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Ben Wentz

Stories by Ben

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Split on Wa-Hi upgrades continues at district workshop

The School Board is weighing a two-phased approach to renovations amid a fractious voter climate.

Walla Walla schools close to enrollment target

WALLA WALLA — Walla Walla School District is closer to meeting its enrollment goals than it originally thought, school officials announced Tuesday at a school board meeting.

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Tech skills center work on track

The Southeast Area Technical Skills Center is expected to open for classes by summer 2014.

WALLA WALLA — The $11.5 million Southeast Area Technical Skills Center is on time and on budget construction officials said during a tour of the facility by the Walla Walla School Board.

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Area schools lag in Washington State learning goals

Results of Washington state’s yearly check on its goal of closing the proficiency gap among public school students by half for reading and mathematics shows there is work to do.

Local schools show mixed results on new Oregon schools report card

Oregon’s redesigned report cards for public schools and districts — a new 5-tier rating system placing more emphasis on student gains rather than meeting specific scores — gave mixed marks for Valley schools.

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Valley school enrollment mostly on target

Differences between projections and actual enrollment can affect program funding and staffing

WALLA WALLA — October enrollment reports are out and school districts around the area are finding out how close they were with their enrollment projections — and whether they’ll have to scrimp or be able to spend with a degree of comfort this school year.

Wells unopposed after Gonzales drops out of School Board race

Wells, a financial advisor at Edward Jones, is the only remaining candidate actively running for the position after Josh Gonzales announced Tuesday that he is withdrawing from the race due to time conflicts with a new job.

Plans for College Place High School take shape

COLLEGE PLACE — The future of the city’s new public high school is becoming clearer by the day.

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Practical learning: It’s elementary

STEM teaching comes to Blue Ridge Elementary in a ‘real life’ format.

WALLA WALLA — The young scientists looked crestfallen, the wheels just having fallen off their test vehicle.

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Family steeped in WSU lore, Beth Swanson was bound to be a ... Super Coug

WALLA WALLA — Attending Washington State University football games for Walla Wallan Beth Swanson has held a special significance for the past few years.

Local law enforcers supportive of early childhood initiative

WALLA WALLA — With the foreboding towers of the Walla Walla State Penitentiary in the background, local law enforcement officials lined up at a news conference Thursday to announce their support for an Obama administration proposal to increase federal spending on early-childhood learning.

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Breakdancing contest in Walla Walla to benefit charity

WALLA WALLA — Cut the lights. Cue the music. Walla Walla is making its debut on the national breaking stage.

WWCC women’s soccer team aims to ‘right the ship’

The Warriors failed to win the East Region for the first time in coach Chad Bodnar’s eight-year career with the Warriors, and the first time since at least 2003, which is the farthest back records are kept on the NWAACC’s website.

Warrior men expect title run

The WWCC men boast sophomore leadership and talented newcomers this season.

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Man stops in Walla Walla on 50-50 disc golf quest

Larry Kirk makes a stop in Walla Walla as part of his plan to play disc golf in 50 states in 50 days.

Community steps up make tournament possible

If there was any doubt as to the turnout to be expected at the 2013 American Legion Class AA state tournament, which began Saturday and runs through Thursday, Friday night’s bar-be-cue likely settled those.

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Lightning fails to strike for Sweets offense in loss to Cowlitz

Lightning can’t heat up Walla Walla’s bats in a 4-1 West Coast League loss to Cowlitz on Tuesday night.

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Smith fans Flames; WW Cubs split

Offense comes at a premium as Hanford and Walla Walla put on a pitching clinic.

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Coaches, athletes, scholars honored at 37th BMSAs

The 37th Blue Mountain Sports Awards recognize the achievements of area athletes and coaches at Baker Boyer Bank Wednesday.

Wentz: How does the Irish baseball team avoid the Ho-Hums?

DeSales High School’s baseball team faces off Friday with Liberty Bell in the Class 2B state championship semifinals and is just two wins from another state title.

Blue Devils march into District regional meet

Wa-Hi sends a huge contingent to Spokane today and Saturday to compete for spots in the state meet.

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W-P's track title streak on the line in Clarkston

WALLA WALLA — For the majority of a decade, Waitsburg-Prescott has dominated District 9 in boys track and field.

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Atkinson eagles, leads Wa-Hi to 2nd at districts

Dean Atkinson ties for second at the district golf tournament to lead the Blue Devils to the team mark.

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Bogey golf good enough for Wa-Hi's Huntsman at districts

PASCO — Jessica Huntsman played bogey golf Tuesday at the final round of the girls District 5 golf tournament and, although she wasn’t entirely happy with her 12-over 84, it was good enough to get her to state.

