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Laura Gjovaag

Stories by Laura

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Bookkeeper finds joy in family ties

Family is extremely important to Kerri Greene, who works at Sunnyside’s Tire Factory as a bookkeeper.

Injuries, illness plague Lady Pirates

Down to only six players, the Bickleton volleyball squad still gave its best shot against the host Klickitat Vandals, falling in three sets, 25-17, 25-13, 25-12.

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New cars, employees focus of budget meeting

Two new police cars, a new face at city hall, better trained officers and an upgraded ambulance fleet were part of the 2015 preliminary budget discussed last night (Tuesday) by the Sunnyside City Council.

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Sunnyside budget discussions include vehicle registration fees for local residents

Based on preliminary budget discussions, Sunnyside residents could be paying as much as $20 for each car they own, maybe even more.

Former councilman’s claim against city rejected by judge

Sunnyside business owner Donovan Vlieger was unable to prove in small claims court that the flooding which damaged his home and business on Sept. 5, 2013, was due to negligence by the city.

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Congressional candidates offer up opposing views at forum

The sharp contrast between the two candidates wanting to represent Washington State’s 4th Congressional District was apparent during a forum sponsored by the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce last week.

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Public safety committee schooled on gang-free efforts

Sunnyside’s subcommittee on public safety met at the Sunnyside United-Unidos headquarters next to Pioneer Elementary School on East Lincoln Avenue last Thursday night to learn how the organization and Sunnyside police are fighting the gang problem in local schools.

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Sunnyside United conducting annual community survey

At its monthly meeting yesterday, Thursday, the Sunnyside United-Unidos coalition discussed a variety of matters, including the annual community survey and the organization’s new online presence.

Look to your right: that car goes first

The “four-way stop of doom” at Yakima Valley Highway and 16th Street will be fixed soon, with new signal lights scheduled to be put up soon after the first of November.

Local charter school bid fails on second attempt

Sunnyside school staff oppose proposal at commission meeting

The Sunnyside Charter Academy will not be opening after the Washington State Charter School Commission unanimously denied its application last Thursday during an all-day meeting held at Yakima Valley Community College.

Granger judge censured by judicial commission for DUI

The Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct has censured former Sunnyside prosecutor and Granger Municipal Court Judge Kathleen Hitchcock, who is currently on probation after pleading guilty to DUI.

Some changes in Sunnyside’s 2015 budget

The city of Sunnyside expects to spend a bit less than $23 million overall next year, about $10.2 million in the general fund. The amount is a 14 percent increase from 2014.

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Didier attacks Newhouse during meet and greet

ZILLAH – Clint Didier said he’s lived the American dream, but he sees our rights and freedoms being eroded and is worried his children and grandchildren will not have the same opportunities he had.

Mentoring one method Sunnyside schools use to improve teacher quality

When new teachers first start work in the Sunnyside School District, they step into a district with a consistently improving graduation rate and high standards for students.

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

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

Pacific Power asking for 8.5 percent rate increase

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

Monday morning wake-up... gunfire?

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

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Mission trip to Haiti reveals more work remains to be done

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

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Former councilman files claim against city for flood damage

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

Lady Knights triumph at home against Crusaders

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

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Lady Pirates win battle in Mabton

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

Deal allows Sunnyside firemen access to fire district’s vehicles

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

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Charter school debated in Sunnyside

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

Feds dole out nearly $300 million to health care providers

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

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

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

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

Light pollution

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

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Police fleet needs replacing (soon)

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

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2015 budget outlook very rosy

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

High school graduation requirements constantly changing

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

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Putting trust in God is an ongoing process

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

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County wants public input on growth plan

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

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School bus driver likes traveling the world

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

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

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

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Wallace Way cul de sac construction project given to Kennewick company

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

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Great start to school year here in Sunnyside

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

New contract for local teachers

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

$95.5 million budget for Sunnyside schools

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

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

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

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Miss Sunnyside candidate Itzel Justo-Garcia

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

Pet owners are costing us all money

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

Talking past each other is no way to solve a problem

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

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Soggy snafu for pot store

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

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Learning Land Express under new ownership

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

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

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

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CARE out of the mix with groundwater group

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

Replacing police commander will take a bit of time

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

Councilman taken to task for on-line posting

Sunnyside has received some international attention.

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Advisory board reviews airport rules

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

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Budget, utility billings finance subcommittee meeting topics last night

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

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