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This week marks my one-year rite of passage here in Sunnyside. I have been deep in self-reflection as fall has arrived with a frigid vengeance. The harvesting of hops and grapes seems like it should signal summertime fun – not the beginning of winter knocking at the door.

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My mind always has an information excess. If I am not devising YVC lesson plans for science, writing, history or reading, I’m thinking of my kids, grands, better half, the one or two books I read myself to sleep with, the stories waiting to be written for this wonderful paper, my fantasy golf team, my volunteer work or my class, where, as a student, I only need two courses more, then dissertation, to complete my doctorate. I’m thankfully about to close it out, after all at 63, I’m in 20th grade.

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it’s a cool and important time to wear pink! This world-wide annual health campaign aids in awareness about the disease and to raise funds for research prevention, diagnosis, treatment and to one day, discover a cure.

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Mother Nature has a way of adding to the dramatic character and color of any memorable occasion — a contributing factor which collectively bound volunteers, participants and visitors together during the 30th annual Great Prosser Balloon Rally over this past Friday through Sunday event.

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As a former newspaper editor in several robust, smaller towns, one of my absolute pleasures in putting the paper together every week was the incoming mail. From letters slide under the front door, with no signature, to an email invitation to lunch with a determined citizen to explain local politics to me, the word coming from the readers and the community, was not only wonderful, but needed.

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It was a standoff of record proportions, the she side of the household in favor of a long-coveted car; while the he side thought moderation should prevail, final comment, as he climbed into his Toyota Four Runner Tacoma. In the decade and a half of co-existence, the tale of the two immovable stubborn alphas attempting at making mutual decisions, is now family lore.

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We had late summer, no air conditioner days for a minute last week, directly followed by sweatshirts and sweaters, the very next. The seasonal change is not shilly shallying around this year. Are you ready?

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The excitement of high school football, “Friday Night Lights” returned to the Lower Valley and brought out all the community spirit of cheering on our hometown teams with a resounding first class sportsmanship quality.

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The BNSF trains which I love photographing from a distance, but detest as they run the town’s corridor starting just a block from home, always at high speed with whistle blasting nonstop, broke a record for longest blast that night, at 2:22 a.m.

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Although a community volunteer since 17, when I learned how to knock on doors for a presidential candidate, and I’m early 60s now, I still am dazzled by the level of volunteerism buzzing away in every community.

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Having experienced my first lighted farm implement parade as a Sunnyside resident with a new job and company back in December last year, I was attracted to capturing as much hometown character as possible while taking part in making the experience memorable – I was looking forward to soaking up the spring and summer fun of other lower valley events.

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As the granddaughter of tough Kansas stock, and a long line of farmers, dairy people and social worker type helpers, I was always proud to hear the story of my role model grandma, Laura Pearl, who not only received her teaching certificate following high school, but she went on, decades later to earn her LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) degree.

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