Aurelia Erickson and Audrey Marier returned from Salem earlier this week. They were in the capital for a high school music solo competition at Willamette University.

Erickson has been playing the viola for seven years, she said. This is her third year to enter the statewide solo competition.

"We played OK," Erickson said. "It's nice to see what the competition has to offer. I always get nervous, but we'd been preparing for a while and were ready."

Marier, who has played the violin for 11 years, said the competition was "useful because you don't get to compete very much."

"I didn't expect to win.," she said. "It's not about winning. You go for the experience and satisfaction you get meeting people of all ages and abilities."

For each group of instruments, three top winners are named. All who attend receive certificates.

Both girls are members of the Oregon East Symphony preparatory orchestra, A Sharp Players. Marian Safford of Hermiston is a big Stephen King fan. She has read and owns most of his books and has seen most of his movies. When she bought his latest release "Dreamcatcher," she was surprised when she opened the book and the first page was a headline from the East Oregonian, June 25, 1947, which read: "Fire Control Officer Spots 'Flying Saucers.' Kenneth Arnold reports nine disc-shaped objects, 'shiny, silvery, moved incredibly fast."

"When I saw that in there I thought, 'Gee that was really neat they used this little newspaper in their book,'" Safford said. Several Pendleton women will attend the District 12 Altrusa Conference next weekend, May 16-18, at the Resort at the Mountain in Welches.

Election of officers is on the slate of events for the convention. Karla Lewis and Jackie Smith of Pendleton have both been nominated for offices. Delegates from Pendleton include Debbie McBee, Ginny Patton, Shelley Adkinson, Barbara Nash and Tiny Collins.

Altrusa is a worldwide volunteer service organization of executives and professionals dedicated to improving their communities through personal service. They are especially devoted to promoting literacy, child welfare and women's issues. Altrusa has been serving Pendleton since 1938 and currently has more than 90 members.

Membership is by invitation. The annual Rotary Honors Banquet was held Monday evening at the Hermiston Community Center. Sixty-seven graduating seniors were recognized by the Hermiston Rotary Club for their significant academic achievement of maintaining a 3.5, or better, grade point average throughout their high school careers.

The students were from Hermiston, Umatilla, Echo and Stanfield high schools. They were each presented by their respective school administrators, who mentioned some of each student's achievements and future plans.

Rick Rice, Rotary vice-president, honored School Board members, teachers and parents who were present for contributing to the students' success. He introduced featured speaker George Murdock, superintendent of the Umatilla-Morrow Educational Service District. Murdock applauded the students on their achievements to date and challenged them to continue.

Music was organized by Kathleen Alviar of Hermiston High School and included the concert choir, the select girls' ensemble and "Con Brio."

The meal was catered by Pudding on the Ritz.

Students honored were:

Hermiston High School, presented by Dave Ego, principal: Caleb Adams, Tyson Banker, John Barnett, Alex Bennett, Valerie Bertsch, Shannon Boettcher, Amanda Carper, Cody Castellaw, Bennett Christianson, Kristen Clabo, Autumn Cutting, Jacquelyn Dunn, Jessica Edwards, Pat Foster, Arturo Garcia, Alex Gray, Shawn Hayward, Brittany Hefner, Brian Horneck, Eva Jaime, Jacob Johnson, Marian Koenig, Jenna Lloyd, Marcus Mattox, Jennifer Methvin, Cydney Morgan, Darci Nelson, Hao Ngo, Michelle Olivas, Ann Onphian, Katie Platt, Breanna Racus, Kristina Rodgers, Sheila Royer, Brian Sanders, Brooke Sather, Lissa Scott, Michael Walker, Nathan Williams, Michelle Wilson and Konstance Zacharias.

Echo High School, presented by Jarred Jackman, special education coordinator: Maria Ambriz, Sandra Ambriz, Carrie Bruce, Shane Clifton, Jake Madison, Rachael Reynolds and Kyle Snow.

Umatilla School District presented by Brian Say, superintendent: Erika Armenta, Sara Armenta, Shanna Blank, Marilu Coria, Shelby Derby, Ginger Hodge, Joon-Woo Lee, Jenny Pack, Heather Rasmussen, Ellen Routson, Anthony Villanueva, Marlena White and Christopher Wyland.

Stanfield High School, presented by Gary Mounce, superintendent and principal: Kellie Davis, Jacob Flemmer, Kyle Mills, Viviana Rojas and Danielle Weathermon.

The Hermiston Rotary Club has 80 members, and is known for its April Rotary roses sale and August cowboy breakfast. Its fund-raising supports local scholarships and community projects, plus national and international initiatives such as the effort to eradicate polio worldwide. The club meets Thursdays at noon at the Cottage Event Center in Hermiston. Heppner Garden Club kept busy in April attending the District Garden Club meeting in Milton-Freewater, hosted by the Milton-Freewater Club.

Bebe Munkers of the Heppner Garden Club was recognized for her years of service and dedication by Beverly Seibel, Oregon State Garden Club president of Hillsboro. Munkers received a lifetime membership to the Oregon State Garden Club.

The Heppner Club elected officers for 2003-2004. The following people will serve: Chuck Bailey, president; JoAnn Burleson, vice-president and Bebe Munkers as treasurer. The office of secretary has not been filled.

The club held a plant exchange in April. It went very well, Bailey said. The St. Patrick's Senior Center saw a constant flow of people ready to exchange plants and receive gardening information from Master Gardener, Cecil Rill. Brian Collinsworth of Pendleton won the quilt raffled for the benefit of Sierra Carey.

Kathy Thompson, Rebecca Sorn and Beverly Marker made the quilt and helped display it beginning March 1 at Pendleton's branch of Bank of America, Banner Bank and Schools Plus Credit Union.

Mara Johns of the Schools Plus Credit Union drew the winning ticket at 4 p.m. Sunday at the quilt show held at the Pendleton Convention Center.

The quilt raffle earned $1,056, which was deposited in an account for Sierra.

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