Stories for July 2013


Wednesday, July 31

Ag advocates poo-poo idea of banning manure applications during summer months

GRANGER - For the second time in less than a week a crowd of Yakima Valley residents unanimously sided against a proposal to prohibit manure applications during burn bans.

Guest column: Intentional dementia

During Mother's last few months, conversations were extremely difficult to follow because her mind seamlessly switched from one decade to another.

Forum: Re-elect Don Vlieger

I am absolutely amazed at the 70 percent drop in the crime rate within our community in comparison to just four years ago.

Princess Prep slated for Aug. 17

Girls who want to be princesses are invited to spend a day with the 2012-13 Miss Sunnyside Court and 2013-14 candidates for the Miss Sunnyside Pageant learning about nail painting, pageant walking and how to wave like a princess.


Tami Rae Mathison, 41, of Sunnyside was born on March 13, 1972 in Spokane, to Raymond Carroll Hoffman and Gloria Ann (Blanck) Hoffman.

Fundraiser planned for ailing bank manager

Sunnyside branch of American West Bank staff are hosting a silent auction Sunday, Aug. 11, from noon to 3 p.m. to benefit their branch manager, Sandy Purcell.

We're not your typical Nielsen's household

Last week Joni and I completed a session as a Nielsen household. For one week we were asked to document everything we watched on television.

Book drop box being removed

The community of Sunnyside's book drop box in the parking lot of the Daily Sun News will be removed soon.

Black Rock Creek seniors pulling away in standings

MATTAWA - Powered by Akira Nozaka's even-par 72, the Sunnyside-area Black Rock Creek team notched a second-place finish last week at the eighth stop on the 2013 Mid-Columbia Senior Golf Tour.

WSU Cougar baseball camp in Sunnyside on Aug. 13-14

A WSU Cougar baseball camp will be held at Sunnyside's South Hill Park Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 13-14.

Drinking water survey underway

Students from Heritage University started conducting door-to-door surveys in the Lower Yakima Valley this week to get residents' opinions on drinking water and its safety.

Grandview man shot during drive-by

GRANDVIEW - Last night (Tuesday) just before 9 p.m. a 42-year-old Grandview man was shot in the 200 block of Avenue E.

Clearer picture emerges from spouse of woman who perished in house fire

Despite earlier reports that the woman trapped in a house fire near Sunnyside last Thursday night was standing near an upstairs window and appeared afraid to jump, apparently was not the case.

Newest Catholic Charities development has tenants

GRANDVIEW - Grandview's low-income families now have a new place to call home.

Tuesday, July 30

Families gather here to observe military honors for their loved ones

It was short service, filled with long pauses, accented by the gentle flutter of Old Glory. The military send-off held Monday afternoon at Jerry Taylor Veterans Memorial Plaza attracted a small, but thankful crowd.

CPA office name change

PROSSER - Sattler & Associates, certified public accountants in Prosser, has changed its name to Newhouse & Associates, but the change will not affect the Sattler & Associates office in Sunnyside.

Newspaper a stepping stone for 2012 Sunnyside High grad

Megan Armstrong likes the close-knit community she's found in Sunnyside.

Memorial hospital names new CEO

YAKIMA - Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital didn't have to look far for its next CEO, as current Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Russ Myers was appointed to the post.

Primary care clinic now open in Prosser

PROSSER - Residents from Prosser to Zillah now have a new option for medical care with the opening of the Adventist Health Medical Clinic in Prosser.

Local therapist expands services

Sunnyside physical therapist Micah Heeringa recently acquired Toppenish Physical Therapy and Zillah Physical and Occupational Therapy, as part of a merger handled by an outside health care company.

Area students earn degrees from UW

SEATTLE - Four University of Washington students from Sunnyside earned their Bachelor's degrees during commencement ceremonies held this past June on the Seattle campus.

Fourmidable...Dolphins garner another championship meet title

SELAH - Four and counting....that's how many Mid-Valley Summer Swim League championship meet titles the Selah Dolphins have claimed in the last four years.

Bickleton still safe from raging wildfire

BICKLETON - Despite rumors, Bickleton has not yet received an evacuation order from the Klickitat County Sheriff's office due to the Mile Marker 28 fire, although the entire area is on alert.


Homer Eugene "Gene" Fields, 90, a former Sunnyside resident, passed away on Friday, July 26, 2013, at his home in Cashmere.

Monday, July 29

Body of fire victim recovered Friday

The cause of a fire that took the life of Sunnyside businesswoman Tami Mathison, 50, last Thursday night is still under investigation, according to the Yakima County Fire Marshal's office.

Gang-like shooting occurs early Sunday on S. Outlook Road

Yakima County Sheriff deputies have started the investigation into a shooting in the 300 block of South Outlook Road reported at about 3 a.m. yesterday morning (Sunday).

Suspension of prosecutor leaves city court scrambling

Attorney may seek dismissal of Townhouse Motel case

"It complicates things terribly, as of this moment I'm not sure who I'm supposed to deal with." That's attorney Doug Garrison's take on the lack of a permanent prosecutor in Sunnyside. Last Thursday the Sunnyside lawyer and his clients, Townhouse Motel owners Fred and Helen Kim, felt the full impact of prosecutor Kathleen Hitchcock's suspension from her post due to DUI charges just a day earlier.

Governor appoints independent consultant to YVCC board of trustees

YAKIMA - The Yakima Valley Community College board of trustees has a new appointee. Rosalinda Mendoza, appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this week, is currently an independent consultant who provides expertise in the areas of strategic planning, program and organizational development, operations, and policy.

Grandview man named state's American Legion commander

Jim Davidson of Grandview was elected to serve as the Washington Department Commander of The American Legion at the 95th annual convention held earlier this month in Yakima.


Marie E. Johnson, 86 of Sunnyside passed away on Wednesday July 24, 2013. Marie Olson was born in Longview, to Anna and Carl Olson. Marie attended elementary school in Longview, before the Olson family moved to the Sunnyside area.

Friday, July 26

TYREE'S TYRADES: Your car's black box...friend or foe?

Maybe you were never told. Maybe you just forgot. But you probably don't think about your car "spying" on you.

What's Happening

What's Happening

Ride for charity open to cyclists

YAKIMA - Cyclists who want to experience Yakima's wine country on a 25-mile journey aimed at helping people in need can sign up now for the first annual Ride D'Vine to be held Saturday, Aug. 10, starting at 9 a.m.

End in sight?

District's patience wearing thin on $30 million-plus high school upgrade

Nearly a week ago, Sunnyside School District administrators learned the district had qualified for an additional $5 million in capital construction funds, which has already been designated to add 13 new classrooms and a multipurpose room at Sunnyside High School.

Talking heads

Eight months ago Sunnyside United was formed.

Sunnyside Municipal Court prosector suspended by city manager following DUI charge

Less than six months after a tearful plea to keep her job, Kathleen Morehouse was suspended from her post as the Sunnyside city prosecutor after she was arrested on DUI charges this week.

Obituary: JOHN MEEK

John "Jack" Meek, 86, of Sunnyside passed away on Thursday, July 25, 2013, at home surrounded by his loving family.


Aurora Escobar, 74, of Sunnyside passed away on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. Aurora was born Feb. 23, 1939 in Carrizo Springs, Texas.

Death notice: MARIE E. JOHNSON

Marie E. Johnson, 86, of Sunnyside died on Wednesday, July 24, 2013.

Death notice: ARNOLD TREVINO

Arnold Trevino, 66, of Grandview died on Monday, July 22, 2013.

Sunnyside woman perishes in house fire

The C&S Transport company employees showing up to work early this morning were shocked to learn their employer, Tami Mathison, had presumably perished in a fire at her family home late Thursday night.

New leader at helm

The Sunnyside School Board bade farewell to Miguel Puente last night after first taking its time establishing who would take his place as president of the board.

