Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you are all enjoying gathering with friends and family.
Let me reiterate a plea to consider shopping locally. Rural communities like ours need to be supported by commuters and tourists, but without support from within, we will not prosper. Local clubs, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, school districts and clubs, churches and the many humanitarians deserve our attention.
Let me take this opportunity to remind you of some upcoming highlights in our region. The Elk Music Association’s fifth annual Christmas CD, “Elk Tracks 2010-EMA Picks,” is available for $10 at Riverside Family Foods, Rosha’s Remedies, the Elk Sentinel and the Elk VFW Post in the Elk- Chattaroy area and at the Pend Oreille Playhouse in Newport. EMA is affiliated with the Elk Community Park Association (www.ElkMusicArts.org). The Elk Music and Elk Community Park Associations will host the 12th annual Chili-Chowder Cook-Off the first part of February.
On Jan. 8, the Pend Oreille Players Association (www.pendoreilleplayers. org) will host a Dance Night from 6 to 9 p.m. for only $3 at the Playhouse on Union Street in Newport. Open mike nights are the first Friday of each month.
Submissions for the Playhouse’s second annual One Act Play Festival are due by Feb. 5. The festival will be July 9-10 in conjunction with the Lavender Festival. The Create Arts Center (www.createarts.org) in Newport continually offers arts and crafts classes. Yesteryear Productions (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) will present the highly anticipated Howard’s Follies the last three weekends in February, Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. at the Playhouse. This year’s title is “Versa Visa, A Common Problem.”
Farther north, in Metaline and Metaline Falls, the Cutter Theater (www.cuttertheater.com) will present “Pinocchio,” produced by the Missoula Children’s Theater, featuring local youth on Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. and Jan. 29 at 3 p.m. for $6. Also in Metaline that Saturday evening will be Winter Fest at Metaline Park.
Information about the aforementioned groups can be found on the PORAA Facebook page or at PORAA@groups.live.com. PORAA is the Pend Oreille River Arts Alliance encouraging, supporting and collaborating with artisans and arts and humanities organizations throughout Washington, Idaho and beyond. PORAA organizations’ information is also available on the arts and entertainment calendar of events at www.PORTA-us.com. PORTA is the Pend Oreille River Tourism Alliance. PORAA memberships are now open to individual artists/artisans for $5 year. Members will be included on an individual artists/artisans roster and e-blast list. Application available on Facebook or e-mail Loyce Akers at: pointintime@hotmail. com.
We have a lot of opportunity in the rural neighborhoods of the great Inland Northwest to support our communities, get involved and enjoy ourselves. Thanks to all the regional businesses that do their share.
In closing, I would like to send a special thanks to Chuck and Becky Morefield, owners, and Briana and all of the employees at Riverside Family Foods for continuing to facilitate the Elk-Chattaroy Teddy Bear Tree program. RFF is a star in the community!
This bimonthly column is being downsized to an occasional contribution with the combination of the North and South Voices in February. I guess I’m joining a large component of the economic predicament in the U.S. Hopefully, our country is on its way to some fiscal stability.
I have tried to cover social happenings in the Elk-Chattaroy and points north area over the past 2 1/2 years. I will miss the input and correspondence from many different groups and individuals in our communities. Keep sending me information on leading events as we will still have some occasional “voice.”