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Alfred Diaz

Stories by Alfred

Bright's Candies' treats sweeten Christmas Season

The candy flies off the shelves as fast as they can be stocked.

Council puts pool complex on Feb. 10 ballot

A full City Council unanimously approved putting a $5.8 million pool bond measure to the public in a Feb. 10 special election.

Pay hikes on the table for City today

Approximately 276 city employees — including department heads and union and nonunion members — are expected to receive 2 or 3 percent salary increases in 2015.

Walla Walla city planners OK second pot retailer

After granting local approval for the city’s second pot store, city officials confirmed they will oppose a Washington State Liquor Control Board plan to add even more stores in city limits.

Council to vote on pool bond Wednesday

The City Council will vote Wednesday on whether to present voters with a $5.8 million bond to rebuild Memorial Pool.

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'Nutcracker' packs the house at Cordiner Hall

The Eugene Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” returned to Whitman College’s Cordiner Hall on Saturday.

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Music in the morning pumps Sharpstein students

WALLA WALLA — It was an earlier- and shorter-than-normal gig for bIG fONT, which was one reason washboard player Louis Valiante was a few minutes late to school.

Police say Friday's fatal shooting not random

Friday’s fatal shoot of a 25-year-old man, who was shot after answering the door, was most likely not an indiscriminate act of violence.

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Whitman students brave cold to raise funds for cancer research

Seasoned cross-country runners long since hardened by courses and weather formed a relay all through the night.

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Irish trio Affiniti crosses over for Walla Walla stop

A classical, contemporary and Celtic crossover trio with an affinity for the letter “i” will perform at Gesa Power House Theatre next week.

City Council adopts budget with small increase in cost for local homeowners

The City Council approved a 2015 and 2106 biennial budget that includes a decrease in property taxes offset by an increase in utilities that will leave the average homeowner $63.64 poorer in 2015.

Council puts fire inspection plan on hold

City officials this week could wrap up a proposed two-year budget a full three weeks before Christmas, but crossed off the wish list for next year is a controversial new fire inspection fee and the hiring of a second inspector.

Snowfall brings out tree shoppers

Just the right amount of snow at the right time of the season will bring them outdoors to pick a tree at Bachtold’s Christmas Trees.

Dayton’s annual Kickoff scores big

Local merchants got an early Christmas present of a packed Main Street for the annual Christmas Kickoff.

Old Odd Fellows building eyed as hotel

A group of developers wants to turn the old Odd Fellows building at 28 S. Spokane St. into an upscale hotel with 70 rooms, penthouse suites, bar and terraced restaurant along Mill Creek.

Columbia County hospital bond squeaks by

DAYTON — After counting 28 remaining ballots, a $5.5 million Columbia County Hospital District capital improvement bond narrowly passed with a margin of eight-hundredths of a percent.

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Local blues scene red hot at 2014 awards

WALLA WALLA — A sweep was followed by a bash and a jam as local musicians and one venue owner celebrated winning big at this year’s Inland Empire Blues Society Awards.

City Council supports 2-pool plan

After reviewing a community survey, the City Council is backing a $5.7 million construction bond that would a bring back public swimming in Walla Walla — should voters OK a spending measure that could be on a ballot as early as February.

City OK’s mix of tax and fee increases

WALLA WALLA — City Council unanimously approved increasing a current 10.25 percent utility-excise tax to 13 percent in order to raise approximately $700,000 more for roads fixes next year.

Lax fire inspections tied to Walla Walla budget proposal

WALLA WALLA — A push to comply with state fire codes and the threat of higher insurance rates are why city officials want to hire a second inspector and impose new fees on an estimated 1,680 businesses and rental properties of three units or more.

City proposes $29.3M expense budget for 2015

WALLA WALLA — Despite flat revenues and increasing costs, city officials have proposed a balanced budget for the next two years with a healthy 15 percent ending fund balance and more money for streets.

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Orchestra competition classic case of nerves

WALLA WALLA — Student performances frequently resound through the music halls of Whitman College, with the only tension being those of tightly wound strings.

Substitutes hard to find for local schools

School districts across the nation are facing substitute teacher shortages, including local schools where district officials report subnormal applicant numbers.

Whitman’s new president visits campus

WALLA WALLA — Whitman College President George Bridges announced his successor to a standing-room-only crowd of about 400 students, faculty and staff.

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Whitman College names new president

WALLA WALLA — Whitman College officials announced today the successor to current President George Bridges, who had announced he will leave the position in June after the current school year ends.

Mechanical problem, weather lead to trash pickup delay

WALLA WALLA — Thanks to mechanical problems coupled with a back-up of garbage after Veterans Day, city crews are running one to two days late on emptying garbage and green waste bins.

