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Karlene Ponti

Stories by Karlene

Working the family dream

A family sets down roots as new Valley produce farmers.

Like the tomato vines at their family farm, Jeff and Amy Dietrich's vision to have a place where they and their children could raise their own food keeps growing, ripening and bearing fruit.And now their cornucopia is spilling into many of Walla Walla's r

Walla Walla youth music festival will benefit school music programs

An idea a classic pianist and an indie band drummer hatched on a bus ride to Walla Walla will bring forth a youth music festival in April on the YMCA lawn.

Volunteers keep hospital healthy

St. Mary currently benefits from the services of 95 volunteers, who last year worked 15,092 hours.

WALLA WALLA — Hospitals don't run on paid, specialized medical talent alone.Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla is no exception.'They provide that extra element of great service," said Lindsey Oldridge, St. Mary Foundation and volunteer coor

Opening kids' eyes to science

Science is happening. Everywhere.It's used in everything, from agriculture to cooking to disease research to engineering to studying the origins of the universe.And in today's world, one with ever-increasing technology and demands to meet the needs of the

Rodeo aims to rein in abuse

Combine a serious issue and a fun community event to raise awareness about it, and in Walla Walla you get a top collegiate rodeo.'Riding Against Child Abuse" remains the theme of the 43rd annual Walla Walla Community College Rodeo March 9-11 at the Walla

Cupid gets second chance with couple

Kathy Grose and Gene Michaels will marry again on Valentine's Day, more than 30 years after their first marriage failed.

WALLA WALLA - That was then, this is now.Kathy Grose and Gene Michaels were married decades ago and Feb. 14, they will remarry. Now, both in their 50s, older and wiser, they reawakened the love they discovered so long ago."We met at work in 1974 in Culver

Where friendliness is in store

Old-time neighborhood traditions blend with modern convenience in small community markets scattered around the Valley.They attract regular customers who come in for coffee, conversation and a daily helping of friendliness.Though the days of gathering arou

Business Monthly Bio: Heidi Cohan

Heidi Cohan owner of Scrapbook Elements, 515 E. Main St.

Walla Walla rock 'n' roller is here to stay

Guitarist Craig Tarwater's back in town, showing he can still really shake it down.

So you want to be a rock 'n' roll star.Maybe guitar lessons from someone who's shared the stage or recorded with music legends such as the Byrds, Jackie DeShannon, Canned Heat, Iron Butterfly, The Doors and Buffalo Springfield will do the trick.Walla Wall

VFW takes on vet homelessness

The slogan 'Support Our Troops" to Walla Walla's Veterans of Foreign Wars post means more than send-off ceremonies when men and women go to war and welcoming back those who return. It also means continuing to be at their side long after sounds of battle h

A long Walla Walla love affair

Gene and Betty Soper also share a love of horses, music and helping others.

At 87 and 91, respectively, native Walla Walla Valley residents Gene and Betty Soper love horses, humor and all things western.And after 45 years of marriage they sometimes say the same things simultaneously:'A farm girl that married a city boy," they bot

Walla Walla's library is a community gathering place

Books? Of course.Music CDs and movie DVDs? Check.Computers? Got those, too.

Business Monthly Bio: Darcey Benzel

Business:Owner of Green & Jackson Medical and Equipment Sales, 1365 Dalles Military Road.

From movies to the Why-MCA

Jentzen Mooney started the YMCA's Creative Club to help kids build mental connections

For a newcomer to Walla Walla and the YMCA staff, Jentzen Mooney hasn't wasted any time making his mark.Drawing from his experience in Los Angeles as a computer graphics wizard in the movie industry, as YMCA technology instructor he now has local youths p

Hoping for a home for the holidays

It's the holiday season and thoughts often turn toward home and family. And toward pets, too.For a lonely, frightened animal in the Blue Mountain Humane Society shelter, ears perk up, noses twitch and hope fills broken hearts when potential new owners pas

TOPS tackles weight gain – for life

Challenges of maintaining weight affect most people at some point in their lives, the holiday feasting season included.Whether you want to lose weight or add a little, it takes work and help from others.Dee Guglielmelli, a member of Taking Off Pounds Sens

Fitness from the inside out

Personal trainer Debra Shampine coaches more than just physical fitness.

