Steam Locamotive 844 Whistles its Way Into Town

May 1st, 2017

isj the Nostalgia of a Steam Locomotive for 4 23 17

Marla and Brett Blacker

Marla and Brett Blacker

Marlene, Chad and Trevor Anderson

Marlene, Chad and Trevor Anderson

Isaac Hansen

Isaac Hansen

Jim Gregory and Laura Spencer

Jim Gregory and Laura Spencer

Dan, Teydon (hidden behind Dad) and Bo NewMyer

Dan, Teydon (hidden behind Dad) and Bo NewMyer

Oakley, Paul and Journey Kasey

Oakley, Paul and Journey Kasey

David Angle, Bob Koompin, Vernon Bethke and Jay Roebuck

David Angle, Bob Koompin, Vernon Bethke and Jay Roebuck

Steve Roberts

Steve Roberts

Thomas Huls, Evie Bidwell and Dennis Isaak

Thomas Huls, Evie Bidwell and Dennis Isaak

Kyler & Keerston Harral

Kyler & Keerston Harral

Joe & Anna Lucy Keller

Joe & Anna Lucy Keller

Steam Engine 448 with some of its many,many admirers

Steam Engine 844 with some of its many,many admirers

Steam Engine Nostalgia

Hundreds of people lined the RR tracks in Pocatello, Idaho to visit Steam Locamotive 844. The rain was lightly spotting our glasses and shoulders while it also created muddy puddles. The number of cars coming and going  were reminders of the huge flock of cars and people we had seen going to see and hear Shoshone Falls close to Twin Falls. However, when we hear the sound of a steam engine blowing its horn, we are reminded, if we are old enough, of  trains that passed near or far through the Portneuf Valley in years past. In those days we had to be sure and look both ways so we didn’t have to quickly stop or step on it if we were crossing a railroad track. What is it about that sound? Nostalgia is the word that comes to my mind because as a child it was commonplace enough to remind us that the afternoon train was leaving Southern California so it could take freight and/or people north to San Francisco.

Sounds such as that stay with a person and I still remember lots of incidences that were attached to those sounds: There was the elderly couple in a car that had been hit by the train. My father got out of our car to see if there was anything he could do and when he returned, his only words were, ”They are pinned in their car, but not badly hurt.” Being five years old, I had an image of two people with a huge safety pin holding them in their car. In addition to that was the steam noisily dispelled from the train’s giant engine as it waited for Fire Department to move the car aside and the EMTs to attend to the couple in the car.

My parents took me and my sisters on the train to San Francisco to visit the World’s Fair in the 1930s.  Memories of that trip are emphasized by the clatter of wheels and the whistle which warned cars that the train was coming through. Over time I forgot about the clatter and the whistle until, about 20 years ago, a steam engine came to Pocatello and (if we signed up early enough) took us to American Falls in one of its four passenger cars. It was a beautiful trip: short, but full of the sounds, the gentle rocking back and forth and the animated talk about this unusual experience.

So, last Wednesday when I heard the sound of that whistle I shivered, not from fear, but from the thought of this sound from the past suddenly sweeping into the present. My plan was to visit Steam Engine 844 at its temporary site on Thursday,  but (per usual) Thursday brought rain coming down so hard that I was drenched just going up my driveway to get the mail and open the gate. Later however, the rain diminished enough to make the visit possible. Besides, I said to myself, probably no-one will be there because it is so muddy and so cold. That was pretty funny because ‘crowded’ didm’t mean anything in that packed array of cars and people.

For some, viewing Engine 844 had nothing to do with nostalgia: it was merely wanting to see a locomotive engine that was so sleek, huge, strong and yet approachable. This part of the endless line comprised young couples with small children bent on investigating an historic machine and then those wanting to see something that a grandfather had told stories about.

In addition to these young couples and families, the remainder  represented those of us who had gone through childhood hearing the whistle, seeing the engine, and imagining the possibility of ‘riding the rails’ which required fastening one’s self to the under pinning of a railroad car and hanging on for miles and miles until the train stopped at another station. (I had a cousin who did this in  Nebraska from Omaha to Lincoln), however he never encouraged anyone else to do the same.

There were several fellows standing by the locomotive or in line who had worked on these trains in the past. They had been engineers or had worked to throw cinders into the firebox,been a brakeman  and the list goes on. One thing for sure, those of us who are old enough to remember and cherish the sight and sound of a steam engine may not be here to see and stand close to one the next time it comes to town.

In sum, I would say that age accompanied with awe and appreciation for a bygone time can exist side by side  with  a confidence  that the world will continue to develop  more  opportunities for human understanding, knowledge and capability. However, it might be construed by the increasing development of robots, self operating machines and vehicles, that those opportunities are diminishing. However we think about locomotive 844 and however we insert it into our memories, it gave all of us opportunities to ponder and that is a pretty good thing to do.

