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Andy Porter

Stories by Andy

Winds help clear smoke from, spread Grizzly Bear fire

Light winds Wednesday provided a good news-bad news scenario for the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire.

Cold front may help with Grizzly Bear fire effort

Although flames breached the Wenaha River in Oregon Monday, firefighters were able to stop the Grizzly Bear Complex fire from spreading as they continued to work on containment lines today.

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Grizzly Bear fire surpasses 100 square miles

More than 600 firefighters are now working to contain the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire, which has grown to cover more than 102 square miles.

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Wine crush starts unseasonably early

A mild winter, warm spring and hot summer are yielding the earliest harvest in memory for Washington state’s wine growers.

Candidate officially out of College Place School Board race

An election for one of the seats on the College Place School Board has been fixed, but in a good way.

Sides spar at hearing on Walla Walla pot grow sites

Two entrepreneurs hoping to operate marijuana growing facilities in Walla Walla’s Eastgate area put their cases before the city’s hearing examiner Thursday.

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Grizzly Bear Complex Fire doubles in breezy blowup

Driven by gusting winds, the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire doubled in size Thursday forcing the evacuation of three rural communities.

Out-of-district candidate quits College Place School Board race

COLLEGE PLACE — A candidate for a seat on the College Place School Board has dropped out of the race because he does not live in the school district.

Grizzly Bear fire crosses into Oregon

The Grizzly Bear Complex fire burning in the Blue Mountains miles southeast of Dayton has expanded to 12,000 acres, fire officials said today.

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Friends, foes of pot grows to weigh in at hearing

Two marijuana growing operations proposed for Isaacs Avenue will be up for review by the city of Walla Walla hearing examiner Thursday.

Walla Walla County to send services building to auction

A building bought five years ago with hopes it would become a center for community social services is headed for the auction block.

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Residents grill Corps on levee-clearing plan

Community members Wednesday posed a bevy of skeptical questions about a proposed plan to remove trees and shrubs along a section of levees lining Mill Creek.

City opts for lower-cost water treatment system

City Council members voted Wednesday to change plans for how Walla Walla’s drinking water will be purified in coming years.

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Weedery push to open called ‘craven effort’

An entrepreneur hoping to fast-track the opening of a marijuana store in Walla Walla was an apparent no-show at a City Council workshop Monday.

Weather expected to be fair for Stopover

In terms of weather, Gentlemen of the Road fans are predicted to hit the jackpot this weekend.

Meeting set on plan to clear Mill Creek levees of vegetation

A public meeting will be held Wednesday to present information and take comments on a plan to clear trees and brush from levees along a section of Mill Creek.

County adopts one-stop system for homeless aid

An improved system to help homeless people find a way off the streets has debuted.

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Officials: Blue Creek Fire sparked by farm equipment

The Blue Creek Fire, which burned more than 9 square miles east of Walla Walla, was started by “equipment use during a wheat harvest,” state officials confirmed Monday.

County to consider changes to BnB regs

The Walla Walla County Planning Commission will hold a workshop Wednesday on proposed changes to bed-and-breakfast guesthouse regulations.

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July continues hot, dry streak for Walla Walla

July continued this year’s trend of record-setting heat, clocking in as the fourth-hottest one on record, the National Weather Service reported today.

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Many firefighters move on as fire reaches 'significant turning point'

Many of the hundreds of men and women who have been battling the Blue Creek Fire were packing their bags this morning.

Fire containment at 85 percent; cost nearing $10 million

Containment of the Blue Creek Fire is now at 85 percent today with the fire holding at 6,004 acres, fire officials said.

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Tour of burn zone gives a up-close look at Blue Creek Fire destruction

In many places, the mountain landscape appeared as if it had once been in a color photo that now has been turned black and white.

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Couple loses home, possessions and pets to Blue Creek Fire

When the Blue Creek Fire broke out on the early afternoon of July 20, Jean Hylton and her husband, Roy, were at work in Walla Walla.

