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Holiday Spirit Abounds In Valley

Trout Lake News for Dec. 14

By the

Trout Lake Newswriters

Pat Arnold, 395-2233

greenpastures@gorge.net

Bonnie Reynolds, 395-2527

bonnier@gorge.net

Trout Lake has been and will continue to be a remarkably busy community over this holiday season.

On Sunday, Dec. 17, the community is invited to come and enjoy a traditional celebration of the birth of Christ at the annual community Christmas cantata. "The Little Child" will be produced and directed by Monte Pearson and Doug Anderson. It will be held at Jonah Ministries at 7 p.m.

There will be refreshments available at Jonah after the cantata. People are invited to donate holiday treats for refreshments, and are asked to take them to Jonah by 4 on Sunday afternoon. Note that is a change in venue for the cantata from past years.

On Monday, Dec. 18, from 1 to 3 p.m. Trout Lake Farm will be holding an open house to benefit the Trout Lake Community Foundation. Bring yourself, your children, or your pets (dogs, cats, gerbils, donkeys, what have you) to have pictures taken with Santa Claus. The pictures will be provided as prints or on CDs. Donations are requested. Cookies and cocoa will be provided. Call Eileen Fletcher at 395-1234 for more information. The Foundation provides scholarships to Trout Lake students pursuing higher education. Ask foundation members for an update on the students who have benefited from this project.

On Wednesday, Dec. 6, the Community Council considered proposals for use of the Economic Development Funds from Klickitat County. The TL School proposed funding of $8,000, or about $50 per student, to be paired with a Learn and Serve Grant of $3000 to support what our school calls May Project Activities. The proposal explains "For two weeks in May, the school will put aside traditional classroom learning in trade for real life challenges. Trout Lake School students, staff, and community members will join forces to research, plan, and address community needs." Some initial proposals being considered by the school include enhancing the Guler Park play area, a community mural, developing an alternative energy plan for the school, making cold frames for a community garden, work at the Natural Area Preserve, and developing public access to Trout Creek.

The Fire Department submitted a request for funding for personal protective gear, including structure turnout gear and wildland fire gear for 10 firefighters. This gear became part of the National Fire Standards in 2000, and is needed to prevent firefighter fatigue and heat stress.

After much discussion, the council decided to submit both proposals but to give first priority to the fire protective gear. Part of the discussion was the question of whether this kind of required fire gear should not be part of the fire district's regular budget.

For many years the Trout Lake Grange has managed the community cemetery. In recent times, however, the Grange has asked for community members to help with that task. Now a non-profit corporation is forming to take on the task of cemetery management. The first task will be to obtain title to the cemetery, since all records of title have been lost for many years. The cemetery was transferred to the Grange by the Artisans at least 80 years ago, with no recorded deed to be found. At the same time, the new group will be writing by-laws and getting up to speed organizationally. Founding board members are Steve Koenig, Dave Tipton, Ron Schmid, Don Warner, Ardith and Lloyd Thompson, and Penny Samuels Dietrich. Thanks to all of these folks for taking on this task.

Having mentioned the school several times, I'd like to encourage everyone to read the school newspaper which comes to all box holders. The most recent issue of the "Village Voice" included articles written by students on issues they recently studied at school: Condit Dam removal-pros and cons, the study of evolution-pros and cons, recycling, exchange students, tribute to veterans and other very important topics to citizens in a democracy. It was exciting to see that our students are getting experience in evaluating information and laboring over positions they will be voting for.

Of particular interest to those of us about to express our wishes in the upcoming levy: About 70 percent of the student body are involved in extracurricular activities ranging from music and art and Destination Imagination to the usual athletic teams. One hundred percent of our 10th graders met the WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning) standards in reading and writing in 2006! Several students are taking advanced placement courses, challenging and exciting for them, and practical for parents preparing to send students on to college. Students will be credited for college course work without having to take some introductory courses if they are able to pass placement tests.

Honors are due Superintendent Doug Dearden and his creative and dedicated staff, every one of them.

Celebrations past and remembered: the Community Club served a free Thanksgiving dinner to 300 community members at the school! The Jazz band played a wonderful concert at the school and served a great spaghetti dinner. Later that same evening, Dale Fitch and the Grateful Geezers made music at The Trout Lake Country Inn . A highlight of that evening was a composition of Dale's "Holiday Season, Over Eating Blues." They closed the evening with the very thoughtful "We Need a Little Kindness."

Time and space runs out. Enjoy the diverse community we live in.

Bonnie Reynolds bonnier@gorge.net

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