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Sheila Hagar

Stories by Sheila

‘Giving away Christmas’ brings family biggest gift

There are five children running around the home of Christina and Kevin Magnaghi, ranging from preteen to preschooler.

Evangelicals shepherd growing numbers

While mainstream church attendance dwindles, Walla Walla evangelical churchs are witnessing growth.

WALLA WALLA — A national decline in church attendance is echoed in mainline churches everywhere, including Walla Walla. Other houses of worship here, however, report rising numbers on Sunday mornings.

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An era of thinning flocks

Walla Walla is not escaping the national trend as fewer people feel a calling to belong to a religion.

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Soup services a draw for area churches

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is one of several spots that serves a hot soup lunch to anyone who needs it.

Churches with dwindling membership stuck in ‘Stone Age’

Two experts say traditional thinking must be revised for newer generations.

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100 dancers a-leaping in ‘Cinderella at the Christmas Ball’ ballet performance

WALLA WALLA — It’s Christmas. The twinkling season of joy, gifts, song and cheer.

Community stepped up as church hosted warming shelter

WALLA WALLA — The first night, Friday, there were four. The next night, eight people showed up. And on Sunday, when the warming station at First Congregational Church was supposed to be over and done with, a dozen people came in out of the cold, said the Rev. Cecilia McKean.

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Two types of diabetes confuse public

Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder with no known cause. Type 2 is caused by a combination of genetics, diet and lack of exercise.

Cold snap raises warming worries

WALLA WALLA — Health, emergency and public safety officials in the Valley began scrambling Thursday to get shelter in place for homeless people.

Nearly 17% of Wash. marriages in 2013 have been same-sex

The rate in Walla Walla and Columbia counties was roughly 10 percent, and Garfield County reported none.

WALLA WALLA — Nearly a year after the ink dried on Washington state’s same-sex marriage law, 7,071 same-sex couples were among the 42,408 couples who married in the state through September, the latest statistics show.

Bitter cold puts Walla Walla homeless in danger

Advocates say the Valley’s current weather puts street people at risk.

Updated: Umatilla County reports uptick in gonorrhea cases

Health officials reported Wednesday that gonorrhea has seen a marked increased in Umatilla County.

Small-town folks inspire big-time gratitude

Today I am unexpectedly filled with a need to talk about my village. The one I grew up in and returned to 20 years later — kicking and screaming, but that didn’t last past the first year.

Walla Walla stores report break-ins

WALLA WALLA — Several downtown businesses have been targeted by burglars since Friday, Walla Walla police said today.

Update: No arrests made yet in Walla Walla drive-by shooting

WALLA WALLA — No arrests had been made by Monday morning after a drive-by shooting over the weekend that injured two people, according to Walla Walla Police Department spokesman Tim Bennett.

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After child's death, a family back from the brink

A Walla Walla family heals as it lives with bittersweet memories after losing a child.

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A hand-crafted community

In a season of highly commercial commerce, why does ‘down-home’ still matter?

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Milton-Freewater food bank’s shelves grow lean

The Bread Basket is beginning to feel the sting of food stamp cuts and dwindling inventory.

New recovery home for women opens in Walla Walla

WALLA WALLA — A new place for women, including those with children, to recover from addictions and get a new start over will open its doors Dec. 1.

Hunting novice horns in on husband’s role as provider of game

The afternoon is chilly, verging on frosty. I’ll leave work soon and head home to cook dinner. On the menu are sauteed mushrooms, mashed cauliflower — my latest drug of choice — and a green salad.

Walla Walla ‘Pink’ video gains admirers, if not a big payday

The Pink Glove Dance entry finished out of the money but made for a priceless experience.

WALLA WALLA — People here have the right to be proud, hands down, said Chalise Rabidue of the Walla Walla Police Department.

Blue Mountain Community Foundation increases grants

The largest amount was given to basic human care organizations

WALLA WALLA — This month Blue Mountain Community Foundation handed out nearly $241,000 in grants to area social services, arts, emergency assistance and community-needs organizations.

“Fiddler” picked as summer musical

Walla Walla Community College Foundation goes with tradition in choosing the large-cast Broadway smash.

WALLA WALLA — Playgoers here love and reward tradition, so Walla Walla Community College Foundation is going to serve it up big this summer with its presentation of “Fiddler on the Roof” for the 2014 outdoor summer musical.

Helpline sends SOS as needs flood agency

Helpline has already been forced to suspend its program to defray the cost of medications.

Kneebody to play free show Saturday at Whitman (with video)

The minute — the second — you feel you’ve nailed down the definitive musical meat of “Kneebody,” something changes. With a snap of audio fingers, a song jumps from richly-flavored big band to the unsettling, alternating fuzzy-sharp tang of electronic synthesizer.

Deal reached in criminal grease-dumping case

WALLA WALLA — A restaurant co-owner who admitted he dumped grease and chemicals on a lawn in a Walla Walla neighborhood is subject to two years of community and judicial accountability, according to Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney James Nagle.

