees and traveling to other countries to teach music. A concert he staged this past June helped with his Master’s degree in music: cello performance from Central Washington University. His goal to earn a doctorate is well known among his students, but he insists it is still in the early stages. “I set a goal that I’d be Dr. Walker before the age of 40,” he laughed. “I’m only 29!” Three years ago, Walker was recruited to be a cello instructor and conductor for the YES Academy in the Middle East. “I jumped at the chance,” he said. Walker has made three trips to the Middle East to teach. On his first visit he went to Kurdistan in Iraq, as well as to Lebanon and Syria. His second trip was to Jordan. His most recent trip, earlier this year, was a return visit to Kurdistan, but he also visited Baghdad. During his most recent trip to Iraq he visited the Red Zone on a trip to an orphanage. He was slightly shaken by the news of Daily Sun News file photo a car bombing in the Bruce Walker teaches orchestra classes in the Sunnyside School District, same area. For him it instructing roughly 210 students each trimester. made the experience more amazing. “I never felt so important in my life,” he said, He’s been working on improving the program in describing the efforts to protect him and his fellow Sunnyside since he arrived in 2007. With his sixth musicians as they took the trip. year of teaching coming up, he hopes to continue He also performed in Baghdad, as did some of his creating lifelong lovers of music. students. “The students in Sunnyside are hard working Last year, he only went to Jordan. Walker de- kids,” he said. “They sometimes have days of being scribed Amman, Jordan as a very cosmopolitan knuckleheads, but they pull together.” place. He enjoys music competitions for the way it pulls “They had Popeyes and Papa John’s and other together a group and makes them better. fast food,” he said. “They are clearly influenced by “I like healthy competition,” he said. “They Western culture but still true to their own history. It make you understand why we play and how to play was two worlds blended together.” well.” The students in Jordan were fantastically good He also believes that all students should have acmusicians, according to Walker. cess to good music programs. “They had instructors and knew how to play,” he “The quality of instruction in Sunnyside should said. “But they never played as an ensemble. That be the same as in bigger towns,” he said. He thinks was my job, to get them to play together.” the district is headed in the right direction. He said the students in Syria and Lebanon were “The school district values the orchestra prosimilar, but those in Kurdistan were just the oppo- gram,” he said. “Dr. (Rick) Cole has done a lot for site. our program, and I’m forever grateful.” “They had no excellent training,” Walker said. “They learned to play from each other and mostly in ‑ Laura Gjovaag can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email groups. But they have ears that are out of this world.

Daily Sun News file photo

World traveler and world teacher Bruce Walker is an excellent cello player and renowned conductor.

Daily Sun News file photo

Bruce Walker performs on the cello, accompanied by Sheila Zilar Gephart on the piano, for an audience in Sunnyside this past June. Walker is aiming to eventually earn a doctorate’s degree.

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A helping hand no chore for Grandview police chief by John Fannin

GRANDVIEW – “God tells me I need to do it and I can be a blessing in making someone else’s life easier,” is how Grandview Police Chief Dave Charvet describes his work in building ramps and handrails for Volunteer Chore Services. Charvet got started helping out through the volunteer group when he heard program coordinator Natalie Curfman talk about it at a Grandview Rotary Club meeting. In the four years since then, Charvet figures he has volunteered his time to construct dozens of ramps, railings and other necessities to help the disabled access their homes. The labor of love has taken him to homes throughout the Lower Valley, from Granger to Prosser and points in between. He says it takes anywhere from half a day up to three or four days to construct a ramp. Charvet doesn’t just hammer away at the project, though, as he first takes detailed measurements

and provides the Chore Services group with the dimensions and estimated cost for materials. Once a project is approved, Charvet then gets to work putting the ramp together. Sometimes he has help from those in the community, such as Grandview Fire Captain George Saenz, and other times he does the work alone. In one instance the homeowner’s son provided Charvet a helping hand to get a ramp completed. “We could always use help,” he says of the need for volunteers. Charvet has received help from various sources, whether it be Stegeman Electric donating time and material for metal hand rails or trustees at the Grandview City Jail applying a protective coat of lacquer to protect the wooden ramps from the weather. Trustees also apply a sand finish to the ramp surface so that it is not slippery. “They love it because they know they are helping someone,” see “Helping hand” next page

John Fannin/Daily Sun News

Grandview Police Chief Dave Charvet details the work that went into building one of the dozens of ramps he has built for the handicapped in the Lower Valley.

