Looking for new, innovative ways to engage with residents, Washington Odd Fellows Home, 534 Boyer Ave., partnered with Seattle-based Eldergrow to bring in a mobile sensory garden and indoor therapeutic horticulture program.

The continuing care community on Boyer Avenue and Eldergrow hosted an event on Friday for Odd Fellows residents to begin filling the garden with vibrant flowers and fragrant herbs, according to a release.

The gardens on stands offers seniors in residential and personal care communities a therapeutic connection to nature through innovative gardening programs that bring nature indoors.

“Recent studies show that horticultural therapy reduces depression, improves balance, coordination and endurance and lowers the risk factors for dementia by 36 percent,” according to a release.

“We are delighted to incorporate Eldergrow’s innovative programming here at Odd Fellows,” said Maria Muñoz, director of activities.

“The new garden will give our residents the opportunity to create something with their own hands, giving them a sense of pride as they use the plants they grow for fun activities and culinary programs.”

Washington Odd Fellows Home is the first senior living community to use Eldergrow’s therapeutic garden in Walla Walla, Eldergrow reported.

Its educators planned to be on site to teach and build relationships with Odd Fellows residents through ongoing enrichment classes, including culinary and garden art curriculum.

“Eldergrow’s indoor gardens not only bring nature inside, but also provide proven mental and physical benefits, while giving residents renewed purpose” said Orla Concannon, Eldergrow founder and CEO.

“We are excited to grow smiles and laughter with the residents of Washington Odd Fellows Home!”

Traffic Safety Awards recipients named

Walla Walla County Traffic Safety Coalition announced its annual traffic safety award recipients.

The 20th annual awards and recognition event at noon on Jan. 23 is open to the community with reservations at the Masonic Center. Cost of the lunch is $17, payable at the door. Reservations may be made by calling or emailing Nancy Walters, Walla Walla County Traffic Safety Coalition Target Zero manager, at 524-4425 or at nwalters@co.walla-walla.wa.us.

The coalition recognizes individuals, groups, agencies or businesses who through their actions and efforts have promoted traffic safety awareness in Walla Walla County.

Recipients include:

Business Leadership – Jacobs employees

Citizen Activist – Tricia Lofthouse

Government Program Leadership – Meghan Debolt

Legislative Leadership – Walla Walla County Commissioner Jim Johnson

Media Awareness – Inland Saxum Printing

Educational Outreach – Mila Flowers and the 21st Century After School Program/and Walla Walla Children’s Home Society Home Visiting Program

Youth Initiative – Peyton Bergevin

Law Enforcement – Officer Nat Small

Public Health – Hayden Linklater

Super Star Award – Officer Spencer Kelty

Recognition will also go to Top DUI Enforcement Officers for each area agency: Jarret Krueger, Washington State Patrol; Dan Teel, Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office; Jimmy Duede and Daniel Watkins, College Place Police Department; and Mike Earney, Walla Walla Police Department. Each of these officers were tops in their agency for dedicated DUI enforcement, helping to remove impaired drivers off area streets, roads and highways before a possible fatality collision occurred.

‘Swelegant’ Straw hats on parade

Members of the Walla Walla Elks Lodge braved a windy day for their Straw Hat Parade.

The longtime annual tradition that in older days stopped traffic and featured bands and large crowds, “was a success,” said Exalted Ruler Diana Bieker. “Winds were high and so was our spirit.”

It “signifies renewal of our lodge, so appropriate for us this year as we are looking forward to building a new lodge building.” Big House Brew Pub hosted a party after the parade.

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks fraternal order was founded in 1868. Elks Lodge 287 in Walla Walla was organized Aug. 10, 1894, with 15 members. Its first lodge was built in 1913.

The next Walla Walla lodge, built in 1972-73 on Rose and Palouse streets, was sold in spring 2019 and membership is operating out of a temporary location at 22 E. Birch St.

The Elks Club straw hat parade is always on Jan. 1, year after year since 1908, according to a post on Joe Drazan’s Bygone Walla Walla blog.

