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Sheila Hagar

Stories by Sheila

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At the Walla Walla VA, doctor disillusionment

Two doctors who quit Walla Walla VA’s operational area tell of a dysfunctional agency more interested in policy than people.

VA another battle for vets

A wounded Vietnam vet who became a VA clerical worker talks about endless challenges for medical treatment.

Ex-VA doctor’s parting words: ‘I have reached that point.’

Dr. Jonathan Hibbs, who spent eight years working in the Department of Veterans Affairs health system, wrote an impassioned letter to colleagues about why he felt compelled to resign. On July 25, Hibbs left his job as medical director of the Yakima Community Based Outpatient Clinic, which operates under the authority of Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial Veterans Affairs Medical Center. His letter follows:

Commission denies WWU accreditation for program

Walla Walla University has learned its four-year nursing program will no longer be accredited.

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Red Badge Project writes new story for veteran recovery

WALLA WALLA — When Tom Skerritt decided to take his show on the road, Walla Walla was the natural choice.

Alleged drunken driver arrested after crash

WALLA WALLA — A Milton-Freewater woman was arrested after a traffic collision that injured a Walla Walla man Sunday afternoon at the intersection of Poplar and Palouse streets.

Local suicide hotline working to speed help

WALLA WALLA — People considering suicide in Walla Walla County should be able to talk to a local mental-health professional, and fast.

West Nile case suspected in WW County

A Walla Walla County resident is suspected of having contracted the mosquito-borne West Nile virus, health officials said Friday.

Patient recovering after apparent West Nile infection in Walla Walla County

A West Nile virus infection is suspected in a Walla Walla County resident, health officials said Friday.

Column: Judge rules in favor of responsibility

The possibility of being jailed recently caught my daughter’s attention.

Local VA officials at odds with national news report

WALLA WALLA — Local VA officials are puzzled by a USA Today news report Wednesday that said almost 19 percent of staff who schedule appointments at Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial Veterans Affairs Medical Center were instructed to manipulate data on how long military veterans wait for medical appointments.

Walla Walla veteran wages battle for VA help

WALLA WALLA — Bill Curry is the first one to say he takes a lot of medication for his psychiatric issues.

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Bold, bright pieces are artist’s signature

WALLA WALLA — Heidi Higginbotham’s work days are one straight line after another.

Memento curator finally decides the old stuff is history

Let me be very clear — I love history.

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WWCC cafe gives student chefs hands-on experience

“There is no better lesson than failure,” says Dan Thiessen, executive director of Walla Walla Community College’s Wine Country Culinary Institute. “You’ve got to let them fail.”

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9 years later, remains of Milton-Freewater man found

Loggers in the Blue Mountains outside of Milton-Freewater discovered the skeletal remains of Byron Jeffrey Fusselman, reported missing in November 2005, a few weeks before the young man would have turned 20.

Local educator, bookkeeper sentenced for embezzlement

WALLA WALLA — A former Walla Walla University finance professor and self-employed bookkeeper will spend time in federal prison on a charge of wire fraud in connection with the theft of more than $800,000 from a local dentist.

Local nursing home tops VA’s project list

WALLA WALLA — The Washington state veterans nursing home slated for Walla Walla is once again on track and, if all does as expected, with full funding.

Car crash survivor loses leg, fights for future

WALLA WALLA — Noel Shannon of Milton-Freewater is missing part of her left leg, but her courage and spirit have doubled, her mom said this week.

Opting out of shots a factor in state’s rise in measles

WALLA WALLA — Alarmed that measles cases in Washington state have climbed to 27 so far this year — more than the past five years combined — public health officials in Walla Walla County and elsewhere are raising concerns about people who aren’t vaccinated.

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Milton-Freewater woman survives harrowing night after rolling truck

Using her keys as a primitive scalpel to cut off her own leg was one of the options Noel Shannon considered the night she lay trapped under her 1996 Toyota truck.

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Renowned Walla Walla artist Norman Adams dies

He was best known for his intricate paintings of nature that appeared in national magazines and elsewhere.

WALLA WALLA — The Valley lost some of its creative color on Friday with the death of Norman Adams, a Walla Walla-based artist known nationally for his illustrations or nature and wildlife.

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Shades of today paint picture for tomorrow

MILTON-FREEWATER — To tempt people to invest in Milton-Freewater’s future, Norm Saager is offering a glimpse of its brick-and-mortar history through the work of high school students and their art teacher.

State dentists, orthodontists groups question spending

They say they expected Medicaid expenditures on braces for youths would have leveled off instead of spiking.

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State foots skyrocketing $27 million bill for braces

Washington spent $27 million in 2013 on orthodontics for eligible patients 20 years old and younger.

