Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rolla, British Columbia celebrates 100th Anniversary

Rolla, Mo. Mayor Bill Jenks, III
While it may be well known that there are other towns and cities in the U.S. that are named Rolla, few may realize that Rolla, British Columbia in Canada was named after Rolla, Missouri. 
In fact, I had the privilege recently of recognizing and paying tribute to Rolla, British Columbia with a ‘Key to the City’ plaque when the town celebrated its 100th Anniversary in August 2012. The plaque was presented during a ceremony recognizing the 100th Anniversary of Rolla, British Columbia, by Phelps County, Missouri resident Paula Miller Lindenlaub (who is married to Russell Lindenlaub) to her cousins, John Miller (age 82) and Belva Ireland (age 92) who live in British Columbia, Rolla. The Rolla, British Columbia residents are the two oldest remaining members of the Miller family who were the first settlers of Rolla, British Columbia, and who named the community Rolla. John and Belva’s fathers were brothers who were born in Phelps County, Missouri and traveled with their father and other family members to Canada and arrived in the Peace River Valley in 1912 (which includes Rolla, British Columbia).
(Phelps County Missouri resident Paula Miller Lindenlaub, (far right), presents a Key to the City  plaque on behalf of Rolla Mayor Bill Jenks, III, to Rolla, British Columbia residents, Belva Ireland, (age 92), and John Miller (age 82). Rolla, British Columbia celebrated their 100th Anniversary as a town in August 2012.)
In addition to the Key to the City plaque, a Welcome to Rolla, Missouri banner, which now hangs in Rolla Community Hall in Rolla, BC, was presented by Rolla City Administrator John Butz to members of the Miller family who were in the Rolla, Missouri area (in 2008) while visiting and researching family cemeteries. The blue and white welcome banner was presented as a symbol of Rolla’s international friendship with Rolla, BC. 
Somewhat similar to the topography of the Rolla/Phelps County area, Rolla, BC, is a small historic farming community located in the Peace River district of Northeastern British Columbia about 12 miles north of the famous town of Dawson Creek, which is the beginning of the Alcan Highway (built in 1942 during WW II). The area in Rolla, BC is very scenic, with gently rolling farmland and mountains in the distance. It is located about 2,500 miles from Rolla, Missouri. 
According to the Discover the Peace Country.com Visitors Guide for Northern Alberta and British Columbia (http://www.discoverthepeacecountry.com/htmlpages/rolla.html), Rolla, BC is home to the Rolla Post Office, Rolla Traditional School (Kindergarten thru 7th grade), Rolla Community Hall, Rolla Centennial Park and the Rolla Pub, which has become a landmark of the community. The majority of the buildings in town are residential. Wikipedia lists the population of Rolla, BC at around 1,000 people. Area residents pronounce Rolla as “Raw-la.” The Sweetwater 905 Festival, held June 15-17, 2012, is a special event that takes place 1.5 miles west of Rolla, B.C. on the Sweetwater Road. The three-day festival is a celebration of music, poetry, visual and performance art, and brings together a wide range of talent from the community, the province and beyond. To learn more about this unique event, visit the Sweetwater 905 Arts and Music Festival Website at http://www.sweetwater905.com.
Rolla BC is primarily an agricultural community that cherishes its beauty, small-town flavor and peaceful lifestyle. It is truly an honor for Rolla, Missouri to be closely associated and connected to this Canadian town nestled in the Peace River Valley. We wish the Millers, the Irelands and all the residents of Rolla, British Columbia the very best as they celebrate their 100th Anniversary.
                       As we begin the Labor Day weekend, I’d like to remind everyone that Rolla City Hall will be closed on Monday, Sept. 3 for Labor Day. I’d also like to mention that due to the Labor Day holiday, the Rolla City Council meeting will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Rolla City Hall (901 N. Elm St.). I encourage the community to attend the Council meeting, as the Rolla City Council and myself will be recognizing the accomplishments of Chantae McMillan, a RHS star athlete and All American, who recently participated in the Heptathlon in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England. I will be presenting Chantae with a Key to the City plaque.
In addition, I will be presenting the Lewy Body Dementia Day Proclamation to Rolla resident and Rolla Public School Board member, Jane Haskell. Jane, along with her daughters, Joannie, Ann and Dana, will be hosting the Coach Haskell 5K Walk/Run on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 beginning at 8 a.m. at the Rolla Junior High Hill. Coach Dan Haskell, who was a former Rolla High School wrestling coach for numerous years, a 9th Grade football coach at Rolla Jr. High School, and a public educator for 32 years, most of which was in the Rolla Public Schools system, was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia in 2004.
   Please drive with care, and have a safe week!

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