Thursday, July 25

Sunnyside attempting to get handle on glitches

Interim Finance Director David Layden was scheduled to have a budget financial print-out for the first six months of 2013 at Tuesday’s meeting, but he said glitches Tuesday afternoon delayed it.

Currier top golfer in ladies competition

Playing under a scorching, sun-soaked sky, Maryanne Currier of Prosser sizzled on the links this past Tuesday in 18-hole ladies play at Black Rock Creek Golf Course. Play of the day was to post the low gross score on the front nine at the Sunnyside-area course.

Sunnyside church steps up community outreach

Sunnyside's Oasis Community Church, known locally for its many efforts to offer comfort to the homeless, has now announced plans to launch a ministry to change for the better lives of at-risk youth.


Ernestina Valdez Castellanos, 88, of Sunnyside went to be with God and her loved ones on Friday, July 19, 2013, after a short battle with cancer.

Block parties planned for National Night Out

National Night Out will be observed in Sunnyside on Tuesday, Aug. 6, with 12 block parties planned, according to the Sunnyside Police Department. National Night Out festivities are designed to bring together residents of local neighborhoods in an attempt to curb criminal activity.

Sunnyside swimmers drench Tarpons

TOPPENISH - The Sunnyside contingent of Katelyn Banks, Kalie Bestebreur, Summer Hazzard, Aidan Hudgens and Lindsay Schilperoort rang up a 65-0 scoring advantage in the girls 16&U division last night.

Wednesday, July 24

Money tight in Bickleton School District

BICKLETON - Bickleton School District may need to dip into its cash reserves to meet operating expenses this next year, according to Business Manager Judy Naught.


Christina Knoth, 61, of Outlook died on Monday, July 22, 2013.

WORDS FROM WASHINGTON: Our national policies need to reflect needs of local farmers

Central Washington farmers are working harder than ever to produce some of the world's finest and most diverse agriculture products.

Forum: Vlieger a good leader

Don Vlieger may be not a politician, but one heck of a good leader and role model.

Prison time for Grandview man

YAKIMA - Alejandro Guadalupe Martinez of Grandview has been sentenced to just more than 19 years in prison for the murder of Mariano Cuevas in 2011.

Mabton water woes still center stage

MABTON - Could a new city well be in Mabton's future? While public works crews continue to work to get well #4 back on line, Mabton City Council has found itself worrying that well #5, now supplying the city's water lines, won't hold.

Crime down, needs up for Grandview police

GRANDVIEW - The rate of major crime in Grandview is the city's lowest in at least a decade. It's been slashed by half in a span of just five years.

Increased staffing levels sought by Grandview department heads

GRANDVIEW - In all areas things are looking good in Grandview, but department heads here say they need more staffing.

Tuesday, July 23

School logo should be a no-go, says Mabton parent

MABTON - If it's July there must be a school uniform brouhaha at Mabton Jr./Sr. High School.

Death notice: DOLORES MONSON

Dolores (Alba) Monson, 80, of Yakima died on Friday, July 19, 2013.


Ernestina V. Castellanos, 88, of Sunnyside died on Friday, July 19, 2013.

Family owned business returns to its roots

Schreiner Title Co., a business with long ties to the Sunnyside community, has relocated to the offices located at 308 Yakima Valley Highway.

Sunnyside home to one of Maverik's top convenience stores in the nation

The Maverik chain of convenience stores, based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, has been selected to receive the 24th annual Convenience Store Decisions Chain of the Year Award.

Perry Tech grads named

YAKIMA - Crystian Ramirez, Pedro Garibaldo, Victor Aguilar and Yonic Quiroz, all of the Sunnyside area, were among the students to graduate from Perry Technical Institute during ceremonies held June 20 at the Yakima technical school.

Apple harvest opening eyed for Cosecha Court

GRANGER - It may have missed the asparagus and cherry seasons, but there's optimism Cosecha Court will open in time for next month's apple harvest.

Mabton finalizes new school budget for 2013-14

MABTON - Following a 45-minute study session, the Mabton School Board last night approved a $10.6 million general fund budget for the 2013-14 school year.

Council approves tree trimming funds

"It seems like every time I come to the city council I come to beg, borrow and steal," said Bill Flower at last night's Sunnyside City Council meeting. "And tonight I've come to beg." Flower explained that he wanted money to trim the trees in the downtown core.

YouthBuild program builds more than houses

GRANDVIEW - Why would a teenage mom of a 4-year-old boy want to get up at 5 a.m. each day to learn how to use a hand saw? Ask Gisel Sandoval, a 2013 graduate of YouthBuild, who is currently working with Habitat for Humanity on a Granger construction site.

Monday, July 22

Weather-damaged cherry harvest ends with a bang

The 2013 Yakima Valley cherry harvest has wrapped up, and despite the unpredictable weather, the season ended with growers shipping 400,000 boxes of cherries a day during the past few weeks, said B.J. Thurlby of Northwest Cherry Growers.

World traveler making plans to teach in Russia

Combining a love of teaching, travel and linguistics, Sunnyside's Hannah Vlieger will be teaching English in Russia beginning this coming fall. Vlieger said she is planning to help both children and adults in Obninsk, which is about an hour-and-a-half's drive from Moscow.

Airport drill this Wednesday

An emergency drill will be taking place at the Sunnyside Municipal Airport on Wednesday, July 24, starting at about 7:30 p.m.

DUI charge sought following police pursuit

A motorist whom police believe was intoxicated attempted to avoid being taken into custody last Saturday night in Sunnyside.

Friday, July 19

Another vote taken from voters

I was disappointed to learn the League of Women Voters of Washington is part of a coalition that is challenging the constitutionality of Initiative 1240.

Guest column: Zimmerman case is no grounds for gun control

From the beginning, people who would ban all private guns if they could have used the George Zimmerman case to push their agenda.

Good policing by Sunnyside's finest?

Last week the police came knocking at my door late at night. I was told someone had called and complained about me.

Recording artist to be featured at local jamboree

MABTON - The July Gospel music jamboree in Mabton will welcome back Charlie Walker of Prineville, Ore. He will be the featured musician on Sunday, July 21, at the Mabton Grace Brethren Church.

Sunnyside United looks to change youth attitudes toward marijuana

Lacking a quorum with only five of its 13 board members present, the Sunnyside United group pressed on during its monthly meeting yesterday. Sunnyside United is a community coalition that essentially has taken the place of Sunnyside's Promise in receiving funding from the city, school and hospital. Its focus is on steering youths away from drugs, alcohol and gangs.

Shuttle service to be provided at Yakima Valley Fair & Rodeo

GRANDVIEW - Those who are ages 55 and older or who have a disability can enjoy a free shuttle service provided at this year's Yakima Valley Fair & Rodeo in Grandview.

Rapist receives sentence

A 21-year-old Sunnyside man who pled guilty to raping a 14-year-old girl was sentenced yesterday to 12 months and one day in prison.

Sharks improve league record to 8-2

GRANDVIEW - Chalking up 55 victories on the night compared to the 16 first-place finishes notched by the Grandview Neptunes, Sunnyside's summer swim team strode off with a dominating 602-168 decision Thursday evening.

Long-time vet closing up shop

After 47 years of serving the medical needs of Lower Valley animal owners, Dr. Jonathan Mercer of Sunnyside is closing the doors of The Veterinary Clinic, located on Zillah Avenue.

Miss Sunnyside candidate Ashley Davis

2013-14 Miss Sunnyside candidate Ashley Davis has always enjoyed reading. As someone who has found books to be enjoyable since she was a young child, she would like to inspire younger children to pick up a book for the same reason.

Dollars and cents..future rosier for local schools

Financial directors in the local school districts can breathe a little easier thanks to the recently approved state budget, which restores funding for some basic education programs. Sunnyside School District, based on the 2012-13 budget figures, will receive nearly $3.4 in additional funding from the state for the 2013-14 school year.