Although not directly related to the parade, Joe’s blog has evidence that a Straw Hat Days event also goes back to the early part of the 1900s.

For Straw Hat Days on May 12, 1953, woven toppers were tossed from the roof of the Marcus Whitman Hotel, aimed at a target painted at the intersection of North Second Avenue and Rose Street, and the Fair Farmerettes were wrangled to determine the winner.

Competitors who that year tossed their hats from the 11th-story roof of the Marcus Whitman Hotel at 11:30 a.m., including Mayor Herbert G. West, Chamber of Commerce President Clarence Braden, Junior Chamber president Al Bradford, state Reps. Milton R. Loney and Clarence N. Eaton, Veterans Hospital Manager Dr. J.J. Beatty, Washington State Penitentiary Warden Tom Smith; County Commissioner Arthur E. Cox, Rotary President Dr. Winslow S. Anderson, Kiwanis President the Rev. Kenneth Claypool, Lions President Ken Husby, Optimist Club President Ed Kanz, Police Chief A.L. Jefferis and Fire Chief Carl Gregory. There’s no followup report about who won, how windy it was or who’s hat landed closest to the mark.

Vintage ads that ran in the newspaper for decades seemed to be a marketing ploy every May simply to sell straw hats.

Ad copy in May 1931 invited consumers to join the straw brigade — “off with the old felt, on with the new straw! Here comes the sun! Dreary skies are smiling blue again! spring, yes, summer is here in all its glory! ... Which is by way of informing you that your head is now in line for a NEW STRAW HAT. And what a straw hat it will be! The styles this season are “swelegant.”

The ads found at the blog include Montgomery Ward & Co, 112 W. Alder St., Tritt’s Haberdashery in 1941 at 10 S. First Ave., Modern Clothing Co. at 29 E. Main St., the New York Store at 122 W. Main St. and Kemp & Hebert, which in 1931 offered a variety of straws, each with a style name: Panama, Italian Truciolo and Milano.

The businesses often clustered their ads under one heading. In 1924 the White House/R.E. Guichard Co. — “The Men’s Store for Quality and Service,” the New York Store and Modern Clothing Co. had an ad headed “Thursday, May 15 will be Walla Walla’s Straw Hat Day. Off with the old felt, on with the fresh, new comfortable straw. The local displays are ready. The old felt will be out of date on Thursday. Buy a new straw for straw hat day.”

In a collective May 1928 ad, J.C. Penney Co., 6-8 E. Main St., had Solar, Milan, Swiss Yeddo, Panama and Sennit straws ranging from 98 cents to $3.98. A variety of styles were also offered in that ad for spring by New York Store, 120 W. Main St., Modern Clothing Co., 29 E. Main St., Payne-Jaycox Co., 14 S. Second, Wade’s and Gardner’s.

From Wade’s Clothing House at Third Avenue and Main Street in May 1924, shoppers could get hats in darker shades, with narrow or medium brims, high or low crowns and attractive color combinations or plain bands in Swiss, Panama or other styles.

The May 1924 ad for Gardner & Co., which before it closed in 1980 was the state’s oldest department store, offered Dobbs and McGregor straws, “and you’ll agree they are just about the best looking hats you’ve seen — all at moderate prices, too.”

A.M. Jensen Co. in a May 1931 ad, offered the Sennett straw boater style for $3.95 and the Genuine “Equadorian” Panama for $5.95. “You’ll wear the smartest straw hat in town if you select yours from our line of Schobles. These are all hand finished hats and their style is outstanding.” Jensen’s occupied the building that later became Bon Marche and is now Macy’s, which tragically, intends to close in eight to 12 weeks.

Finally, Albert Fix, 7 W. Main St., in May 1928 offered a variety of the hats for children and adults ranging from 25 cents to $3.50.

Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or 526-8313.

Annie joined the U-B news staff in 1979 and since 1990 has written Etcetera, a daily community column. She was promoted to a copy editing post in 2007. She edits copy, designs and lays out pages, including the weekly arts and entertainment guide Marquee,