NCRL News and Events

Humanities Washington

Kim Neher - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

North Central Washington residents are invited to explore history and cultural diversity through music, dance, and interactive presentations offered by Humanities Washington.

NCRL is bringing four Humanities Washington programs to seven libraries in late April and early May.  


Author and anthropologist Llyn De Danaan will present History in Your Backyard, a program about how she discovered the extraordinary story of a pioneering Native American woman and how everyone can explore the history of their own communities.

De Danaan, who lives in Shelton, has written extensively about the history of Japanese Americans, Native Americans, and European Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries.


Educator and percussionist Antonio Gómez will present Saffron & Honey: Muslims, Jews, and Christians in Medieval Spain, which tells the story of how collaboration between three world religions in Spain led to advances in science, math, poetry, music, architecture and politics that would ripple throughout Europe and the world.

Gómez, who lives in Puyallup, has developed programming for PBS and the Experience Music Project, and formerly worked as education services manager for KCTS 9 public television.


Eric Davis will present Rap 101: The Message Behind the Music. He is a member of the sociology faculty at Bellevue college and the University of Washington Consulting Alliance. 

Davis, who lives in Tacoma, uses music as a catalyst for discussion about popular culture, diversity, and social justice.


Yesenia Hunter, a Mexican writer and musician who grew up in the Yakima Valley, will present Fandango and the Deliberate Community. She will teach the history, method and context behind fandango in a participatory program that will involve music, dance, and prose. 

Hunter has published several books and lives in Yakima.

Humanities Washington is a nonprofit organization that promotes cultural education and history through presentations, speakers, and exhibits around the state.


April 26 7:00pm Ephrata Public Library
45 Alder N.W., Ephrata

History in Your Backyard
April 27 6:30pm Moses Lake Museum & Cultural Center
401 S. Balsam Street, Moses Lake

History in Your Backyard
April 28 6:30pm Leavenworth Public Library
700 Hwy 2, Leavenworth

History in Your Backyard
May 5 5:30pm Entiat Public Library
14138 Kinzel St, Entiat 

Rap 101
May 10 7:00pm Chelan Public Library
216 N Emerson St, Chelan 

Saffron & Honey
May 11 7:00pm Ephrata Public Library
45 Alder N.W., Ephrata 

Saffron & Honey

May 11 4:00pm Royal City Public Library
136 Camelia, Royal City 

Fandango and the Deliberate Community
 May 12 6:00pm Twisp Public Library
201 N. Methow Valley Hwy, Twisp 
Saffron & Honey

Author Headlines Wildfire Event

Kim Neher - Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Award-winning writer Timothy Egan will be in Wenatchee on Thursday to talk about books, wildfires, and the early days of the U.S. Forest Service and preservation of public lands in America.

Egan will talk at 7p.m. Thursday at the Numerica Performing Arts Center. Starting at 6p.m., several community organizations will have booths presenting information on fire-related topics. They include:

  • The U.S. Forest Service
  • Entiat Hot Shots
  • Cascadia Conservation District
  • John Marshall Photography
  • Columbia Breaks Fire Interpretive Center
  • Chelan County Fire District #1
  • Community Wildfire Planning Assistance Grant
  • American Red Cross
  • Plain Firewise
  • Master Gardeners of Chelan & Douglas Counties
  • State Department of Natural Resources
  • Chelan-Douglas Land Trust

Egan's book, The Big Burn, details the events leading up to the destructive 1910 wildfire that blackened more than 3 million acres in Washington, Idaho, and Montana. In light of the fires that touch so many communities and lives in our region each summer - and in particular the last two summers, North Central Regional Library is encouraging everyone to read the book this spring as part of its Columbia River Reads program.

"Timothy Egan is among Washington State's most celebrated writers," said NCRL Executive Director Dan Howard. "In The Big Burn, he tells a great story about the largest fire in American history. After the devastating fires we faced in recent years, this is a timely read."

Egan won the 2006 National Book Award for his nonfiction account of the Dust Bowl, The Worst Hard Time. He also shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 with a team of reporters for a newspaper series on race issues in America. The Northwest native is a columnist and formerly an enterprise reporter for the New York Times.

Here's how he answered some questions we asked about his life and work:

Can you tell us about your connection with the Northwest and with our central region in Washington?
I'm a third generation Northwesterner, born in Seattle, raised in Spokane.

