Washington State Magazine

Washington State Magazine :: Summer 2013

Summer 2013

In This Issue...


The Animal Mind Reader :: Beyond the notion that animals other than humans may indeed possess consciousness, Jaak Panksepp’s work suggests a litany of philosophical implications: How should we treat animals? Do we have free will? Where might we search for the meaning of life? Are our most fundamental values actually biological in nature? by Eric Sorensen

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Video: The Primal Power of Play }

Something Old Something New—A history of hospitality :: When Washington State College introduced its hospitality program in 1932, no one had yet imagined an airport hotel, a drive-through restaurant, a convention center, or the boom of international travel. Eighty years later, as the industry grows in new and unexpected ways, the School of Hospitality sends its graduates out to meet its evolving needs. by Hannelore Sudermann

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Video: The History of Alderbrook Resort }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Story: WSU’s Bell Hop }

Waiting for the Rain :: “The point of our visit was to talk about food, drought, and war. Begnemato sits in central Mali, in the east of Mopti province, where staples like millet and rice sell for six times what they did a year ago. Andoule blames their food problems on the fighting in the north and last year’s poor rains.... The previous year’s drought had depleted village seed stocks, and the conflict in northern Mali has either cut off many farmers from their fields or frightened them away.” From We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali. by Peter Chilson

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Video: On the edge of turmoil Peter Chilson talks about his experiences in Mali. }


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Excerpt: Micronesian Blues A section of WSU Professor Bryan Vila’s book Micronesian Blues, about training police officers in South Pacific islands. }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Video: After Newtown: Guns in America A PBS documentary on the role of guns in U.S. culture, with WSU emeritus Professor Joan Burbick. }


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Video: You sunk my battleship! A look at the intramural Battleship game in Gibb Pool at WSU, courtesy of University Recreation }


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Video: Greg Blanchard: WSU Chef }

New media

:: Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories by Sherman Alexie ’94

:: We Are the Bus by James McKean ’68, ’74

:: Chicago, Barcelona Connections by Greg Duncan ’98

:: WSU Cougars from A to Z by Carla Nellis ’90

:: New & Noteworthy: Planet Rock Doc: Nuggets from Explorations of the Natural World and The Whole Story of Climate: What Science Reveals about the Nature of Endless Change by E. Kirsten Peters; Blazing a Wagon Trail to Oregon: A Weekly Chronicle of the Great Migration of 1843 by Lloyd W. Coffman ’87; Career Choices for Veterinarians: Private Practice and Beyond by Carin A. Smith ’84

On the cover: Jaak Panksepp with zebra mask by Pierre-Marie Valat. Photo Robert Hubner

First Words

Small Towns You Should Visit

by | © Washington State University

I’ve been very fortunate to have visited many of the world’s great cities. Buenos Aires, Boston, Kiev, Merida, Bangkok, Paris. Even Seattle. 

Regardless of having seen Pa-ree et al., I still always feel a thrill of anticipation passing the city limits sign of a small town, and I’ve encountered a lot of them while pursuing stories for this magazine over the last decade: Sunnyside, Neah Bay, Waterville, South Bend, Marblemount, Starbuck, Winona, and others equally euphonious. How did the town come to be? What are its people like? What surprises might wait in its architecture, history, cafés, or whimsy?

The deep red door on the little white church in Prosser. The experimental jet plane hanging from the ceiling of the café in Waterville. The wonderful camarones al diablo in Sunnyside. The windmill garden in Electric City.

Consider my latest adventure. After driving a couple of hours, I stop in Wilbur at Billy Burgers for an order of onion rings. While waiting, I get to talking with a gentleman somewhat older than I. His grandson, who is actually from Lind, attends WSU. He loves to hunt, says his grandfather. When he arrived on campus, he figured he’d show up at a shoot sponsored by the gun club. And amazed everyone by consistently shooting 25s. At least that’s what his grandfather says.

Later in Pepper Jack’s Bar and Grill in Grand Coulee, I ask the server (who is not the least bit ironic, nor does she think I need to know her name) what kind of wine they have. Cabernet, chardonnay, white zinfandel. Turns out the cab goes pretty well with the walleye (“best fish you ever tasted”), the canned green beans aren’t bad with a little Tabasco, and the French fries are truly the best I’ve had in a long while. Once the family next to me leaves, I have the place to myself.

The walls are filled with photos of dam construction and history, and the décor is frozen somewhere around 1963. The town outside the window is absolutely dead on a Thursday evening in early March.

But Grand Coulee was not always so still. If you listen carefully, you can just hear the shouts, music, and laughter of the town’s infamous B Street that grew up around the Grand Coulee dam construction. And much fainter, the music of children playing as their parents fish for salmon on the undammed Columbia.

Despite my best efforts, there are many Washington small towns that I have not yet visited. Aeneas, Bruce, Climax, Springdale, Yacolt. There is much to learn about and to report on these small towns sprinkled across the Washington landscape. And not just the towns, but also the spaces between, the dark spaces below as you fly east over the state at night. 

Dark, but hardly empty. How full those spaces are, old ranches, native fishing spots, and of course the landscape itself, the biological, evolutionary, geological stories everywhere, illuminating the shortness of our time, the shallowness of our focus and understanding.

Tim Steury, Editor

Categories: Washington state history | Tags: Small towns, Grand Coulee, Central Washington

Comments are temporarily unavailable while we perform some maintenance to reduce spam messages. If you have comments about this article, please send them to us by email: wsm@wsu.edu