Across-America horseman resigns from Milton-Freewater Council

MILTON-FREEWATER — City officials next week will decide how to fill a vacancy created by Council member Sam Hopkins-Hubbard’s recent resignation.

Final vote tally confirms Turner win, leaves hospital bond just short

Local election results saw no change after Friday’s tally of uncounted ballots, including the results for the Walla Walla County sheriff’s race and a cliffhanger vote over a $5.5 million capital improvement bond for Columbia County Hospital District.

Walla Walla City Council OKs property tax hike

WALLA WALLA — The City Council voted 5-1 to approve a 1 percent property tax increase, but overall taxes are expected to take a dip next year because the city will be returning $487,640 of excess police bond construction funds.

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Wa-Hi makes much ado about Shakespeare in the round

After a six-year intermission, the Bard is back at Walla Walla High School with the fall performance of “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Garfield County goes for Keller, Dixon and Roosevelt in local races

POMEROY — Keeping with August primary results, current Garfield County Sheriff Bennie Keller again took about three-quarters of the vote or 73.5 percent to challenger Bruce Barkhuff’s 26.5 percent.

Council to weigh Walla Walla property tax rate

WALLA WALLA — The City Council will hold a public hearing and possibly vote Wednesday on whether to increase property tax funding from last year’s $5,134,852 to a proposed $5,434,743 for 2015.

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City could throw coin into fountain renovation

WALLA WALLA — A century-old Pioneer Park fountain could be the next recipient of utility roundup funds.

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Spooks, ghouls swamp downtown

Light rains did little to turn back a bounty of trick-or-treaters, who hit up merchants on Main Street from Palouse Street almost all the way to Fifth Avenue on Halloween.

City pool survey so far drawing a 33 percent response rate

WALLA WALLA — Less than a week remains for 1,000 residents to let city officials know what they think about a multimillion dollar plan to rebuild Memorial Pool.

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Video: Wonderheads bring mime, mirth to Power House

WALLA WALLA — Sometimes success can lead an actor to getting a big head.

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State clears water-recycling splash pad design

The state gave official approval for an innovative Washington Park splash pad design, well within the time frame Walla Walla officials said is needed to build Fountains For Youth by May 1.

Pilots fly tall for fall Stampede

WALLA WALLA — Ballon Stampede organizer Scott Spencer is now more confident the event will be better for pilots and spectators and sponsors if it is moved to this time of year instead of in May.

Wine industry mourns death of Eric Dunham

Highly celebrated local winemaker, philanthropist, artist, foodie and friend to many, Eric M. Dunham, 44, died Thursday.

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Video - Students quadruple fun at science balloon launch

WALLA WALLA — The annual Garrison Middle School weather balloon launch was inflated by four when students from four local schools set off four balloons, all of them expected to reach heights of 20 miles up before they deflate and parachute back down to earth with their time capsules.

Walla Walla City Council signs off on pot rules

WALLA WALLA — City Council narrowly approved a set of ordinances that will regulate locations for future growing, processing and retail sales of marijuana.

Wa-Hi teacher investigated after reports of inappropriate touching

WALLA WALLA — A Walla Walla High School teacher was put on leave after three students reported they were inappropriately touched by him during shop class.

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Faculty votes ‘no confidence’ in WWCC president

The nation’s best community college recently got a black eye of sorts from its Arts and Sciences faculty, who last month submitted a no-confidence statement criticizing the management style of Walla Walla Community College President Steven VanAusdle, as well as the organizational structure and lack of funding to the Arts and Sciences departments.

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Summer hangs on, but Farmers Market to pack it in

One more Downtown Farmers Market is left in what has proved to be a mild-fall where vendors are still able to sell their more traditional summer crops.

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Walla Walla sailors tear up the waves

Some of the most exciting and challenging sailing in the Northwest is located at the most southwesterly section of the county at Port Kelley, Wash.

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Seahawks' hawk promotes Pioneer Park Aviary

Taima, the Seattle Seahawks mascot who flies into the stadium before games to lead the way for the Super Bowl champions, made a local landing Friday night at the annual Pioneer Park Aviary fundraiser — An Evening of Foliage and Feathers.

Update: 250 acre fire south of Dayton 70 percent contained

A 250 acre wildland fire in the Robinette Mountain Road area is approximately 70 percent contained as of Saturday morning.

Fire south of Dayton spreading rapidly

A wildland fire approximately 10 miles south of Dayton has grown to 100 acres since it was first called in at 11:15 a.m. today.

Wildland fire spreads in Dayton area

DAYTON — A wildland fire approximately 10 miles south of town has grown to 100 acres since it was first called in at 11:15 a.m. today.

Port vote kills proposed option for downtown purchase

WALLA WALLA — A proposed $47,200 purchase option to buy five downtown properties for $1,847,200 died Thursday for lack of a majority vote by the Port Commission.