Oh Say Can You SingThere was an awkward pause at the opening of the Sept. 15 Astoria High School volleyball game against North Marion, as the adults in charge of the National Anthem scrambled to find the recording to play over the PA system. Suddenly the gym was filled with the voices of AHS' varsity players as they sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" a cappella over the microphone.

"It was (Athletic Director) Wymon SMITH's idea," explained varsity coach Angee Hunt. "The next thing I knew, the girls were out in the hallway practicing, and then they just came in and sang it. They took it seriously and they really did a good job."

A parent in attendance was so impressed with the girls' impromptu showing of patriotism, he contacted The Daily Astorian about it. "It was a real moment of pride," he said.

At the RiverSea Gallery in Astoria has an exhibit called "River Stories." This is a series of paintings by JUDI MILLER, 52, an Astoria native who now lives in Oakland, Calif.

Miller graduated from Astoria High School in 1969 and went on to the University of Alaska, where she graduated in 1990 with a degree in home economics and art education. In 2003, she earned a master's of fine art degree from J.F.K. University in Orinda, Calif. Since 1984, she has been a school teacher of home economics and art.

"I was born in the city where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean; my childhood was spent close to the ocean in the Fiji Islands; my youth was spent commercial fishing in Bristol Bay, Alaska; the Alaskan summers of my adulthood were lived next to a remote, fish-filled stream," writes Miller.

Miller also has some talented children. Her daughter is an actress in New York City; her son is a bush pilot in Alaska.

Astoria High School senior RYAN KELLY is pictured here in what LISA LAMPING, of Lamping Photography, calls "a pretty unique shot."

Kelly's grandfather owns an elk farm in Olney, at which he raised elk to sell their antlers. Lamping says that while she was there, Kelly threw out some grain and the elk came running. She snapped this shot of Kelly. "It was fun and I have never seen a portrait like it before," said Lamping.

The annual kick-off event for this year's ENCORE (Exploring New Concepts of Retirement Education) celebrated past accomplishments as well as increased membership numbers for the upcoming term.

To add to the sense of good will, more than 60 culinary arts students from Tongue Point Job Corps Center cooked up a feast. A two-table spread of artful hors d'oeuvres gave the students a valuable "real job" experience, while the ENCORE members enjoyed some extremely tasty treats.

ENCORE members are seniors who believe in continuing their education by taking diverse classes through Clatsop Community College. Classes are free for members and cover such subjects as photography, marine ecosystems and creative writing.

And on the subject of food, about two dozen volunteers cook, serve and deliver hot meals every week throughout Clatsop and Tillamook counties as part of the Meals on Wheels program, despite "bureaucratic whim and undependable weather," say MERIANNE MYERS of Gearhart Golf Links and The Sandtrap Restaurant and JILL THURSTON of Neawanna By The Sea.

Gearhart Golf Links, Neawanna By The Sea Retirement and Assisted Living and The Sandtrap are joining forces to raise funds and awareness for the Meals on Wheels program with the first Freewheelin' Celebration over the weekend of Oct. 10 and 11 at Gearhart Golf Links. The celebration will include a clam bake and dance Saturday and a golf tournament Sunday.

The event will be promoted in Portland and Seattle and organizers are seeking local sponsorship of the event. For more information, contact Merianne Myers at (503) 717-9243.

Do you have ears? If so, mail them to Lyn Baker, The Daily Astorian, P.O. Box 210, Astoria, OR 97103; fax to (503) 325-6573; or e-mail to lbaker@dailyastorian.com

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