Crews beef up Blue Creek Fire lines

The Blue Creek Fire remained at 73 percent contained today as crews work to solidify fire lines, particularly on the southern flanks near the Mill Creek Watershed that supplies Walla Walla’s municipal water.

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Fire official: Community support for fire crews 'overwhelming'

Local support for firefighters battling the Blue Creek Fire has been “overwhelming,” officials said Monday. But bees and wasps haven’t been happy.

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Crews rapidly gain ground on Blue Creek Fire

Crews rapidly gained more ground on the Blue Creek Fire Monday, pushing containment of the blaze to 73 percent today, up from 50 percent on Monday.

Bennington Lake reopens for watercraft use

The lake had been closed July 22 to allow firefighting helicopters to draft water from it.

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Blue Creek crews work to expand containment as hot weather looms

Helped by cooler weather over the weekend, firefighters continued to increase control of the Blue Creek Fire today. But the return of hot weather expected later this week is raising concerns.

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Updated: Containment of fire reaches past 70 percent

The battle against the Blue Creek Fire continued to take a positive turn as crews had the fire at 25 percent containment as of Saturday afternoon.

Corps asks for comment on plans to clear off Mill Creek

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking comments on a plan to remove trees and shrubs along the Mill Creek levees.

Fire evacuation alerts reduced

The evacuation alert has been decreased today for several areas threatened by the Blue Creek Fire and one additional road closure was announced.

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Updated: Blue Creek Fire spreads, but containment increases

The Blue Creek Fire now covers 6,225 acres and is 25 percent contained, according to fire officials.

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Blaze, 5 percent contained, 'highest priority in the nation'

Fire officials have updated the size of the Blue Creek Fire to about 5,600 acres as of this morning.

Rural Library ousts executive director Morgan

The Walla Walla County Library District board has ended the employment of the district’s executive director.

Blue Creek fire uncontained, forces evacuations

Authorities today said the fire was human caused and is under investigation. A full update will be posted later this morning.

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Fish passage at Ice Harbor Dam anniversary celebrated

BURBANK — It’s a massive device with an odd name, and it has had a major impact on helping threatened salmon make their way to the sea.

Walla Walla County working toward sale of building on Kelley Place

Walla Walla County commissioners Monday started the process to sell the financially troubled Walla Walla County Community Service Center.

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As heatwave breaks, cooling brings lightning, flash flood threat

After weeks of 100-degree heat, a weather system moving into the Valley should lower temps into the 80s.

Walla Walla County burn ban extended indefinitely

The ban covers all burning, including agricultural, residential and recreational, as well as special burns.

City gets stormwater treatment grants

A stormwater filtration system and a new street sweeper to help stop pollutants from flowing into Mill Creek is in the works for the city of Walla Walla.

No local hits in federal order to fix fish-blocking culverts

Walla Walla and Columbia counties are not among those in Washington state affected by a federal court order to fix fish passage barriers.

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June sets all-time heat record

Summer, as anyone who’s been in the Walla Walla Valley in recent weeks knows, is off to a blazing start.

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Hiring, repairs underway as jail transitions to County

As Walla Walla County’s jail undergoes its first change in management authority since Washington state’s territorial days, officials are hiring staff and checking off items on a long list of repair and maintenance needs.

Heat pushes wheat to an early harvest

Dry, hot conditions have sparked an early start to this year’s harvests of winter wheat and peas.

College Place OKs rule for future fireworks bans

COLLEGE PLACE — Although a fireworks ban is off the table this year, the City Council voted Thursday to allow for one next year.

Wildfires scorch region

Fire crews today are battling a series of blazes in the Umatilla National Forest east of Walla Walla, among wildfires elsewhere in the region that broke out over a simmering weekend.

Temperature records fall in Walla Walla

A heat wave that arrived Friday has broken Walla Walla records for three days running.

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Heat blast could crimp blueberry harvest

Oregon blueberry growers are having one of the earliest harvests in decades, but an oncoming heat wave has pickers scrambling to save what they can from sun damage.

Searing temps spark health, fire warnings

As temperatures head into the hundreds and possibly the record books this weekend, health warnings and burn bans are in the air throughout the Walla Walla Valley.