It may be rainy and dreary outdoors, but indoors Boy Scouts of Troop 305 are busy planning their annual Christmas tree collection, a service offered here for more than 35 years.

Every year brings a different set of circircustances, and this year is no exception, said Al Sutlick, tree pickup coordinator.

“We have had a fairly large turnover of our older, more experienced boys in the last couple of years, and along with that often go their parents, who were longtime drivers and loaders.

New boys, new drivers and varying weather conditions make the job a new challenge every year. “I always hope for a couple days of nice frozen ground so we can get back into the far reaches of the wildlife area, but plan for mud. With rainy, wet conditions, we have to watch the boys more closely.”

The tree collection will be Saturday and Sunday and cover all areas of Walla Walla, College Place and nearby surrounding areas. Scouts plan to go on all the streets, so no prior requests are needed. The large volume of trees means they can’t arrange specific pick up times.

“All trees will be picked up, and donations are always appreciated, but not required,” he said. For those who aren’t home, the scouts will leave a donation envelope in the door. Donations should not be attached to the tree, where they might be stolen or overlooked, Al said. “The Scouts have had a few previous problems with individuals ‘misrepresenting’ themselves as scouts, but overall the issue has been very minor.”

Leave trees near the curb or as close to the front of the property as possible. If any trees have not been picked up by 3 p.m. Sunday, email treepickup@troop305.net to ensure a crew is sent to pick up those that were missed.

The trees will be used to build brush piles in the wildlife areas on the east side of Bennington Lake, and have been shown to be very attractive for rabbits and ground nesting birds such as quail and pheasant. All proceeds are divided among the boys working and are only used for summer camp, scouting equipment and uniforms.

WWFD seasonal campaign ends

Walla Walla Fire Department’s first foray into the “Keep the Wreaths Red” holiday fire safety campaign has concluded.

From Thanksgiving week through New Year’s Day, little red lights decorated the large wreaths that hung outside fire stations in the city to remind the community about fire safety during the season.

A white bulb replaced a red bulb for each fire occurring in that time frame.

Sadly, the wreaths bore six white bulbs by New Year’s Day, the city reported in its newsletter.

The fire department also posted holiday fire-safety information at “#KeepTheWreathsRedWW” on Facebook.

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,