City severs ties with SASA

The city of Sunnyside has hired a recreation coordinator, Megan Razey, and as a result the city's existing arrangement with the Sunnyside Arts and Sports Association (SASA) has changed.

Port district pulls in more than $4 million yesterday for local economic development

It was a banner day for the Port of Sunnyside, as yesterday it garnered funds totalling more than $4 million for local development and jobs. Thursday, the state's Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) awarded the port a $1 million package that includes $850,000 in loan and $150,000 in grant proceeds.


Vera Vern Roderick, 92, of Grandview passed away quietly on Thursday, July 11, 2013, at Grandview Health Care Center.


Nancy Carole Schaneman, 65, formerly of Sunnyside passed on to heaven on Monday, July 8, 2013, surrounded by her family and friends.


John (Jack) Philip Norling, 87, of Grandview died on Tuesday, July 16, 2013. He served in the U.S. Army.

Thursday, July 18

Health care summit establishes groundwork for Washington state to comply with Obamacare

SEATTLE - Gov. Jay Inslee, joined by federal and state health care leaders and a coalition of more than 100 local organizations from across the state, this past Tuesday announced a plan to educate Washington residents about new opportunities for health care coverage under Medicaid expansion and Washington's health benefit exchange.

Mabton water shortage

MABTON - Mabton city water users are facing a water shortage after city officials learned of a pump failure early this morning (Thursday).

Sunnyside's H2O appears to be AOK

Heading to a mailbox near you is the city of Sunnyside's 2012 water quality report, which is scheduled to be inserted in the next batch of water bills to city businesses and residents. The report measures a laundry list of compounds found in city water, ranging from iron to calcium and arsenic.

Sisters ride to find a cure

For the Messmore sisters, their planned 80-mile cycling tour through Skagit Valley is more than an opportunity to take part in the 2013 Ride to Defeat ALS. The two-day cross country bicycle tour is a ride being done with love and commitment for and in memory of their late mother, Loni Messmore of Sunnyside.

Thursday, July 11

Self-taught balloon twister making special appearance at Bleyhl's Western Days

Job Wise’s inspiration for learning how to twist balloons was a party clown at his sister’s birthday celebration when he wasn’t yet a teenager.

Fire house construction blamed for damage to nearby buildings

Sunnyside Attorney Doug Garrison is somewhat concerned about damage he said his building has sustained as a result of the recent fire station construction. An alleyway is all that separates several buildings along South Seventh Street and the construction site. Because the basement to an old medical building had to be filled with dirt there was recently a lot of compacting to ensure the foundation of the new fire station building will be on stable ground. That compacting, however, is believed to be the cause of multiple cracks in the building that houses Garrison Law Offices. "We started noticing a number of cracks on June 28," said Garrison. He said he informed the city of Sunnyside's insurance carrier, as well as his own insurance carrier. Garrison said he also let the contractor working on the fire station construction site know there is damage to the building. "The construction company has been very nice, very's just unfortunate this has happened," said Garrison. Tim Blew, site superintendent for Blews Construction, said Garrison contacted him about the damage sustained to his law office. "I called the main office," he said, stating his firm has notified and turned the matter over to its insurance carrier. Blew said, "Everyone is waiting to see what the insurance companies find to determine the liability." Garrison said he also noticed a few cracks on the building that adjoins his law firm, which is owned by the Port of Sunnyside. Port of Sunnyside Executive Director Jay Hester said he was out of town when Garrison first noticed the damage. He was going to look at the port's building this past Tuesday, but did not have an opportunity to comment further before leaving town for a port director's meeting. Garrison said an engineer has been contacted to inspect the damage caused to his building. "The city may not be liable, but everyone has been notified of the problem," he said, stating he hopes the firm can continue its business at the current location. "The worst case scenario is that business will be interrupted so the repairs can be completed," Garrison said, noting a support beam appears to have been disturbed and there are cracks in the walls throughout the building. In back of the office is a small courtyard. Its surrounding wall, built just 10 years ago, also sustained some damage, he said. Garrison hopes the damage is merely cosmetic. "We had someone look at the insurance adjuster found damage I hadn't spotted in the boiler room," he said. If the roof was damaged, Garrison fears there will be leaks. "The vibrations from the compaction were so great that my phone was vibrating off my desk when I was on the phone, telling my father about what had been found," said Garrison. "The method for compaction of the fill dirt for the basement is believed to be the cause...there was a giant machine that vibrated as it compacted the dirt," he said, stating he believes there may have been a better method for the process. Garrison is the only property owner near the site to have reported finding damage so far. He said he believes the matter will be resolved in the spirit of cooperation. Blew said he wants a positive outcome for Garrison and hopes the matter is resolved for all parties.

Outlook teen completing his Eagle Scout project

There's an ornamental garden popping up at Lower Valley Hospice and Palliative Care's office on North Outlook Road. That's because Ethan Partch of Outlook is busy this week earning his Eagle Scout badge. Partch will be a senior at Sunnyside High School this coming fall and turns 18 next month - which is the cut-off limit for earning Eagle Scout honors. Concerned about the approaching deadline, Partch found the idea for his project with help from hospice director Ron Jetter. Partch said Jetter has been helpful with other scouts seeking the Eagle status, such as an Eagle Scout project that installed a handicap-access ramp to the hospice office. Pointed in the right direction to spruce up a stretch of ground in need of a makeover along North Outlook Road, Partch went to work and, with help and advice from Yellow Rose Nursery in Prosser, started about two weeks ago on the project. This week he is wrapping up the work with help from his dad, Jim, and other scouts. "He came home one day from first grade and said he wanted to be a Cub Scout," Jim smiled. The younger Partch has stuck with it ever since. "He's been at it so long it'd be a shame if he didn't finish his Eagle," Jim said. To that end, Ethan Partch is doing just that. Earlier this week he and the crew he supervises - "I'm just a helper, he's the project boss," laughs his father - laid down a weed barrier, then followed that with decorative bark dust to add the finishing touch. Previously, he installed a drip line and planted several perennials that over time will fill in the space. But that's not quite the end of this makeover, as the teen also plans to apply a new coat of paint to the hospice office's street sign. The Partch's have a small farm in Outlook, and Ethan says his future plans include pursuing studies in ag economics.

Wednesday, July 10


Rainbow babies


Here's what the immigration bill overlooks

Christian club speaker describes raising children as organized chaos

PROSSER - "A typical Wednesday," said Victoria LaMar. "The roofer says it will cost $1,200 to fix the roof, but you have only $64 to last until pay day." She went on to describe the other distractions of the moment, including the phone ringing, the children playing and food needing attention on the stove. LaMar, a volunteer with Stonecroft Ministries, was the featured speaker at the Lower Valley Christian Women's Connection monthly luncheon at the Barn Restaurant in Prosser Tuesday. She spoke about the importance of keeping God in mind during the difficult times of raising children and keeping a home. LaMar described her life as "organized chaos" while her children were growing up. "My life has been up a mountain, down a hill, around a curve, down a hole and stuck in a sand pit," she told the group. She told the group how her husband lost his job when their first child was only three months old. "I know about not having money," she said. "I know about taking Christmas presents back to the store." She said the family lived on leftover soup, an idea from an aunt. As food was left from meals, even a teaspoon or two was put in a to jar and when the jar was full, a little bit of water and a soup was born. She also said casserole surprise was a common meal, leading her son to try to figure out what meat might be in the casserole each night. She said that when times were toughest she would pray for a little money. The next day the family might receive an insurance check they weren't expecting, or a neighbor might bring over $50 for something purchased in the past. "We always made it through," she said. "God helped us."