 

Sawabi chapter of the native Plant Society

April 18th, 2017
Arthur & Marijana Dolsen, Jackie Birch

Arthur & Marijana Dolsen, Jackie Birch

Linda Edwards and Geoff Hogander

Linda Edwards and Geoff Hogander

Grant & Donna Thomas

Grant & Donna Thomas

Larry & Janie Gebhargt

Larry & Janie Gebhargt

Jeanne Hymes and Audene Campbell

Jeanne Hymes and Audene Campbell

Elizabeth & Duane Dyer

Elizabeth & Duane Dyer

Paul Allen and Barbara Nicholls

Paul Allen and Barbara Nicholls

Mel Nicholls and Ardys Holte

Mel Nicholls and Ardys Holte

Bob & Louise Shaw

Bob & Louise Shaw

LaRue Gregersen

LaRue Gregersen

Club officers: Paul Allen, Barbara Nichols, Linda Edwards and Geoff Hogander

Club officers: Paul Allen, Barbara Nichols, Linda Edwards and Geoff Hogander

Native Plants and the People Who Value Them

An often heard assessment of the people who live in and around Pocatello, Idaho is that they are friendly. It has been my experience when writing about many different groups, whether comprising those who attend our Symphony performances, enjoy the Car Races, look for and find an amazing array of gem stones, get intensely involved in Environmental Issues, pay serious attention to the geological phenomenon to be found no matter where one looks and, while the list goes on, there are still several clusters of people who, as said earlier, truly enjoy being involved in one or more of the many satisfying ways to study our earth and its attributes.

One such group is the Sawabi chapter of the Native Plant Society. As with any of the clusters, it requires a bit of explanation to communicate why a group can be intensely interested in wild flowers as its center of attention. Let’s take some examples of native plants and spend a bit of time finding out why they are seen as (and are) worthy of being recognized and valued. If we start with Sage brush, which when not appreciated or understood, may be frowned upon as one Pocatello leader said to me years ago: “If we could just find a way to get rid of all these scruffy bushes”. However, when knowledge is gained about these plants, we find out so much about how they protect soil from being invaded by cheat grass, provide cover for small animals in summer and/or winter, emit beautiful outdoor fragrances as they blossom in the Fall, provide perches for the Meadow Larks that tell us ‘Spring is here’, are used as protection  in leks used for mating purposes by  Sage grouse, and (in my yard for sure) provide tasty morsels for the deer as they move to lower elevations in early spring. Think about it, the above description barely touches just one of our native plants. There are so many more: those that cover our hill sides with bright yellow as do the Arrow leaf balsam root and Mule ears: the penstemons with their lovely bright blues and the wild geraniums with  their pale pink clusters.. To venture farther afield we can drive to the spectacular Camas Prairy  (close to Springfield) that create an image of these Lilies as a massive and shimmering lake in late May or early June.  But, we don’t have to go that far. For example, the AMI trail invites us to list over sixty examples of native plants which space their blooming times throughout the summer. Another example, the Edson Fichter Environmental Park puts us into close contact with Lupines and Yarrow plus a myriad of other brightly colored plants.

When the Native Plant Society Sawabi group gets together, they provide steadfast examples of happy and friendly people. Why? They have spent lots of time seeing and learning about natural beauty. And so we see on example of the friendliness that describes Pocatello people because it would be difficult to be happy and simultaneously grumpy, aloof, or self-centered.

These native plant admirers spend lots of time meeting on the first Monday of each month to hear  interesting facts, collect seeds of native plants for planting in their yards and learn the intricate structure of various specimens. At the annual meeting they decide on Walks throughout our valley and the mountains, streams and ravines that surround us. Each of those Walks is fun while being informative as would a book become enticing when you take the time to read a page or two.

Stopping to consider how helpful it is to learn more about our surroundings, one can also think of how informative it would be for our children if we took them on walks during which they can draw  (not photograph) pictures of native plants, describe the surrounding environment and then plan to: a) Google the plants you drew and then  b) return at intervals to see what has changed. Why do these activities matter?  They get you out into the fresh air, provide conversation and simple fun for the family, and perhaps most important, help bring awareness of what our surroundings are.  Life in front of an Iphone, Ipad or TV  is a typical method of investigation and/or enjoyment  but this world we live in not only needs our attention but helps us learn the joy of seeing and appreciating its natural components.

 

Skiing At Pebble Creek

April 3rd, 2017
Robert Alley, Hodu and Aniston Rowberry

Robert Alley, Hodu and Aniston Rowberry

Mike, Waylon and Marty Wade

Mike, Waylon and Marty Wade

Ron Carter

Ron Carter

Todd and Brad Chilton, Sarah Novak

Todd and Brad Chilton and Sarah Novak

Todd and Brad Chilton and Sarah Novak

Christopher Bost

Christopher Bost

Mary Reichman

Mary Reichman

Ron Robinson, malea Solomon and RW Vaughan

Ron Robinson, malea Solomon and RW Vaughan

Kem Williamson

Kem Williamson

Pebble Creek: Pocatello’s Answer to ‘Where Can you Downhill Ski Around Here?’

My husband and I moved to Pocatello in 1964. John’s pull to this place was teaching Economics at ISU and going fishing. He was also totally  into climbing, skiing, backpacking, environmental issues  and a host of other things associated with being in such a beautifully environmental spot. We both had skied many times at Mammoth in the California Sierras but were willing to try out ‘this little place’ situated close to Mount Bonneville and just a few miles from our new home up in Johnny Creek.