A fitness professional, Debra Shampine said she's always enjoyed sports but was never 'the best athlete or anything like that.”'I just loved getting out there and running around. It was just fun.”So it should come as no surprise that Shampine owns Dynamic

December Business Monthly Bio - Ellen Saager

Business/job title: Owner and barber at Ellen's Cutting Edge, Walla Walla

Walla Walla music scene on upswing

Downtown has come alive with the sound of music.

A few years ago a person could take a walk in Walla Walla in search of nightlife and maybe hear only murmurs of conversation and the clinking of bar glasses from a few establishments.Nowadays, a person on a downtown stroll can hear live piano music coming

Work has value beyond wages

Walla Walla woman learned life lessons about work in migrant family.

Stand up, work hard and move forward — feeling positive and grateful along the way.Such is Jolene Pond's life and work ethic, learned over the years as a child moving around the country with her family to pick fruits and vegetables and applied today as th

Milton-Freewater 'divas' draw bead on business

Timing was everything to Milton-Freewater women who started their bead shop.

MILTON-FREEWATER -- "Let's open a bead shop!" Great idea, but can it work?

Crafts show to hold 40th annual event

What's old is new again.For 40 years the annual Christmas Gift Boutique has brought accomplished crafters to town to sell their wares. And to keep it fresh, each year the event brings in new artisans and ideas.

There are sounds in silence, Walla Walla pet communicator says

Shirley Scott teaches classes to help pet owners better understand their animals.

Any kind of training or basic understanding starts with communication — even with pets.But an effective language between animals and humans is often one that is unspoken, even spiritual, according to Walla Walla pet communicator and psychic Shirley Scott.

Business Bio Monthly - Thomas Reese, Mary Senter

Business: Brother/sister co-owners of Walla Walla Roastery, 290 A Street, Walla Walla.

Food banks resemble Old Mother Hubbard

The cupboards are getting pretty bare as more and more people need help.

WALLA WALLA — More people in the Walla Walla Valley are having a harder time making ends meet, and the sour economy is having a similar effect on many local food banks that could otherwise help them.“The economy is about to conk eve

Health Care provider puts focus on feet

Julie Caron at Center at the Park helps folks keep an eye out for problems.

WALLA WALLA -- Don't take your health for granted, especially your feet. That's the strong message coming from foot care provider Julie Caron at the Center at the Park.

Take the time to take care of your feet

If you want those piggies to keep taking you to the market, you've got to put in a little effort.

You stand on them. You walk with them. But you might be forgetting to take care of your feet, and that's not a good idea if you have circulatory problems or diabetes.

Joyce Anderson has combined teaching with her lifelong love of painting.

You are what you paint.For Joyce Anderson, though, it's not the objects she paints in her luxurious watercolors of landscapes, wildlife, people and flowers, but more what inspires her to paint them.

Project Warm Up volunteers deliver warmies to those in need

As winter gets going full force in Walla Walla, so does Project Warm Up.

Wranglers spur Valley's spririt

The 4-H club's first big horse event rounded up funds for cancer victims.

A newly formed 4-H club in the Walla Walla Valley with a focus on equestrian events is riding high in its first year.

Festa to mark statue centennial

A century ago Walla Walla's Italian community dedicated a statue of Christopher Columbus at the County Courthouse.'In reading some of the old dockets,

Satisfying self and community

Choosing things they truly believe in keeps the Keatts coming back for more volunteer work.

Robert and Linnea Keatts heard some advice a while back that they took to heart:'Don't volunteer anywhere for a year after you retire. Find yourself. Find your new schedule. Then find organizations you believe in.”They heeded it, then found many organizat

Business Monthly Bio - Leah Wilson-Velasco

Business: Walla Walla Symphony CEO.

A recipe for kitchen remodeling

Home remodeling projects are rarely easy or without stress — on wallets or domestic relations.Ty and Diane McEuen handled both when they remodeled the kitchen in their 1960s-built Walla Walla home.They added heated floors, efficient storage, a fireplace,

Meals on Wheels – and feet, too

Walla Walla General Hospital's Meals on Wheels has been a local mainstay for 40 years.