Policeman sworn in as Mabton councilman

MABTON - The Mabton City Council chose Johnnie Gusby to join the council last night following a short discussion about conflict of interest and nepotism issues. Gusby, a Sunnyside policeman, and Richard Pena, a retired law enforcement officer, were the only candidates for the position left vacant last month when longtime councilwoman Vera Zavala was appointed city mayor. Pena's eligibility was called into question because his wife, Yolanda Pena, is a city employee, explained Zavala. Zavala explained the Association of Washington Cities guidelines regarding nepotism and conflict of interest rulings explain that married couples, where one serves in a governing capacity and the other as a public employee, is deemed to be a conflict of interest. Upon hearing the ruling, Pena withdrew his application for the council position. The council then voted to accept Gusby as the new councilman. Gusby will fill out the remaining two and half years of a four-year term, according to Mabton City Clerk Ret Stewart, who administered the councilman's oath of office.

Tuesday, July 9

Law office merger expands resources

The Hart and Winfree law offices of Sunnyside now have a larger pool of expertise to drawn upon for their Lower Valley clients' legal needs. As of January this year, the longtime local law officers merged with Halverson Northwest Law Group of Yakima. "We actually began the merger process last year, but were waiting for a final decision on a name change for the group before making the merger announcement," explained Steve Winfree, one of the founding partners in the Hart and Winfree offices. Winfree originally began practicing law in Sunnyside in 1976. Paul Hart, who came to Sunnyside about the same time, worked with Charles Shoemaker before going out on his own. In 1980 Winfree and Hart opened their Sunnyside law offices in then the brand new Kamiakin Building on Franklin Avenue. They were later joined by lawyers Raymond Alexander in 1988 and Robert Faber in 1999. Winfree, who also serves as the Sunnyside Port District counsel, said the merger with Halverson Northwest has added a whole new list of attorneys to the local firm. He said the Yakima based office has lawyers specializing in everything from water rights and real estate issues to employment laws and land use planning. "The merger gives us the ability to give our clients a broader range of legal resources and services," Winfree explained.

Bleyhl's gearing up for Western Days

GRANDVIEW - Marc Rea has been around horses his whole life, and always considered himself to be a pretty good hand. Then a friend talked him into attending a Pat Parelli clinic. It changed his life. Rea, then a Winthrop realtor, knew he'd stumbled onto something special when he heard Parelli speak and saw the extraordinary results he was getting with horses. Rea immediately started on a journey that led him to become one of the first instructors trained in Parelli's method of natural horsemanship. Now, 20 years later, Rea is a top-ranked instructor who's spent thousands of hours teaching Parelli's approach to students of all ages. "Natural horsemanship" doesn't train horses per se, but teaches horse owners how to better communicate and build a trusting relationship with their animals. Rea will share his knowledge in a free two-hour presentation this coming Saturday, July 13, at the Bleyhl Country Store in Grandview. Starting at 1 p.m., Rea and his two equine assistants - Little Mary and Desi - will demonstrate what's possible when people and horses understand each other. A question and answer time will follow. "Horsemanship skills are important, but the foundation of the Parelli method is building on the relationship between horse and owner with the principles of love, language and leadership as guides," Rea says. Parelli's approach works with the horse's natural instincts, psychology and behaviors, making it much easier for the animal to understand human demands. "The best way to learn horsemanship is by getting out there and doing it, but it's easy to become overwhelmed, frustrated and confused," Rea says. "I help horse owners accelerate progress and refine techniques so they're more successful in achieving their goals." Rea and his wife, author Mary Rea, live on their ranch in the Methow Valley in north central Washington during the summer. In winter, they live in Las Vegas, where he continues teaching and training horses. For Rea's clinic information, visit or While expected to draw a large crowd, Rea's presentation is only one of many activities slated for Bleyhl's Western Days event. Country western singer/songwriter Cale Moon returns to Grandview for free concerts July 13 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Moon entertained local listeners at both the 2011 and 2012 Yakima Valley Fair & Rodeo events in Grandview. The Benton City native now tours full-time with his family. He has performed extensively throughout the Northwest, including gigs at the Central Washington State Fair and Pendleton Round-Up. Moon is described as "a country boy whose voice is as deep and rich as the 100+ songs that he's written." He recently recorded his second album in Nashville. CDs will be available for purchase. Learn more about him at or become a Facebook fan. The Bleyhl's event also will provide visitors a chance to meet volunteers and their canine friends from Wags To Riches Pet Rescue, a no-kill animal shelter based in Yakima. Anyone interested in adopting a dog must complete an online application and be approved prior to the July 13 event. The application is available at There will be free activities for children, including a face painter and balloon twister from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Youngsters can take a turn to grab for a prize in "the cube." Everyone can enjoy free hot dogs, chips and drinks 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition to in-store specials, adults can sign up for door prizes, including free Wrangler jeans and an Echo chainsaw. Purina nutrition expert Mike Miller will give away $5 off coupons, good that day on any Purina feed. Customers also get double punches that day on any Equis brand feed purchase.

Mabton schools deal with shrinking pains

Budget hearing set July 22

Neon Alley one of many topics discussed at public works meeting

The Sunnyside City Council subcommittee on public works met last night and made short work of the agenda, but also touched on a variety of topics not formally scheduled to be addressed. Superintendent of Public Works Shane Fisher alerted the committee to a problem with the fecal counts in SVID ditches that have been traced to city pipes. The city will be lining sewer mains to prevent further leakages and has been working with SVID and the Department of Ecology on the project. Fisher told the subcommittee that the lining will cost approximately $20,000 and will come out of the unassigned construction project fund. When a contract is prepared, it will be brought before the council for approval. Moving on, the group discussed a conceptual drawing provided by Hulbregtse, Louman Associates, Inc. of how the city's proposed Neon Alley might fit into the downtown core. A plan is underway to showcase many of Sunnyside's former neon signs, which once lit up the downtown core. The committee was impressed by the design. Deputy Mayor and committee chair Don Vlieger described it as "pretty cool." Councilman Dean Broersma said the design blends in nicely with the other downtown improvements. The committee also discussed what sort of bonding levels are required for enterprise funds and determined more information was needed from the finance director to understand the issue. Fisher passed out a document outlining the status of projects Hulbregtse, Louman Associates, Inc. has been working on for the city, including the downtown revitalization project and a rate analysis project originally contracted to CH2M Hill. Asked about the status of getting a refund from CH2M Hill, Fisher said he had started drafting the letter after gathering all the evidence. He said the city paid CH2M Hill about $58,000 out of the $80,000 contract but has not yet received any deliverables as specified by the contract. The city hopes to receive a refund from the company without resorting to legal action, he said. Fisher also updated the subcommittee on the staff change at city hall. Fisher's new assistant, Jacqueline Renteria, has already improved the system by handling invoices with a new tracking spreadsheet, he said. However, city hall is still understaffed and particularly needs a permit tech to help catch up with logging permits and licenses. Fisher provided a handout that shows the city has already issued nearly double the amount of permits so far in July this year than July of 2012. The amount of fees for those permits is significantly higher than last year, as well. Committee members suggested hiring a temp worker or re-hiring someone retired who knows the system and would be willing to come back part-time to help catch up. Fisher also updated the subcommittee on the status of a project to cover the ditch along 16th Street from Edison Avenue to Yakima Valley Highway. SVID has agreed to do the work if the city will purchase the pipe, which will cost between $80,000 and $100,000. Fisher said stormwater funds may be available for the project. Members of the subcommittee also asked what would be done with the area over the pipe. Fisher said it could be used as an extension of the parking lots or as a walkway, but no buildings could be placed on it. Fisher also noted that a $50,000 reimbursement grant the city had received some time in the past and forgotten about was discovered by Fisher and Interim Finance Director David Layden. Fisher has applied recent projects to the grant and hopes to recover that money for the city. Lastly, Fisher also discussed some streetlights installed by Benton REA along Midvale Road. He said the lights are difficult to reach to replace and burn out quickly. The subcommittee asked Fisher to determine if replacing the lights with LEDs would be cost effective.