When the snow was good, we would go up to Pebble almost every week and it was fun. One time, we stopped at the Red Pony in Inkom to get a beer on our way home. A fellow sitting next to John looked so sad that John started a conversation with him. “So, you’re here all by yourself? Yeah, my friend is out in the pick-up. ‘Why don’t you bring him in?” Well, he’s dead and I’m trying to get up the courage to take him home.” Glimpses of life in Pocatello such as that endeared it to us because everything that we saw or heard made us think, “This is a little town that is so real”

I  stopped downhill skiing in 1971 after a horse accident and then John died of hypothermia  in the Palisades Reservoir in 1973, but our daughters, then 3 and 4 years old began to learn on the ‘Bunny’ hill. Today, they both still ski: one lives in New York and the other in Northern California but they  look forward to skiing here during Christmas vacation. Their interest in skiing has changed: they prefer slogging up to high places and then telemarking down on untouched snow. They especially like to ski on the back side of the Pebble Creek area. Why? They like untouched snow, the energy it takes to climb up and then the exhilarating rush down . While they have skied mostly at Lake Tahoe in California and/or several places in Europe, they still  love skiing here.  Jennifer especially, likes to go to one of the yurts available close to Pebble. One time she and a friend started out to a yurt, but deep snow got them into the wrong area. Jen had learned how to make snow caves in the Colorado Rockies during her time at Colorado College so they spent the night , built a fire,cooked and slept well so it all turned out OK.

Pocatello can be a magical place, especially as seen and appreciated by those who are care deeply caring about environmental phenomena. As the amount of snow we receive changes from year to year, it is never totally predictable when that snow will be as special as it is this year. Those for whom the outdoors is an amazing fund of new and exciting things to learn can be constantly surprised by the array of wild animal species, native plants, and our examples of geology and the lava flows. Further, as climate change affects us, sometimes we get hugh amounts of snow, but other times it might be mild all winter long.

Why should you go skiing at Pebble? It has runs ranging from those for experts down to Bunny slope;  it has firelight events, slalom contests, places where the seemingly crazy can fly through the air with the greatest of ease before landing on their boards or skis. In addition it has fine instructors, all the equipment for rent you could possibly need and it has a very well qualified Ski  Patrol. We met some of these fellows while having lunch indoors. The hamburgers, chili, and soups were good and the atmosphere very friendly. This all added up to a splendid afternoon with some added benefits: A Ski Patrol fellow (Robert Alley)was very friendly, a ski instructor (Ron Robinson) talked about skiing for years and years without  breaking or spraining any of his joints and  an employee (Christopher Bost) told us of his adventures. We saw Marty and Mike Wade with their son Waylan. I knew Mike and Marty from long ago and it was great to see them and have time for a conversation. Mary Reichman was a special find. She and I used to have conversations whether at the Symphony performance or wherever, She has been a genuine asset to Pebble and I was so happy to see her.  Well, I could go on with numbers of runs (many), depth of snow (really high) and so on. But the main thing here is to entice you to take advantage of this beautiful area which is also glorious in the spring when wild flowers appear. One last comment: the spectacular view of the Portneuf and Marsh Valley from this thrilling spot would be impossible to beat.

Le Vent du Nord and Symphony: March, 2017

March 29th, 2017
Abby Stratford and Lydia Kener

Abby Stratford and Lydia Kener

Mary Louise Barker and Joann Anderson

Mary Louise Barker and Joann Anderson

Dierek & Theresa Gerber

Dierek & Theresa Gerber

Jane Gibson and Jake DeFranneis

Jane Gibson, Joke DeFranneis and Heidi Buchell

Cindi Hill and Ron Bollinger

Cindi Hill and Ron Bollinger

Michell and Marshell Clinger

Michell and Marshell Clinger

Tom & Karen Banyas, Karen Dance

Tom & Karen Banyas, and Mrs.  Dance

Patsy & Garth Harker

Patsy & Garth Harker

Doris Autanrieth

Doris Autanrieth

IMG_2428

Cortlynn McIntire and Delphinia Li

 

IMG_2429

Mark Heideman and Cynthia Bilmeyer

The Eckerts and Ralph Hauser

Tom & Monica Eckert and Ralph Hauser

Nancy Greco & Steve Weeg George & Carol Wise

Nancy Greco & Steve Weeg
George & Carol Wise

 

The Idaho State Civic Symphony Melds with Le Vent du Nord in a Pop Concert

Ho hum, you say; only another night of music at  Jensen Hall? Not so! First of all, the music we are treated to by the Idaho State Civic Symphony is never ‘ho-hum’. Second, the featured group on the weekend of March 11, was outstanding in so many ways.

‘Le Vent du Nord’ comprises Nicolas Boulerice (vocals, hurdy-gurdy, and piano), Simon Beaudry (vocals and guitar, Olivier Demers  (violin and foot tapping),and Rejean Brunet (accordion, jaw harp, acoustic and bass). This group is  exceptional: along with being polished and innovative in its use of unique instruments that any audience would be (and has been) mesmerized by the hurdy gurdy, accordian,  violin and guitar plus other instruments. In addition, the vocal components were splendid. Another addition was the foot pad providing subtle drum-like emphasis from under the feet of the violinist.

Altogether, these fellows gave us a rousing, stimulating and highly professional evening. Further, their willingness and capability  to arrange often historic melodies from a French-Canadian background into a symphonic orchestral accompaniment was amazing. In sum, they provided a totally beautiful combination. Along with all of this musical entertainment, there were many explanations, witty fun played on American  pronunciation of ‘qu’, which in Canada sounds like ‘ka’ . And then there was ‘oit’ as in Detroit which they jokingly pronounced as ‘Detwa’.

