NCRL News and Events

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.


Spring Break Activities!

Kim Neher - Wednesday, March 30, 2016

North Central Regional Library will present children's programs at many of our branch libraries during the upcoming spring break from school.


Book-It Repertory Theatre

Book-It Repertory Theatre of Seattle will bring literature to life with their performance of A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin at 10 of our branch libraries. The theater group was founded 26 years ago as a group of artists adapting short stories and touring the Northwest to promote reading. The Splash of Red tour tells the story of Horace Pippin, an African American painter born in Pennsylvania in 1888. While fighting in WWI, he was shot and left unable to use his painting arm. After the war, he worked tirelessly to restore the use of his arm and, after many years, was able to paint again. He was eventually discovered by renowned painter and illustrator N.C. Wyeth, who gave Pippin's art national attention.

Their performances include:

Monday, April 4  10:00am Moses Lake Public Library
Monday, April 4 3:30pm  George Public Library
Tuesday, April 5 10:00am Ephrata Public Library
Tuesday, April 5  4:00pm Quincy Public Library
Wednesday, April 6 1:00pm Wenatchee Public Library
Wednesday, April 6 4:30pm Chelan Public Library
Thursday, April 7 10:00am Oroville Public Library
Thursday, April 7 3:00pm Curlew Public Library
Friday, April 8 10:00am Omak Public Library
Friday, April 8  2:00pm Republic Public Library

The NCRL Puppeteers


Eastmont High School Arts and Theater teacher Mark Wavra and Wenatchee High School English teacher Brian Higgins will perform at 12 of our branch libraries. In their act, the Puppeteers will introduce a new robot puppet and bring back perennial favorites Hairy and Scary the professor, and Randy the big orange lion. These programs are geared toward elementary-aged children. 

Their performances include:

Monday, April 4 10:00am Leavenworth Public Library
Monday, April 4 1:00pm Cashmere Public Library
Monday, April 4  3:30pm Entiat Public Library
Tuesday, April 5  11:00am Brewster Public Library
Tuesday, April 5  1:00pm Bridgeport Public Library
Tuesday, April 5  4:00pm Grand Coulee Public Library
Wednesday, April 6 11:00am Waterville Public Library
Wednesday, April 6  1:30pm Coulee City Public Library
Wednesday, April 6 4:00pm Soap Lake Public Library
Thursday, April 7  11:00am Manson Public Library
Thursday, April 7  1:30pm Okanogan Public Library
Thursday, April 7  4:00pm Twisp Public Library


Book Clubs

NCRL Webmaster - Monday, November 09, 2015

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