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Rachel Alexander

Stories by Rachel

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Pomeroy's neon revivalist

POMEROY — Pinball machines and arcade games line the hallway, and a dozen televisions — mostly from the 1950s — stack to form a makeshift wall in the bedroom. Aside from an overhead light in the kitchen, every room is lit only by neon: a collection of glowing hamburgers, ice cream cones, shoes and an outline of the state of Nevada.

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Pomeroy hospital to close if levy fails

In Garfield County, access to health care is on shaky ground. The public hospital district is projecting a budget deficit of more than $500,000 in 2014, and will close its doors if voters don’t approve a special $730,000 levy in November.

Auto thefts spike in September in Walla Walla

WALLA WALLA — Walla Walla police reported 12 motor vehicle thefts in September, a “dramatic increase” over typically single-digit theft rates, according to spokesman Tim Bennett.

Arson suspected in fire at unoccupied house

WALLA WALLA — A fire Tuesday night that heavily damaged an unoccupied house on Division Street is being investigated as arson, Walla Walla Fire Department officials said this morning.

Suspect in Walla Walla bomb threat appears in court

WALLA WALLA — A man whom police say threatened to commit suicide by blowing up his home made a first appearance this morning in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Developmentally disabled services questioned in Columbia County (with document)

DAYTON — Columbia County is facing a state Developmental Disabilities Administration review after the county failed to produce enough evidence to demonstrate compliance with their contract during a routine monitoring in May.

Golf decline slices into Columbia County budget

DAYTON — Decreased revenue from the Touchet Valley Golf Course and fairgrounds stall rentals have led to a projected budget shortfall of almost $19,000 for Columbia County’s parks and recreation fund.

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Flood-displaced couple finds temporary home on Monteillet farm

Fire and rain force a couple from a Twisp farm, buy they find friends in Dayton’s Joan and Pierre-Louis Monteillet.

Sal Asaro and Patty Cho escaped fire and floods in Twisp, Wash. before winding up living at Monteillet Fromagerie in Dayton.

Columbia County Port commissioner dies

Port of Columbia Commissioner Dale McKinley died early Thursday at his home. He was 65.

Waitsburg schools must repay $38,000 to federal government

WAITSBURG — Waitsburg Schools will repay $38,000 in federal funding for failing to show maintenance of effort in the district’s special education programs.

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Waitsburg clamors for public art

WAITSBURG — Waitsburg residents are demanding something unusual from their government — more public art.

Dayton rolls in medical pot with recreational operations ban

DAYTON — The City Council banned marijuana operations in a 5-1 vote Monday, citing public opinion and concerns over conflicts between state and federal law.

Dayton man, a former Army medic, now children’s author

DAYTON — A military career isn’t always easy to explain to kids.

Area pot zoning efforts face resistance

DAYTON — With moratoriums on recreational marijuana businesses set to expire mid-September, Dayton and Columbia County are moving forward with zoning ordinances amid opposition from residents.

Port of Walla Walla might purchase Boise property

WALLULA — A missing piece of land could finally complete the puzzle for the Port of Walla Walla’s Wallula Gap Business Park, officials say.

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Columbia County Fair to host WWCC exhibits

DAYTON — Music, food and a rodeo are standard parts of the Columbia County Fair, but this year, they’ll be joined by a drone, a race car and a stream table.

Weston to discuss contract for law enforcement

WESTON — Weston City Council members will consider a law enforcement contract with the Umatilla County Sheriff’s office at a special meeting 6 p.m. today at Weston-Athena Memorial Hall.

Appeal filed in Milton-Freewater gun club decision

A Umatilla County decision to allow the East End Rod & Gun Club to continue operating is headed to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals.

Columbia County prosecutor to face challenger in November

DAYTON — Columbia County Prosecutor Rea Culwell will have a challenger in November after Randy O. Lewis amassed enough write-in votes in the Aug. 5 primary to get his name on the general election ballot.

Pulp company seeks federal grant for construction

DAYTON — Columbia County will likely seek a $1.8 million grant to connect Columbia Pulp’s planned straw pulp mill with an existing natural gas pipeline.

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Rural town’s schools at crossroads

It’s clear Dayton has lost a significant number of students to other districts. The reasons are as numerous as the students who left.

DAYTON — Some students here leave town for schools with a dance team or theater department. Some have a bad experience with a teacher, or are bullied by another student. And some just happen to live closer to another school outside the district.

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Enrollment solutions rife with Catch-22

DAYTON — City schools Superintendent Doug Johnson acknowledges declining enrollment numbers in his district are out of sync compared to neighboring rural districts.

Weston opts to contract with sheriff for police coverage

WESTON — The City Council voted Wednesday to enter into contract negotiations for police coverage with the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office.

Child rapist sues Garfield County for jail rapes

A Garfield County man has filed a civil rights lawsuit claiming Garfield County failed to protect him from multiple forcible rapes by another inmate while he was held in the county jail.

Dayton High School hires principal for 2014-15

DAYTON — Kate Wenzl, a former principal and administrator from the Port Angeles School District, will take the reins as Dayton High School’s interim principal.