If you Google ‘Le Vent du Nord’, you can see that this group has built its reputation on careful, intelligent information and practice. As a result, Pocatello was treated to a shining example of this special French Canadian music and these absolutely talented young men.

By now, you can see  this evening was notable for several reasons: the orchestra, under the leadership of Dr. Grant Harville was, per usual, wonderful. For the first half of this program, it participated in six of eight presentations: each of which had been orchestrated by M. Tom Myron.  After the intermission, eight more pieces were played, two with orchestra string participation orchestrated by Oliver Demers (a member of the foursome)and the other six with the full orchestra, again orchestrated by Myron.

There is no doubt that this event was a special treat for all. Before the program began, young, beautifully dressed ISU students offered opportunities to purchase more raffle tickets. In addition, the rotunda contained displays or descriptions of each prize. Items were offered as a means of raising money for the symphony orchestra . During intermission, the seventeen prizes including jewelry, hotel stays, skiing opportunities, wine, beer, tennis, golf and money plus other attractions were randomly picked out of baskets and presented to each of the winners. Although this activity took intermission time, it was well worth it

The audience was so appreciative of Le Vent du Nord that the group presented one last  piece as an encore. Clapping was steady and continued as everyone displayed their enthusiasm for this fine group and for the Idaho State Civic Symphony background for many portions of this program. Bravo to all and a heartfelt thank you for an outstanding evening.

This evening’s sponsors were Bank of Idaho and Teton Volkswagen . The season sponsor is Portneuf Health Partners. All are to be thanked for their appreciation of the importance of our Symphony. It was a genuinely memorable evening.

 

Literacy Award Dinner: 2017

March 29th, 2017

isj literacy award dinner for 3 12 17

Pat Feuerborn & Rick Davis

Pat Feuerborn & Rick Davis

IMG_2404

Karen McKay and Eliza Schmidt

Jim & Karen Johnston

Jim & Karen Johnston

Sharon Reynolds, Pam Ward, S.D. Nelson (guest speaker and award winner), and Bev Klug

Sharon Reynolds, Pam Ward, S.D. Nelson (guest speaker and award recipient), and Bev Klug

Michelle Schroeder and Pat Feuerborn

Michelle Schroeder and Pat Feuerborn

Gary Storrie

Gary Storrie

John Schmidt

John Schmidt

Kathy Vitali and Kristi Neil

Kathy Vitali and Kristi Neil

Crete Brown and Kathryn Poulter

Crete Brown and Kathryn Poulter

Amanda Bowden, Lori Crandy and KathAnn Hendrick

Amanda Bowden, Lori Crandy and KathAnn Hendrick

Chris Tathan and Nancy Corgiat

Chris Tathan and Nancy Corgiat

Literacy Award Dinner: 2017

Literacy Award Dinners continue to be splendid. Here is a group of women who donate so much time to connect all of us, starting early in our lives, to the beauty, inspiration and fun of reading whether fiction or non-fiction. For many, the joy of reading can come from seeing a child’s eyes light up: first when told a story; second, when learning to read and third, when reading begins to acquaint the child with the joys, insights and understandings or arguments that occur when differing nations or people engage in disputes. Yes, and also when our natural world is challenged by a lack of understanding or caring. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, reading opens a route for us to gain awareness that people throughout our world are more alike than different.

This yearly event was held at the new location of The Bridge. All in attendance were able to chat with friends, discuss this year’s accomplishments and have a satisfying meal. Perhaps the best part of the entire meeting was being introduced to S.D. Nelson and seeing his splendid talent for writing as well as illustrating. This fellow is so interesting! His descriptions of his childhood and, as an adult, observing children going through so many similar events or practices provided much of the content of his stories. To gain a broader view of his writing, go to www.sdnelson.net The experience will encourage you to obtain one or more of his books..

Nelson has an interesting history. In addition to being a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the Dakotas, he has traveled much and has  expanded his expertise in writing and illustration. To see the list of his awards can be overwhelming except that when one looks at the examples of his many books displayed on a table, the reason for those awards becomes entirely evident.

His words are clearly descriptive and his sentences flow with the same ease and beauty of his colorful drawings.  When fiction can capture our imagination while informing us of a genuine bit of accurate knowledge, we have gained a rich addition to our understanding of the background for the story. That is a special gift!

The Literacy Award Dinner is sponsored by the Southeast Idaho Reading Council. Every year it presents an author at the dinner and then, on the following evening, features him or her in a program at the Idaho State University College of Education Auditorium. Several children are always in attendance and as adults see them become more and more intense in their curiosity,  it gives all of us regardless of our own interest in children’s books, an example of 1) how to enhance interest, 2) the sterling value of good books and  3) remembrance of the thrills we obtained from reading or listening to literature that  enhanced our desire for knowledge and the  joy  gained from what books can bring us.

Children need books to read, to favor, to encourage the growth of cognitive brain function and to acquaint themselves with the huge similarities and differences that exist in  ecology, anthropology, geology and the like throughout every part of our world. These accumulations of knowledge and appreciations do much to help us understand science, facts and the necessity for questioning but they also encourage us to recognize joy and happiness.

Two young women from Sweden, thanks to Kathy Vitaili, entertained with vocal and violin music as dinner was served. Their voices were lovely and  appreciated by all. it was a wonderful evening with the combination of friendship and appreciation for the talented abilities the award winner.