New city manager officially on board

Sunnyside officially has a new city manager. The Sunnyside City Council approved a contract with Donald Day of New Mexico at last night's regular council meeting. Day was selected as the top choice from a field of four finalists during an intense interview session held June 22. He most recently was employed as county manager in Colfax County in New Mexico. Day was in attendance at Monday's meeting and answered questions about his insurance reimbursement, but most of the details of his contract had already been hammered out in the negotiation process. The negotiating committee, made up of Mayor Jim Restucci, Councilmen Francisco Guerrero and Jason Raines, as well as Patrick Galloway, the city's attorney, met three times to prepare the contract. Deputy Mayor Don Vlieger asked about medical insurance, noting that the contract provides the cost of the medical, optical and dental benefits under the city's health plan, consistent with other city employees. However, Vlieger said there are two classes of city employees, ones who are grandfathered in with the city and do not pay a portion of their costs and the rest of the employees, who pay a percentage. Day answered that he will be paying a portion of the medical costs. The contract also provides a starting annual salary of $110,000, 30 days of vacation, 80 hours of executive leave and 8 hours of sick leave per month. Day will also receive relocation and moving expenses up to $10,000, a cell phone stipend and professional development dues. Restucci also pointed out the termination agreement to council, noting that it was only fair to have a safety net for Day if the council decided to terminate his employment for reasons other than cause. Specifically, Day would receive nine months pay if his contract was terminated during his first year of employment here. His severance is on a sliding scale, decreasing by two months each year he's employed in Sunnyside until the termination agreement reaches a low of three months pay. Restucci said this hiring has been one of the best processes he's been through during his tenure on council. Day addressed the crowd in the council chambers after signing the contract. "I just want to tell you what an honor it's been," he said. "And I echo the sentiments that this has been an absolutely remarkable process, and I commend you. I'm excited and looking forward to coming to this city and making it our home. And as I told the committee members, I hope this is the last job I have, then I want to retire and do a little bit more fishing." Day is expected to start work on Monday, July 29.

Monday, July 8

Mabton FFA program tops in the state

MABTON - An FFA revival among Mabton middle school and high school students has not gone unnoticed, as it was recently named the outstanding program for the state of Washington. The award was presented during an ag educators event on June 27 in Spokane Valley. The Mabton Junior/Senior High School FFA program was in position to garner the state award thanks to being selected as the top program back in February from a district that includes 32 ag programs in the Yakima and Tri-Cities area. Mabton's was among nine programs that received best-of-district honors out of more than 200 FFA programs in the state. Those nine, in turn, were judged last month, with Mabton being named the state's outstanding program from among that bunch. Mabton was the smallest school represented among the final nine, which included Quincy High School and South Kitsap High School. It was a tough decision, says Dan White, an ag teacher at Kennewick High School. He served as one of four judges from the Washington Association of Agricultural Educators (WAAE) at the Spokane Valley event. "We got down to the point where we brought in two other ag teachers from outside of Washington state, it was that close," says White. One of the keys for Mabton's successful bid, he continued, was the growth from no paid FFA members four years ago to 90 paid members today under the guidance of teacher and advisor Randi Krieg. "It's rock solid, she's got a lot of excitement going on at the school. She's doing a heck of a job with those kids," White said. "The thing that makes it real is her response after they won, she talked about how it wasn't her, it was the kids. That's just how she is." Krieg continues to deflect the credit to others in Mabton. She praised Mabton School District administrators for the freedom to pursue a wide number of FFA community service projects, ranging from older students teaching science to fifth graders to a salmon release to a Halloween trunk or treat event. "We're really focusing on giving back to the Mabton community," Krieg says. "The kids need to be active doing positive things in their community." She says community support from Mabton has been tremendous, and hopes the award will spur even more adults to get involved with FFA activities. "These are the best kids in the community," Krieg adds. One of those "kids" is Jesenia Meza, who serves as the Mabton chapter's president and will be a senior this coming school year. Meza praised Krieg's ability to help Mabton students realize FFA is more than "cows, plows and sows." Meza explained, "She opened our eyes that it's not all about raising animals for us. We can have more community involvement. There's something for everyone in FFA like public speaking, floral arrangement or food science." FFA and Krieg haven't just impacted Mabton Jr./Sr. High, where nearly one-in-four students are paid FFA members, but it's changed Meza's future. "She's inspired me a lot, she works so many unpaid hours and puts up with our craziness," says Meza, who intends to enroll at WSU after high school graduation next spring and pursue a career in ag education. "At first I wanted to be a dentist, but then I just watch Mrs. Krieg and her love of FFA. I just thought it was super cool how it grew into a career for her." The state honor qualified the Mabton FFA program for a regional competition, says White, where it will represent Washington state in a field that will include the top programs from California, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and Hawaii. Winners at the regional level will be recognized at a national FFA event this coming December in Las Vegas. "They should be really proud," White said of Mabton's FFA participants.

Volunteers honored in special photo exhibit

A first-of-its-kind photo gallery is now on display in Bon Vino's Bistro and Bakery in Sunnyside. It features members of Volunteer Chore Services who donate their time to help others with tasks ranging from transportation to yard work. The display was unveiled last Saturday at the Sunnyside eatery. Chore Services Program Coordinator Natalie Curfman says the goal is to recognize the work that volunteers do in helping the elderly and adults with disabilities. "It's a way to introduce our volunteers to the Lower Valley community," says Curfman, who notes the portrait photography is a way to showcase volunteers and their hard work for Chore Services. The professional photography was donated by Obbie Cruz as a way to help the Chore Services program. Dorothy Morales is elder services director for the program, which covers eight counties. Her office is based in Yakima and she visited Sunnyside last Saturday for the photo display unveiling. "I really appreciate that Natalie is recognizing the volunteers," says Morales. "Without volunteers we wouldn't have a program." Curfman adds that the photo show, on display at Bon Vinos through Saturday, July 27, is also a way to hopefully recruit more volunteers. Currently the Lower Valley has 30 Chore Services volunteers, and she says more are needed. Curfman says one of the big needs is for housekeeping volunteers to help those unable to tend to their daily chores at home. "Housekeeping is a hard volunteer position to fill," she says. "There are many people who could use the help." To help with housekeeping or other chores for the elderly and disabled, contact Curfman at 839-8260.

Friday, July 5

Power to the people

Staff at the state's Utilities Transportation Commission (UTC) issued a statement last month breathlessly announcing how they rejected two-thirds of Pacific Power's rate hike request. The request was to raise our power rates by 14.1 percent and the staff recommendation was to give Pacific Power a 4.8 percent increase. Sounds good, except for the fact this bait-and-switch has been happening for at least five years. In 2008 Pacific Power sought a 15 percent hike and was given 8.5. In 2011 they sought 21 percent and received 12. In 2013 they're asking 14.1 percent and the recommendation is 4.8. Pacific Power comes in with high requests that, perhaps, it knows it won't get. The UTC then allows a smaller rate hike, making the commission look great. Except it's not great. If this new rate goes through it'll mean our rates will have jumped 25 percent in the past five years. To make things worse, this latest proposal also raises the base rate you pay and it'll all take effect in December of this year, just when we're cranking up our thermostats for winter. My suggestion? Power to the people. The UTC is holding a rate hearing on Monday, July 15, at 6 p.m. in the Yakima City Council Chambers, 129 N. Second St. in Yakima. You can make your voice heard and maybe, just maybe, head off this bait-and-switch for once.

