Whenever I speak to someone who's never been to Washington State and I tell them I'm from Yakima, they don't always make the connection of where or what Yakima is.

Many say, 'Oh, is that near Seattle?" or "I'll bet you get sick of all that rain". I'm always happy to inform them of our Cascade Mountain separation from the 'wet side' and then boast about our 300 days of sunshine, fertile agriculture, wine, hops, apples, mint, and amazingly talented radio personalities - (wink) - all of the best things Yakima has to offer.

Frankly, many 'outsiders' have the wrong impression of our valley and that's always bothered me. I love it here. We raised a family here, have worked and played here and made our home here. So, I often act as a self-appointed ambassador whenever the opportunity presents itself and I hope I'm succeeding in painting a positive picture and not just causing someone to think 'hey, back off the hop juice, fella'.

Lately, I've discovered a Group Page on Facebook that I now use to help answer questions about our valley - that tells our story very well I think. Maybe you're even a member too. The Group is called: Yakima Is Beautiful.

Robert Stephenson - Yakima is Beautiful Facebook Group
Kristan Opsahl - Yakima is Beautiful Facebook Group
Gary Berg - Yakima is Beautiful Facebook Group
Glenda Guthrie Opperheimer - Yakima is Beautiful Facebook Group

I had a chance to do a little 'Q & A' with the founder, Glenda Epperheimer and she was gracious enough with her time to field some 'fan-like' questions from me. Here goes.....

Brian: Glenda, How long has the Private Facebook Group, ‘Yakima is Beautiful’, been around?

Glenda:  I started the group July 14, 2019, not even a year old yet! Shortly thereafter, I noticed that one of the most active members was a person who was new to Yakima, and had lived in many places around the United States.  He was so enthusiastic about our rich valley, that I asked him to become a moderator. It was refreshing and inspiring to hear from someone who was seeing our valley with fresh eyes and loves it so much.  He lives downtown, and I live in West Valley.  I refer to him as the “downtown beat reporter” and he refers to me as “boss lady.”  We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We don’t even have any written rules.  He has done a great job.  There are only two of us, and we’ve only met in person once.  The members of this group are that well behaved!  It is truly a pleasure.

Glenda Guthrie Opperheimer - Yakima is Beautiful Facebook Group

Brian: As the founder of the group’s page, what inspired you to create it?

Glenda: Born and raised here, I was a member of a Yakima Facebook group that turned negative. It became more or less a platform for people who enjoy criticizing Yakima, and that didn’t bring me any joy.  I, as much as anyone, love to reminisce, but I feel it can be done without diminishing the here and now.  There are two living generations who follow me that will cherish their memories as much as we do.  I feel a responsibility for that.

Brian: How has life in the Yakima Valley changed for the better over the years?

Glenda: As much as we love to rewrite history, the past isn’t always better.  Front Street used to be a place to be avoided, for example.  Now it is home to family-oriented music festivals.  Downtown is rich in high-end businesses and restaurants. The beautiful hanging floral baskets, potted flowers and old fashioned lamp posts are so beautiful, all while maintaining  the historical aspect of the area.  When I was young, we had to go to Leavenworth to see that type of beauty downtown.  A town is more than just a mall, which has frankly become outdated in the majority of towns. Downtown is safer in some respects than it was in the 1960s and 1970s. People forget, but there were street gangs and murders in the 1960s as well.

Glenda Guthrie Opperheimer - Yakima is Beautiful Facebook Group

Brian: What is the mission of the group?

Glenda: Positivism is our main mission statement -- and inviting all of your friends to join, regardless of where they live.  Some of our most enthusiastic members do not live here, but enjoy seeing the beauty of our valley, rich in agriculture, mountains, rock buttes and desert.

Glenda Guthrie Opperheimer - Yakima is Beautiful Facebook Group

Brian: What are the sorts of things people can find when visiting the group’s page?

Glenda: This is a group for people who see the beauty in our city and the surrounding area from the lower valley up through the Nile and everything in between. Sharing ideas for fun things to do and interesting places to see. Beauty in both grand and simple things.

Glenda Guthrie Opperheimer - Yakima is Beautiful Facebook Group

Brian: How many members are there currently and how does someone become a member?

Glenda: We have more than 11,500 members.  You can be invited by a friend and “accept” or you can search “Yakima is Beautiful” and request to join. Surprisingly, men have been our most enthusiastic members.  There are many photographers in our group, but it is not a photography group.  This group is for sharing whatever you find beautiful.  That is different for everyone, whether it’s a goat standing on a rock or a field of dandelions.

Robert Stephenson - Yakima is Beautiful Facebook Group

Brian: How can someone contact you for more information if they have questions?

Glenda: I can be reached through Facebook Messenger. Yakima is Beautiful Facebook 

Thanks to Glenda for her time. I strongly urge anyone to check out this page and become a member. It's really nice to have such wonderful pictures and positive images of our area pop up in the FB news feed. Of course, don't forget to 'LIKE' our station page while you're there. And, if you haven't already, download our station app by entering your mobile number below.

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