Idaho State Civic Symphony and Dance: February 2017

March 29th, 2017

IMG_2358                                                                                                                      Pat & Mike McCarthy, Shirley Murphy

Katy & Paul Link

Katy & Paul Link

Denise & Dwight Romriell, Mark Baker and Kathryn Carmona

Denise & Dwight Romriell, Mark Baker and Kathryn Carmona

Andrea Marks

Andrea Marks

Sally Long, Eva Nye and Elizabeth Burnett

Sally Long, Eva Nye and Elizabeth Burnett

Mark Cherry and David Mihlfeith

Elissa Jones and Stephanie Moore

Mark Cherry and David Mihlfeith

Mark Cherry and David Mihlfeith

Don & Brenda Bates

Don & Brenda Bates

Janet, Sanjeev, Lucius and Jack Moore

Janet, Sanjeev, Lucius and Jack Moore

Mary Wagner and Valorie Watkins

Mary Wagner and Valorie Watkins

Shantyl Betty

Shantyl Betty

Adam Merrik, Sawyer Disselkoen and Tyler Moore

Adam Merrik, Sawyer Disselkoen and Tyler Moore

Sherry Campbell and Vicki Garvin

Sherry Campbell and Vicki Garvin

Phil & Angela Luckey

Phil & Angela Luckey

Jackie Strickland and Shayla Satterfield

Jackie Strickland and Shayla Satterfield

Roger & Nancy Wheeler

Roger & Nancy Wheeler

Susan Sidell

Susan Sidell

The Idaho State Civic Symphony and Hubbard Street Dancers

To emote about the Idaho State Civic Symphony is becoming a given. Why? First of all, each musician has grown to new heights in his or her expertise. Second, the orchestra is beginning to use a decidedly nuanced approach to its chosen selections. That is not to say that it is always soft and/or mellow but merely to point out that the orchestra can encourage the audience to understand the melodic rendition of a story which can have many subtle changes in mood. Third, it becomes more and more professional each time it presents a program at the Stephens Performing Arts Center. I would say that it is impossible to attend a symphony program without coming away awed by the beautiful experience it offers along with equally important adventures into the unfamiliar.

On this evening, the orchestra played four different offerings, with dance exhibited in between. The orchestral music was quite varied. One in particular exhibited a sharply structured series; not melodic but strongly somber as if it was playing a dirge or march. My friend felt it was very discordant and soit was uncomfortable to his ears. To me, such rhythms deserve to be heard several times so the brain can become used to differences in tone, rhythm and so on. In today’s world, perhaps more music such as that would be good for the human brain to help it get used to ideas that do not easily fit into ‘normal’ beliefs and/o traditions.

The dancing was wonderful. A young woman, Jacqueline Burnett, is from Pocatello and it was thrilling to have her back with other artists from the Hubbard Street Dance group in Chicago. The movement of their bodies was so seemingly effortless that one could imagine tendons and ligaments stretched to their utmost while maintaining a fluidity that was seemingly effortless. Those who can dance in such singularly positioned poses have total control over their supple bodies. Probably, ballet is taught as a precursor to the seemingly effortless moves .Watching two dancers move throughout the stage was a workout for the brain to mentally interpret  the moves and feel the story behind each presentation. The combination of orchestra and dance made the entire evening unique and special.

Artistic Director and Conductor, Dr. Grant Harville, embodies the ‘right stuff’ for the development of the orchestra. His hard work is reflected in the serious attention his orchestra members display. Pocatello is fortunate to have a person of his caliber give so much of himself to build the orchestra into a top level group. Music such as what has been brought to the Jensen Hall provides  fodder for the soul and he has done much to satisfy that need.

The season sponsor is Portneuf Health Sponsors: in addition there was a list of fifteen Concert Co-sponsors plus three other sponsors. All of these represent the willingness  of businesses in our area to be associated with this rising orchestra.

One of the most interesting facets of this program was the enthusiasm and joyful expressions seen over and over again in members of the audience as they entered Jensen Hall. After so many weeks of ice and snow, we all need some respite, but more than that, I think people were happy to see a young woman who grew up in Pocatello and now has achieved the rewards of working hard at a profession she loves. Jacqueline Burnett’s parents are very much a part of Pocatello and their willingness to encourage their offspring to pursue the challenges found in dance is inspiring to all other parents.

And so, Valentine’s Day has slipped away; many of us have sworn off chocolate; and shopping has turned to St. Patrick’s Day and even Easter. With all that, there is still plenty of room in our hearts to attend to the happy thoughts this performance offered.

