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Articles written by Jess Utz


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  • I scream, you scream, we all scream …

    Jess Utz|Jul 15, 2020

    I got to witness something very special last week. I will tell you about that in second,d but first I just want to remind you that it is summer. It happened when we were not looking, while we were in quarantine and trying to stay healthy. The summer showed up, and it’s here in full effect. So what goes best with summer? Ice Cream! It started with a sweet little light melody coming from the distance. It got louder and louder as it got closer and closer. Now, growing up here in the Coulee, I have...

  • Treasure the time

    Jess Utz|Jul 8, 2020

    This past week our family has lost three men who were mentors or treasured icons in our eyes. They were irreplaceable, and that got us as a family to really treasure those memories. As we look to the future, we seek to create time and moments with the ones who are left. Especially during this time of social distancing and creating space, it can be challenging to just hang out with the people special to us. But it is also a significant time to cling to those people who have lived through the...

  • How is your time spent during distancing?

    Jess Utz|May 20, 2020

    I was pondering this today. How are we spending our time during our self-isolation and social distancing? The way I see it we must look at the bright side of a dark situation. So in case you can’t think of anything to do and you are starting to have cabin fever and are ready to erupt I decided to try and help you all out a little bit and give you some ideas that just might remove our eyes from the television screen and phone long enough to engage in something more positive. Play a board game. I...

  • Hope, Love, Pray

    Jess Utz|Apr 29, 2020

    I don’t know if you noticed the signs near the bridge and other places since our social distancing started, but rumor is they are all over the entire Colville Indian Reservation. The three signs I have seen say Hope, Love and Pray. Such a simple message for a stressful time. I don’t know who put them up or how many are out there, but you have inspired me and many others in the area because of your appropriate simple four-letter words. Hope. A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing...

  • A different kind of moment

    Jess Utz|Apr 22, 2020

    The way we celebrate different events during this isolation time is, well, to put it bluntly, strange for us a family. We are a family much like many of you that gather together for birthdays, holidays, weddings and funerals. During this Covid-19 time we must distance, isolate and be very smart, and that in itself can make for hard-to-swallow moments as events come upon us. My sister had to cancel her wedding. She had been planning, prepping and preparing for a long time. Like every little... Full story

  • Senior Profile: Megan Abel

    Jess Utz|Apr 15, 2020

    By now, everyone knows that going to school is over for Washington state and many other states around the nation, but what many do not is that school is still happening for many. It just looks different. It is done from home and by contacting the teachers you need to via email, Zoom Meetings, Facebook and phones. Seniors still have some work to do, and that is not any different for Megan Abel, a senior at Lake Roosevelt. I interviewed her via Messenger and here is a little bit about the...

  • Senior Profile: Jordan Flett

    Jess Utz|Mar 4, 2020

    This week I am bring you another senior from the halls of Lake Roosevelt High School. My interview was a little different this time because I sat down with Jordan Flett in front of the entire Journalism class at LR to interview her to give them a taste of the interview process. So here is a little bit of my very personal interview with “Air” Jordan. As I start all my interviews with the seniors, I asked her about her year so far, and she opened up immediately in her shy voice that got bol...

  • Two heros will be missed

    Jess Utz|Feb 26, 2020

    Sometimes the foundation of an institution can be shaken. The Lake Roosevelt Raiders have lost two very important educators and friends this year, but their impact in the community goes way deeper than a school setting. These two have written the history books when it comes to our little community, and their impact is felt by generations and distance that goes beyond the walls that surround us. If you ever went into the old Flo’s Café, needed a piece of glass or were looking for a piece of an...

  • Senior Profile: Nick Baker

    Jess Utz|Jan 29, 2020

    As you all know by now, I like to profile certain seniors at Lake Roosevelt High School. It gives you all a chance to learn a little bit about the adults that the Raiders are producing and get a glimpse of where they have been and where they are going. Living in a small community, they become all of our kids, and Nick Baker is one of those students we all enjoy. So here is a little bit of my chat with “Big Nick.” Before we even got started, that big smile that Nick carries with him was pla...

  • A look back at who we lost in 2019

    Jess Utz|Jan 8, 2020

    Every year, as I look back at the lists of the famous people who passed away, there are always a few that shock me. I had not heard, or I just plain missed, that one, and I am flooded with memories of how we knew each other. In the sporting arena, on the big screen or on the radio, sometimes famous people become our friends, even though we never meet. Here are some that I will miss who died in 2019. Beth Chapman. A lot of you just said who? She was the beloved and fierce wife of Dog the Bounty...

  • My dreams this Christmas

    Jess Utz|Dec 25, 2019

    I have a few dreams for Christmas this year, and I thought it only fair to share with you all. I know this list may step on some toes, but I hope we can take this all in good fun and fair taste. The taste of a fresh pecan pie and the toes of a brand-new pair of work boots. Here we go. My first dream is a dream Super Bowl prediction. First, I will make most of you happy and say the Seahawks will represent the NFC in the big game. In the AFC, I pick Kansas City Chiefs. I must be honest; I have not...

  • It's not what's under the tree

    Jess Utz|Dec 18, 2019

    Sometimes this time of year can be hard to swallow. No not because of the “Coulee Crud” that seems to hang in the air and embed in everyone’s throat. It is because we see more and more commercialism of the holidays and less and less about the beginnings and the spirit behind it all. For example, last year at this time a huge debate was going on. You know, the debate about the classic Christmas tune “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and how some thought it was sexist and needed to be grounded from all ho...

  • Senior Profile: Jonathan Cante

    Jess Utz|Oct 23, 2019

    Here is my second profile of a senior at Lake Roosevelt High School this year. If I was to look at this year’s seniors and pick one that has grown up the most over the years I have known him, I would pick today’s subject. Jonathan Cante is one of those kids that is just plain likable on all levels. So here’s Jonny… We sat in my office at Lake Roosevelt, and it was a quick conversation that was packed full of focus and confidence. I started by asking about the senior year and the answer came qu...