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34 - Daily Sun News

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Helping hand continued from page 33

Charvet says of the trustees’ volunteer efforts. Charvet smiles as he recalls the joy homeowners express when old stairs are replaced with easy-access ramps. He described one veteran in a wheelchair who had not been out of his home on his own for months on end because of stairs that blocked his way. “That’s the first time he was outside on his own in two years,” Charvet beams as he points to a photo of the veteran happily wheeling down the ramp. There was also the time when a man was coming home from the hospital after suffering a stroke. The Chore Service group went into overdrive to get a ramp up before he came home and within a couple of days it was ready for his return. “But he wasn’t the first person to use the ramp,” Charvet smiled, noting a 7-year-old girl living in the home had Down’s Syndrome and was also confined to a wheelchair. She was the first to make use of the new ramp. Charvet says he’s happy to train other Chore Service volunteers interested in building ramps. “If they’ve got a will and desire to help I’ll teach them,” he says. “They help me to build one ramp and they’ll know how to do it.” A side benefit to the volunteer ramp and handrail efforts is that the public sees emergency officials like he and Saenz in a new light. “I hope they will see that we’re here to help

photo courtesy Dave Charvet

Also helping with some of the ramp projects is Grandview Fire Captain George Saenz, pictured at work on one of the volunteer efforts. The ramps and handrails are built in such a way that they can be removed and used elsewhere when the resident no longer needs them.

photo courtesy Dave Charvet

Grandview Police Chief Dave Charvet’s eye for detail comes in handy with sketches like this he creates before undertaking each project. people,” Charvet says. “That’s our focus.” To help Volunteer Chore Services’ focus on helping those in need, whether it be housework or transportation, contact Curfman at 839-8260 or e-mail her at - John Fannin can be reached at or at 837-4500

photo courtesy Dave Charvet

The labor of love is worthwhile, as pictured is the final result of the ramp depicted in the sketch. This ramp had to have a wrap-around feature and measured 40 feet to meet ADA requirements.

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Giddy up…

Outlook teen finds success in rodeo arena by Jennie McGhan

It’s not every young girl who is able to qualify for the National High School Rodeo finals, but Outlook’s Gracie Wiersma has…not once, but twice. Wiersma first began competing on a horse when she was a sixth grade student at Sierra Vista Middle School in Sunnyside. Now, she is a junior at Zillah High School and has found she still enjoys competing at rodeos. Wiersma has twice qualified and buckled at the National High School Rodeo finals. She won the Washington State High School Rodeo cutting contest to compete in the national contest this past summer. Finals were held in Rock Springs, Wyo. this past July and Wiersma tied for eighth place honors with three other teens from Canada, Texas and Hawaii. The foursome scored 217 points in cutting. She also qualified for the 2012 pole bending event at nationals after earning runner-up honors at the state competition.

Jennie McGhan/Daily Sun News

Proudly displaying the buckles she has won as a result of success in the rodeo arena is Outlook’s Gracie Wiersma.

1 1 1


2 2

2 2

3 3

3 3

At the state event, Wiersma was awarded a buckle for reserve all-around cowgirl. “It was in eighth grade that I really developed a passion for rodeo competition,” said the young cowgirl. She said she got her start in barrel racing with the encouragement of her older sister, Kellie. “She’s my role model,” said Wiersma, stating her sister is no longer competitive because she is in college. Wiersma said Sunnyside’s Pete Sartin also mentored her, helping her learn the skills she needed to compete in cutting events. “I began by using one of his older cutting horses for practice,” she said, stating her parents, Jeff and Julie, noticed she had a knack for rodeo competition and purchased her first horse for use in the high school circuit during the 2010-11 school year. That was the first year she qualified for the state and national high school competitions. However, the horse didn’t perform as well as she would have liked it to have and she sold it at the national event last year. It was at the 2011 National High School Rodeo competition that Wiersma earned 15th place honors in barrel racing and fourth place see “Success” next page