 

 

 

 

39th Simplot Games: 2017

February 28th, 2017
Dale Seibert and Tina Derrick

Dale Seibert and Tina Derrick

Paul Smith and Russ Nielson

Paul Smith and Russ Nielson

Mathew Maser, Wyatt Biesenbach and jake Hartline

Mathew Maser, Wyatt Biesenbach and Jake Hartline

Alex and Jesus Ramirez

Alex and Jesus Ramirez

Crystal Felgehaver, Achee Dickinson, anny Nield and macKenzie Williams

Crystal Felgehaver, Achee Dickinson, Amy Nield and MacKenzie Williams

John & Calie Queen, Courtney and Amy Christopher

John & Calie Queen, Courtney and Amy Christopher

Bruce Mowry and Steve Mischke

Bruce Mowry and Steve Mischke

Corvin and Troy Huff

Corvin and Troy Huff

Don, Larry and Eric larsen

Don, Larry and Eric Larsen

George, jaden and JoyLynn Gidewell

George, Jaden and JoyLynn Gidewell

Eloise, Deegan, Bethany and Lucy Gochnour, Lincoln Lish, Cumorah and Adam Shuler

Eloise, Deegan, Bethany and Lucy Gochnour, Lincoln Lish, Cumorah and Adam Shuler

The Simplot Games Celebrate 39th Year

You do not have to use your imagination to picture a snowy, cold and windy day (or three days). And yet, that was the weather forecast and actuality for this year’s Simplot Games. Still, cars with license plates from all over the United States filled the Holt Arena parking lot at Idaho State University. At the same time, there were groups of people, some with small children, laughing and talking as they negotiated the slippery asphalt parking lot to get into Holt Arena. This was a busy, busy picture that lasted all day as people arrived, left for lunch ( if hamburgers or hot dogs did not suit their taste), and then returned.

Inside, the atmosphere was even more active. One could call it ‘chaotic’ but that word does not fit the laughter, cheery smiles, bright eyes and animated conversations accompanying every group whether made up of two or ten people. Seeing them made me think of the recent reports of sad and/or psychologically  impeded  teenage girls, for the gaiety shown here provides us with an example of what healthy outdoor exercise will do for the psyche.

Also, we read about winning as being important except that in every race there is only one winner. To disprove that, the young people I spoke with all agreed that winning is personal:for example  running two seconds faster than last week, jumping six inches higher or farther and the list goes on. Perhaps, instead of trying to figure out why moodiness (or worse) should be treated, we should encourage running, jumping and other outdoor activities as a means of experiencing the joy of physical effort. In addition, those activities are often carried out under a blue sky (except in Pocatello this winter) in our sagebrush steppe areas, or on mountain trails.

Then, to enter the arena and see the many, many coaches, teachers, parents and friends watching, cheering and photographing runners as they sped past gave everyone a sense of accomplishment and/or happiness.

On Saturday, many of the medals were awarded. Members of the Simplot Company, honored guests including the Mayors of Pocatello and Chubbuck, Gold Medal Olympic winners from years past were all introduced and then the athletes from each of the states and countries marched around the track.

It could easily bring a tear to one’s eyes as participants from Canada, Australia and then states from Alaska to Wyoming marched around with placards held high to identify each state or country as they passed. Soon, the entire track was filled with participants. All in all, this ceremony could be used as an outstanding example of accomplishment, friendship and effort.

A photograph of Stacy Dragila appeared in the Idaho State Journal information pages. It was taken when she won the gold medal for pole vaulting in Australia in the year 2000. What struck anyone who looked at that photograph and then saw her at this 39th Games was her  youthful and energetic appearance even though seventeen years had passed. That should be encouragement to anyone for whom outdoor exercise and/or competition is a part of their lifelong activity. Whatever the impetus for becoming involved in this type of  sport, all who attended any part of the three day event had to come away with very positive attitudes.

Hoorah for Simplot and its steady willingness to promote this occasion. And, to sum the energy of this event, one person said: “Simply, stay active.”

 

 

Idaho State Civic Symphony Orchestra

February 28th, 2017
Adam Merrik, Sawyer Disselkoen and Tyler Moore

Adam Merrik, Sawyer Disselkoen and Tyler Moore

Sherry Campbell and vicki Garvin

Sherry Campbell and Vicki Garvin

Phil & Angela Luckey

Phil & Angela Luckey

Jackie Strickland and Shayla Satterfield

Jackie Strickland and Shayla Satterfield

Roger & Nancy Wheeler

Roger & Nancy Wheeler

Susan Sidell

Susan Sidell

Pat & Mike McCarthy, Shirley Murphy

Pat & Mike McCarthy, Shirley Murphy

Katy & Paul Link

Katy & Paul Link

Denise & Dwight Romriell, mark Baker and Kathryn Carmona

Denise & Dwight Romriell, mark Baker and Kathryn Carmona

Andrea Marks

Andrea Marks

Sally Long, Eva Nye and Elizabeth Burnett

Sally Long, Eva Nye and Elizabeth Burnett

Elissa Jones and Stephanie Moore

Elissa Jones and Stephanie Moore

Mark Cheery and David Mihlfeith

Mark Cheery and David Mihlfeith

Don & Brenda Bates

Don & Brenda Bates

Janet, SanJeev, Lucius and Jack Moore

Janet, SanJeev, Lucius and Jack Moore

Mary Vagner and Valorie Watkins

Mary Vagner and Valorie Watkins

Shantyl Betty

Shantyl Betty

The Idaho State Civic Symphony and Hubbard Street Dancers

To emote about the Idaho State Civic Symphony is becoming a given. Why? First of all, each musician has grown to new heights in his or her expertise. Second, the orchestra is beginning to use a decidedly nuanced approach to its chosen selections. That is not to say that it is always soft and/or mellow but merely to point out that the orchestra can encourage the audience to understand the melodic rendition of a story which can have many subtle changes in mood. Third, it becomes more and more professional each time it presents a program at the Stephens Performing Arts Center. I would say that it is impossible to attend a Symphony program without coming away awed by the beautiful experience it offers along with equally important adventures into the unfamiliar.