  • Back to School emotions

    Jess Utz|Aug 28, 2019

    Summer 2019 has almost expired, and that means the kids have worn out their welcome at home and are being sent out with new clothes, a backpack and made to get on the big yellow bus. At the same time teachers and others school workers must now get up to the early alarm, drag themselves to the school house and prepare for the new year. Smiles and grimaces of all sizes will enter the school doors prepared for the education process. Custodians will have the building shining, food will be ready, bus...

  • Shaking, Shifting and Sifting

    Jess Utz|Aug 21, 2019

    I have heard these three words a lot lately. I have heard them from people in government, in the education system, from friends, and from the pulpit. They have been used in a physical sense, in a business arena, in the changes occurring around us and in the spiritual atmosphere. So, if we break down these three words, what exactly are we talking about? Without boring you with definitions from Mr. Webster or from Lady Google, the basic general consensus is change. Obviously, shaking can be used i...

  • A rocky trip

    Jess Utz|Aug 14, 2019

    Thank goodness for the rainstorms that flowed through the area over the weekend. It was great news for firefighters and for our area. I know not everyone was happy with the downpour. I am certain the tourists who were here for our beaches, boating and BBQs where wondering where the sun went, but there were at least three other people who found out that rain in the coulee can also mean “watch for falling rocks.” Saturday evening, part of the family and I decided to boogie on down to Ephrata rea...

  • What others think of our home

    Jess Utz|Aug 7, 2019

    As we traveled around the state this summer and others asked where we were from, they would always get a look of excitement when we said Grand Coulee. Some had memories of long ago and others had fresh, exciting tales of all things Coulee. Here are the top things people mentioned when talking about Grand Coulee Dam area. Of course, the great concrete structure was always brought up and would unanimously be the number-one thing on this list, so I am going to just skip that one and give you the...

  • Taking advantage of opportunity

    Jess Utz|Jul 31, 2019

    Every once in a while, an opportunity walks down the street, looks you in the face and extends a hand. A pivotal moment looks upon you and smiles. This is when making the wrong choice can be detrimental to your future, to someone else’s or to someone watching. An opportunity also can wear many different hats and look very differently. It could be a word of advice, an employment change, a chance to spend time with someone or to have dinner with interesting people. There are many other faces of o...

  • Poop Happens

    Jess Utz|Jul 24, 2019

    As every young man already knows, poop is a regular subject matter in conversation. All chats with friends eventually turn to the poop subject. It happens with daddies too. Insert clever pun here: “That’s a crappy conversation,” or “That’s a lot of crap.” There, we got that out of the way, now we can get serious about the subject. In nature, all living things poop. Plain and simple. Pretty much anything that eats, must get rid of it somehow. That’s the way we were all designed from the whale to...

  • Protecting the Nest

    Jess Utz|Jul 10, 2019

    I like to take pictures. A lot of you know that, and I don’t get out as much as I like to. I especially like to take pictures of birds, second, only recently, to taking pictures of my granddaughter. Karrie and I have been traveling a lot back and forth to different places depending on where our creator calls us and during these trips we are always looking for a photo opportunity from our feathered or furry friends. I also am addicted to bird cams on YouTube. I have been watching the nesting proc...

  • Must Try: Smokin' Oak

    Jess Utz|Jul 2, 2019

    Sometimes you just must get in the car and go. Well, if I’m honest, we had business to tend to in Vancouver, Washington, but Karrie had not been since she was a kid and I had never been. As we traveled down the road, we soon were seeing country we had never seen, and it was beautiful and breathtaking, especially along the Oregon and Washington border as we traveled along the Columbia River. A thought popped through my head once that this water had once seen the Grand Coulee Dam and was now h...

  • This little light of mine

    Jess Utz|Jun 26, 2019

    This is a different kind of summer for Karrie and me. We have a summer job. It consists of a little 4-month-old that I call granddaughter. But there is more, much more. We start our mornings with cuddles, followed by a bottle and kids’ songs in the background. Of course, the old time favorite “This little light of mine” is on the playlist. After eating time is play time and lots of laughs and giggles. But that song stays in your head all day. And that song got me thinking. This song is talking a...

  • One person's smile

    Jess Utz|Jun 19, 2019

    If anyone recently had to be stopped in the construction zone, as new electrical is being installed on the bridge in Coulee Dam, you might have noticed a certain flagger. You already know the one I am talking about. Her name is Lylah and she is the one that gives us the parade wave and million-dollar smile every time we go through. I do mean every time. Her positive energy instantly makes my day a better day. I have also heard others saying she makes an impact in their day. We all know that her...

  • The importance of a board

    Jess Utz|Jun 12, 2019

    This year’s graduating class, like many classes before them, had to sit in front of an “Oral Board” with community members that had looked over the educational portfolios the seniors had been keeping for four years. They then asked them questions, got to know them, gave them constructive advice and sent them out the door with a positive statement and a smile on their faces. Before I ever worked for Lake Roosevelt, I was one of those community members who volunteered my own time to sit with a gra...

  • The hum of summer

    Jess Utz|Jun 5, 2019

    The heat came into the Coulee like someone opened the oven door to peek at the cookies and the furnace blast hit them at full force. And just like that, summer arrived … and so did everything that surrounds the sunny days of summer in the containment of the Coulee walls. We hit the 90s on the gauge, and boats, snakes, mosquitoes, sprinklers and out-of-state plates arrived. Parking lots full, ice cream shop open and lasers flickering on the concrete blockage of the Columbia. Summer has a...

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