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36 - Daily Sun News

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september 14, 2012

Success continued from page 35

photo courtesy of Julie Wiersma

Gracie Wiersma competes at a rodeo event in Goldendale earlier this year. She competes in barrel racing, as well as breakaway roping, goat tying, cutting and pole bending, which have qualified her to compete for all-around cowgirl titles.

honors in the all-around rookie cowgirl scoring. She said all-around cowgirls must compete in several events…in cutting, breakaway roping, barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying and team roping events. “You are judged on skills, how your horse responds to you and overall horsemanship,” explained Wiersma. She inherited her sister’s old horse and had more success this past year. She said the horse performs well and she enjoys riding it. Wiersma hasn’t limited herself to the high school rodeo circuit, though. She competes in Pro-West and National Pro rodeos, as well. In the Pro-West circuit she won the breakaway roping competition in Glenwood this past summer. The purse for winning the event was just more than $800. Last month, she competed at the Yakima Valley Fair & Rodeo in Grandview, a Pro-West competition, but didn’t fare as well. “My horse wasn’t ready for barrel racing,” she said, stating she blames herself for being unable to get a “clean catch” in breakaway roping. Wiersma admits she has had more success this past year in the cutting events. “It involves tons of practice and at least 45 minutes of exercise for my horse on a daily

basis,” she explained, stating the key to a good cut is patience. “Don’t rush,” Wiersma said. Explaining what cutting is, she said the rider maneuvers his or horse into a herd, sorts it and selects three cattle that must be removed from the herd in no more than two and a half minutes. “It’s important to evenly space the time,” said Wiersma. Competitors are scored, again, on horsemanship skills, as well as how quickly the task is completed. “Rodeo gets in your blood,” Wiersma said as to why she enjoys competing. She said there is an adrenaline rush from racing at break-neck speeds to exhibit horse riding skills, training ability and an unspoken communication between horse and rider. “It’s like many other sports in that there’s a camaraderie among the competitors and their families,” Wiersma said of the added benefits to all the traveling that is involved in rodeos. The traveling, she said, is another perk because there are many places rodeo competitors visit and see, experiencing sights that might not otherwise be seen. “I just love it,” said Wiersma. ‑ Jennie McGhan can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email

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Daily Sun News - 37

Service above self shown by local Rotarians by Amber Schlenker

Sunnyside Rotarians are on the move helping people locally and internationally. In Sunnyside there are two clubs, the Sunnyside Noon Rotary Club and the Sunnyside Daybreak Rotary Club. It’s one mission with double the power. International success Rotary is a worldwide organization with more than 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries addressing such challenges as illiteracy, disease, hunger, poverty, lack of clean water and environmental concerns. One of Rotary’s biggest success stories was PolioPlus, which was launched in 1985 to immunize the world’s children against polio. This dreaded disease has been virtually eliminated, according to Noon Rotary Club member Jim Trull. Two clubs, one mission The Sunnyside Rotary Club was founded in 1926 with Roscoe Sheller as its first president. The club reached its peak attendance in the 1980’s and consequently the Sunnyside Daybreak Rotary Club was formed. Both groups are active in the community supporting the Sunnyside Rotary swim team and the Lower Valley Community Concert Series. The club provides scholarships to graduates of the two high schools in Sunnyside. It provides youth leadership training by hosting the student body officers from Sunnyside High School at both meetings, and Sunnyside Christian High School leaders at the noon meetings. For many years both clubs have also supported the International Youth Exchange Program and will do so again this year. Noon stars Noon Rotarian Dan Huff has just completed his term as president and Tim King is his successor. Suzy Fonseca has been named presidentelect, Julie Schilperoort as secretary-treasurer, and members Jim Kassebaum, Terry Drollinger and Greg Visser have been very active in fundraising events. Day-breaking leaders Local Daybreak Rotarians also work with organizing and choosing candidates for the annual high school career fair. Newly elected president Roger Roudebush says the morning club also helps sponsor the Junior Achievement Daybreak Rotary Club members Teresa Hancock (L) and Amber Hansen paint Sunnyside Airport pilot lounge walls at a volunteer work day last year.

