Grape Line's new buses are now on the road.
The operation, which provides three daily trips from Walla Walla to Pasco, got three new 20-passenger buses, thanks to federal stimulus funds.
The buses replaced Grape Line's existing fleet. Manufactured by Indiana firm Turtle Top Inc., the buses are equipped with high-back reclining passenger seats. They also have a wheelchair lift, two wheelchair stations, a bike rack for two bicycles and luggage storage areas.
Funding for the buses came from $1.9 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants for the Travel Washington Intercity Bus Program. That money will also supply a fourth bus for Travel Washington's Apple Line service between Omak and Ellensburg. Five other buses will join the Travel Washington fleet by springtime, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Grape Line is operated by Whatcom County-based Airporter Shuttle/Bellair Charters and offers three daily trips to Pasco with stops in Touchet, Wallula and Burbank.
For those who want to check out the new fleet but aren't planning a road trip to Pasco, Travel Washington/Grape Line will host an open house this week. The event takes place Friday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Valley Transit hub on Main Street between Third and Fourth avenues. Another open house will follow Saturday at the same time at the Pasco Intermodal Station. One of the new buses purchased with the grant funds will be on display.
If you're looking for the Blue Mountain Community Room at the Walla Walla Regional Airport, you may be in for a long search.
Port of Walla Walla Commissioners Paul Schneidmiller and Michael Fredrickson spearheaded a name change of the room in honor of former Commissioner Fred Bennett, who retired at the end of last year.
Bennett served 24 years as a Port commissioner and was an advocate for the new airport terminal building during his tenure on the commission.
In recognition of his service and efforts, the meeting room in the facility has been changed to the "Bennett Community Meeting Room." A bronze plaque outside the room has been posted in Bennett's honor and details many of his contributions over nearly two and a half decades.
Dustin Brown, the financial representative with the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in Walla Walla, is getting kudos from his company.
Brown led the Spokane Network Office in production for December for financial representatives with less than 10 years experience.
A graduate of Eastern Washington University, Brown specializes in personal needs analysis for individuals and businesses.
His office is located at 30 W. Main St.
Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at email@example.com or 509-526-8321.