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W-P shocks DeSales in district title game

WALLA WALLA — The last time DeSales High School’s softball team played Waitsburg-Prescott

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Wa-Hi takes No. 2 seed at districts with split against Pasco

WALLA WALLA — Walla Walla High School needed to at least split against last-place Pasco Friday to have a chance at the Mid-Columbia Conference No. 2 seed in the Class 4A playoffs and it did that — barely. The Blue Devils squeaked out a 3-2 victory over Pasco in eight innings in the opener, and held a 5-3 lead after six innings

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Konen, Baumgart win at Wine Valley

Jerod Konen edges Ryan Baumgart for the boys medal, and Emily Baumgart wins for the girls.

WWCC's Seitz to play basketball for Montana State

Michelle Seitz signs an NLI with Montana State after a record-setting sophomore season.

WWCC's Rada heads to Sac. St.

WALLA WALLA — Walla Walla Community College’s Case Rada will be departing campus a year early.

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Wa-Hi splits Jekyll and Hyde twin bill

WALLA WALLA — Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde each made appearances Friday at Murr Sports Complex.

Baker’s 69 makes for big day at Wildhorse Invite

WALLA WALLA — Dakota Baker had never shot in the 70s competitively before Monday.

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Blue Devils crush Chiawana in MCC softball openers

WALLA WALLA — On Tuesday Walla Walla High School picked up its first loss of the season to Class 1A Connell because of dominant pitching — the Blue Devils ran into BYU softball commit Ashley Thompson in a 5-0 loss.

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Wa-Hi drops twin bill to Bombers

WALLA WALLA — The season isn’t won or lost in a doubleheader, and that was Walla Walla High School coach Keith Gradwohl’s message Tuesday after the Blue Devils dropped a pair of Mid-Columbia Conference games to Richland at the Murr Sports Complex.

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Lyons lights up Veterans links

DeSales sophomore Lucas Lyons edges favorite Ryan Baumgart at the District 9 meet at Veterans Memorial on Tuesday.

Elite bring minor league football back to Valley

The Waitsburg Elite gears up for its inaugural season with former high school and college players.

Reardon double lifts Wa-Hi past Bucks

WALLA WALLA — Luke Reardon stepped up to the plate for Walla Walla High School’s baseball team with the game on the line Friday night.

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Keyes looks to keep Big Blue Bus rolling

Despite a coaching change and several new faces, Wa-Hi looks to maintain its softball dominance.

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Blue Devils fly into new season

Wa-Hi’s baseball team boasts a wealth of experience, but still have some question marks, as the 2013 campaign begins with Saturday’s jamboree.

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College Rodeo returns this weekend

The WWCC team hosts the 44th annual College Rodeo at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds.

No excuses for young CC softballers

WALLA WALLA — Walla Walla Community College’s softball team graduated the lion’s share of its offensive production from last season, but don’t expect coach Mike Staudenmaier to settle for a rebuilding year.

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Duncans look to establish dynasty at DeSales

DeSales girls head basketball coach Tim Duncan is joined by oldest daughter Nicole as an assistant, and youngest daughter Caitlin is finishing up at WWCC.

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Pirates look to wing high-flying Eagles

Pomeroy’s boys open the Hardwood Classic at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Spokane Arena against 21-3 Christian Faith.

Pirates face Titans in state regionals

WALLA WALLA — Pomeroy faces off with Odessa-Harrington Saturday at 4 p.m. in the regional round of the boys basketball Class 1B state playoffs.

Irish girls look to topple Loggers at state

WALLA WALLA — DeSales begins its first trip to the state playoffs since 2010 tonight when they take on Darrington in the regional round of state at six in Mountlake Terrace.

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Bullpups sprint past Wa-Hi girls, 60-38

WALLA WALLA — Wa-Hi hung with third-ranked Gonzaga Prep through a quarter and a half Friday night at the Blue Devil gymnasium, but the Bullpups proved too physical, deep and athletic as they ran past Walla Walla, 60-38, in a loser-out regional contest.

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Haen's 30 points lead DeSales past Waitsburg-Prescott, 76-55

WALLA WALLA — Travis Haen had a hot hand Friday night and DeSales rode it to victory in a Southeast 2B boys basketball game against visiting Waitsburg-Prescott.

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Irish stifle W-P girls in 46-28 victory

WALLA WALLA — DeSales’ full-court pressure was relentless Friday night in a Southeast 2B girls basketball game against Waitsburg-Prescott.

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Waitsburg-Prescott girls knock off visiting Dayton, 59-48

WAITSBURG -- Led by 20 points from Katy Hofer, Waitsburg-Prescott defeated rival Dayton, 59-48, Friday night in a Southeast 2B girls basketball game.

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Dayton boys roll past Waitsburg-Prescott, 53-33

WAITSBURG -- Dayton controlled its game with Waitsburg-Prescott Friday night from beginning to end.

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Walla Walla's Hunter Alden has sights set on playing in NHL

WALLA WALLA — Hunter Alden wants to do what few from the Pacific Northwest get to do: play hockey in the National Hockey League.