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Instead of obsessing over how many rolls of toilet paper we need to have on hand to carry out normal bathroom operations or compulsive impulse shopping at the grocery store, our immediate focus should be clearly on slowing down the spread of the COVID-19 disease and conducting social distancing.

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Getting an accurate count on the homelessness epidemic should be stitched onto the fabric of every city and town in Yakima county and this requires our government officials and community leaders to take a leadership role in this social movement.

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This holiday season has Republican and Democrat legislators from Washington, D.C. to Washington state addressing what constitutes articles for abuse of power and obstruction of justice, and as they battle out the unfolding political drama on Capitol Hill, which will resume after the New Year – here in the lower valley, the ongoing argument about open and accountable government was finally adopted on the Thursday, December 19 declaration by the state Supreme Court ruling that legislators are subject to the state Public Records Act.

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As the holiday season is upon us, an assortment of colorful glowing ornaments beaming throughout the lower valley’s wintery and foggy landscape keeps the festive spirit alive for everyone to enjoy – with this in mind, remember to use and turn on your vehicle’s headlights at any time when conditions appear to be less than ideal for not only seeing beyond the steering wheel, but in order to be seen by other people and vehicles.

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When people voice their complaints about the voting process or how one vote doesn’t make a difference, they should take a second look at the recent Yakima County city council races - three of those elections were too close to call; requiring a recount, while two of them were separated by only one ballot.

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2019 Voter’s Ballots and Pamphlets arrived in mailboxes this week. At the Sunnyside Post Office, the 128-page pamphlets, transcribed in both English and Spanish, were stacked upon tables next to recycle bins — they were unable to fit inside the blue containers usually reserved for junk mail or unwanted correspondence.

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Mabton High School teacher Sarah Clouse and her students are discussing and learning about Current World Problems this quarter. As part of their classroom program, groups of students have teamed up and opted to write a shared opinion letter for publication – to provide their strong voice on subjects which inspire thoughts and ideas within the lower valley.

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The role of the community newspaper has been both suspect and ambiguous, since the earliest origins of producing local news. The first recorded paper was labeled ‘suspect’ in 1690 when Benjamin Harrison, one of the first English journalists printed, but was unable to distribute, the ‘Publick Occurrences: Both Foreign and Domestic’.

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Letters to the editor at the Sunnyside Sun are greatly encouraged and genuinely appreciated — when we receive them. A longstanding newspaper tradition and an essential component of our democracy, writing a letter to the editor, is how readers not only express their issues of concern but it’s an effective interaction which strengthens our community.

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Mabton High School students took charge of a potentially violent situation on Wednesday, Sept. 11. They acted together and used communication systems and training to prevent a possible threat from escalating into an act of school and community violence. This is no small charge. The many pieces of prevention training paid off.

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September is national Hunger Action Month – a month where people all over America stand together to fight hunger. It’s a month to spread the word and act on the hunger crisis to aid in the awareness in finding a solution so no child, adult or senior experiences enduring hunger.

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