program and member Jeff Barom has been considerably active in starting a Junior Achievement program in Sunnyside schools. The club also has made charitable contributions to Eagle Rehabilitation at Sunnyside and local food banks. They’ve also helped with developing the Sunnyside walking path, and on several occasions have been out and about cleaning up the path. Recently the club has also offered its services to Volunteer Chore Services to help local elderly folks with chores in and around their homes. Officers of the club include Nick Friend, presidentelect; Amber Hansen, financial secretary; and Dave Shrewsberry, secretary. Roudebush says in addition to the active club members, Sen. Jim Honeyford is one for the books. “He is a very active member and a big promoter of our group,” Roudebush said. He also says the club’s financial secretary, Amber Hansen, who is an influential part of the Port of Sunnyside, is also an active member who attends photo courtesy of Sunnyside Noon Rotary many volunteer activities. Both clubs participate in several city clean-up proj- Noon Rotarians Terry Drollinger (L) and Jim Trull help fellow club ects and help out where they can. In addition, the members refurbish the horseshoe pits at Sunnyside’s South Hill Rotary clubs in Sunnyside are stocked with members Park. of local and state political influence and many business owners. For more information about Rotary on an international scale, visit

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Redhead Express & the Walker Family


arber Ter r y B

Lower Valley concert series 65 years-young by John Fannin

Swing, country, classical and jazz are just some of the musical genres to grace the stage during more than six decades of the Lower Yakima Valley Community Concert Series. It all started in 1947 and now 65 years later the series is still going strong. Since its opening season in 1947-48, the concert series has consistently featured national and international performers. The Vienna Boy’s Choir, New Christy Minstrels and Seattle Symphony Orchestra are just a few of the more than 200 performers who have appeared in the Lower Valley Community Concert Series. Concert organizers are able to draw from a pool of talent through an agency known as Live on Stage, which offers a variety of artists for consideration. The Lower Valley series is one of several drawing from the selection of performers. Once locations are lined up, the performers then arrange a schedule for a tour of the venues. That’s resulted in a reciprocal agreement in which a season ticket holder for the

Lower Valley series, for example, can enjoy concerts in the Tri-Cities or Everett, among other places, at no charge. Jim and Jean Corliss are longtime volunteers with the Lower Valley series and have traveled as far away as Hermiston, Ore. for a concert included in the reciprocal program. Since performers arrange the dates according to when they are available, ticket prices are able to be kept at a reasonable level. As a result, concerts are held on weekdays, as well as weekends, to fit the artists’ traveling schedules. The Corlisses noted that at one time the Lower Valley series was held in the Lincoln School gym, before later moving to the 700-seat capacity Sunnyside High School auditorium. The concert season generally runs from fall through spring. This fall, the auditorium will greet concert-goers with improvements that include a new sound system, lighting and seats. The series is literally a year-to-year operation, with the subscription revenues from one season funding performances for the next.

Barb Skinner sits on the executive board for the Lower Valley Community Concert Association and is its membership director and headquarters director. She said the group spends about $22,000 a year to fund concert programming. She says 460 season tickets are typically sold each year, but so far in 2012 the group is about halfway there. The big need, she says, is for more volunteers. “Workers drop away because of age and a lot of the good old time workers have passed away,” she says. “We can’t seem to find any new replacements that will take this on.” Volunteers are needed for a host of activities, including recruiting and retaining memberships, folks who purchase season tickets for the concert series. Skinner says the group works hard to keep prices reasonable. Season tickets for the five performances in 2012 and 2013 are $50 for adults and $15 for students. A family pass (two adults and two children) is $105. Perfomances scheduled for 2012 and 2013 include acapella quintet 42Five (pro-

nounced Four Two Five) from Orlando, Fla. on Monday, Sept. 24. The remaining concerts are countertenor Terry Barber on Sunday, Nov. 18, cellist Natasha Farny on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2013 and country/bluegrass artists Redhead Express & the Walker Family on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. The series closes with the Yakima Youth Symphony Orchestra on Sunday, April 21, 2013. Skinner has been a fan of community concert performances for nearly 50 years. For almost half of that time she has been an active volunteer with the Lower Valley group. Her involvement here, she recalls, happened after her family moved to Sunnyside and were welcomed with season passes to the Lower Valley Community Concert Series. Now she and others are hoping to welcome a new generation to the series that’s 65 and still going strong. To learn more about the series, for tickets or to help, call Skinner at 839-5222. Information is available at or on Facebook.