On this evening, the orchestra played four different offerings, with dance exhibited in between. The orchestral music was quite varied. One in particular exhibited a sharply structured series; not melodic but strongly somber as if it was playing a dirge or march. My friend felt it was very discordant and so was uncomfortable to his ears. To me, such rhythms deserve to be heard several times so the brain can become used to differences in tone, rhythm and so on. In today’s world, perhaps more music such as that would be good for the human brain to help it get used to ideas that do not easily fit into ‘normal’.

The dancing was wonderful. A young woman, Jacqueline Burnett, is from Pocatello and it was thrilling to have her back with other artists from the Hubbard Street Dance group in Chicago. The movement of their bodies was so seemingly effortless that one could imagine tendons and ligaments stretched to their utmost while maintaining a fluidity that was seemingly effortless. Those who can dance in such singularly positioned poses have total control over their supple bodies. Probably, ballet is taught as a precursor to the seemingly effortless move.Watching two dancers move throughout the stage was a workout for the brain to mentally interpret  the moves and feel the story behind each presentation. The combination of orchestra and dance made the entire evening unique and special.

Artistic Director and Conductor, Dr. Grant Harville, embodies the ‘right stuff’ for the development of this orchestra. His hard work is reflected in the serious attention his orchestra members display. Pocatello is fortunate to have a person of his caliber give so much of himself to build the orchestra into a top level group. Music such as what has been brought to the Jensen Hall provides ample fodder for the soul and he has done much to satisfy that need.

The season sponsor is Portneuf Health Sponsors: in addition there was a list of fifteen Concert Co-sponsors plus three other sponsors. All of these represent the willingness  of businesses in our area.

One of the most interesting facets of this program was the enthusiasm and joyful expressions seen over and over again in members of the audience as they entered Jensen Hall. After so many weeks of ice and snow, we all need some respite, but more than that, I think people were happy to see a young woman who grew up in Pocatello and now has achieved the rewards of working hard at a profession she loves. Jacqueline Burnett’s parents are very much a part of Pocatello and their willingness to encourage their offspring to pursue the challenges found in dance is inspiring to all other parents.

And so, Valentine’s Day has slipped away; many of us have sworn off chocolate; and shopping has turned to St. Patrick’s Day and, even Easter. With all that, there is still plenty of room in our hearts to savor the happy thoughts this performance offered.

 

 

Westside Players:Murder Weapon 2017

February 10th, 2017
Dale Spencer and Travis HoplKins

Dale Spencer and Travis HopKins

Judy hohorst and jackie Czerpinski

Judy Hohorst and Jackie Czerpinski

Brandon and Azreilla Stanger,

Brandon and Azreilla Stanger,

Myrna Fransworth and Jackie Czerepinski

Myrna Farnsworth and Julie Leir-Vansickle

Mia Krisein and Arden Gotredson

Mia Kristein and Arden Gotredson

Janice Matteson-Howell

Janice Matteson-Howell

Dorothy O'Brien and Charlotte Cresswell

Dorothy O’Brien and Charlotte Cresswell

Marie Campbell and Colleen Black

Marie Campbell and Colleen Black

Minda  Brinkerhoft

Minda Brinkerhoft

Chanel Quirp, Effie Jones, Susan Carter and Brenda Prockter

Chanel Quirp, Effie Jones, Susan Carter and Brenda Prockter

Bob Bloxham & Kate DeLate

Bob Bloxham & Kate DeLate

Dobie Dobbe and Alicia Tauscher

Dobie Dobbe and Alicia Tauscher

Misty &Gary Humphries

Misty & Gary Humphries

Julie Leir- Vansickle

Julie Leir- Vansickle

Murder Weapon: a Thriller

Upside down and in a whirl, this play is as much fun to think about after you get into your car and go home as it is while you are watching and feeling positive that you are putting everything together. It mixes a bit of police work with psychology and anthropology; a bit of romance with logic; and a bit of the human condition along with the reality of crime and punishment. Sound confusing? Well, it could be if you tried to figure out what the climax would be before it actually came about.

Amazing twists and turns (along with the previous comment about upside down and in a whirl) befuddled all in the audience from time to time, but finally it came together in a deeply humanistic conclusion.  But, read on and find out more about the Westside Players; all dedicated volunteers who have kept this lively theater group providing top notch performances into the present 31st season.

Charlie, the star and the center of attention throughout the performance, was absolutely wonderful. Played by Jerry Higgins, he personified the confusion anyone could feel in his situation. If you check out his connection to the Westside Player group, it goes back thirty years as he has been involved in acting plus participation in the Board of the Players.

To list members of the group provides all of us some insights into their authenticity: for example, Mike Czerepinski, who played  Inspector Fremont has been a musician, director and writer among the many other talents he has shared  during his years with Westside. His wifeand his mother are also deeply involved in the Westside group.

Krista Draper and Jocelyn Freeman; newcomers to the group, both are truly interested in continuing with Westside but also show interests in careers that show a tendency toward sociological and anthropological sensitivities. Other actors; Brandon Stanger, Tana Babcock and Marty Vizcarra added to the complex story with their acting and understanding of the overtones of the plot. Alyssa Ross-Ortiz, playing the ‘cool’ Chief Constable was on-stage most of the time and added a presence of actual investigative techniques which kept things from becoming scatteredrelative to clues, assumptions and the like.

