Local man to lead 2 planning groups

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A Walla Walla man with a long history in tourism and business is set to head a pair of regional planning and development groups.

Duane Wollmuth, whose resume includes ownership of Three Rivers Winery, a senior vice presidency for Blue Mountain Cellular and time on the board of the state Tourism Commission, will head the Southeast Washington Economic Development Association and the Palouse Regional Transportation Planning Organization.

Wollmuth was selected after several rounds of interviews over the past few months, according to a news release.

"I look forward to leading the economic development and transportation planning efforts in our four counties, while preserving the quality of life that we all cherish," Wollmuth said in the release. "Southeast Washington holds a wealth of natural and educational resources that can be the foundation for economic development and can allow us to effectively compete and thrive in the ever changing world in which we live."

SEWEDA is the lead agency for economic development in Asotin, Columbia, Garfield and Whitman counties, and also manages the regional transportation planning efforts through the PRTPO. The executive director oversees a staff of five and will report to two boards of directors.

Owners of forest land -- in New Hampshire we called them woodlots, in case you were curious -- are invited to join a new chapter of the Washington Farm Forestry Association.

Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield and Asotin county landowners fall under the umbrella of the Blue Mountain chapter of group, and an inaugural meeting will be held Sept. 26 at 7:30 pm in the library in Dayton, according to a news release.

The association promotes educational programs, improving forest stewardship and increasing awareness of family-owned forests, according to the release. The group also lobbies in Olympia.

For more information about the association and the regional chapter, contact the state association at 360-736-5750 or info@wafarmforestry.com. Local contacts are Greg and Susan Kelly, who can be reached at 509-520-4579.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Alasdair Stewart can be reached at alasdairstewart@wwub.com or 526-8311.

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