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Andy Porter

Stories by Andy

Committee holds first meeting on County Jail split idea

A committee to review information on a proposal to split the County Jail away from the Sheriff’s Office held its first meeting Tuesday, the first of several it will hold.

Bill pulls horns from ‘patent trolls’

State legislators have approved a new law to help protect small businesses from “patent trolls.”

Commission rescinds chief deputy’s 20.4 percent pay raise

After hearing protests from elected officials, Walla Walla County commissioners today voted 2-1 to rescind a 20 percent pay raise they approved last week for the sheriff’s chief administrative deputy.

State passes legislation aimed at 'patent trolls'

Requested by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, the Patent Troll Prevention Act will help shield businesses from predatory and bad faith patent infringement claims and demands. The bill passed the Senate 41-6 in February and was approved Monday by a 94-3 vote in the House. It can now be signed by the governor.

Wildfire season in Washington officially starts

Washington state’s wildfire season is underway and officials say danger signs are already showing.

County gives 20.4 percent pay raise to chief deputy

Walla Walla County commissioners did an about-face Monday on a pay raise they denied last year for Sheriff John Turner’s chief administrative deputy.

Commissioners delay decision on jail split until June

A decision on whether to split the County Jail operations off from the Sheriff’s Office will be delayed until June, county commissioners decided Monday.

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Long-awaited CP streets rebuilding to start

Travel through town will start getting a little tricky this week as a $10.5 million road project gets underway.

Supreme Court upholds Walla Walla gang murder conviction

The Washington state Supreme Court today reinstated the murder conviction of Benito Gomez, a gang member serving life for a 2011 shooting death in Walla Walla.

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Commissioner says jail decision due Monday

The question of whether to split Walla Walla County Jail away from the Sheriff’s Office will be on commissioners’ agenda next week.

Hearing on jail split draws several staff

Speakers at Tuesdays’s county commissioners’ meeting expressed a mix of opinions about a proposal to remove the Walla Walla County Jail from the Sheriff’s Office umbrella and create a new county department of corrections.

Trial set for man in eluding, drug case

A local man arrested following a police pursuit in February pleaded innocent to three charges Monday in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Commissioners weigh in on jail-sheriff split

Walla Walla County commissioners Monday reopened the topic of splitting the County Jail away from the Sheriff’s Office. Discussion is scheduled to continue today.

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March ended as second-warmest on record

Winter delivered a warm goodbye to the Walla Walla Valley last month, even it seemed like it was going to make a comeback on Easter.

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Corps plans to clear-cut trees, brush from Mill Creek levee

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to clear-cut trees and shrubs along levees lining Mill Creek, a proposal that has at least one Walla Walla Valley group worried about loss of wildlife habitat.

Trial set for woman in robbery, assault case

A trial date has been set for a woman facing six charges relating to a robbery at Walla Walla convenience store.

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Panorama - The sweet and sour sport of pickleball

The sport is pickleball and, for now, it’s being played throughout the week at the Walla Walla YMCA. But local enthusiasts hope to change that in the not too distant future.

Warm winter sets records in Valley

According to the National Weather Service, warm temperatures and the lack of snow both set regional records during the meteorological winter months of December, January and February.

Walla Walla breaks another temperature record

A trend of record-breaking warm days stretching back to last fall kept going Thursday.

Snowpack gets bump from chilly spell

The Walla Walla basin snowpack got a bump from the weather front that rolled through this week, but it’s not likely to stick around for long.

College Place begins hunt to fill open Council seat

COLLEGE PLACE — The City Council has tart the process to find a replacement for a longtime member Bernie Yanke, who has resigned due to health problems.

Walla Walla buys police dog from Sheriff’s Office

A K-9 team will remain together after Walla Walla County commissioners Monday approved the sale of a Sheriff’s Office police dog to the city of Walla Walla.

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Corps to overhaul Mill Creek Master Plan

Walkers, joggers, bikers, hikers, horse riders, longboarders and bird watchers take note.