What is your favorite place to visit in North Central Washington?
Spent my summers in the Cascades and Lake Chelan, and still do, so a tough question. To this day we count Chelan County as a sort of second home (though we don't have a second home there), and I set my novel, The Winemaker's Daughter, in a fictional coulee just above the Columbia River. Always loved the area, from the Enchantments to floating down the Wenatchee River. And the view from the top of Mount Stuart is unbeatable.

Why did you decide to write about the 1910 fire?
I always knew something of this fire growing up. Smokejumpers were my heroes as a little kid. The fire had a mythic status. And then, as a writer, when I looked into it, I got fascinated by the back story - Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot and the founding of the Forest Service.

What surprised you the most in doing your research for the book?
That these kinds of tragedies still repeat themselves. Not wildfires. They'll always be with us, and with increased frequency with climate change. But the loss of human life. We should learn from past mistakes

This happened more than 100 years ago. How did you hear your main subjects' voices?
Yes, indeed! The Forest Service has done a terrific job of collecting the "early memories of the Forest Service,' as they call it, in oral and written histories. As well, Roosevelt and Pinchot were prodigious diary-keepers and letter writers. All those voices came to life when I wrote this book, and some are with me still

Given the back-to-back, record setting fires we've had the last two summers, what can people take away from the book?
That we can, in fact, learn great lessons from the past. That the past is not dead. That a careful reading of this time a hundred plus years ago can inform our decisions now.

What do you like to read?
I'm finishing the epic Winston Churchill trilogy by William Manchester. Riveting. My tastes range from history to memoir to good fiction. The last novel that I truly loved was All the Light We Cannot See.

Are you currently working on a new novel?
Yes! My story of the Irish-American experience, as told through the life of one extraordinary man, is coming out March 1 -- called Immortal Irishmen. It gave me a chance to connect to my heritage.

Future Tech Leader

Kim Neher - Friday, April 01, 2016

With a passion for building and creating that started at a young age with Legos and video games, 17-year-old Theo Marshall's technology skills have now far outpaced his classmates, his teachers, and his school. The Wenatchee High School senior was awarded the Future Technology Leader honor from the North Central Washington Technology Alliance this week. Marshall works part time at Wenatchee Public Library.

"He has produced more high tech products and shown his peers and teacher more new technology than anyone that has come before him," WHS engineering teacher Doug Merrill said, in nominating Marshall for the award. "Frankly, Theo has had more ideas than the school can afford!"

While there were many tech-savvy students from around the region nominated for the award, the review committee was looking for someone who went beyond their engineering homework assignments and initiated their own projects, said Jenny Napier, executive director of GWATA.

Marshall was selected for his "overall leadership, his ability to go above and beyond, and his innovation in creating new and exciting projects," she said. "Theo is pretty incredible."

In his nominating letter, Merrill wrote that Marshall, a third year engineering student, has consistently "shown creativity and ingenuity far beyond his peers." "Theo has the uncanny ability to look at new computer software or electronics or mechanical devices and quickly figure out how to use it," he wrote. Among his accomplishments:

      • His sophomore year, Marshall led a team of three students to build the school's first underwater remotely operated vehicle.
      • His junior year, Marshall helped build the school's first quad-copter from scratch, building and programming the software for it. He researched the parts to buy and even improved on them, using a 3D printer to build new landing gear to accommodate a bottom mount camera.
      • This year, Marshall and another student assembled the school's first large-bed CNC router. More than 400 parts and hardware pieces arrived at the school in 15 boxes and two students put them together to make a precision milling machine. By the end of the school year, Marshall will finish writing the user's manual for the router to help guide future generations of engineering students at the school.
      • Most recently, Marshall created an adaptive device to help a special needs student at the school with her after-school job. The adaptive device helps the student, who is visually impaired, better do her job.
      • He is currently designing and using a 3D printer to create a money-counting advice to help special needs students keep track of money they earn working.

In an interview this week, Marshall said his interest in technology really started with video games. He used to play on consoles and then computers. But when they didn't do what he wanted them to do, he rebuilt a computer to make it work better. As his passion to build and create grew, his parents bought him the technology he wanted, even when they didn't understand it themselves.

"I get bored and I need something to do, so I just start some new project," he said.

Marshall said he plans to work for a local technology company over the summer. If he likes the work, he'll stay in Wenatchee and attend Wenatchee Valley College for two years before heading to Washington State University to pursue a degree in engineering.

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