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Laura Gjovaag

Stories by Laura

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Deliberations on 2016 budget now underway

The city of Sunnyside is expecting revenues next year to be up slightly from this year, by about $231,000.

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Classroom lessons can come in a box

Hands-on learning is a joy local elementary school students will get this year when Burke Museum boxes are introduced in Sunnyside classrooms.

Make sure to vote

The deadline to register to vote in November’s General Election is coming up fast.

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Free program helps businesses manage employee health care

WellnessWorks, a free program offered to local businesses by Sunnyside Community Hospital, helps employers get a grip on health care issues.

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Sheriff, county prosecutor make case to vote for sales tax

A lot is at stake, from a policing standpoint, when voters cast their ballots in the General Election.

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Sunnyside’s vision for tourism on the table

Sunnyside needs a unique identity that will draw tourists all year long, as well as festivals that will bring people to town for more than a single day, according to Tom Dealea of the Sunnyside Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC).

Parks/rec board discusses role of new coordinator

The Sunnyside Parks and Recreation Commission called a special meeting yesterday to discuss what its members expect from the city’s new recreation coordinator.

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Super harvest blood moon on horizon this Sunday night

Yakima Valley residents may want to head outside just after sunset this coming Sunday night. The earth’s moon will be in rare form.

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Burials becoming much more expensive in Mabton

Funerals in Mabton are about to get more expensive.

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Traffic’s one reason to buy into the easy lifestyle of Yakima Valley

The president of China visited Seattle yesterday, turning what is usually nasty traffic into something even much worse.

County employee charged with theft, identity theft in voucher scheme

A complete audit of the drug court voucher program in Yakima County has determined that an employee originally accused of illegally dispersing less than $10,000 worth of vouchers may have actually handed out $72,289 worth of free services.

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New communications director thrilled to be in Sunnyside

The Sunnyside School District has a new public face.

Celebrate makers ... don’t imprison them

If a kid in a NASA t-shirt shows off his homemade clock, don’t call the police.

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Marijuana activist 'living the dream'

Glassblower John Henry can stand up under the heat.

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Good News Club program returns to Grandview schools

GRANDVIEW – Students in Grandview will once again have the opportunity to attend “Good News” clubs at their local school once a week after classes are done.

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Hurray...autumn’s nearly here

It’s that time of year again. Summer is finally turning into fall.

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Secretary of State encourages Latinos to get politically involved

An all-day leadership forum in Granger for Latinos interested in public service included everything from advice on how to properly introduce yourself, to a luncheon keynote address by Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

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Safari night club signs need to be rescued again

The brightly glowing, neon signs that once graced the popular downtown Safari night club need to be moved immediately.

South Hill Road ‘raceway’ complaints voiced

Since the re-opening of South Hill Road, traffic has increased, semi-trucks are driving through the neighborhood and there is more garbage along the roadway.

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Sunnyside High ag teacher Sun Valley Elementary’s newest assistant principal

“I am taller than all my students, now,” quips Ryan Kannely, who took a job this year as the assistant principal at Sunnyside’s all-kindergarten Sun Valley Elementary School.

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Mabton fixes plans for its future growth

The Mabton City Council was informed Tuesday night that its urban growth plan is out of compliance with state law and needs to be fixed immediately.

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New band teacher wants to set down roots in Lower Valley

Sunnyside High School’s new band teacher has plans to stick around for quite some time.

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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.