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Laura Gjovaag

Stories by Laura

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Changes are needed if solar power is ever going to be widely used here

The promotional materials for the Yakima Valley often say this area gets 300 days of sunshine a year.

Pacific Power asking for 8.5 percent rate increase

If Pacific Power has their way, residents will soon be paying more for electricity in this area.

Monday morning wake-up... gunfire?

This past Monday morning I woke up suddenly at 5:22 a.m. hearing what sounded to me like gunshots.

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Mission trip to Haiti reveals more work remains to be done

Pastor Civil Autoaissains of Jacmel, Haiti and his family lived in a pigpen for more than four years after the devastating 2010 earthquake damaged so much of the country. But now he’s in a new home, built by his own efforts and the work of a team from Yakima.

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Former councilman files claim against city for flood damage

A freak storm that caused minor flooding in Sunnyside last year has resulted in a $5,000 claim being filed against the city by former city councilman Don Vlieger.

Lady Knights triumph at home against Crusaders

The 1B Lady Knights defeated the 2B Riverside Christian Crusaders last night at home in a non-league match, winning in four sets.

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Lady Pirates win battle in Mabton

Although the squad started slow and tired a little at the end, the 1B Lady Pirates varsity had a great night against the 2B Mabton JV squad, winning in three sets.

Deal allows Sunnyside firemen access to fire district’s vehicles

The Sunnyside City Council last night approved an interlocal agreement with Yakima County Fire District #5 to share apparatus use.

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Charter school debated in Sunnyside

A crowd of more than 50 people, mostly supportive of the idea of establishing a charter school in Sunnyside, turned out last night for a public forum in Sunnyside.

Feds dole out nearly $300 million to health care providers

Approximately $800,000 earmarked for two Lower Valley medical facilities

Last Friday the United States Department of Health and Human Services announced $295 million in Affordable Care Act funding would be distributed to 1,195 health centers.

Tale of two halves for Lady Grizzlies in 4A league opener

The Lady Grizzlies essentially played two different games against Davis last night, with precision passing and good communication in the first half but miscues and a lack of communication in the second.

Light pollution

On a recent visit to the Goldendale Observatory, I was able to view the Milky Way Galaxy.

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Police fleet needs replacing (soon)

Sunnyside Police Chief Al Escalera told members of the Public Safety Subcommittee last night that the city needs to start replacing police cars within two years.

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2015 budget outlook very rosy

A slight uptick in revenues coupled with a city manager willing to work with department heads to meet their needs without breaking the bank has city of Sunnyside officials optimistic about the coming year.

High school graduation requirements constantly changing

It’s not easy to graduate from high school... and starting in 2019, students will have to complete more credits to earn their diplomas.

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Putting trust in God is an ongoing process

Despite a life-changing realization that helped her deal with her husband’s death, Tanja Gorham said she still has times when she forgets to place her trust in God.

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County wants public input on growth plan

UNION GAP – The Yakima County Planning Commission is looking to the future. A full 26 years into the future, to be exact.

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School bus driver likes traveling the world

Egbert Terry is not the kind of guy who likes to stay still.

State test results show progress, as well as challenges for local schools

It’s once again report card season for school districts in Washington state.

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Wallace Way cul de sac construction project given to Kennewick company

A project to install a cul de sac in Grandview’s Wallace Way Business Park is moving forward, with the contract for the work going to Culbert Construction of Pasco.

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Great start to school year here in Sunnyside

School started last week with hardly a ripple in Sunnyside, except for the traffic.

New contract for local teachers

After working an entire year without a signed agreement, the teachers in the Sunnyside Education Association now have a new contract in place.

$95.5 million budget for Sunnyside schools

The Sunnyside School Board reviewed the 2014-15 budget one final time during a special meeting last night before unanimously approving it.

First day of school a smooth ride, according to Sunnyside principals

The first day of school in Sunnyside was one of the smoothest the principals of the district’s schools have ever experienced.

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Miss Sunnyside candidate Itzel Justo-Garcia

Miss Sunnyside candidate Itzel Justo-Garcia loves the warm feeling she gets from helping people out and being involved in her community, and that has led her to seek the 2014-15 Miss Sunnyside crown.

Pet owners are costing us all money

Mabton has been having “doggie round-ups,” collecting dogs running loose on the streets, on week nights and weekends.

