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Karlene Ponti

Stories by Karlene

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Family harvests accolades for gardening

WALLA WALLA — A local family’s altruistic gardening efforts have borne fruit in an award by a national publication.

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Dogs lend a paw to promote healing

For the past 25 years, the task of cheering people at Providence St. Mary Medical Center has gone to the dogs.

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Little Theatre vets team to co-direct comedy

WALLA WALLA — Live theater can take you beyond yourself and into another person’s life and reality. You can be moved to tears or laughter, or both. The laughs abound in the Larry Shue comedy “The Foreigner,” the upcoming performance at the Little Theatre of Walla Walla.

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'Deli Debi' dishes out great food, service

The manager of Harvest Foods’ deli preaches respect and a strong work ethic.

Salads, picnic food or hot soup in the cold winter — certain foods just make you happy. The deli at Walla Walla’s Harvest Foods can supply you with mood-lightening fare for all occasions.

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For pets, Penrod Kennels is a day at the park

MILTON-FREEWATER — Penrod Kennels is a place where pets can go to be themselves.

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Bus driver pulls career to the curb

Betty Harris hasn’t lost her drive, but she might be a little tired. After 27 years of driving a bus for Valley Transit, she waved goodbye on April 17.

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The fix is in at Milton-Freewater shoe store

A comfortable pair of shoes, like an old friend, is something you hold near and dear. So what do you do when a part of your shoe wears out or breaks?

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It takes a town to raise a tree

Give some thought to the future: plant a tree! The Noon Rotary Club of Walla Walla has taken that advice to heart, planting thousands of trees over the years.

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Family navigates changes at drive-in

With their time-honored appearance and familiar amenities, drive-in movie theaters hearken back to years gone by. But they need periodic maintenance to preserve that traditional character, and often require modern upgrades to keep up with the times.

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Zeal for learning guides Roy Anderson

He's gone from the Air Force to engineering, art, teaching, music and sports.

Roy Anderson is a modern-day Renaissance man.

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Music and life in balance

Walla Walla Symphony musicians juggle their lives so the show can go on.

A great symphony performance is a seemingly miraculous balance of sound and rhythm — all of which must come together with spot-on timing among dozens of musicians.

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New Red Cross boss in town

Melissa Buckley has learned a few things since graduating from Walla Walla High School in 1995.

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Lightening the load

The Cancer Resource Center provides a lifeline for people coping with the disease.

First comes the dread one feels when told he or she has cancer.

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Boarded but not bored

Area pet boarding facilities offer a range of short- and long-term services.

Whether you need to get away for a vacation or due to an emergency, sometimes pets can’t come along.

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Finding hope on the slopes

Teens with a troubled past lean self-discipline that helps them avoid a downhill life.

When the going gets tough for some youths, the tough go snowboarding.

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Walla Walla past is old hat at Kirkman

Back in the day, you could walk into a Walla Walla restaurant, pick up a menu and order cinnamon toast for 15 cents and an omelette for 45 cents.

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Civil War artifacts on display at Fort Walla Walla Museum

A large kettle that held a hot meal to comfort a battle weary soldier a long way from home.

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Borne by the land

A Valley family with a long agricultural past makes its mark in today’s wine world.

MILTON-FREEWATER — Cecil Zerba and wife Marilyn have an urge for growing.

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Tuned into the lunch crowd

A place to enjoy some of the Walla Walla area’s best musicians and singers while munching a brown bag lunch?

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Publishing with tenacity

Many dream of writing just one book in their life. Shanna Hatfield can do that in a few weeks.

Shanna Hatfield knew she could do better. So she did. And she’s still doing.

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Creativity keeps local photographic artist in game

As a photographic artist, J. Franklin “Jim” Willis has found the Walla Walla Valley to be an ideal canvas for his colorful, dynamic landscapes of texture and light.

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Couple learns what's key to running family business

WALLA WALLA -- A few years ago Andy Hetterly and Nikki Hunter were living and working in Portland -- he at a tire shop and she in an insurance office.

Paper books hold allure locally as gifts in digital age

Damn the recession, full speed ahead.

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Walla Walla's gypsy boutiques

Two local women break new shopping ground with their refurbished trailers.

First came food trucks. Then came gourmet food trucks.

Pantries full of kindness

Holiday family get-togethers often come with the stresses of cooking a big family meal.

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The community pride club

Wa-Hi’s Latino Club goes beyond being an in-school cultural interest group.

You see them working to get the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds ready for the annual fair.

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Jules and Jamie

Turning a wild horse into a best friend is a big job that starts with mutual trust.

Sometimes true love arrives unexpectedly.

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Little Theatre's dynamic doers

The theater life for Brian and Becky Hatley has been a family affair.

The movie "White Christmas" opens with a scene set in 1944. That's also the year Little Theatre of Walla Walla held its first production.

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Walla Walla Valley Bands keeps toes tapping year-round.

It doesn't have 76 trombones -- at least not yet -- but Walla Walla Valley Bands is hitting high notes in membership as more and more musicians join the volunteer local mainstay.

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Walla Walla Valley's piano man

Piano tuner Clinton Dickerson strikes a chord with local music lovers.

