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Laura Gjovaag

Stories by Laura

$95.5 million budget for Sunnyside schools

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

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

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

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Miss Sunnyside candidate Itzel Justo-Garcia

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

Pet owners are costing us all money

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

Talking past each other is no way to solve a problem

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

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Soggy snafu for pot store

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

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Learning Land Express under new ownership

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

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

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

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CARE out of the mix with groundwater group

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

Replacing police commander will take a bit of time

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

Councilman taken to task for on-line posting

Sunnyside has received some international attention.

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Advisory board reviews airport rules

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

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Budget, utility billings finance subcommittee meeting topics last night

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

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

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

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Stihl technician at Ace loves sports, music, math

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

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

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

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

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

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UNSUNG HEROES

Local community rallies to help orphans around the world

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

Pilot program designed to engage parents with Sunnyside schools making progress

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

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

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

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Driving isn’t a right

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

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Sunnyside drags its heels on pot sales decision

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

Police commander in Sunnyside accepts top cop job in Othello

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

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Mabton Council discusses mayor’s request for pay hike

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

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

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

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

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

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Berry good crop

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

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Democrats seek to bring new political blood to region

Seeking to change the way voters look at Central Washington politics are four candidates as vastly different as their ages.

Congratulations are in order, today

My niece got married last Friday.

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Sunnyside Council OK’s fire sale on jail bed prices

The Sunnyside City Council unanimously authorized City Manager Don Day to reduce rates at the Sunnyside jail from the current rate of about $54 a day per prisoner to a minimum of $40 a day in order to fill empty cells.

Sunnyside’s six-year transportation plan approved

A public hearing on Sunnyside’s six-year transportation improvement program yielded no comments from the public and very little discussion at last night’s city council meeting.

Yakima County candidates stump for votes in Sunnyside

Four candidates for public office were present at this morning’s Sunnyside Republican Club meeting, along with the wife of another candidate who could not make the meeting due to obligations in his current position.

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Grammy-winning Sunnyside native returns home for concert

Two-time Grammy Award winner and Sunnyside High School alumnus Joel Guzman will be performing in Sunnyside on Saturday, July 19, at the Sunnyside Fraternal Order of Eagles lodge.

Business groups call for immigration reform...NOW

Although both parties in Congress have declared immigration reform a dead issue this year, a large group of pro-business organizations called for a national day of action yesterday (Wednesday) and declared the immigration crisis to be something that Congress needs to deal with immediately.

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City wants to hear from public on allowing chickens to be raised here

The Sunnyside Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at its next meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 12, to discuss an ordinance change that would allow people to raise chickens within city limits.

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Zoning change sought for housing development

A proposal to change city zoning on a lot on South Street to allow a private road and eight new houses met with general approval from the Sunnyside Planning Commission Tuesday night.

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City bleeding money due to empty jail cells

The city of Sunnyside stands to lose approximately $120,000 in jail revenues if it cannot fill the empty beds in the facility, according to Police Commander Phil Schenck.

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Crime free rental program working in Sunnyside

Sunnyside’s crime free rental housing program is working, according to police officials who presented an overview and update on the program to the city’s subcommittee on public safety yesterday afternoon.

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21st Century camp underway in Sunnyside

Campers at the 21st Century summer camp, held at Sunnyside’s Sierra Vista Middle School this year, are learning a little bit of everything.

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Granger native has hand in bringing Scottish legend to the big screen

At Balgonie Castle in Scotland this past month, Granger native Marco Palmer was on the set of “The Fairy Flag,” filming a cameo in the movie he co-wrote.

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Pool manager comes home to serve Grandview

GRANDVIEW – Amanda McLean’s mother no longer lives in Grandview, where McLean grew up, but she still returns to the area every summer to work at the Grandview pool.

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Evergreen Boys State ‘amazing’ experience for Lower Valley high school junior class students

“It was amazing,” said Brendon Lynch of his experience at Evergreen Boys State.

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A year later, mill keeps alpaca farmers busy

Silbury Hill Alpacas kicked off its fourth summer season and first anniversary of the installation of its mill this past weekend with a day of tours at the farm north of Sunnyside.

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Focus of fair to educate people on kidney health

While kidneys were the focus of the “Healthy Habits, Happy Kidneys” health and wellness fair at DaVita Mt. Adams Kidney Center in Sunnyside this past Saturday, attendees were able to learn about a lot of different options for health care in the Lower Valley.

School levy for athletic facilities likely to be put before local voters

The Sunnyside School District may be putting a levy on the November ballot to pay for an upgrade to the district’s athletic facilities.

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$40,975 parent engagement program OK’d

A project that will teach English to parents of Sunnyside Middle School students was approved by the school board Thursday night.

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Bridges, roads need a lot of work to become safe again

The recent closure of the Mabton Bridge to traffic over three tons should have locals waking up to a major problem.

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Completion of new homes celebrated

GRANGER – “This is not a small thing, no es cosa pequeña,” said Mario Villanueva

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2014-15 Washington state dairy ambassador receives crown

EVERETT – Janis DeJager from Everson, representing Whatcom County, is the 2014-15 Washington State Dairy Ambassador.

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