Talking past each other is no way to solve a problem

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of covering many of the Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Advisory Committee meetings this past year.

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Soggy snafu for pot store

An email reportedly sent by Councilman Jason Raines resulted in a citizen complaint from David Rand at last night’s Sunnyside council meeting.

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Learning Land Express under new ownership

Learning Land Express daycare and pre-school in Sunnyside is changing hands, but the business is staying in the family.

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Large crowd turns out for ice cream makers’ 25th anniversary celebration

Sunnyside’s Paleteria La Norteña celebrated 25 years in business this past Saturday in a big way, with crowds of people visiting to get ice cream bars at 1989 prices and to see Spider-Man, Dora the Explorer and Elmo.

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CARE out of the mix with groundwater group

Helen Reddout and her organization, CARE (Community Association for Restoration of the Environment), resigned from the Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Advisory Committee Thursday night via a statement read by Jean Mendoza of the Friends of Toppenish Creek.

Replacing police commander will take a bit of time

Filling Phil Schenck’s shoes won’t be a quick or simple process for the Sunnyside Police Department.

Councilman taken to task for on-line posting

Sunnyside has received some international attention.

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Advisory board reviews airport rules

The Sunnyside Municipal Airport Advisory Board continued to review a draft proposal for a new city code addressing airport operations at its meeting Tuesday night.

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Budget, utility billings finance subcommittee meeting topics last night

Although the city of Sunnyside’s 2015 budget will be a major consideration in the near future, yesterday’s subcommittee meeting on finance and administration also focused on the day-to-day operations of the city.

Sunnyside author’s fantasy series has strong start, but needs more editing

When Louanne is transported to the Unreal World, her main goal is to return home.

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Stihl technician at Ace loves sports, music, math

As the assistant coach of the Sunnyside Christian High School baseball team this past spring, Jaime Sarmiento helped the Knights earn a berth into the class 1B state tourney.

New public works superintendent pleased with Sunnyside’s small town feel

Although he was born in Seattle and grew up in Des Moines and SeaTac, new Sunnyside Public Works Superintendent John Millan says he can’t imagine going back to live on the west side of the mountains.

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It’s official: Sunnyside School District patrons will be asked to OK $6.9 million sports complex

A proposal to build a $6.9 million Sunnyside High School sports complex will go before voters this November.

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UNSUNG HEROES

Local community rallies to help orphans around the world

When Dr. Ruth Wise planned a visit to her home country of Bolivia, she expressed a desire to help children in La Paz – to Dr. Gregory Norell, the dentist who hired her when she moved to Sunnyside more than a decade ago.

Pilot program designed to engage parents with Sunnyside schools making progress

“It’s good news,” said Sunnyside Transformation Yakima Valley Director Roberto Matus of a pilot program between his organization and the Sunnyside School District.

Rezone proposal for eight-home housing development doesn’t get thumbs up from Sunnyside City Councilmen

A public hearing on the potential rezone of a property on South Street just north of the Aho housing development did not result in a definitive decision from Sunnyside’s city council.

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Driving isn’t a right

I’ve seen some amazingly stupid driving the past few weeks.

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Sunnyside drags its heels on pot sales decision

The Sunnyside City Council is likely to delay for another six months its decision on whether or not to allow a retail recreational marijuana business in town. A public hearing on Monday, Aug. 11, will precede the council’s decision to renew the existing moratorium on allowing such business ventures.

Police commander in Sunnyside accepts top cop job in Othello

Sunnyside Police Commander Phil Schenck will be leaving the city to take a position as the police chief of Othello.

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Mabton Council discusses mayor’s request for pay hike

MABTON – Mayor Mario Martinez’s bid for a substantial raise in pay has a city resident concerned it might be a power grab.

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Taco feed this Friday will help pay off medical bills of fifth grader who beat cancer

A taco feed fundraiser for Logan Bodrero, who spent most of his fifth-grade year fighting for his life against cancer, will be held this Friday, July 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church gymnasium in Sunnyside.

Former city of Sunnyside prosecuting attorney charged with violating state’s code of judicial conduct

The Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct announced last Friday that former Sunnyside prosecutor and Granger Municipal Court Judge Kathleen Hitchcock has been charged with violating the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct.

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Berry good crop

Before the heat of the day has reached the gardens near Sunnyside Christian Reformed Church, a group of young people are out quietly picking the strawberries that are practically bursting from the rows of plants.

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