Miss Sunnyside candidate Kayla Bautista

Every girl in Sunnyside should take advantage of the opportunity to compete for the Miss Sunnyside title. That's according to Kayla Bautista, who is vying for the 2013-14 Miss Sunnyside crown. She said she is competing for the title because she believes it is an opportunity to make a difference in the community. "The Miss Sunnyside program is a great program for helping the community," said Bautista. She said her mother has always instilled in her the value of putting others before yourself. "Serving as Miss Sunnyside would be a great way to live according to that lesson," Bautista said. She is the daughter of Roxanne Rodriguez and has an older sister. Bautista said she would like to work with Habitat for Humanity, if selected to serve as Miss Sunnyside. She has a history with the organization and believes it serves an important role, helping families who need a home. She would like to find a family in Sunnyside who needs a new home or home repairs. She would like to have families fill out a questionnaire or write an essay, expressing their needs. From those forms or essays, Bautista said she would like to select a family that has the greatest need. The Miss Sunnyside court would help fulfill that need with the assistance of Habitat for Humanity. "It's a great way to keep others from being homeless," said Bautista. She has a desire to continue helping others after completing high school, too. Bautista said she plans to major in forensic science at the University of Washington so that she might become a medical examiner. This goal, said Bautista, merges her fascination of anatomy with the goal of solving a crime and determining the cause of death for people. Bautista said she believes it is important for whoever serves as Miss Sunnyside to be committed to setting a good example for others, especially younger children. Miss Sunnyside can prove to the older generation that youngsters in the community still care about Sunnyside, as well, she said. Bautista said, "Miss Sunnyside is an example of what can be accomplished when people unify with the goal of helping one another." The 2013-14 Miss Sunnyside Pageant will be held Sunday, Oct. 6, at 1 p.m. at the Sunnyside High School auditorium.

Wednesday, July 3

Too hot, too hot...

On the west side of the Cascades, very few homes have air conditioning because the expense isn't justified by the three or four days a year the units might be necessary.

Scouting on the grow here

Scouting is on the upswing in a big way in the Lower Yakima Valley and elsewhere in the Chief Kamiakin District. That's according to Ed Radder with the Boy Scouts of America, who Wednesday morning provided an update to the Sunnyside Kiwanis Club. Radder, a retired Sunnyside police chief, noted the district's scouting membership is up 44 percent from a year ago. The Chief Kamiakin District in recent years has expanded to include new Cub Scout groups in Sunnyside and Grandview. Radder said Sunnyside Cub Scouts presented the colors during last month's Kids Day Parade and will also do so during Sunnyside's July 4 Parade tomorrow. In addition, the Cub Scouts have formed in Toppenish and this year the group has already participated in parades. Other communities served by the Chief Kamiakin District include Prosser, Granger and Zillah and Radder notes plans are underway to form a Cub Scout pack in Wapato. The growth has come primarily with Cub Scouting, which saw 124 served this year compared to 78 a year earlier. Radder notes it has been more difficult to increase numbers for Boy Scouts. He says that sometimes boys who start in Cub Scouts end up leaving the program at some point during middle school instead of getting involved with Webelos. The Chief Kamiakin District's Boy Scout numbers show 40 participating this year, the same number as last year. Radder said that can actually be perceived as a positive because some groups have seen Boy Scout numbers diminish. With summer here scouts and their families are experiencing camp life. Radder noted the example of one father who after a successful fishing adventure at a camp said it was the first time he had ever been fishing...and the first positive activity with this son. "Things are happening and we appreciate your support," he told Kiwanians.

Always another disease on the horizon

The main work that Dr. Gary Grove does at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser involves trying to understand and prevent disease on fruit trees in the area. He told the Sunnyside Noon Rotary Club on Monday that he is also acting director of the WSU program. Grove said his center is the largest irrigation research station in the area, with more than 1,300 acres in the Prosser and Othello areas. The research done at the center helps local farmers and orchardists fight diseases. "There's always another disease," the Rotary club guest speaker said. "Every year something new comes along that we have to learn how to fight." He talked about a success story in fighting the problem of cutworms. The standard method to get rid of the pest involved extremely toxic insecticide sprayed across the plant. A researcher studied the problem closely and determined a way to stop the cutworms by spraying around the trunks of the trees. "He hooked up a sprayer with a light sensor to a four-wheeler, and it sprayed every trunk," said Grove. "It saved tons of money in insecticide and reduced the amount applied, while being effective." He also described a project in which the research team learned removing leaves from grapevines at a certain time in the season reduced the chances of a fungal infection. "The labor to remove the leaves was cheaper than the fungicides needed to deal with the problem," he said. He also told the group about a research team working on biofuels made from tropical plants. He noted they had to do some of their studies in Hawaii. "I'm not convinced it's not just a way to get a vacation each year," he said to laughter. Grove also talked about a website called AgWeatherNet at that supplies farmers with updates on weather patterns. "If you suspect a frost is coming, just log in," he said. "You'll see hundreds of people checking the site." After his main presentation he answered a few questions, including one about genetically modified plants. "I'm not doing any research on GMOs right now," he said. "But human beings have been modifying plants genetically for thousands of years. The main concern right now is with creating new genes." He noted that rabbits, when introduced to Australia, reproduced quickly and devastated the landscape. He compared the introduction of rabbits with the introduction of new, man-made gene sequences. "The consequences of introducing a new organism were huge in that case," he said. "They may not be as bad with genetically modified wheat, but the problem is that we don't know what impact they might have if the modified wheat somehow escapes into the wild." He said a GMO wheat crop that had not been put into production had appeared in the wild in a field in Oregon. Although it didn't have any obvious negative effects, the appearance of it outside lab conditions was a concern. "Any introduction of genetic material can have unintended consequences," he said. "I'm not against GMOs, but I believe something like that should be tested for years before it's released."

Corvette owner victim of tagger last night in S'Sside

One of Mike Kennard's treasures is his 2007, 400-horsepower, bright yellow Corvette convertible. The sporty looking ride isn't so sporty looking today. The Sunnyside resident awoke this morning at his East Edison Avenue home, which is located in a highly visible, well lit neighborhood, and found the vehicle had been spray painted with graffiti. The letters "AOR," in bright red, now adorn the hood of the 'Vette. It's one thing, said Kennard, when vandals mark fences and sides of buildings with graffiti. "Those can be cleaned up pretty quickly," he said. "This...this, well, to me they've crossed the line," he said. "It's personal property they've tried to destroy. "Fixing it is going to take a lot more than just painting over what they've done." Kennard filed a report with Sunnyside police this morning. He said Officer Ollie Hernandez told him the letters "AOR" are not tied to any local gang. "He (Hernandez) believes it was young kids, taggers, who did this," Kennard said. Kennard said he also learned that other neighborhoods, including some local schools, were hit by taggers sometime last night or early this morning. It's his hope that those responsible will be identified by local police and brought to justice.

State of the art MRI now in place at hospital

Sunnyside Community Hospital staff welcomed the community to view its shiny, new, state of the art MRI unit now permanently housed at the hospital. The Lower Yakima Valley now has the latest in MRI technology available for patient care, according to John Gallagher, Sunnyside Community Hospital CEO. "The hospital and our board of trustees has committed substantial resources toward implementing this new technology," he explained "Through this reinvestment into our community, we are solidifying full time access to this high end technology and are very pleased to be able to raise the level of services provided here at Sunnyside Community Hospital," Gallagher said. With the new MRI unit, patients can expect improvements in comfort and unparalleled image quality with faster, more accurate images, he explained. The unit's larger opening allows for more room and for the ability for patients to remain in a more comfortable position during procedures. During Tuesday's unveiling of the General Electric Optima MR 450 MRI machine, Dr. David Shoemaker assured those present that the new machine will be less like entering a torpedo to undergo the MRI procedure and more like entering a bagel. "The bed of the machine is designed to be wider, the machine itself is quieter and the entrance into the imaging portal is much wider, making it less claustrophobic for those bothered by being in tight places," he explained.