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Mountain States Construction Company building relationships for more than 50 years by Amber Schlenker

From the basement to the big leagues, Mountain States Construction Company was forged in Sunnyside in 1964 - nearly 50 years ago. The company was founded by Henry A. Stamschror, who started the business in the basement of his home. In the early 80s the office was moved just down the road from his home to its current location on Scoon Road in Sunnyside. Mountain States Construction got its start as a heavy civil general contractor and quickly grew into other areas of construction, such as commercial, medical, industrial and agricultural. Some of the company’s earliest and most familiar projects are the Yakima Mall and Kadlec

photo courtesy of Mt. States Construction

Pictured here is the Mountain States Construction field crew at the Four Feathers Winery Prosser.

photo courtesy of Mountain States Construction

As one of its pride and joy projects, Mountain States constructed an under-water, dome-shaped walk-through path for visitors of the Oregon Coast Aquarium.


Hospital in the Tri-Cities. The local company also worked on buildings in Sunnyside, including Sunnyside Community Hospital, Grace Brethren Church, Yakima Federal, the American West Bank building, Columbia Bank, Snipes Mountain Brewery, Valley Processing’s freezer, the Speck Motors building, Hallett Cinemas, Ford New Holland, Canam Steel, Oord Dairy and currently in progress is the Sunnyside Christian Reformed Church. Mountain States has also continued to take care of


its own, by working with Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District, the City of Sunnyside and the Port of Sunnyside. The local construction company currently employs 40 people, and several of them have been with Mountain States for more than 30 years. The projects that Mountain States gets involved in range in cost and size from large to small. “Projects range in size from $100 into millions,” mesee “Building relationships” page 42


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Building relationships continued from page 40

dia relations director Angie Bonds said. A notable job for the company was at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where they built an under-water dome-shaped path that visitors to the facility could walk right through and view the habitat of marine life. Currently, the team is working on a 52,000 square foot wine production facility in Prosser for Zirkle Fruit, called Four Feathers Winery. Recently, the company also finished adding a reserve tasting room and an office at Maryhill Winery near Goldendale. Mountain States completed the original winery in 2001 and have since added an amphitheatre and additional barrel and case storage buildings. The team also began working on a 7.4 megawatt hydroelectric facility in Montrose, Colo. last spring and will start an 8 megawatt hydroelectric facility this fall just down the road at the Ridgeway Dam. “This will keep us in Colorado through the spring of 2014,” Bonds added. Also in progress is construction on the Bale

photo courtesy of Mountain States Construction

Another notch in their belt at Mountain States Construction is this milking parlor at Sunnyside’s Oord Dairy. The parlor has an automatic deck flush, a holding pen flush system and underground sprinkler pen. This facility also is equipped with a full basement to keep the milking equipment in a clean, dry environment.

see “Building relationships” next page

photo courtesy of Mountain States Construction

Mountain States Construction in Sunnyside also takes pride in their business relationship with Yakima Chief in Sunnyside. Pictured above is an office they built for the local company.

photo courtesy of Mountain States Construction

Spanning beyond heavy civil general contracting, Mountain States worked on the Arrowrock Hydroelectric 15 megawatt facility in Boise, Idaho. The team constructed this twin 7.5 megawatt hydroelectric facility. The powerhouse contains two 7.5 megawatt turbines with a life expectancy of more than 50 years. The facility is 68 feet in diameter and more than 75 feet tall from the base rock foundation to the roof.

Henry Stamschror began Mou ntain States Constructio n out of the basement o his Sunnys f id home in 19 e 64. photo cour te

sy of Mount

ain States C


Our family is proud to provide you ‘Farm Fresh Produce and Family Fun’

Here is an aerial shot of the work Mountain States employees did at Sunnyside’s CanAm Steel.

in the Yakima Valley! Coming next...

