Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle


December 2, 2021

What a good holiday! Thanksgiving is an ideal time to stop and think about all we have to be grateful for. This week I’m thinking about the school and all the organizations that bring hope and help all to our “downriver” communities.” I am very grateful for the folks who send me news about what’s happening, and Lisa Nelson who sends updates from the Naselle/GRV schools. And I’d like to remind you that the Naselle Youth Camp is also busy educating young men who need stability in their lives as well as an education. All the education, help and sports, too, all mixed together create a healthier life for all of us, young and old. May we all give thanks for each other, too.

Photo of the Week: Anita Raistakka at the Appelo Archives Library with my dog, Ben who adores her, as do I. Anita carries Finland in her names – Penttila, Kilponen, Raistakka. Need I say more? Her great-grandparents came to Deep River in 1885. They lived on the Naselle side of Khyber Pass, connecting Salmon Creek to Deep River. Her father was one of the Valley 8 loggers who founded Valley 8 Logging Company. Anita told me that as a child, she could go to any house in Naselle because every house had relatives and she was welcomed at all of them just as all the children were.

Anita has always loved books. Her favorite at the Archives Library is in the Finnish collection, “Under the North Star” by Vaino Linna. She has worked to develop and organize the library for 11 years. Both the Finnish collection containing books written in Finnish and some others translated into English are dear to her. You can tell when she works with the old Finnish books that the small, old books from immigrant Finns who settled here, are very important to her. Other collections in the library are about logging history, Pacific Northwest history, Oregon history, Alaska history, children’s books, local authors, the old west, seafaring history, fishing, and more. The library has large collections, some given by donors who have given their family’s historic books, plus community members who want to share the favorites from their own collections, such as myself. Becoming a member of the Archives Center gives members free access to as many books as they would like to check out. The cost of membership is $20 for an individual. More information is available at the center.

Anita’s life is full of Finnish culture and history. Family is highly valued in the Finnish culture. Sometimes two to three generations may live in one house for many years as the older ones retire and the younger ones grow older. The older generations help raise the little ones so that, hopefully, the old stories and traditions live on. We are blessed to have Anita as an active community volunteer who has done so much over her years here. If you have any questions about the library, you can contact her at (360) 484-3376. She is usually at the center on Tuesdays so you can visit with her then and get a tour of the library.

Jennifer Boggs from FAFF sent this message: The Naselle Community Center (NCC) began in late 2018 in a former church building which was donated to the Finnish American Folk Festival. This volunteer-staffed festival has had a noted presence in our area for over 40 years. FAFF is planning for improvements to NCC's septic system. This will allow the facility's kitchen to be commercially certified, expanding its service to our community. The amount needed is $7,000. FAFF is featured in this year's Pacific Community Foundation's Grant Catalog at Please financially support this community organization to meet their goal today!

Carry Backman sent this reminder: Wahkiakum 4-H is holding an online auction through Dec. 5. We haven’t been able to hold the Covered Bridge Dinner the last two years due to COVID. The funds raised from the auction will pay for kids’ travel to state conference and camp opportunities, like Know Your Government in Olympia, as well as annual post-secondary scholarships for graduating 4-H seniors. Here is the link to the 4-H auction: We have some amazing community donations as auction items – a beautiful quilt from Linda Nelson, a vase from Kyle Gribskov, a knife from Dan Westlind, and lots more.


Dec. 4: Art show at the Grays River Grange featuring local artists, Gail Wahlstrom, Kristo Novoselic, Noreen Fitts, Sandra Prucha and Carol Ervest from noon to 4 p.m. Art will be for sale. Oh, and it’s my birthday! Also, an open garage sale will be held at Johnson Park 1-3 p.m. Plus one more: Christmas bazaar at the fairgrounds from 10-3. Busy Day.

Dec. 5: Finnish American Folk Festival will host their Annual Christmas Concert at the Naselle Community Center at 1:30 p.m., followed by Tour of Homes including Jan Wolfe’s, the Bennett's home and Austin and Nicole Burkhalter's home, then the soup supper at NCC.

Dec. 10: Skamokawa Fire Association will offer Sleigh Rides (fire truck) with Santa at 5 p.m. at Johnson Park. Kids can meet Santa and see the fire truck. Bring your camera!

Dec. 11: Craft Day at Johnson Park from 1-3 p.m.

Dec. 12: Kovu puusii baking at Naselle Community Center from 1-3 p.m. $10, then from 4-6 p.m., Cookies with Katie at the Community Center. $10 per person or $20 per family. And at 6 p.m. the Christmas Story movie at the Naselle Assembly of God; free. To register for any of the classes, call Haleigh See at (360) 852-3730.

Dec. 18: Appelo Archives hosting kantele classes from 10 to noon. Call to register (360) 484-7103.

Dec. 19: Christmas Bazaar at Naselle Community Center from 1-4 p.m. followed by tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. For a vendor booth, indoor or outdoor, the cost is $20. Contact Haleigh See to reserve space at (360) 852-3730. From 6-10 p.m., drive the Tour of Lights in Naselle and broader areas to see Christmas lights.

Senior Lunches: Today’s CAP box lunch will be Chicken reuben casserole, roasted potatoes, San Francisco blend, berry orange salad. Pick it up at Rosburg Hall at noon. Call Denise at 360-762-3111 to reserve your box lunch. The menu for Dec. 9 is spaghetti, Italian blend, sliced oranges and garlic bread.

Word for the Week: Promise.


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