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Laura Gjovaag

Stories by Laura

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Counting connections

Homeless survey held in Sunnyside

The annual count known as the Point in Time homeless survey returned to Sunnyside during an all-day event Wednesday at the St. Joseph’s gym.

School officials addressing changes in sports programs

During its annual retreat last weekend, the Sunnyside School Board discussed the future of athletics in the district.

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Another marijuana moratorium likely

The Sunnyside City Council last night voted 4-3 to hold a public hearing to renew the existing moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses in Sunnyside for another six months.

Garbage rate hikes will be automatic each year

The Sunnyside City Council last night approved an ordinance that will allow Yakima Waste to increase its rates in the city annually based on the consumer price index for Seattle, starting in 2016, along with a 2015 rate increase of 4.5 percent.

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New food services director brings wealth of experience to Sunnyside

Sunnyside School District’s new director of food services, Kelly Barth, plans to bring his own system to build on what he calls a “great program” already in place.

New head tennis coach looks to bolster the ranks

With spring sports starting on March 1, Mike Thorpe is hoping to reach out and get more students interested in playing tennis at Sunnyside High School.

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United States Postal Service hits hard times

After 200 years of daily deliveries, the United States Postal Service has fallen on tough times.

Review of airport regulations completed

At its first meeting of the year last night, the Sunnyside Airport Advisory Board elected officers, voted on a regular date and time for future meetings and finished its year-long review of the proposed municipal code relating to airport activities.

Pets: good for the soul

Three years ago I got an unexpected birthday present when Inkwell the kitten came into my life.

Retired teacher brings lifetime of local knowledge to planning commission

The newest face on the Sunnyside Planning Commission is not a new face to many Sunnyside residents. Christine Smith has lived in the area all her life and taught at Washington Elementary School for 38 years.

Lottery sales soar, but beware addiction

Washington’s Lottery recently announced its fourth year of record-breaking sales, but a small percentage of people buying those tickets may suffer from a gambling addiction.

City-wide improvements detailed for council members

Sunnyside Public Works Director Shane Fisher this past Monday evening updated the city council’s public works subcommittee on the status of various projects.

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Freedom of the press paid for in blood

I don’t blame you if you’ve never heard of Kirby Delauter.

Sunnyside Council eyes garbage, water rate increases

The Sunnyside City Council discussed garbage and water rates Monday night, holding a first reading of ordinances to change rates for both services.

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Policies, personnel changes approved

GRANDVIEW – Approving personnel changes and adjustments to policies and procedures turned out to be the main action at this past Monday night’s Grandview School Board meeting.

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Online words stick around a long time

Recently I ran across something I had written online in 1994.

Lady Vikes shake off slow start

KITTITAS – The normally dominant Lady Vikings got off to a slow start against host Kittitas last night, taking a three-point lead into the locker room at the half.

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New cell tower likely to be erected near school

Verizon Wireless wants to increase its coverage in Sunnyside by building a new 80-foot cell tower on property leased from the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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Former librarian returns to Chief Kamiakin Elementary

Although Yvette Jaramillo only started working as the assistant principal at Chief Kamiakin Elementary School in Sunnyside this past September, she is no stranger to the school.

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New owner ready to give Sunnyside residents their daily coffee buzz

Fresh from Heritage University with a Bachelor of Arts in business administration, Samantha Zamora is already putting her skills to work as the new owner of the Daily Buzz in downtown Sunnyside.

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Low voter turnout means two people out of every five make decisions for all

As the state and county start to feel the impacts from last November’s General Election, it may be a good idea to reflect that those changes were brought about by the lowest voter turnout in more than 20 years.

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Membership has its benefits

When Rep. Doc Hastings wraps up 20 years of service later this week, the Pasco Republican will retire minus a congressional pension.

Lower Yakima Valley mayors look ahead to 2015

Everyone, it seems, wants to know what the new year will hold.

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I’m looking forward to a high tech future

It can be fun living in the future.

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Lady Vikes lucky to fend off Columbia-Burbank

The 2B Lady Vikings continued their winning ways against 1A Columbia Burbank this past Saturday, pulling out a 52-44 victory despite a rough second half.

Wiggle room in city code for delinquent water bills

The city of Sunnyside is enforcing its municipal code for water shutoffs, which requires customers to pay all past due bills before water can be turned back on.