Project goes past the pink to the heart of women’s health

I am writing this in October, the official month of all things pink. You know, the color of breast cancer awareness. And store shelves were completely pinked out well before October, as if buying pink merchandise is the only answer to the problem.

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Homeless no more

Cynthia Morris is happy to call an aging — and some would say insufficient — camper her 'home.'

MILTON-FREEWATER — The small windows are covered in scraps of fabric. The kitchen floor threatens to sink farther with every step. The ceiling is a collage of peeling paint, blooming water marks and holes. And the potential for fire makes Cynthia Morris nervous whenever she thinks about the unsheathed and insufficient wires laying behind a cupboard door that’s seen better days. “This worries me to death,” she said, displaying what looks like strands of common extension cords passing for house wiring.

Gonorrhea cases spike in Walla Walla County

Health officials urge condom use and other preventives.

Benefit to be held for ailing local businessman

WALLA WALLA — A benefit dinner will be held Oct. 30 for a local businessman and photographer who has been hospitalized for acute severe pancreatitis, according to his family and friends.

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Small bands to create big night in Waitsburg

WAITSBURG — Brad Green thinks big. And hears bigger. The Waitsburg public schools music educator understands the challenge of working in a rural district. Bands and choirs are always small in number, but that hasn’t stopped him from giving students a taste of big band, so to speak.

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Plight of Red Dog drives would-be rescuer ‘crazy'

Polly called. She rarely does, so when it happens, I listen. She hated to ask a favor, she said, but there’s a dog in trouble, and could I help? “I’ve tried everything I can think of. Maybe you can get the word out.”

Woman admits lying in grease dumping case

WALLA WALLA — A woman accused in connection with a grease dumping at the home of YMCA Executive Director Randy Grant has pleaded guilty to a gross-misdemeanor charge and was handed a suspended sentence in Walla Walla County District Court.

AT&T settlement a boon to Walla Walla inmate transition program

WALLA WALLA — A $45 million settlement in a class action lawsuit against AT&T Inc. has dialed up a nearly $1 million award for a Walla Walla agency.

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Shots from the heart

Before illnesses ravage and take their toll, a Valley photographer is there to capture the bittersweet at family gatherings.

WIC program gets federal shutdown reprieve for October

Washington’s Women, Infants and Children’s nutrition program has funding to operate through October, despite a federal government shutdown, state health officials said today.

Plague of glitches hit online health insurance sites

But people looking for in-person services have local services available.

WALLA WALLA — Today is the first official day for Washington state residents to sign up for health insurance options, but those trying to do it online only found error messages on their computers.

A lifetime of decoration fascination shifts from Barbies to RVs

It started in my bedroom, under the creaky, scarred wooden desk.

Health-care situations vary locally: Between a job and a hard place

A restaurant worker tries to cope with medical debt after her employer cuts staff work hours.

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Walla Walla-area clinics aim to shoot down the flu

WALLA WALLA — As surely as Christmas approaches, so does the annual flu season.

A local view of the Affordable Care Act

My Union-Bulletin colleague, Rachel Alexander, and I decided to make a video survey of how Walla Wallans see the Affordable Care Act. With health insurance exchanges set to go live on Oct. 1, we thought it a good idea to help understand questions and concerns.

Newly insured to deepen doctor gap

Attempts to address the provider gap have taken on increased urgency.

Valley has enough doctors — for now

But variables induced by the new health-care law could change the landscape.

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Lifesaving flights front and center for air ambulance service

PENDLETON — We don’t think about emergency medical transportation until the very moment we need it, other than pulling over to the side of the street at sirens blaring behind us. Or looking up as a helicopter whirs overhead.

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Washington State Penitentiary psychologist earns national acclaim for programs

WALLA WALLA — Tamara Russell has found the old saying to be true — big things do come in small packages.

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Paper carrier retires old bicycle, thanks to neighborhood’s gift

The afternoon was a scorcher when Joe Young looked out his window onto Gray Lynn Drive at the south end of Walla Walla earlier this summer.

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Health coverage: Navigating new waters

Guides are being lined up and trained to help people enroll in health plans starting Oct. 1.

Doctor to speak in Walla Walla on nation’s ‘horrible’ diet

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyne Jr. will give a community lecture at Cordiner Hall on Sunday.

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyne Jr. is coming to tell Walla Walla how to be heart attack proof and be happy about it.

Walla Walla County starts court to treat troubled families

The program aims to stablize homes where children are at risk.

WALLA WALLA — Mending broken families wasn’t directly on the menu when County Commissioners agreed to raise the county sales tax to help get more mental health services into the community. The 0.1 percent raise also added chemical-dependency treatment options in the county.

State audit dings Walla Walla County Housing Authority

The authority cites accounting and management problems at the former Farm Labor Homes.

WALLA WALLA — Reports released this week from the Washington State Auditor’s Office show problems continue to plague Walla Walla County Housing Authority, including a case of “reported loss of public funds.”