Political commentator David Gergen among Yakima Town Hall series

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writerMay 1, 2014 

Yakima's Town Hall series announced its 2014-15 season with season tickets on sale starting May 3.

This year's guest speakers are David Gergen on Oct. 1; Rafe Esquith on Nov. 5; Adam Steltzner on March 11; and Anna Quindlen on April 22.

"Gergen is an American political commentator and former presidential adviser who served the administrations of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton," said Debby Douglas, with the Town Hall organization.

Gergen is also the former editor-at-large of U.S. News and World Report and contributor to CNN.com and Parade Magazine. He has twice been a member of election coverage teams that won Peabody awards -- in 1988 with MacNeil-Lehrer, and in 2008 with CNN.

The Washington Post described Esquith as "the most interesting and influential classroom teacher in the country." And Newsday describes him as a modern day Thoreau.

Esquith is an award-winning American teacher at Hobart Boulevard Elementary School in Los Angeles, where he has taught since 1984. Many of his students, who are all from a community of poor and immigrant families, start class early, leave late and typically achieve high scores in standardized tests.

He's also authored several books about teaching and conducts an annual class on Shakespeare productions, which was featured in a 2005 documentary titled The Hobart Shakespeareans.

Steltzner is an American NASA engineer who works for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"At age 20, Adam was just another wannabe rock star kicking around small clubs in the San Francisco Bay area," Douglas said. "By age 35, he had a Ph.D. in engineering and was a rocket scientist at the famous Jet Propulsion Laboratories."

He has worked on several flight projects including Galileo, Cassini and made history in 2012 as the team leader and lead engineer for the Mars rover Curiosity EDL, which landed safely on Mars.

Quindlen is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and social critic whose column on public and private life in the New York Times won the Pulitzer in 1992 for commentary.

She is also the author of five best-selling novels, three of which were made into movies.

Season pass to the Town Hall series is $85. A luncheon follows each talk and those who would like to attend can purchase a season lunch pass for $100. The talks start at 11 a.m.

Tickets available by phone at 509-952-0479 or mail to 5808 A Summitview Ave., PMB 259, Yakima, WA 98908.

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514

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