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Christmas is here to drive away the dark

The solstice was this past Sunday, marking the beginning of winter, but also the shortest day of the year.

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Jewelry maker shares her talents with YV-Tech students

Students in the welding and nursing classes at YV-Tech in Sunnyside spent the last day before winter break learning how to make rings from vintage spoons.

State agencies’ computer security found sorely lacking

The best computer security standards in the world will not work if the people in charge don’t put them into action.

Pressing issues with school district’s athletic facilities

Even though the Sunnyside School District’s athletic levy went down to defeat in last month’s General Election, the district still needs to deal with pressing issues with its facilities for student-athletes.

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ALICE newest girl on Sunnyside High School campus

New safety training to begin in January

Training in the ALICE protocol, a new way to respond to threats in schools, will start at Sunnyside High School on Monday, Jan. 5.

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Water rate changes planned in 2015

If the Sunnyside City Council follows all the recommendations of Engineer Ted Pooler of Huibregtse, Louman Associates and of city staff, the average water bill for a residential home will go down by a couple of dollars a month.

FBI data shows criminal activity

No matter how you crunch the numbers, crime rates in Sunnyside and Grandview have been dropping the past five years.

Inexperienced ’Hounds fall to Ephrata Tigers

The Grandview Greyhounds struggled against the Ephrata Tigers last night, losing 64-18 in their first regular dual meet of the season.

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Chamber’s on again, off again funding for 2015 back on again

It appears the Cinco de Mayo Festival and the Lighted Farm Implement Parade will come off without a hitch next year.

Foundation of downtown Sunnyside is very solid

Downtown Sunnyside was amazing Saturday night.

Lady Vikings still undefeated

The Lady Vikings trampled the Tri-Cities Prep Jaguars last night, 73-41, in a non-league road game for Mabton.

Local businessman asks city council for marijuana decision

“This is my town, too,” David Rand told the Sunnyside City Council Monday night as he asked for a vote that would allow his retail marijuana business to move forward.

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Multi-agency effort puts two behind bars

According to Sunnyside Police Chief Al Escalera, his department had a “very good hit” over the weekend, thanks to a multi-agency effort that resulted in the apprehension of burglars and the recovery of items stolen from a Sunnyside business.

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Issue of human trafficking tackled at Sunnyside forum

Those who traffic in human lives, whether they sell people to work in the fields or pimp girls out in the sex trade, use a variety of threats to coerce their victims.

Irrigation engineer from Uzbekistan learning water conservation techniques

Setting aside its ancient history as part of the Great Silk Road, its more recent history as part of the Soviet Union and the fact that its main crop is cotton, Uzbekistan looks a lot like the Yakima Valley.

Welcome to the police cam era

The Washington State Attorney General just issued an opinion on the legality of police officers wearing body cameras on their uniforms.

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City council takes recreational marijuana 101 class

Edible marijuana, licenses, revenue sharing and the impact of the legal market for recreational marijuana on the black market were some of the topics the Sunnyside City Council discussed with Liquor Control Board Director Rick Garza at Monday night’s council workshop meeting.

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Shopping local helps the community

When people spend money in their own communities, those dollars tend to circulate several times over instead of heading out of town.

School board hesitant in re-asking voters to approve athletic facilities levy

The Sunnyside School Board showed reluctance at its Tuesday night meeting to putting another levy request before voters to build athletic facilities for Sunnyside students, but asked the superintendent to bring back ideas for the board’s next meeting.

New school plans meet approval of local board

The new Washington Elementary School design is proceeding on time and on budget, according to Gary Wetch of Loofburrow Wetch Architects.

City pulls back funding from S’side Chamber

Turns out, the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce may not have the financial backing of the city, after all.

City of Sunnyside’s $23 million budget for 2015 in place

Sunnyside’s 2015 budget was adopted at last night’s city council meeting with very few changes from the preliminary budget first presented to council in October.

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Work is a joy for Sunnyside woman

Work is a joy for San Juanita Fernandez.

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Who’s on your left and on your right?

Choosing friends who won’t hold you back one of the keys to success

GRANDVIEW – It can be hard to keep the attention of 800 middle school students, but Pastor Micahn Carter managed the feat during an assembly at Grandview Middle School this past Tuesday.