It takes two, baby.And many other volunteers in the kitchen to get them loaded up and on the roadThat's the human recipe for success of Walla Walla General Hospital's home-delivered Meals on Wheels program.When people are recuperating at home they need he

Business Monthly Bio - Linne Wagner

Business/job title: owner of Wags to Whiskers

THE WEEKLY - Stitching together visual music

Flutist and quilter Meredith Mitchell keeps her fingers busy in two arts that demand precision.

Call what Meredith Mitchell creates symphonies for the eyes.The former music teacher at Walla Walla's Edison Elementary School and flutist with regional symphonies nowadays keeps her creative instincts – not to mention her fingers – busy making richly tex

THE WEEKLY - A road from terror to trust

A Walla Walla woman applies experience as a PTSD social worker to restore the life of an abused dog.

Sometimes life gives second chances — even to dogs.To see Louie, a 6-year-old vizsla, joyously bounding around, one would be hard pressed to know he spent the first four years of his life in terror.His new life now revolves around Teresa Pavish-Paradiso,

Walla Walla's 'everywhere' duo

There's no rest for Wes and Shirley Miller, and that's how they like it.

Retirement is just another word for nothing left to do.In that regard, Wes and Shirley Miller will never retire, given their myriad interests and hours upon hours of volunteer work.'They're everywhere,” said Peggy Needham, director of the Retired Seniors

Business Monthly Bio - Kimberly Miner

Business: Photographer, owner of Kimberly, InkHometown: Walla Walla.

THE WEEKLY - Living well and going strong, even at 94

Dr. Donald Smith delights in the magnificent iris he grows in his College Place garden. Quite like the retired orthopedic surgeon himself, the plants are colorful, very hardy and endure the years well. At 94, Smith, born 1916 in Canada, has spent much of

THE WEEKLY - Local history: It's a living thing

Volunteer actors breathe new life into the Valley's past.

To Paul Franzmann, history is not so much a timeline of major events as it is a compilation of people's hopes, dreams, fears and the day-to-day adventure of living."What is interesting about history is the people, the stories," said Franzmann, Fort Walla

THE WEEKLY - No rest for RSVP volunteers

The local volunteer agency is raising awareness amid funding cutbacks.

Walla Walla's RSVP, like many community assistance programs nationwide, is feeling an economic pinch.But it continues to count on its legions of volunteers with varied expertise and affiliated organizations to meet the needs of people in the community, an

Decor store find success being open twice a week

Being open two days a week may seem to run counter to growing a business, but for Walla Walla's Real Deals on Home Decor it's been a successful strategy.

Business Monthly Bio - Diane Benfield

Business/job title: Registered dietician, owner of All About Nutrition, 800 Sprague Ave., Suite 103.

THE WEEKLY - You're never too old to invest

But keep age in mind when thinking about risk and ability to recover, WW experts say.

Financial security is important, no matter what your age. But for adults 55 and older, risk becomes more of an issue. These folks often can't recover from losses as well as a younger person with more earning years ahead. Maybe you're retired and looking f

THE WEEKLY - A shared road to recovery

Walla Walla woman's bout with deadly disease called on many to help restore her life.

The onset was sudden and brutal.On a spring Sunday in 2007, longtime Walla Walla resident and businesswoman Libby Frazier had sold a house.The next day she felt a tiredness.

Waiting on the Weather

From onions to asparagus, winter's late grasp has slowed growth of area produce.

A cold winter started early and held on for all it was worth this year. And weather, good or bad, affects agriculture, but sometimes you just have to wait and hope for the best.

Help prevent and treat hearing loss

Having trouble hearing? Don't just tolerate it. Communicating with others is essential and hearing loss is a common concern. It can isolate you from your loved ones and interfere on many levels. But you can take action. "I encourage them not to put up wit

The wedding quilt: A local love story

Randy and Jane Allen married May 1 in front of a joyous crowd of friends and family. Everyone had been a participant in one way or another in their lives, love and the miracle of the Wedding Quilt, according to the couple. The journey they traveled to thi