The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

Articles written by Michele Smith

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 By Michele Smith    News    January 13, 2022

Fundraising pays off for Touchet Valley Golf Course

DAYTON-In 2019, Touchet Valley Golf and Recreation (TVGR), formerly known as the Dayton Country Club, created an aggressive five-year strategic plan for the golf course. The plan includes partnering...


My book pick for November

In The Last Best Hope, published by Farrar, Straus, Giroux in June 2021, Atlantic writer George Packer cuts to the chase about America’s current social, political, and economic divide. Parker...


Candidates for Dayton City Council and for the Dayton School District

DAYTON-Several candidates are running for a position on the Dayton City Council, including one write-in candidate. Laura Aukerman and Boe Stevenson will face off for Position 1, a four-year term on th... Full story


Candidates for Port of Columbia commissioners

DAYTON-This election year, there are some hotly contested races for Port commission offices. In District 1, Seth Bryan is running for a four-year term against the incumbent Shawn Brown. Bryan said his... Full story


Hospital District projects progress

DAYTON--Ron Asmus, owner of Ron Asmus Homes, Inc in the Tri-Cities, is moving ahead with construction of the new Assisted Living Facility units and he expects construction to begin within the next...


New Dayton dental clinic open to those with state-funded insurance

DAYTON-In November 2015, Norm Passmore's dental practice closed in Dayton, and treatment options for Medicaid patients became slim. Realizing the importance of preventative dental care to whole-body...


Covid-19 vaccination rate up for employees of the Columbia County Health System

DAYTON—On Aug. 12, The Times reported on the vaccination rate for the Columbia County Health System employees, which stood at about 52 percent. Columbia County Health System (CCHS) CEO Shane McGuire...

 By Michele Smith    News    August 26, 2021

Feasibility study shows how to turn the childcare desert to into an oasis

DAYTON—A 2020“Washington Child Care Industry Assessment” sponsored by the Washington Department of Commerce characterizes Walla Walla and Columbia counties as childcare “deserts.” This...

 By Michele Smith    News    August 12, 2021

Vaccinating health care workers a slow process in Columbia County

DAYTON—A question on the minds of many in our community is why the Columbia County Health System (CCHS) does not require its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Back in January, CCHS...

 By Michele Smith    News    August 12, 2021

Things will be different when school begins in Dayton on Aug. 24

DAYTON--Guy Strot sat down with me last week to talk about his first year as the Dayton School District Superintendent and Elementary School Principal and his thoughts about the upcoming 2021-22...

 By Michele Smith    News    July 22, 2021

Port of Columbia recipient of $2 million grant for broadband

DAYTON—The Port of Columbia has taken a significant leap forward in its quest to bring broadband, high-speed internet access to the local community. In Olympia last week, the Port’s Executive...

 By Michele Smith    News    July 22, 2021

Dayton City Council approves ILA with Columbia County for Planning Services

DAYTON—The Dayton City Council has passed a resolution authorizing Mayor Zac Weatherford to execute an Interlocal Agreement (ILA) between Columbia County and the City of Dayton for temporary...

 By Michele Smith    News    July 8, 2021

Future staffing at City Hall discussed in a special meeting

DAYTON-A special City Council meeting took place on Wednesday, June 30, to discuss future staffing at Dayton City Hall. The meeting was scheduled in the aftermath of the termination of the City...

 By Michele Smith    News    July 1, 2021

Uncertainty after termination of key employees at Dayton City Hall

DAYTON-It has been two weeks since Dayton Mayor Zac Weatherford terminated the employment of the City Administrator, Trina Cole, the Planning and Community Development Director, Meagan Hayes, and the...

 By Michele Smith    News    May 6, 2021

Hospital board report for April

DAYTON—The Hospital District’s board of commissioners have authorized a request from Columbia County Health System (CCHS) CEO Shane McGuire to spend $250,000 from CARES Act funds allocated to the...

 By Michele Smith    News    May 6, 2021

Free Little Libraries are popping up everywhere

DAYTON-Perhaps you have noticed the Free Little Libraries located at Steve's Grocery and the Dayton Historic Depot. There is another one in Starbuck, which is soon to be relocated to the Starbuck...

 By Michele Smith    News    April 29, 2021

Dayton School District board meeting in April

DAYTON—June 5, at 1 p.m., has been tentatively selected for this year’s senior class graduation ceremony, according to DSD Supt. Guy Strot, at last week’s school board meeting. Strot was short o...

 By Michele Smith    News    April 29, 2021

Touchet Valley Trail information meeting well attended

DAYTON-On Monday, as many as 101 people attended the Port of Columbia Touchet Valley Trail (TVT) information meeting and to ask questions of the presenters. Brian Hansen, Principal Engineer for...

 By Michele Smith    News    April 22, 2021

Port discusses trail meeting, Columbia Pulp, broadband

DAYTON—The Port of Columbia Executive Director Jennie Dickinson reminded those in attendance at the Port Commissioners meeting last week about the Touchet Valley Bike Trail informational meeting,...

 By Michele Smith    News    April 22, 2021

Dayton City Council report for April

DAYTON—Vicki Zoller from the Friends of the Dayton Community Center was a special guest at the Dayton City Council meeting last week. Zoller said fundraising efforts for the feasibility study for th...

 By Michele Smith    News    April 22, 2021

One new case of COVID-19 in Columbia County

DAYTON—Only one COVID-19 vaccine clinic was scheduled this week. That clinic took place at the county fairgrounds on Tuesday, when 91-second doses of the Pfizer vaccine were administered....

 By Michele Smith    News    April 15, 2021

CCHS participating in group studying regional childcare issues

DAYTON­­-There will be a licensed daycare vacuum in Dayton, when the only current licensed provider drops out of the business at the end of June, said Paul Ihle, a Community Health Worker for the...

 By Michele Smith    News    April 15, 2021

New concessionaires at the Touchet Valley Golf Course restaurant

DAYTON-If you find you love the food prepared by Sid Highsmith and Nathanial Steen at Blazin Burgers, you should let them know so they will be encouraged to stay. Steen said when the golf course...

 By Michele Smith    News    April 8, 2021

Pending legislation has the county treasurer scratching her head

DAYTON—Columbia County Treasurer Carla Rowe believes the duty of the treasurer’s office is to collect taxes, not to make judgments on who is, or who is not, qualified for delinquent tax...

 By Michele Smith    News    April 8, 2021

For the love of Dayton

When I first landed in Dayton in 2012, I didn’t know anybody and wasn’t sure how I was going to find out anything about my new community. I got my first insight into the community through reading... Full story


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