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Sheila Hagar

Stories by Sheila

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.

Mixed pair makes its public debut

Altogether we had a yard-plus and a few ounces shy of 13 pounds of babies who were sporting enough hair to brush, cut and style.

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The homeless jigsaw puzzle

Walla Walla has a plethora of social services, but the plight of some homeless people defy solutions.

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‘Coming out blazing’

Rikki Union has been dealt many blows but refuses to accept that as her lot in life.

Walla Walla veterans home clears another hurdle

WALLA WALLA — Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a bill authorizing the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs to operate a veterans home in Walla Walla.

Updated: State to pay $740,000 in inmate's death

WALLA WALLA — The state Department of Corrections has agreed to pay $740,000 to the family of an inmate who died in custody at Washington State Penitentiary after suffering from a painful and treatable illness.

Anonymous donor offers ray of hope for Rising Sun Clubhouse

WALLA WALLA — An anonymous donor has given financially-strapped Rising Sun Clubhouse a new lease on life, for at least several months. On Monday, $15,000 was handed over to Harvey Crowder, interim director of Walla Walla County Department of Community Health, to be given to the clubhouse.

Quest for marker leaves no stone unturned

Iridescent blue flecks of sky speckled throughout the sparkle of black diamond. Labeled “Emerald Pearl” granite, the name paled to reality. The sample square glowed like a living organism, oozing dazzle.

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Clubhouse pushed toward brink

Finances, always a concern at the Rising Sun Clubhouse, have the gathering place for the mentally ill in difficult straits.

Rising Sun members find a good fit with group

WALLA WALLA — There are 38 scars on Ashley Mace’s arms, some of them woven under newer tattoos. Cutting was once how she relieved stress, the 20-year-old college student said.

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Walla Walla-area group tackles food insecurity

Members will recommend ways to ensure residents have the food they need and the means to choose, store and prepare it.

WALLA WALLA — If America could learn to embrace more of the food it produces, phrases like “food insecurity” might someday be off the table, two produce specialists feel.

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Sixteen-year-old a sweet gift to family

“God,” I screamed. “I am exhausted. I am crazy busy. I can’t do any more. If I’m supposed to do this, you’re going to have to show me in a big way. BIG. Do you understand, God?”

Financial woes beset county-owned services building

Low rents, payments on a $2 million loan and building repair and upkeep don’t cover costs, commissioners learned.

WALLA WALLA — Officials said Monday a county-owned building seems to be operating like a financial house of cards.

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As Serenity Point founder can attest, there is a way out of addiction

Pat Flores turned his life around, then began turning around other people’s lives.

WALLA WALLA — Pat Flores understands addiction, how it demands unsavory actions, ruins lives, decimates families. How it creates a hole that goes deeper and deeper — and he’s been down there, he said. But when someone, or a team of someones, can offer a ladder, Flores knows many people will start that long climb.

Addiction treatment providers reel under ACA, low Medicaid rates

WALLA WALLA — A perfect storm of Medicaid math and an unintended consequence of the health-care overhaul is set to cast its shadow over Walla Walla and the rest of Washington.

Legislature misfired with Medicaid

Seeing more Medicaid clients just means you lose more money,’ Walla Walla County’s health administrator says.

WALLA WALLA — The perception of what the Affordable Care Act would mean for chemical dependency care in Washington state is meeting reality, and officials say it’s not a pretty picture.

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Wildhorse fireworks burn away worries of rain

The rain clouds that had hugged the Blue Mountain all afternoon had finally moseyed over to Wildhorse Resort & Casino, bringing healthy gusts. But that wasn’t about to stop master pyrotechnician and Homeland Fireworks owner Bruce Lawson from creating another special fireworks extravaganza for the resort’s 19th anniversary on March 8.

Sen. Patty Murray pushes for VA home money

WALLA WALLA — U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Wednesday pressed administration officials for answers about care for veterans, including how funding will be achieved for the planned Washington State Veterans Home at the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center.

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Insurers: ACA demands full reimbursement for kids' eyewear

Insurers say ACA requires full reimbursement of even the most expensive designer eyewear for children.

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Guitar Festival grows into regional event of note

WALLA WALLA — Robin Barrett wants Walla Walla to hear music in the streets this month, weeks before the street concerts start up or wineries begin seasonal patio music series.

Plenitude of projects sprout in muddy back yard

With no new bark on top, the ground rose up to meet every sole, happy to be brought into the warm house. I became a shrieker. “WHO DID NOT WIPE THEIR FEET? SOMEONE WILL DIE.”

Gymnasium gets new lease on life

WALLA WALLA — Brand new doors in the Walla Walla Housing Authority gymnasium will swing open at 5:30 p.m. today for a ribbon-cutting hoopla signaling culmination of the first phase of renewal for the much-used building.

Stressed body lets food go to waist

Suddenly there was a glop of marshmallow cream under my skin. Jell-O under my shirt. A bizarre pillow of wiggly jelly rivaling St. Nick’s.

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Class reveals sweet secrets of chocolate

Chocolate, if chosen wisely, can be a savory, guilt-free experience.

WALLA WALLA — Chocolate is destined to tempt palates forever, believes Emily Castillo. Her point is perhaps most fervently made on a Valentine-infused weekend that officially began Friday and lingers through Presidents Day.

Walla Walla General Hospital completes staff cuts

WALLA WALLA — A string of layoffs at Walla Walla General Hospital has ended with 20 people losing their jobs.

Milton-Freewater latest to let city employees carry guns on job

A few other rural cities and counties in the nation have adopted similar rules over the past year, citing safety.

MILTON-FREEWATER — The morning after officials adopted a measure allowing city employees to carry guns while on the job, City Manager Linda Hall had a few words for her staff and the community.

Milton-Freewater employees get OK to carry guns at work

The City Council approved what the city manager calls a ‘landmark decision.’

MILTON-FREEWATER — City employees can now pack a gun on the job under an amendment the City Council passed Monday.

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Circus love

Lizzy Harvey shares her love for circus arts to instill confidence and self-trust in youths.

WALLA WALLA — Evelyn Sisk, or “Evi,” could not be more clear why she’s enrolled in Walla Walla Parks and Recreation’s “Circus Arts” class. “I was really interested in the circus,” the 9 year-old explained. “I wanted to be interactive with people older than me … and I really wanted to learn to do flips.”

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Walla Walla warming center an overnight haven for homeless

About 20 people used the warming center at First Congregational Church on Thursday night, from “very young adults” to older veterans.