The Production staff,  including the Director, Stage Manager, Sound and Lighting Designer, Stage Carpenter, Paint Crew, Costume Coordinator and Running Crew all did an excellent job of keeping things moving forward with no mishaps or glitches. But there are more people comprising the success of this event. Julie Leir-VanSickle’s art adorned the lobby: the Sand Trap catered the excellent food choices for dinner which, to me, were the  best I had experienced at  Westside. Cocktail Service was provided by Club Charley’s. There were undoubtedly more individuals and organizations contributing to the success of this event but most of all, let’s just say hurrah for the smoothly complex  production and all of its components.

Westside President, Travis Hopkins and Dale Spencer, past President, were both on hand to check guests in and help in many of the ways that are always needed . There were also yummy appetizers in the lobby as well as ample champagne.

So, was this event a success? Absolutely! Members of the ISU Women’s Club were in attendance along with many others. There was a bit of slack in numbers attending,  but considering the snow and ice we all have had to deal with, it was a super success.

Finally, one thing that appealed greatly to me, was the interest in anthropology. This area of science can lead one to an understanding of the human condition. Reality is something that we all conjure up to fit our own situation and in this play, that became apparent. It also becomes an issue when fact is seen in ideas and beliefs which cannot be verified. All in all, this play provides us with various  conclusions that can often be disproved when carefully thought out. finally, I would say that I have never seen a bad play at the Westside. It comprises a wonderful group

 

 

 

The Portneuf Resource Council Environmental Flim Fest:2016

January 29th, 2017
sue Skinner and Vicky Watson

Sue Skinner and Vicky Watson

Linda Engle

Linda Engle

Breland Draper, Tim Norton and Mike Larkin

Breland Draper, Tim Norton and Mike Larkin

Pam Ward

Pam Ward

Anna Ausiak Linda Engle and Shannon Ansley

Anna Ausiak, Linda Engle and Shannon Ansley

Peyton and Rory Erchul

Peyton and Rory Erchul

David Reisch

David Reisch

Jacob Watson and Beatrice Brailsford

Pam Ward, Jacob Watson and Beatrice Brailsford

Matt & Hannah Sanger, Cathy Daly

Matt & Hannah Sanger, Cathy Daly

Linda Leeuwrik and Liana Litzsinger

Linda Leeuwrik and Liana Litzsinger

The Portneuf Resource Council Presents a Spectacular Film Festival

On Saturday after the Walk, this Film Festival was held at the Congregational Church on Garfield. The event lasted for over four hours (including a half hour break for delicious foods prepared by the Pocatello Co-Op).

So, what was this Festival all about? If you look around in our beautiful valley you can obtain some idea of the program’s intent. Of course, the films did not feature the Portneuf Valley specifically, but it did point out the gorgeous mountains, deserts, rivers or whatever that exist here and elsewhere providing amazing examples of our natural world.

The point of the Film Fest was to acquaint those in the audience with what comprises the outdoors and serves to bring all of us into the direct benefits our natural environment provides. Whether hiking, exploring, photographing, searching for native plants, a huge variety of wild animals, or working to record atmospheric effects on topography, our environment is widely important to all of us.

One example featured four fellows preparing to and then accomplishing snow board descents of the Grand in Teton National Park. We look at that monumental peak in the summer and see that for climbing it is a noble goal. But to see it in the winter is astounding: Snow covers every bit except for the huge and craggy rocks that poke their way out of the steep and narrow canyons or chutes. So it was thrilling but scary to see those guys plummet down, sometimes using a rope to rappel over short rocky faces impossible for snowboard use.

Another film features a fellow at King Creek in Kentucky: his lifetime has been devoted to measuring, observing, speculating and appreciating this lovely river. His exacting information, collected over several years ,has provided knowledgeable information which can be used to ascertain changes in animal habitats, climate change and a host of other information which is a valuable addition to more academic investigations of the area.

In between these two examples, other films demonstrated the personal benefits gained from being out in a natural scene. Further, it clearly showed what young people can achieve from exploring, examining and learning about our natural world. We all benefit from learning.When we learn independently, we can be inspired and thrilled by what we find out about the mountains, plant life, animals and weather. The result can be of benefit to all of us.

The Portneuf Resource Council, a Chapter of the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils, sponsored this Film Fest. It is a grass roots organization, chaired by Tim Norton . It spends time and energy helping people become aware of the need to ‘Put Water First’. It also understands the need to introduce youth to our water resources and to encourage those youth to become active participants in the facts concerning our river and its relationship to all lives including ours, the animals, the native plants and the Portneuf Valley itself.

At the program, Hannah Sanger, Pocatello Science and Environment Director, was rewarded  for the extensive work she has done to bring residents closer to the benefits of improving the Portneuf River . In addition, Tim Norton, with whom I spoke, emphasized the need to awaken our young people to the interesting and scientific adventures they can have by using the Portneuf River as a focus. We all know the value of textbooks, but using observation to personally discover interesting and important facts is an specializing rewarding way to learn.

The activities  that occurred on Saturday, January 21, 2017 should stay with all of us. On that day, the Walk and the film Fest verified that politics and disagreement do not have to dominate our lives for it is the beauty and contributions offered by our natural surroundings that sustain the happiness, joy and well-being so richly available (if we pay attention) on planet Earth.