Prison lifer dies unexpectedly

A man serving a life sentence for strangling his grandparents in 2013 died unexpectedly Wednesday at Washington State Penitentiary.

Fair concert headliner Vince Gill sets ticket sales record

Ticket sales got off to a hot start for this year’s Walla Walla Fair & Frontiers Day concert featuring Vince Gill.

Columbia County continues pot ban

A moratorium on recreational marijuana operations in Columbia County will continue for the time being, county commissioners decided Monday.

Inslee declares drought for Walla Walla area

The Walla Walla River basin was among three areas in Washington state declared to be in drought conditions today by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Commissioner: Jail separation not a new idea

The former chief corrections deputy for the Walla Walla County Jail said today that, in his view, creating a separate corrections department would be a good move for the county.

Commissioners weigh splitting jail from sheriff’s control

The Walla Walla County Jail, run by the county sheriff since territorial days, may be under new management in the future.

College Place City Council OKs major road project

COLLEGE PLACE — A major rebuild of the city’s two main roads got a green light to proceed Monday.

County jail chief ‘dismissed’ by Sheriff Turner

Sheriff John Turner said Thursday that Keilen L. Harmon was “dismissed from being the chief deputy as an at-will employee.”

Request for cable TV in judge’s chambers raises questions

Technology upgrades in Walla Walla County courtrooms will allow cable television to be piped in, but officials are questioning costs and appropriateness.

County courtrooms get tech upgrades

Video conferencing and other technology upgrades are in the works for Walla Walla County’s courtrooms.

$12 minimum wage bill goes to state Senate

The Washington state House voted along party lines Tuesday to raise the state’s minimum wage — already the nation’s highest — to $12 an hour over the next four years.

Columbia County readies for pot hearing

Regulation of recreational marijuana in Columbia County, including a possible ban, will be the topic of a public hearing this month by Columbia County commissioners.

Part of $15B package, Highway 12 passes Senate hurdle

Money to complete the next phase of U.S. Highway 12 widening is among funds included in the state Senate transportation package approved Monday.

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February warmth in Valley near record

February turned up the heat, so to speak.

Annual summer musical changing business model

The Walla Walla Community College Foundation’s summer musical this year will be a departure from years past.

Man who tried to flee custody after verdicts loses appeal

A Walla Walla man who tried to run away from his troubles in 2013 has lost an appeal of his jury conviction and prison sentence.

Three Burbank men enter pleas in assault-robbery case

Three men have pleaded innocent to charges stemming from a robbery and beating earlier this month in Burbank.

Woman pleads guilty to mail theft

A woman sentenced earlier this month in connection with a high-speed chase in a stolen car pleaded to an additional Walla Walla County charge Monday.

Gang brawler sentenced to a day in jail

A Walla Walla man involved in a fight last year between rival gangs at a local convenience store was sentenced Monday.

Trial set for suspect in school parking lot scuffle

A trial date was set Monday for a Walla Walla man charged in connection with a struggle outside an elementary school earlier this month.

Fair crowns queen, names other notables

College Place teen Rochelle Kralman has been named queen of this year’s Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days royalty court.

Vince Gill to headline Fair & Frontier Days entertainment

Country star Vince Gill will headline this year’s Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days concert on Sept. 2 at the fairgrounds.

Fair crowns queen, names other notables

A College Place teen Rochelle Kralman has been named queen of this year’s Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days royalty court.

New trial date set for suspect in eluding

A new trial date has been set for a Walla Walla man accused of a break-in and high-speed chase last year.

Pursuit ends when motorcyclist falls off

A short pursuit of a speeding motorcycle in Walla Walla ended with an arrest when the rider fell off at an intersection.

US Highway 12 funding included in bill

A state Senate transportation plan now on the table in Olympia includes nearly $173 million to complete the next phase of widening to four lanes U.S. Highway 12 and to start work on the final stretch.

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Mystery solved? Rain dust from ancient Oregon lake bed

A Washington State University meteorologist said Tuesday an ancient saline lake in south-central Oregon is the likely source of a mysterious milky rain that coated Walla Walla and other eastern Oregon and Washington areas last week.