Apple and Pumpkin Festival Saturdays, September 22 & 29

Friday and Saturdays, October 5 & 6, 12 & 13, 19 & 20, 26 & 27

3674 N County Line Road, Grandview photo courtesy of Mt. States Construction

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Building relationships continued from page 42

Breaker Brewery in Moxee along with the new Sunnyside Christian Reformed Church. “We take pride in the fact that we are a small business, in a small town and get to help clients do big things,” Bonds said. Mountain States Construction Company employees live by one motto: pride. Mountain States employees take pride in everything they build - small or large. Each project is an opportunity to build relationships and continue to learn about different industries, says Bonds.

“We take pride in our employees. Most of them drive daily from the Yakima or Tri-Cities area to our office in Sunnyside or to their job sites across the state,” Bonds added. The company also takes pride in its safety program. Each year Mountain States hosts a company picnic and it presents an opportunity to acknowledge individuals for their safety awareness while on the job. “We take pride in the fact that we are a team and we work as a team,” media relaphoto courtesy of Mountain States Construction tions director Angie Bonds said. Construction crews recently finished up work at Maryhill Winery near Goldendale. The project ‑ Contact Amber Schlenker at 509-837-4500. included adding a reserve tasting room and an office.




Back row, left to right: Josh Lopez, Ian DeBoer, Michael Torrison, Mike Beckstrand, Joe Delgado. Front row (L-R): Ivean Williams, Carlos Mendoza, Robert Gomez and Socorro Garcia.









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Panda Bear no stranger to Sunnyside families seeking great child care by John Fannin

Some of the parents who take their children to Panda Bear Child Care in Sunnyside they themselves spent time there as youngsters. Jorge and Socorro Bazaldua have operated the day care at Sixth Street and North Avenue since 2001. Prior to that Socorro ran a day care from the couple’s home. That all changed when they purchased the Sixth Street and North Avenue facility, which had served as a daycare center since the 1970s.

The move to the larger facility meant operating a much larger operation than the one Mrs. Bazaldua ran from her home. It also required her husband to transition from working as a mechanic to becoming a full-fledged partner in the daycare center. “It was a big change,” he smiled. “I had to deal with people instead of trucks and cars.” The change has apparently agreed with the couple, as they and their day care are involved in several ways in the Sunnyside community beyond operating a business. If there’s a parade or a festival they’re in it.

John Fannin/Daily Sun News

Panda Bear Child Care not only helps children learn social and language skills, but also provides outlets for expressions, such as this dance group.

John Fannin/Daily Sun News

Socorro and Jorge Bazaldua earlier this summer welcome the crowd to Panda Bear’s annual picnic for parents and their children.

John Fannin/Daily Sun News

Music, food and fellowship fill Sunnyside’s Central Park during an appreciation event for Panda Bear parents, children and staff. “Those little girls learn confidence and reAnd sometimes they create their own splash, sponsibility,” Alvarez-Ziegler says. like taking the kids to the pool or library. Parents notice a difference, as well, when Naila Rodriguez is a Sunnyside seventh grader, but a few years ago she was at Panda their children are at Panda Bear. “Her speech has improved,” Freddy Rangel Bear and even reigned as the day care’s queen for a year. “They were always taking us to the says of his daughter’s experience at Panda park. There was always fun stuff to do,” she Bear. “She’s playing well with other kids and getting along with others.” says. Mr. Bazaldua says the key to success at Luz Rodriguez works for Nuestra Casa, and she expresses appreciation for the way Panda Panda Bear comes down to loyal, hard working staff. Bear helps children learn folklore dancing. “We’ve been good at connecting with There are other practical applications for employees,” he says. “We try to keep our emthe fun and lessons learned at Panda Bear. “I didn’t know English and they helped ployees happy so they’ll stay.” At the end of each summer the Bazalduas – me learn,” says Lia Gutierrez, who just last month was named second princess for the with volunteer support from their employees – put on a meal and entertainment in Central 2012-13 Panda Bear court. “They teach us to be nice to people and help Park for parents and families with children who stay at Panda Bear. others,” added 2012-13 Queen Perla Flores. With anywhere from 60 to 80 children at A third 2012-13 court member, First Princess Lucero Ramirez, noted, “They give the day care, the crowd at Central Park for the us a chance to learn,” she said. “In the games big party can number as many as 200 people. John Fannin/Daily Sun News “It’s a big thank you to the parents for trustOne of Panda Bear Child Care’s unique offerings is selecting a royal court each year. even if you lose you’re still a winner.” As mentor and confidant for the Miss ing their children to us,” Jorge says. The 2012-13 Panda Bear Child Care Court includes (middle L-R) First Princess LucMake that a big thank you for two generero Ramirez, Queen Perla Flores and Second Princess Lia Gutierrez. Pictured in the Sunnyside Court, Terry Alvarez-Ziegler back is the 2011-12 Miss Sunnyside Court (L-R) Princess Kayla Amaro, Princess knows well the challenges – and benefits – ations of children who have grown up with Geordan Skyles, Miss Sunnyside Abigail Ramos and Princess Cheyenne Schultz. girls can experience on a court. She says the Panda Bear. - John Fannin can be reached at 837-4500. same goes for the Panda Bear girls. In the front is Queens for a Cure Princess Audrina Campos.