Tuesday, July 2

Equine therapy being used to help soothe angry hearts

Working around horses has always been a favorite pastime for Sunnyside's Betty Hames. She has usually fit in her equestrian hobby around her other duties, which have included being a pastor's wife, a chemical dependency counselor, a domestic violence advocate and a life coach. It's not that she rides with any regularity, she admits, but she loves horses and has a passion for rescuing abused and abandoned horses. Now her horses are taking center stage in her latest venture - equine therapeutic work. A couple years ago Hames opened her country home as a horse sanctuary. The horses, donkeys and mules which fill her corrals and pastures came to her broken and in need of a lot of tender care. Now they are "earning their keep," working as friends and therapeutic aides for a different set of broken and abused clients. Hames has named her new service "Healing Hooves, Healing Humans Horse Sanctuary." Her motto, "rescuing horses and changing lives one hoof at a time," is easily applied to her human clients, who range in age from youths to senior citizens, all with various forms of abuse or depression issues. The horses serve as a receptacle for the fear and anger many of Hames' clients bring to the ranch. Hames and the horses work as a team to coax her human clients into accepting and learning different methods for restoring their mental health and confidence. "In order to work with the horses, you have to let go of your fear and anger or you can't get close to the animals," Hames explained. Once her clients start understanding their feelings, they can begin healing and as they heal, the horses benefit because of the extra care they receive. The human clients learn to groom, handle and care for the horses and in the process learn to balance their own emotions, Hames explained. Using animals in therapy has long been seen as an option when attempting to help traumatized individuals begin the healing process. "It truly is not about riding," Hames said. "But it is about building trust bonds." Through a minimum of discussion, but with a lot of hands-on brushing and walking of the horses, individuals can begin to work through their issues and challenges get sorted out, she explained. Recently Hames started a charity to help her care for the needs of the horses, which are her partners in therapy. "We have a lot of needs not covered by client fees," she explained. She said the cost to feed, care for and house the horses is at times expensive. "We're hoping to attract some donors interested in this type of work," she added. Anyone interested in helping out Hames' horse sanctuary may call her at 830-9225. "Your donations are tax deductible and will help make a difference not only in a horse's life, but in the life of a client who has come to depend on the silent comfort of being around our horses," Hames said.

More than 50 jobs available at Legends Casino

TOPPENISH - While Yakima County's unemployment rate continues to decrease, Yakama Nation Legends Casino is keeping that trend moving forward, as it seeks to fill more than 50 positions in the food and beverage department during the month of July. Those looking for employment may apply directly during a job fair at the Yakima Convention Center on Wednesday, July 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for positions ranging from cashier to server to cook. Yakama Nation Legends Casino offers a minimum wage starting at $10 per hour, including full health benefits with skilled positions such as Cook 2 or 3 beginning at a higher rate. "Over the past year our food and beverage team leadership implemented changes, including creating all buffet selections from scratch," commented Kristin Lumley, assistant general manager. "These more exacting standards coupled with our commitment to each guest's experience prompted the job fair." Applicants will apply via an online application system during the event. Select candidates will complete all stages of the interview process with the potential to receive an offer during the event. Applicants should arrive at the event with a valid state or tribal ID and a social security card to ensure quick processing. All offers extended to candidates will be conditional based on passing both the background and drug tests. Positions available include cook, deli associate, busser, hostess, server, utility worker and cashier.

All-out DUI patrol kicks off tonight

Starting tonight (Tuesday), people who choose to drink and drive in Yakima County stand a greatly increased chance of being caught and convicted. That's the message from virtually all of the county's police agencies, whose officers, deputies and troopers are forming a Target Zero Team - a multi-agency task force that will intensely hunt impaired drivers around the county. "As a state we are not only strengthening our DUI laws, but strengthening our approach to catching impaired drivers in the first place," said Gov. Jay Inslee. The Target Zero Team in Yakima County is funded by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The project goes far beyond traditional DUI squads of the past. * Experienced planners will use the latest GIS mapping software to guide patrols. Team members will know where crashes are occurring and which roads lead to high-collision areas. * State troopers, sheriff's deputies and city police officers will be out every night of the week looking for impaired drivers. Each officer was selected by his or her agency because they are the most motivated and experienced at arresting impaired drivers. * Traffic safety resource prosecutors will work with officers to improve the quality and content of officers' investigations and reports. These prosecutors are also available, upon request, to assist local prosecutors in presenting the best possible cases in court. "These will be intense, multi-agency, data-driven patrols with the goal of reducing fatalities and serious injuries," said Darrin Grondel, director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. "We will use objective data to make sure we're patrolling the right roads, at the right time, to make sure we're arresting those who choose to drive while impaired," he said. The core of Yakima's Target Zero Team will be seven members of the Washington State Patrol working full time at the locations where history shows that DUIs have repeatedly killed themselves or others. County and local agencies will contribute deputies or officers as time and resources permit.

Month of July in this area predicted to be a scorcher

It's going to be a hot July, according to the National Weather Service. The climate forecast for July in the Sunnyside area calls for above normal temperatures and near to below normal precipitation. Normal day time highs for July in Sunnyside are 90.7 and normal night time lows are 57.1 degrees. Normal precipitation is 0.14 inches, barely enough to wet an umbrella. Sunnyside residents have seen an unusually high amount of precipitation since October. The total precipitation since October has been 9.75 inches, which is 3.07 inches above normal. Just this year Sunnyside has had 1.11 inches more precipitation than usual, reaching 4.98 inches. June was the second wettest on record in the area with 2.43 inches. That total is 1.89 inches above normal and only a heavy mist below the record of 2.47 inches set in 1938. Measurable precipitation, at least 0.01 inch, was received on seven days in June with the heaviest fall, 0.86 inches, on the 18th. Temperatures in June were colder than usual, with an average of 64 degrees, 3.6 degrees below normal. High day time temperatures averaged 77.3 degrees, 5.3 degrees below normal. Low night time temperatures averaged 50.8 degrees, 1.9 degrees below normal. Sunnyside got its highest official temperature of the month on the 29th, hitting 90 degrees. The lowest temperature was 40 degrees on the first day of the month.

Port officials move forward with Bleyhl rail expansion

A second rail spur off of Midvale Road received a push last night in action by Port of Sunnyside commissioners. Monday night's meeting saw commissioners approve a bid for construction of the additional rail spur to service Bleyhl's propane storage needs. The Grandview-based company, which previously stored its propane tanks near downtown Sunnyside, rents the spur line from the port. The bid went to RailWorks Track System, Inc. at a cost of $182,077, approximately $75,000 less than the same company charged to construct the first rail spur in 2010. In related news, commissioners last night approved an amended lease contract with Blehyl to reflect the rental costs of the second spur. The new rental rates, effective 2014, start at a minimum of $34,069 per year and decrease from there to a minimum of $16,376 in 2023. The rate includes costs for the second rail spur. The project is coming in well under budget. Earlier this year the port received a grant/loan package from the Yakima Valley Development Association that provides up to $68,000 in grant funds and a $206,000 loan to construct the second rail spur. Plans are to have the second spur in place this summer, well before fall in order to meet Bleyhl's growing propane demand when cooler weather arrives.

Urgent care center to open in Sunnyside

After Aug. 1 Lower Valley residents suffering a touch of heat stroke or a minor athletic injury won't have to make the Sunnyside Community Hospital emergency room their first stop. A new regional Urgent Care and Family Practice Clinic is scheduled to be opened at 2707 E. Lincoln Ave. in Sunnyside, offering immediate care for injury or illness that doesn't require immediate emergency room care, according to hospital officials. "We are very excited about opening our new urgent care center, the first of its kind between Yakima and the Tri-Cities," said Sunnyside Community Hospital Chief Executive Officer John Gallagher. "It will help us continue to meet the health care needs of the region, providing hometown service and world class care," he said. Patients will be given the option of making appointments in order to be seen. Walk-in patients will be accepted and hours will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. The clinic will be staffed by physicians and physician assistants and nurse practitioners. When patients' needs go beyond the capacity of the urgent care center, they will be referred to the Sunnyside Community Hospital emergency room for future evacuation or treatment. In the near future, two other clinics will join the urgent care clinic at the Lincoln Avenue location, Gallagher said. Valley Regional Orthopedics, staffed by Dr. Valentin Antoci, will open later this summer and Valley Regional Nephrology, staffed by Dr. Rodrigo Alfaro, will open later this year.