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Imagination trumps challenges at Camp Meadowood Springs

At Camp Meadowood Springs, you can watch “Tony Stark” escape shark-infested waters via a rope line while “Dumbledore” cheers him on.

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Dayton music venue offers a new groove

In a space not much larger than an average living room, almost nothing separates the audience from the band performing.

Snake River swim moved in wake of E. coli concern

WALLA WALLA — The beach at Lyons Ferry Park near Starbuck remains closed due to elevated levels of E. coli bacteria, but adventurers hoping to take part in the second annual Swim the Snake event are in luck.

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Cheesemaker loses bid to sell products on farm

DAYTON — Columbia County commissioners this morning shot down a zoning amendment proposed by Monteillet Fromagerie that would have allowed on-site sales of farm products as a conditional use in the county’s rural agriculture zone.

Jackson, Richter top vote-getters in Columbia commission race

DAYTON — Merle Jackson and write-in candidate Dwight Richter, both Republicans, will face off in the general election for Columbia County commissioner.

Warren, Dixon lead primary race for Garfield commission

POMEROY — Preliminary results Tuesday in Garfield County showed Stan Warren and Justin Dixon, both Republicans, leading the five-way race for county commissioner.

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Waitsburg FFA project wins national acclaim

WAITSBURG — When Waitsburg’s Future Farmers of America chapter won a $5,000 award for the best project in the state, adviser Nicole Abel thought things couldn’t get any better.

Commissioners to weigh Monteillet zoning proposal

DAYTON — Dayton cheesemaker Monteillet Fromagerie has proposed an amendment to end a long-simmering zoning dispute that Columbia County commissioners will consider at a meeting Wednesday morning.

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Jimmy Lloyd Rea and the Switchmasters bring blues to Dayton

DAYTON — It’ll be nothing but blues at Mace Mead Works Friday night when “American Boogie Man” Jimmy Lloyd Rea and the Switchmasters take the stage.

Dayton principal takes new job in Goldendale

DAYTON — After four years with the district, Dayton High School Principal Andrew Maheras is stepping down to take a vice principal job in Goldendale.

Five seek lone Garfield County commission seat

POMEROY — After longtime Garfield County Commissioner Dean Burton announced his retirement this spring, five hopefuls filed candidate papers to fill his seat.

Three in running for seat on Columbia County commission

DAYTON — Three hopefuls, one a write-in candidate, seek to fill the District 3 Columbia County Commission seat held by long-serving Commissioner Chuck Reeves, who said he will not run for a sixth term.

Dayton to resume pot zoning hearings

DAYTON — The city’s Planning Commission will continue a public hearing on revised marijuana zoning regulations Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

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Retired Dayton publisher Jack Williams dies

DAYTON — Jack Williams, the longtime publisher of the Dayton Chronicle who retired last month after selling the weekly newspaper, died Monday night in a hospice in Richland.

Cheesemaker’s zoning battle headed to county commissioners

DAYTON — Monteillet Fromagerie’s legal battle with Columbia County is poised to continue after the Planning Commission voted against recommending the cheesemaker’s proposed zoning amendment to the County Commission.

Umatilla County lets gun club continue operations

Commissioners, however, required certain conditions be met in a land-use issue opposed by neighbors

PENDLETON — Umatilla County Commissioners voted this morning to allow the East End Rod & Gun Club to continue operations, upholding a January decision by the county Planning Commission.

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‘Pasos’ offers steps to entrepreneurship

The Pasos al Èxito program teaches rural Latinos the ropes of starting their own businesses.

MILTON-FREEWATER — Between finding financing, making sense of regulations and reaching customers, opening a small business can seem daunting.

Dayton High School adds seventh period for upcoming school year

DAYTON — Dayton High School is switching to a seven period schedule for the 2014-15 school year, adding a new class session.

Prescott readies for four-day, barn-raiser style park build

PRESCOTT — With less than a week to go before construction begins, the organizers of Prescott’s vacant lot project are working hard to get everything in order.

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Waitsburg students aid Guatemala school

WAITSBURG — For almost a month, first-grader Madison Kaehler has spent her recesses walking in circles around the playground.

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Cheesemaker gets broad support in county dispute

DAYTON — County lines are irrelevant to tourists.

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Cheesemaker’s zoning dispute to be heard

DAYTON — After months of back-and-forth between Columbia County and Monteillet Fromagerie, the popular goat and sheep cheesemaker is hoping a zoning status dispute at a Planning Commission hearing Monday.

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Umatilla County commissioners hear appeals on gun club

PENDLETON — Umatilla County commissioners heard more than four hours of public testimony Tuesday but made no decision regarding the future of the East End Rod & Gun Club.

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Smith Frozen Foods gears up for higher capacity

WESTON — After seven months of construction, a slate of multimillion dollar improvements to the Smith Frozen Foods plant in Weston go online this week.

Appeals in gun club dispute to be heard Tuesday

A hearing to consider appeals in a land-use decision for the East End Rod & Gun Club has been rescheduled for Tuesday.