The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

Articles written by Michele Smith

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Columbia County Election results

COLUMBIA COUNTY-Jack Miller has defeated the incumbent Charles Amerein in a tight race for a seat on the Board of Columbia County Commissioners, representing District 3. Miller garnered 51.95 percent... Full story

 By Michele Smith    News    November 3, 2022

Statewide hospital challenges addressed

DAYTON-When the Hospital District commissioners met last week, they heard from Columbia County Health System CEO Shane McGuire about substantial operational losses for Washington State hospitals in... Full story

 By Michele Smith    News    October 20, 2022

Election integrity continued goal for Columbia County

DAYTON—Columbia County’s Election Supervisor, Cathy Abel, said there are many checks and balances to ensure election integrity in the county, from the time an election ballot leaves the voter to... Full story

 By Michele Smith    News    October 13, 2022

AAUW candidate forum held Oct. 5

DAYTON-The Dayton chapter of the American Association of University Women held a Candidates' Forum on October 5, to allow voters in Columbia County to hear from and ask questions of candidates for... Full story


Columbia County updates: resignations, hires, budget

COLUMBIA COUNTY­-Virginia Schmidt is the ever-capable Clerk of the Board for the Board of Columbia County Commissioners (BOCC), in that position for a year and a half. Here is what this reporter...


CCHS to operate Walla Walla University clinic

DAYTON--Last week, Columbia County Health System CEO Shane McGuire provided updates on different initiatives at the monthly meeting of the hospital board of commissioners. He spoke about the...

 By Michele Smith    News    August 18, 2022

County officials report to the Dayton City Council

DAYTON—Columbia County Sheriff Joe Helm spoke at length in his report to the Dayton City Council last week. Most notably, he reported about traffic stops and criticism he has received from some who...

 By Michele Smith    News    August 11, 2022

CCHS assited living facilities close to opening

DAYTON-On Monday, Columbia County Health System CEO Shane McGuire led The Times on a tour of one of the four cottages at Rivers Walk Assisted Living. The nearly completed cottage we toured was the...

 By Michele Smith    News    July 21, 2022

Dayton City Council meeting for July 12

DAYTON--Diane McKinley, representing the Advisory Committee for the Friends of the Community Pool, was a special guest at the Dayton City Council meeting last week. The Advisory Committee is seeking...

 By Michele Smith    News    July 21, 2022

Jim Su'euga is new to the Dayton City Council

DAYTON--Jim Su'euga was appointed to Position 2 on the Dayton City Council at last week's regular meeting. He applied for the city council position to serve the community. Su'euga said he would be a...

 By Michele Smith    News    July 7, 2022

On-campus location for childcare center moves forward

DAYTON—The Hospital Board of Commissioners has given the nod to hospital administrators to have Hallway II at the Booker Rest Home evaluated for turning it into a childcare and early learning...

 By Michele Smith    News    May 19, 2022

Childcare facility task force moving ahead with a public meeting

DAYTON-The committee on the task force looking into developing a childcare facility and early learning center in Dayton will provide the public with an opportunity to learn more at a meeting on... Full story

 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...


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