Beyond the Column

Larry's LaRue-minations

Archives: March 2013


Free for Easter? Feel free to volunteer

One Christmas season, the editors at the Press-Telegram in Long Beach thought it would be a hoot to send me to various malls and stores to visit Santa, which I did – wearing a leisure suit. I was happening, that year.

Never did get assigned to the Easter Bunny, not that I’m complaining.

As Easter arrives, however, there’s an idea for all of us that have little to do – my bride is out of town, visiting her family – that will make us feel good. Volunteering.

From 2 -4 p.m. on Sunday, at the Memorial Center in Puyallup –

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Journalism 101: The strangest lead ever written

Once upon a time, in a far distant land – Nebraska – a fresh-out-of-college reporter was asked to cover a circus parade through downtown Omaha.

Being rather full of himself, he felt there were news stories far more important than watching elephants and clowns stroll through the city. He should be covering them. He wasn’t.  Let’s call him ‘me.’

It was a dark time in the education of a young reporter. Working with editors who found my writing less than perfect, they often send copy back for rewrite.

Once, for instance, I’d been assigned to ‘cover’ a cat in a

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Remembering Shirlee Teabo, ‘The Curious Psychic’

When she died last week after a fall led to an illness, Shirlee Teabo was 80-years-old and still giving readings to friends and clients – some of whom had been coming to her for decades.

In today’s column, memories of Shirlee’s career as a psychic and reader of Egyptian Tarot cards come from her sister, Jacquie Witherrite. Together, the two produced ‘The Curious Psychic,’ a News Tribune column that ran weekly for more than 12 years beginning in 1987.

“The column wasn’t just about us. We did interviews, we talked about topics from menopause to near-death experiences to women in

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A Happy 25th anniversary to … me

Long before there were blogs, tweets or even much in the way of internet,  I fell in love and stayed there.

And 25 years ago today, Marie Ohl became Marie Ohl-LaRue, taking my then-10-year-old daughter and me into her heart.

In the quarter of a century since, she has given me up to major league baseball one season at a time. Now, she sees more of me as a columnist, which is not entirely a good thing.

Marie and my daughter, Jessica, have decreed me The Most Annoying Man in the World. Having spent much of my life in clubhouses

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A visit to Joel Stumph’s world is a good time

At 87, Joel Stumph has given more than 41 gallons of his blood to Cascade Regional Blood Services – a stunning number that had little to do with how impressive the man is.

The subject of today’s column, Stumph lives in the Tacoma home he helped build in 1961, and one of the first orders of business then was crafting a full basement. A man needs a workshop.

Stumph has raised children, doted on grandchildren, lost a wife and fallen in love with domestic partner Connie over the years. He even finds time each day after lunch to provide

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A conversation with one of the Three Little Pigs

Stepping into a fairy tale can be dangerous stuff – how tough do you want to be questioning Snow White or the Big Bad Wolf?

At Southgate Elemenary School, in the lowest-income neighborhood of Lakewood, 18 children are rehearsing a play – ‘Big Bad’ – that will land in the Lakewood Playhouse next week. 

It’s the subject of a Saturday column on the partnership of the Clover Park Rotary Club with the school, as the club underwrites the play and gives kids and their families an introduction to theater. 

A $5,000 donation provides a director, stage manager, costumes and props –

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Flamingos keep popping up in Puyallup yard

A few years ago, Kirk Stuart made news when his flock of 10 pink flamingos was kidnapped from his  yard, then returned – as a flock of 20.

His wife, Cyndi, was gardening the other day when we dropped by, and she rolled her eyes at the subject.

“We’re up to 54 of them now,” she said. “Sometimes, they just show up.”

Kirk will let no flamingo go unused. In recent weeks, his property – on view from 128th Street – has been a can’t-miss yard for commuters.

“One day he had them marching across the yard in pairs,” one

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After losing Drew, family wants to help others

Craig and Nancy Vernon lost the younger of their two sons on Christmas Day, and the grieving process understandably continues.

Drew Vernon was born deaf and blind, with a seizure syndrome that takes most children before their 10th birthday. Drew would have turned 19 this month.

As a column today shows, however, the story of Drew’s life isn’t about what obstacles he dealt with throughout his life but how he and the family dealt with them.

“He had a great life, and he lived,” Nancy said. “He loved people, loved his family, his dogs …”

And, with the help

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