Every chance I get to hear my father Wilfred talk about the history of North Central Washington, I learn something new and it deepens my appreciation for the people who have made a difference here. I know I'm not alone. His column is the best read feature in this newspaper and the constructive, community-centeic approach we try to maintain is based on the work that he has done to make the region a better place.
So it was a particular thrill to travel with dad to Olympia last Wednesday at the request of Secretary of State Kim Wyman for a ceremony launching a new exhibit in the capitol building — Grand Coulee to Grunge: Eight stories that changed the world.
In a brief speech under the Capitol dome, dad took the audience back to the early part of last century in describing the monumental accomplishments of a small group of people in central Washington to get Grand Coulee Dam and the Columbia Basin Project built. Later in the program, Krist Novoselic of Nirvana, took center stage. The grunge band, from the small town of Aberdeen, took the world by storm and created a sound that is still celebrated; their album Nevermind sold 30 million records. Novoselic is more than a musician — he's an activist who is committed to strengthening democracy in the state.
Other stories that changed world included Weyerhaueser, Hanford, Boeing, agriculture and Microsoft. The event drew a distinguished group of leaders, from Gov. Jay Inslee and his wife Trudi, 8th District Rep. Dave Reichert, former Secretary of State Ralph Munro and Sam Reed, former Sen. Slade Gorton, to name a few. We also had a chance to chat with former Chelan County Auditor Evelyn Arnold, who recently joined Wyman's staff after a stint fixing the elections system in King County.
Arnold and Wyman have known each other for a number of years, when Wyman was the auditor in Thurston County.
We are fortunate Wyman is carrying on the historical work that her predecessors Munro and Reed established. Sometimes you need to take a step back and look at the big picture to appreciate the world-changing contributions that have occurred in this small state.
Speaking of celebrations.There's going to be a community party for dad's 94th birthday on Sept. 29, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center of Wenatchee. He has been one of the tireless advocates for that marvelous facility since the idea was first created.
It will be a low-key reception with some great music and some refreshments. However, if people want to make a contribution to the PAC, that would be most welcome. It'll be a party with a purpose.