CLEARWATER VALLEY -- I stopped by the teen center in Kamiah Friday and learned that Vinnie Martinez recently joined the staff there. Martinez is a former Clearwater Valley High School teacher, beloved by many CV students and Kooskia area community members. I am happy to see him in a job where he can continue to have a positive influence on students’ lives. As the only adult man on the Teen Center staff he is a great addition and brings an important perspective.

Last week I joined an audience of nearly 100 people of all ages at the first showing of the latest Kamiah Characters play, “Cooking Can Be Murder.” Peals of laughter from the children in the audience rang out throughout this comedy. Actors kept the show moving and really engaged the audience. The premise of the story is that seven contestants have entered the Remington County Fair cooking contest. The judge tastes each entry, proclaiming them all horrible, then promptly drops dead. When Detective Biddle, played brilliantly by Bethany Matteson, enters the scene she learns from various re-enactments of the contestants’ life stories that each had reason to hate the judge because of past experience with him. A surprising plot twist at the end reveals the real killer. One takeaway I had from this play is to always be kind. Who wants to be that person that everyone despises? Although this normally isn’t difficult, I admit I have struggled with this lately. There are only so many times I can “turn the other cheek” when my character is attacked.

Most of the students in the play I met while substituting in Kamiah schools. It’s wonderful to see their development as actors and people: Brandon McHone, Bethany Matteson, Emmet Wilson, Cecily Puckett, Sarah Bytheway, Maya Engledow, Darby Copeland, Jazzy Oatman, Hailey Wilson, Raina Massey, Amos Bytheway, Audrey Gower, Kenney Farris, Analyn Labrum, Derek Lowen and Hayen Bremer. Thanks to Kamiah teachers Mr. Jody Dow and Ms. Taylie Hopkins for dedicating their time and energy for students and the community.

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 30, The Kooskia Holiday Farmers’ Market will be held from 9 a.m. -2 p.m. at the Kooskia City Hall at 26 Main Street. Melissa Knapton, event organizer, reports that all 24 vendor slots filled quickly for this 2nd annual event. The event will feature adorable handmade dolls, cookies, jams, pickles, micro-greens, upcycled feed sack aprons, herbs, plant starts, cheese, chair massages, jewelry, plus chili and cornbread, and music. The summertime Farmers’ Market in the Kooskia City Park has helped create a sense of community and provides opportunities to support local growers and artisans. Call Melissa, the market organizer at 208-739-1602 for information.

The following weekend, Dec. 6-8, is the second annual Olde-Fashioned Christmas celebration in Kamiah, a fund-raiser for the teen center. Friday night includes a lighted Christmas parade with parade lineup at 5 p.m. at the Kamiah sports complex. After the parade, Santa, soup and desserts will be at the American Legion Hall from 7 -9 p.m. On Saturday the American Legion Hall will be filled with holiday activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., scheduled at different times throughout the day: Photo opportunities with Santa or a Christmas pony and carriage rides, various arts and crafts from nativity mason jars to wreaths, snow globes, paintings, Christmas ornaments. Many activities are free, but some have costs for materials. Of course, there will be various sweet treats- popcorn balls, sugar cookies, fudge and cocoa, plus roasted chestnuts. Saturday evening beginning at 6 p.m., a pie social, festival of trees auction and live musical performances will be happening. The event ends Sunday morning with a turkey, ham and bacon shoot with BBQ at the Kamiah gun club. Call Upriver Youth Leadership at 208-743-0392 for information about any of the events or www.upriveryouth.org

This Thanksgiving week, I am thankful for the teachers who spend their days in classrooms with the children of our communities, helping them to learn and to think. I can still remember the positive influence of some of the teachers I had more than 40 years ago!

Free Press / Norma Staaf

The Kamiah Characters play, Cooking Can Be Murder, was held last week.

(Photos named with those who are in photos)

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