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Fourth generation Rotarian follows a tradition of service by Laura Gjovaag

You might not consider Tim King to be remarkable, but as a fourth generation Rotarian and the current president of the Sunnyside Noon Rotary Club, he represents a tradition of service to Yakima and the Lower Valley through local Rotary clubs. Rotary tradition in the area Rotary International is a service club that attempts to improve the lives of people in local communities and around the world through service-minded projects. Rotary has a long history in Yakima County. The first club in the county was formed in Yakima in 1919, only 14 years after the organization was originally founded in Chicago. Sunnyside and Toppenish both formed clubs in 1926 and Prosser in 1930. Other clubs have formed since, including a second club in Sunnyside, making Rotary an integral part of life in the Lower Valley. The Yakima area is part of a district that stretches down to Prosser and up into Canada. It consists of 59 clubs and extends 550 miles north/south through central Washington and eastern British Columbia. Tim King’s Rotary heritage King’s family moved to the Yakima Valley more than 100 years ago. His greatgreat-grandfather, George Prior, was a businessman with a large sheep ranch and considered a “leading and influential citizen” by a biographer in 1919. While Prior might not have been in Rotary, his son Archie Prior certainly was,

joining the downtown Yakima club in 1955 and serving until his death in 1961. King’s paternal grandfather, Corwin H. King, was a Rotarian for at least 15 years after joining the Yakima club in 1953. And Tim King’s father, who taught at Central Washington University, is also in Rotary. He joined the Ellensburg Rotary Club in 1978 and became president of his club in 1998-99. He also served as district governor in 2007-08. On the maternal side of King’s family, his great-grandfathers both were in the Prosser Rotary Club. King’s maternal grandfather, Elwood “Woody” Miller, was the president of the Yakima Rotary Club in 1960 and became the district governor in 1973. Multi-generational Rotarians “It’s not unusual to have father-son or father-daughter relationships in Rotary,” said Darryl Blue of the Yakima Rotary Club. “Two generations are not unusual at all.” The size of the Yakima club makes multigenerational service more likely. “Yakima’s club is the 50th largest in the world,” he said. “In an old club like Yakima, the habit of service has more time to develop.” Three generations of Rotarians in a family are also no longer rare. “It’s becoming more common. My club has a couple of third generation Rotarians,” said Blue. But four generations is much less common. see “Tradition” next page

Proud to be a part of the Yakima Valley Community A Northwest Tradition Built on Trust


Laura Gjovaag/Daily Sun News

Tim King mixes up the entries for the Rotary swim team raffle this past July. King has been involved in many Rotary activities, including the Mary Monroe Davis Scholarship and helping support the Sunnyside swim team.

