Attempt to save Wash. Main Street program rounds corner to fruition

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Advocates of the Washington State Main Street Program got one step closer to saving the program last week and face another key step Thursday.

The Main Street Bill received overwhelming support from the House of Representatives, which approved the measure 91-7, last week. A hearing on the bill, focused on saving funding for the program that provides technical assistance and training for Main Street programs throughout the state, has been scheduled for a hearing by the Senate Committee on Government Operations at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

The bill is a response to proposed cuts by Gov. Chris Gregoire in her effort to balance the state budget.

Co-sponsored by Rep. Dean Takko, a Democrat from the 19th district, and Rep. Bill Hinkle, a Republican from the 13th district, the bill has received bipartisan support, in addition to support from the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation and other Main Street organizations across Washington.

"Although the Downtown Foundation's daily operations would not be affected one way or another the loss of the state's Main Street Program would impact small Main Street communities all over Washington," said downtown foundation Executive Director Elio Agostini, in a prepared statement. "The cooperation we have always had from our community here in Walla Walla now seems to be broadening throughout the state. We have always been fortunate in Walla Walla because of the support we have received from our merchants, the successful events we've had in our downtown and the financial contributions we've received over the years."

The state Main Street Program started in 1991 to help communities with downtown revitalization programs. Communities don't receive funding through the program, but do benefit from the training and support administered through the program.

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Trivia buffs and musicians: The Red Monkey Downtown Lounge wants you.

The Alder Street lounge has midweek entertainment for those who love a good brain-teaser, as well as those who want to take the stage.

On Tuesdays at 8 p.m. the business offers "Are you Smarter Than a Monkey?" The live trivia game is hosted by 97 Rock's Adam Lambert and features drink and food specials as well as prizes. A traveling trophy and bragging rights go to the winning team, which can be as small as two people and as large as 10.

On Wednesdays, "Open Mic Monkey Jam" runs 7-11 p.m. Openings are available in 20-minute sessions. Performers receive food discounts. Contests and themes are an expected element of the open mic nights. To reserve a space, call 876-1444.

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

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