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Laura Gjovaag

Stories by Laura

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Supreme Court ruling may impact city, school employees

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled last week that work-related text messages on private cell phones of public employees are public records.

State AG sues feds over Hanford worker safety

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced yesterday that his office has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractor, Washington River Protection Solutions, alleging hazardous tank vapors at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation pose a serious risk to workers at the site.

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Grandview students have life-changing experiences at the equator

GRANDVIEW – “It surpassed my expectations.”

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Pies front and center at new deli in Sunnyside

Coming soon to Sunnyside...a comfortable place to sit down with family and friends while enjoying a cup of coffee and a slice of pie.

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Mabton Council planning for future

MABTON – Improving Mabton’s infrastructure and providing quality services to local residents are the main goals the city council discussed at a budget meeting this past Saturday morning.

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Ace is the place for this drag racer

Jorge Gonzalez says building a drag racer out of nothing into a vehicle that roars down a track is a thrilling experience.

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Sunnyside schools budget tops $100 million for first time

The Sunnyside School District continues to grow, pushing its annual budget to an all-time high of $101,344,650, with more than $73.3 million of those expenses in the general fund.

Old Mabton High School isn’t haunted: it’s just dangerous

I’m a Fortean, which just means that I accept the possibility that “things” might exist that science doesn’t account for or accept.

Don’t burn, baby, don’t burn!

Worldcon was held in Spokane this past weekend.

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Wages for Mabton city employees addressed last night

The Mabton City Council Tuesday night adjusted the wages and salaries for city employees. Council’s intent is to give more flexibility in hiring to the police chief and city manager.

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Microchips for pets safe, affordable way to keep track of Fido

While many people take every precaution they can to protect their pets, microchipping is often overlooked as a safe and effective way to locate and identify lost animals.

City’s finances finally ‘healthy’

The city’s finances are in pretty good shape, according to Sunnyside Finance Director David Layden, who presented an overview of the city’s finances for the first six months of 2015.

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Friendly face helps women at Nuestra Casa

Blanca Bazaldua has experienced just about everything the Lower Valley has to offer in terms of work, and that wealth of knowledge is very useful in her current position at Nuestra Casa.

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Tourism promotion area suggested for Sunnyside

Tom Denlea of the Sunnyside Lodging Tax Advisory Committee gave a short presentation to the Sunnyside City Council Monday night, proposing the city adopt a tourism promotion area.

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Government agencies set up to help both employers and workers

People looking for work or for workers can both turn to WorkSource and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for help, according to the guest speakers at Wednesday morning’s Sunnyside Daybreak Rotary Club meeting.

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Air quality monitors to be installed at Sunnyside’s Harrison Middle School

Two air quality monitors that measure particle pollution are being installed at Harrison Middle School in Sunnyside and will collect air pollution data for the Lower Valley from October of this year until February 2016.

Concerns raised over feedlot proposal

Despite several dairies and another feedlot in the area, a proposal to establish a new feedlot southeast of Mabton is facing stiff resistance from the Washington State Department of Ecology, the city of Mabton and adjoining property owners.

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Smoke gets in my eyes

I’ve really enjoyed the sunsets the past week or so.

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General fund budget for G’view schools tops $39.5 million

Two weeks after being sworn into office, Grandview School Board Directors Jessica Hansen and Dale Burgeson last night helped approve the budget for the district’s 2015-16 school year.

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City Council forms vision for Sunnyside

The Sunnyside City Council spent five hours this past Saturday envisioning the future of the city and setting seven main goals for 2016 that will help attain that future.

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Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce loses non-profit status with IRS

Local business group in arrears to tune of $44,000

Airport rehab among projects eyed by council

The Sunnyside City Council this past Monday evening discussed several construction projects that are on the drawing board, including a major revamp at the airport.

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Mabton Council OK’s six-year streets plan

The Mabton City Council approved the annual update to its Six-Year Transportation Improvement Plan Tuesday night, adding five new projects to the list of work the city hopes to accomplish in the next six years, for a total of 17 street improvement projects.

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Police, fire chiefs present reports to Sunnyside Council

The Sunnyside City Council received several reports on the status of the city’s fire and police departments at Monday night’s meeting.