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Tradition continued from page 45

Jennifer Deters, manager for research and programs at member engagement of Rotary International, said there is no way to confirm how many people have four or five generations of membership in their families. “We’ve only had electronic records for the last 20 years,” she said. “Before then, records were kept at the club level.” Sifting through records to find out who belonged to Rotary is made more difficult when the members of different generations may not have belonged to the same club. Despite that, Deters was impressed. “Even four generations is pretty remarkable,” she said. King’s service The Rotarian motto is “Service above Self” and it can be seen in King’s family with their time in Rotary. They have contributed at least three club presidents, two district governors and well over 100 combined years of service through Rotary to their local communities. King himself has worked for 11 years in health and safety at the RozaSunnyside Board of Joint Control in Sunnyside. He was raised in Ellensburg, but now lives in Prosser. He graduated from Central Washington University. He’s only been a Rotarian for five years, but has been deeply involved with the Mary Monroe Davis Scholarship Program, the Sunnyside Rotary swim team, the community Christmas basket program and leadership mentoring. And now he is following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps by serving as club president in Sunnyside. Will he be a district governor as well? “Not for a long time, yet,” said King. ‑ Laura Gjovaag can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email

Laura Gjovaag/Daily Sun News

Tim King, who can document four generations of his family as belonging to Rotary International, is currently the president of the Sunnyside Noon Rotary Club.

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French fried asparagus a Sunnyside family tradition by Amber Schlenker

Roll into Stokes Burger Ranch in Sunnyside just about any time of the year and employees there will serve its customers fried asparagus, delicious burgers and a pair of New Balance shoes. How it all began It all began when Dean Stokes started his training at a McDonald’s. Shortly thereafter, Stokes and wife Wanda decided to go to work for themselves and took over an Arctic Circle franchise in Sunnyside. In July of 1976 the Arctic Circle sign came down, and in its place the “Stokes Old Time Hamburgers” went up. But just three years later, in 1979, the two decided to jump back on the band wagon and pool marketing resources by renaming the business Stokes Burger Ranch. The idea came after a business man who owned several Burger Ranch restaurants in the Yakima area approached Stokes with a pooled marketing opportunity. The couple still independently owned the business, but by changing the name they were able to get more ‘bang for their buck’ with the advertising dollar. And the shoes? What burger joint do you know where you can take your children to the playground, eat a hearty delicious meal, AND buy a pair of New Balance shoes? Stokes Burger Ranch, that’s where. Dean Stokes began selling the shoes in the mid 90s when his wife needed a pair of the shoes, prescribed by her podiatrist. A major department store in Yakima wasn’t able to get the shoes in stock for more than a month. So Stokes did what any loving husband would do, he began offering the shoes at his store, to help fill a need for his wife and possibly any other Sunnyside resident needing a special shoe in a hurry. In with the new After obtaining a business degree from WSU, the couple’s son, David, moved on to the west side of the

state to work for an insurance company. “After a few months I got tired of that and wanted to come back to this side of the state,” he said. Six years ago, David began purchasing a portion of the business from his father. And last year, he became officially 25 percent owner. Also owning a share of the popular eatery is long-time employee Kristi Jongsma. The business still offers a variety of unique and special menu items, including its popular fry sauce, and all things fried. They still hand-dip chicken, jalapeños, asparagus and other items with a specially-made batter. But perhaps its most popular item is the restaurant’s French fried asparagus. Folks travel from far and wide just to get a taste for themselves. In addition, Stokes says the restaurant tries to give back locally by purchasing their vegetables and meat from as many local growers and farmers as possible. The young Stokes has this year also added a loyalty program to the cash registers’ functions to give customers a big ‘thank you’ for frequenting the shop. He says when customers spend around $100 the machines will automatically produce a gift certificate for them to continue to enjoy the meals they love. Currently, the company employs about 17 workers, and Stokes says retention of the employees is good. There has even been an employee who has been working for his parents for more than 35 years: Jane Petrea. “Jane does almost all of our asparagus,” said the younger Stokes. Though he didn’t plan on taking over the family business after college, Stokes says he manages to stay happy with what he’s doing. And living in his hometown again is a perk. “I’m 10 minutes from golfing, hunting and seeing my family,” he said. ‑ Amber Schlenker can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email

Amber Schlenker/Daily Sun News

Sunnyside Stokes Burger Ranch co-owner David Stokes serves up a meal for a customer at his family’s restaurant, which has been putting out takeout and sit-down meals for more than 30 years.

For motorists driving along Yakima Valley Highway in Sunnyside, a large sign advertising the company’s specialty, French fried asparagus, can be seen at Stokes Burger Ranch.

Amber Schlenker/Daily Sun News

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PRIDE of the Yakima Valley 2012