Wilcox collects coats to give


A Milton-Freewater furniture store is helping local residents stay warm this winter.

Starting Wednesday, staff members at Wilcox on Highway 11 will collect gently used coats for adults and children.

Coats will be collected through Dec. 10, said Manager Janice Holden. Boxes will be set up at both the neighboring stores at 85332 Highway 11. Donors are asked to drop off the coats during regular business hours -- 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Coats should be clean and in good condition.

Employees will distribute the coats to Milton-Freewater charities to be handed out as needed.

Holden said Wilcox employees adopted the coat drive as a special project "because they feel goodwill is the reason for the season." For more information, call 541-938-6739.


The clock is ticking on tourism grant funds.

Wednesday is the last day to apply for Tourism Walla Walla's matching grant program. The agency has allocated $12,000 for its 2010 matching grants, which help support tourism projects that draw people to the Walla Walla Valley from outside the area.

Applications for the funds are due by 5 p.m. Wednesday. The program is intended to support projects that provide long-term economic benefits to the area. Projects that received funding last year include the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, Tour of Walla Walla and Feast Walla Walla, to name a few.

Tourism Walla Walla gives priority to projects that increase overnight visitation to the Walla Walla Valley, increase shoulder-season tourism, encourage cooperative partnerships between Walla Walla organizations, are located within a jurisdiction that financially supports Tourism Walla Walla, and establish clear, meaningful and measurable results.

For more information, call 525-8799.


ATT will soon be calling Walla Walla "home."

The communications provider will open a new store on Alder Street, next door to Sprint. A sign has been posted on the building. The opening of the store will reportedly coincide with the introduction of several towers in the area.

ATamp;T is the exclusive U.S. carrier for iPhone. This will be its first store in Walla Walla.


Speaking of telephone service, it's not too early for Walla Walla residents to get in the habit of dialing an area code when calling neighbors across the Oregon border, according to telephone service provider Qwest.

Starting Jan. 10, local calls from Walla Walla to Milton-Freewater will be a 10-digit affair. The calls will continue to be local -- meaning those extra digits dialed won't cost any more money for the caller. But those who attempt to connect with seven digits won't be able to get through.

The change is preparation for the introduction of a new area code. The Oregon Public Utility Commission approved the addition of a new "458" area code for the geographic region served by "541." The addition is known as an "Area Code Overlay."

As of Jan. 10, callers will need to dial the 541 area code in front of the seven-digit telephone number to get through to Milton-Freewater. Starting one month later -- Feb. 10 -- new telephone lines or services in Oregon may be assigned numbers with the new 458 area code.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 509-526-8321.


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