Monday, July 1

Boys State convention opens up world to local youth

Back from a week at the Boys State convention on the Central Washington University campus in Ellensburg, Alfonso Ramirez said he has a different view of Sunnyside now. "It was an intense experience," said Ramirez. "When we came back, our world had opened up." Ramirez was one of five Sunnyside High School seniors-to-be who attended Evergreen Boys State this year, learning about what it takes to become a political leader. Also at the event was classmate Elijah Pena, who ran for a position as senator, but lost. "I had to go to unemployment," he said. That landed Pena in a position of sergeant-at-arms, making sure attendees went to the correct room and signed in and out as they went. "If someone needed to be found, we checked our paperwork and located them," he said. Meeting new people was the most important part of the experience for him. "You have the chance to open up to people you normally wouldn't talk to," Pena said. Henry Fairbairn, another attendee from Sunnyside, agreed. He was appointed to a county council and learned about solving larger problems involving multiple entities. The contingent from his county earned an award for its problem solving. Fairbairn said he learned an important lesson about meeting people. "The more you talk to people the better position you'll get," he said. Fairbairn said he also learned a lot about government and how it runs. He recommends future attendees enjoy themselves and talk to a lot of different people. Victor Ramos of Sunnyside also attended, and he enjoyed the problem solving aspects of the program. "The last two days they gave us problems and we had to deal with them," he said. "My city, Birch City, had to deal with an 8.9 earthquake." Ramos also took on a role on his county council, and said the council had to solve problems with an airport in need of repair. "The airlines were leaving and taking the jobs with them," he said. "We had to save the jobs." Ramos also agreed that meeting people was a major part of the event. "I got to meet kids from all around the state with different backgrounds and ethnicities," he said. "It gives me a better picture of my community." Also in attendance at the confab was Sunnyside's Eduardo Yanez, who also served on his county council. While three of the boys from Sunnyside had council positions, another won an election and got a different experience. Ramirez was elected to the state house of representatives. He said he learned what a marathon session is like. "Everyone was on edge because there was stuff we didn't agree on," Ramirez said. "We talked for five hours straight. At the end of it we were saying, 'just pass it!'" He said the event helped him with his confidence. Ramirez said he is no longer as frightened of public speaking as he once was. He also enjoyed the speakers at the event, including former state attorney general Rob McKenna and Micah Cawley, the mayor of Yakima. Ramirez said the experience taught him how politics work in the state. Ramos agreed with the sentiment. "It's a great opportunity to learn a lot about politics," said Ramos. "You learn how things are run in the city, county and state."

Cattle sorting fundraiser draws horsemen to Sunnyside

Headstrong heifers, determined riders, electronic timers and all the dust a person can eat made for an excellent weekend of cattle sorting competition at Sunnyside's Specks Arena, site of the third annual Sort 4 the Cause fundraiser. According to Tammy Fields, a Sort 4 the Cause event director, 80-plus riders were on hand for the two-day event, which challenged riders against cattle and the clock. Riders of all ages took their turn in the sorting pens, hazing cattle one at a time from one pen into a second pen, attempting to collect as many cows as possible in a specific order all within 1 minute. Riders working in teams of two, one to haze and one to block, made it look easy to the friends, families and fans gathered around the pens to cheer riders on. Sorting, a time honored cattleman's technique, is normally practiced these days for bragging rights and cash prizes. This past week, the sorting contest was held for a different cause... fighting cancer. The team members all pledged money to compete in the event, and many stuck around to participate in the live auction held Saturday night after the first day of competition. Fields said early estimates show that the auction raised more than $10,000, not including the amounts pledged by the riders. Last year's event raised $24,000, which was distributed to Children's Wishes and Dreams, Wellness House and Washington Hematology-Oncology. Fields said the money from this year's event will again be shared among these three agencies. New to this year's event was the Survivors Draw Class held Sunday morning to conclude the weekend fundraiser. Seven two-man teams signed up for the draw, which earned the top sorter a buckle. Earning that trophy was young Kyle Cameron of Sunnyside, both a survivor of cancer and a winner in his first sorting competition. Riding with veteran rider Pam Bright, herself a cancer survivor, the young man penned his five cows in order in the minute allowed, for top bragging rights. "Pretty cool," he said.

Summer storm Saturday downs power lines, trees

Sunnyside firemen found themselves answering a myriad of calls following the sudden wind storm which hit Sunnyside and the surrounding area about 5 p.m. last Saturday. Firemen were called out to the intersection of South Hill and Washington Court where power lines were reported down. Power lines were also reported down near the 400 block of West Edison Avenue. No power outages were reported, but PPL was called in to repair the lines. Firemen were called out again last Saturday evening when a tree fell against a building in the 900 block of Ida Belle Avenue. In addition to the storm related calls, firemen responded to a possible garage fire in the 1300 block of South 13th Street, but the fire was out upon the firemen's arrival. In other weekend activities, firemen responded to 17 aid calls, and made 11 transports and seven facility transfers. The firemen also handled five citizen assists.

Grandview man charged with murder

KENNEWICK - Robert Bruce McCorkindale, 24, of Grandview was formally charged with a count of first-degree murder this past Friday in Benton County Superior Court. McCorkindale is suspected in the death of Preston Yahne, 22, of Prosser, who was discovered in the trunk of his own burnt out car on June 18. Police say McCorkindale killed Yahne in a dispute over a drug deal. McCorkindale is being held on $250,000 bail at the Benton County Jail. Also arrested in the case was Laura Bancroft, 19, of Grandview. She is detained on a $500,000 bail in the Yakima County Jail and is still awaiting charges.

YouthBuild Program changing lives of young people, homeowner

GRANGER - The air is filled with the sound of hammers hitting nails, a table saw being used for cutting lumber and the voices of young men and women learning a trade they can build their future on. The youngsters range in age from 16 to 23 and the project they are working on will help them earn a GED or high school diploma. But, it's much more than that, according to Eddie Mendoza of Grandview, who is participating in the YouthBuild Program. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Labor. It is a partnership between Habitat for Humanity, YV-Tech Skills Center in Yakima and Northwest Community Action Center, according to instructor Steve Robles. Mendoza said he is building a home, but he is also building his future. "I like construction." He said learning a trade like construction is rewarding. Through the process of building a home for someone else, he can see the result of his labors. Mendoza said he chose to participate in the YouthBuild Program because he is seeking to earn a GED so that he can join the military. For just more than a week he and approximately 20 other students in the program have been working on a new home being constructed in Granger. They are working side-by-side with the future homeowner, developing bonds. The walls to the home were constructed by the youngsters in YouthBuild last week. The day that happened was Mendoza's first day on the job site, but he said he learned many valuable skills in that single day. "I learned how to complete framing and how to install walls," he said. "I am learning communication skills that are important for safety and for life," said Mendoza. Another important asset that he said he can take from his experience is the importance of teamwork. Robles agrees that teamwork is important. He is a carpenter by trade and believes it is important the youngsters participating in the YouthBuild Program learn what it is like in the real world. The Habitat for Humanity home is an opportunity for them to gain experience. "I treat the students as they would be treated on any other job site," said Robles. "I told them all that I would treat them like my own grandchildren...with blunt honesty." The project in Granger, he said, is the first YouthBuild project with which YV-Tech has been involved. Robles said it's important for the students to work on such a project because it provides them an opportunity to put to use skills he taught them in a classroom setting. "They can see how their skills benefit training it can be boring, but this gives the students an opportunity to see the fruits of their labor," said Robles. He said the Habitat for Humanity project is also beneficial because the youngsters can directly see the impact they are having on the lives of others.

Surviving Sunnyside's heat wave

Sun Terrace offers local seniors a place to escape high tempertaures