City council debates school district’s share of school resource officer costs

It took quite a bit of discussion this past Monday evening before the Sunnyside City Council came to an agreement on a contract it was willing to enter into with the Sunnyside School District. Specifically, the agreement is a continuation of the policy of the city providing the schools with on-site police officers.

Former Monson feedlot site on the market

The old Monson feedlot site will soon be listed for sale by Almon Commercial Real Estate.

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Other projects on drawing board following downtown revitalization work

Sunnyside’s downtown revitalization project is complete except for the last few pieces of paperwork, but city staff is still working on other projects.

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Renovations planned at city hall

A small but significant renovation will be completed in the next few months at Sunnyside’s city hall.

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Cutting cows enjoyable hobby for local horseman

It’s been a long road for Ben Sartin from his start with trail riding horses to breeding and competing with cutting horses.

Not everyone needs a college degree

John W. Gardner, the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services from 1965 to 1968, is quoted as saying:

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Congressman lends ear to ag teachers

A shortage of ag teachers and constant threats to funding for vocational training were topics of discussion when U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse visited a class of agriculture educators at Prosser High School yesterday morning.

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Bicycle safety focus of rodeo

Sunnyside’s Holy Trinity Church held a bicycle rodeo this past weekend, free to all children who brought a bike to participate.

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Alpacas center stage at fiber fest

A dramatic moment for the seniors visiting Sage Bluff Alpacas in Prosser this past Saturday came when a herd of young animals raced into the paddock in front of them.

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Changes ahead in Mabton due to ag teacher shortage

A shortage of agriculture teachers has led to a shifting of responsibilities at Mabton High School for the coming school year.

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Town hall meeting, gang problem discussed by Sunnyside United coalition

Members of Sunnyside United are looking toward the future and already planning a town hall meeting to be held Thursday, Sept. 17, in Sunnyside.

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Good leadership improves profits, says HR expert

Companies often throw away 20 percent of their potential profits due to poor leadership, according to Ermelindo Escobedo, a human resources specialist who spoke at Sunnyside’s Daybreak Rotary Club meeting last Wednesday morning.

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Irrigation ditch project garners $850,000 grant

The project to cover the open irrigation ditch along 16th Street between Edison Avenue and Yakima Valley Highway passed another hurdle this week.

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Roza to increase water flow next week

Roza customers will be getting slightly more water slightly sooner than originally planned.

Don’t leave animals in cars on hot days

I don’t really need to warn people about leaving pets in cars on these very warm days, do I?

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New Grandview band teacher hopes to inspire achievement in music

GRANDVIEW – Adam Harris hopes to jazz up Grandview High School when he starts as band teacher at the school this fall.

My favorite Martian

There’s a Martian working for Yakima County, and what he does is really useful.

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Daley out as S’side AD

Bill Daley, who has been a fixture at Sunnyside High School for more than two decades, will be resigning from his position as athletic director at the end of the 2015-16 school year.

Sunnyside School Board makes short work of agenda

The Sunnyside School Board quickly worked its way through a short agenda Thursday night, approving several routine plans and schedules, and having a short discussion on the district’s achievement plans.

Sunnyside has its wild places

I grew up across the street from a horse pasture.

Routine business matters handled by Sunnyside City Council

The Sunnyside City Council zipped through its business meeting this past Monday night, passing three resolutions and approving a plan for public participation.

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City council favorable to idea of outdoor cafe seating

The Sunnyside City Council held two first readings of new ordinances Monday night, including one that would allow downtown businesses to offer outside seating.

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Bank of America closing Lower Valley financial centers

Bank of America is closing its Sunnyside and Grandview branches in the Lower Valley, although both cities will continue to have automatic teller machines available for banking needs.

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Parks and rec report delivered to Sunnyside Daybreak Rotarians

Sunnyside’s Daybreak Rotary Club is considering what it can do to improve Sunnyside’s parks after a short presentation by Megan Razey this past Wednesday morning about the state of the city’s parks and recreation programs.

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Trees on school property deemed dangerous, being removed

A number of large trees on the grounds of the Sunnyside School District’s administration building at the corner of South Sixth Street and East Lincoln Avenue are being removed because they are dying or diseased and pose a direct threat to the community.

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Groundwater advisory group continues to have issues

The Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Advisory Committee last night managed to continue its work toward reducing nitrate concentration in groundwater despite a contentious start, a competing meeting and a procedural argument that revealed deep disagreements in how the group should be operating.