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Vintage films capture area’s past (with videos)

WALLA WALLA — She’s doing it for family, but Wilma Schmerer is betting others will be eager to take a look.

After three years, family finally warms up to dishwasher

If you have eaten at our house in the past three years, partaken in a potluck dish I contributed or nibbled on snacks I ferried to work, let me say I am heartily sorry.

Milton-Freewater's Opera House is undergoing restoration

MILTON-FREEWATER — Behind curtained scaffolding, single-paned windows and bricks patinated with decades of exposure, a timeworn lady sits, waiting for another chance to be useful in her community.

Local surgeons stitch up new collaboration

WALLA WALLA — Two area medical providers were surgically joined together this week.

Family waits on a miracle after boy's near drowning

Gabriel Scheel is spunky. The youngest of five boys, the Assumption School preschooler is tough enough to lay some hurt on his brothers when the Scheel boys roughhouse.

County to head into mental health transition while missing pivotal position

WALLA WALLA — The county is once again without a psychiatrist to treat eligible Medicaid patients, but those in charge are hopeful the hole will soon be plugged. In the meantime, a solid umbrella of staffing is in place to weather the storm, said Rick Weaver, executive director of Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health.

St. Mary and Kadlec medical centers join under secular umbrella

WALLA WALLA — A local hospital is now affiliated with Kadlec Health System in Tri-Cities.

Updated: Walla Walla VA set for further review

WALLA WALLA — The Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial Veterans Affairs Medical Center has been listed as one of 81 VA sites slated for further review, out of a total of 216 medical centers recently visited by auditing teams.

Pain sufferer gets the point of acupuncture

So I recently became accidentally addicted. Totally unintentional and, like addictions do, this one got me at my most vulnerable moment.

‘Hunting Men’ a journal of danger, drugs and duty

A retired OSP detective who grew up in Milton-Freewater writes a book about life behind the badge.

WALLA WALLA — Shari Davis finally has some answers.

Longtime agency director named new CEO of Blue Mountain Action Council

WALLA WALLA — A longtime Blue Mountain Action Council director has been chosen as the nonprofit agency’s next chief executive officer.

Season for sneezin’ hits Walla Walla Valley hard

WALLA WALLA — It’s not all in your head, even if it is in your nose.

Ex-Walla Walla University professor pleads guilty in $800,000 theft case

WALLA WALLA — A former Walla Walla University professor of finance and economics has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $800,000 from local dentist Dan Laizure.

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Son’s untimely death inspires family’s quest to assist those in need

Trysten Allen Fortune will always move forward.

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More than bats swinging this season in Milton-Freewater Little League

Despite a past of drugs, crime and incarceration, Joe Field says he wants nothing more now than to be the best father of five he can be. “I’m committed to that.”

Marly walks away from Field's fight

Jake Marly said he thinks he understands why Joe Field and his attorney point to Marly’s felony conviction to call “foul” in a battle with the Little League organization here.

Sen. Patty Murray grills VA chief

WALLA WALLA — Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki answered questions and responded to concerns about scheduling of medical appointments and services within the VA care system today in front of the Veterans Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C.

Walla Walla VA undergoes audit; concerns raised about method

WALLA WALLA — Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki ordered “face-to-face” audits of every Veterans Affairs clinics earlier this month, and Walla Walla’s turn came Wednesday, officials said.

YMCA, MFUSD bring summer camps to Milton-Freewater

It takes a village to raise a child, as the saying goes. Sometimes it takes two.

Suspended Phoenix VA director had problems in Walla Walla

WALLA WALLA — A director placed on administrative leave last week at a Phoenix Veterans Affairs medical center had a troubled run here, as well.

Column: Public restrooms don’t mean squat with seat covers

Let’s start this column on a need-to-know basis, and it’s going to get a little graphic here.

Public restrooms don’t mean squat with seat covers

Let’s start this column on a need-to-know basis, and it’s going to get a little graphic here.

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An anatomy of a troubled building

Many judgment calls were made in buying and renovating the Community Services Center building; some didn’t turn out so well

Call it the building rehab from hell, one that cost Walla Walla County $2 million two years ago and now calls for another $411,000-plus and possibly more to repair the heating and air conditioning system.

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VA chaplain brings end to ‘Heaven on Earth’ career

Ben Vegors, 91, steps down as the longest-serving VA chaplain in the nation.

WALLA WALLA — If only Ben Vegors' mother could see him now.

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Band to play at Walla Walla University stays together for music, service

WALLA WALLA — They’ve been together nearly 20 years and still like each other and what they do, said Switchfoot bassist and co-founder Tim Foreman.