Stories in this Regional News Roundup are excerpted from weekly newspapers from around the region. This is part two, with part one having appeared in Saturday’s Tribune.

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WAITSBURG — In 2002, the Schulke family lost their beloved son and brother Cooper, who died at age 7½ from a brain tumor. The Walla Walla area family have addressed the heartache of that loss by growing and selling pumpkins. Lots and lots of pumpkins.

Father Jeff, wife Kara, son Campbell and daughter Emerson now grow 27 different varieties of the gourds, with hues ranging from the traditional orange, to white and pink, to blue and green. The purpose of that bounty is to raise funds to support the Ronald McDonald House in Seattle, the place where the family found solace and a welcoming home during Cooper’s treatment, from diagnosis at age 5, and through his subsequent surgeries.

“You go there, your life is a wreck ... and you’re going to be there three months — what do you do? You live 2½ hours away, you can’t commute, you’ve got to be right there,” Kara Schulke said. “You have to live some place. It is definitely geared towards us who live in the rural areas.”

The pumpkin production expanded over the years, and what began as the Schulkes offering pumpkins by donation in a pile outside their farm in 2007 grew to this year’s bounty from their 4-acre field being offered at multiple locations across the region.

Clarence Stearns, of Mr. C’s Smokin Co., offers the pumpkins at his business on Preston Avenue in Waitsburg, and Doug Biolo has now gotten in on the goodwill by presenting a gorgeous display of the range of hues available at Nancy’s Dream Nursery at 503 W. Second St., also in Waitsburg. Other locations include Hot Mama’s Espresso at 147 W. Pine in Walla Walla.

The Schulkes visit the Ronald McDonald House in Seattle every year in late October/early November since Cooper passed away. They visit with the families staying there and “try to bring some happiness to what is otherwise a not-so-happy time,” Kara Schulke said.

Pumpkins are still available at all locations.

— Tracy Thompson, The Times (Waitsburg), Thursday

Hundreds protest proposed Midas Gold project

McCALL — Gary Dorr asked a crowd of about 300 people in downtown McCall Oct. 12 to get angry and alarmed about what he said was a threat to native salmon and treaty rights by the proposed Stibnite Gold Project near Yellow Pine.

Dorr, a member of the Nez Perce Tribe and Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment, was one of several speakers at a protest rally called the Gathering of Peoples to Protect our Sacred Water and Fish, at Art Roberts Park in McCall.

The event was organized by the tribe and the Save the South Fork group. Participating organizations include Earth Works, Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment, Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United and Better Neighborhoods.

Participants in the event rallied against the building the proposed gold and antimony mine by Midas Gold on the grounds that the project would be disastrous to the South Fork of the Salmon River watershed.

Before the event, protestors gathered at three locations in downtown McCall, walking in large groups toward the park to symbolize the confluence of people coming together and the journey native fish undertake. Some participants also arrived via boat, paddling from Brown Park.

Protestors carried signs reading, “Save Our Salmon,” “Too Precious to Risk,” “Water is More Important Than Gold,” “Sacred Waters” and “Sacred Fish,” among others.

Dorr outlined how the development of the mine would violate the Nez Perce Treaty of 1855.

“The U.S. constitution states that treaties are the supreme law of the land,” he said. “You can’t make any laws that are against what’s in the treaty.”

He also chastised Midas Gold, saying the company is misrepresenting its business and the project.

Midas Gold Idaho is a subsidiary of a Canadian company and beholden to both Midas Gold Corp. and Barrick Gold Corp., another Canadian company which owns 20 percent of Midas Gold.

He mocked the company’s advertising to portray the company as environmentally friendly.

“They think you’re stupid. ... They think we believe their gradeschool media campaign,” he said to hoots and cheers from the audience.

Idaho Rivers United Executive Director Nic Nelson said the mine is the greatest threat to Chinook salmon and steelhead beyond the dams on the lower Snake River.

“Idaho is the most important spawning habitat for Chinook salmon anywhere in the world,” Nelson said.

“We are vitally important to the perpetuation of this species globally; not even Alaska can offer what Idaho has with our high elevation and spawning habitat,” he said.

— Max Silverson, The Star-News (McCall), Thursday

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