When you listen to a piano in a church, school auditorium or performance hall in the Valley, odds are you can thank Clinton Dickerson for the quality sounds you hear.

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Vet techs put heart in pet projects

Veterinary technicians are "in demand" to give follow-through care for pets.

It takes heart to provide professional care for an animal, a loving child’s heart.

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Teaching to the choir

Norb Rossi says desire and work trump talent in building an award-winning choir.

Photos of smiling students and stacks of choir sheet music cram Norb Rossi’s tiny office at Walla Walla High School while music and singing from an adjacent classroom drift in.

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Job searches today mean breaking from traditional methods

If you're of working age and unemployed today, this is not your father's -- or mother's -- job market. Maybe not even that of your grandparents' day.

Cindy Love's sparkling idea

Cindy Love's clown persona, Sparkle, has been brightening faces for 25 years.

Cindy Love was a second-grader in California when she and her sisters entered a clown contest.

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Local quilter featured in show

Despite the “Lucky 13” theme this year, it’s not the whims of fortune that have kept the regionally popular Walla Walla Valley Quilt Festival going for that number of years.

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The earth beneath his feet

Warren Rood didn’t have to dig deep to find something he and his children could do together.

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The hustle behind fair bustle

It's not over for fair volunteers until everything is taken down and stored.

Before you know it, all that you see, taste, touch, smell and hear at The Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days will become just a happy memory.

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Walla Walla's real deal

Guitarist Gary Winston keeps his strings attached to his hometown.

WALLA WALLA -- When The Beatles performed on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1964, the world changed. Walla Walla-born and raised Gary Winston's life was no exception to that phenomenon when he saw their American debut on TV as an 8-year-old.

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Creativity blooms in glass garden

Art therapy has an outdoor angle.

Repurposed glassware is helping residents at Eagle Meadows Assisted Living and Retirement Community enjoy more creativity. The result is a glass garden, sparkling in the sun, something the residents can enjoy, both for its beauty and for their sense of accomplishment.

Contras have a line of fun

Contra dancing has been a popular multi-generational folk activity in the Valley for years.

Contra dancing, an entertainment staple in Walla Walla for decades, requires a few simple basics if you want to participate.“You have to know your left from your right," said Howard Ostby, one of the regular callers for gatherings. “And be able to count t

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Art, business merge downtown

The art of marketing and the marketing of art has intersected on First Avenue in downtown Walla Walla. Several merchants along the block between Main and Alder streets have tapped into the once-a-month First Friday ArtWALK with something they call Fridays on 1st. During the street fair/block party First Avenue is closed off at 3:30 p.m. so vendors can set up booths. The event starts at 5 p.m. and runs to 9 p.m., with live music starting at 6 p.m.

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Milton-Freewater Farmers' Market on the grow

The locally grown produce and crafts market is attracting more vendors in its second year.

An assortment of vendors and organizers have gotten the second year of the Milton-Freewater Farmers’ Market off and running. The market, offering fresh produce, flowers, art, hand crafts and more operates on Wednesdays from 4-7 p.m. Administrator Susan Dohrmann and on-site manager John Zerba are enthusiastic about this year’s possibilities.

Milton-Freewater Farmers' Market on the grow

The locally grown produce and crafts market is attracting more vendors in its second year.

An assortment of vendors and organizers have gotten the second year of the Milton-Freewater Farmers' Market off and running.The market, offering fresh produce, flowers, art, hand crafts and more operates on Wednesdays from 4-7 p.m.Administrator Susan Dohr

All for the love of an onion

The Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival has bloomed over the past three decades.

Who'da thunk two women dressed as onions as part of a taste-off for national bragging rights for best sweet onions would lead to one of Walla Walla's signature festivals."It was an invitational tasting competition on Main Street," said Carolyn Keyes, one

Business Monthly Bio: Brad Nielson

Business: Optometrist and owner of Nielson Eye Care at 208 N. Second Ave., Walla Walla

A family's long row to success

El sombrero has grown from a dream to a Northwest chain of five restaurants.

WALLA WALLA - Two decades ago things looked bleak for Carlos Arceo and his extended family's new business venture in Walla Walla.

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Preschool celebrates 50 years in Walla Walla

Betty's Preschool starts its sixth decade of preparing children for a life of learning.

Betty Lodmell's preschool is one for the ages -- three generations worth, in fact. Celebrating the Walla Walla school's golden anniversary this year, she's enrolled second generation students and this fall is looking forward to teaching a grandchild of a former student she once had in her classroom.

Preschool celebrates 50 years in Walla Walla

Betty's Preschool starts its sixth decade of preparing children for a life of learning.

Betty Lodmell's preschool is one for the ages -- three generations worth, in fact.Celebrating the Walla Walla school's golden anniversary this year, she's enrolled second generation students and this fall is looking forward to teaching a grandchild of a f

Business Monthly Bio: Kathleen Buford

Business: AAA Washington service center manager in Walla Walla

New leader merges into driver program

WALLA WALLA — Jim Hall has become district coordinator for the AARP Driver Safety Program, taking over from Elsie Thompson after she retired from her volunteer workThompson's dedication as coordinator has brought her the recent honor of being chosen as on