Realtors, staff devote energy to community service events

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Winderemere Real Estate's Walla Walla associates devoted their time today to a slate of community service projects.

Agents, managers, owners and staff members planned to stain downtown Walla Walla benches and the fence at the YWCA, restore equipment at My Friend's House at the YWCA and clean up and plant flowers at a park in Milton-Freewater as part of the company's nationwide Community Service Day.

Established in 1984 the event gives Windermere agents and staff a chance to volunteer and give back to the neighborhoods where they live and work, according to an announcement on the event, this year coordinated locally by Realtor Kathryn Gisi.

Interested in losing weight? Hypnotherapist Mary Kay Pinnick wants your undivided attention.

Pinnick will be offering group hypnotherapy sessions over the next two Thursdays. The hourlong sessions are scheduled June 24 and July 1 at the YWCA, 213 S. First Ave. They run 4-5 p.m. and cost $40 per session.

Space is limited. Participants are asked to call 526-8067 to make a reservation.

Excess inventory at Tumac Outdoor may be a boon for dads this weekend.

The Rose Street business is hosting a Fathers Day Tag Sale today and Saturday as a way to "blow out" some extra items from its online store, according to an announcement.

The excess products include Leatherman tools, Maglite products, Muck Boots, Rivers Edge gear, Viair air compressors and more.

The store, 902 W. Rose St., will also offer deals on new and used John Deere and Husqvarna lawn equipment, STIHL power equipment, Honda power equipment, Traeger Grill products and more. Visitors can sample a bit of barbecue while shopping.

"This weekend's sale will offer many of our premier products at prices well below wholesale," said Tumac co-owner Tim Larkin, in a prepared statement. "We expect many delighted fathers to come Sunday."

For more information call Tumac Outdoor at 525-4550 or visit: www.tumacoutdoor.com .

The average wage in Washington state rose last year after the loss of thousands of low-paying jobs, the state Employment Security Department reported this week.

A 1.9 percent increase -- the smallest since 2004 -- bumped the average annual wage to $47,153. The average weekly wage was $906, officials from the agency said.

The increase means the minimum and maximum unemployment benefits will go up for new unemployment claims starting next month. The average wage is used to compute those insurance benefits for jobless workers.

According to the announcement, the minimum weekly unemployment benefit, calculated at 15 percent of the average weekly wage, will inch up $2 to $135 for new claims opened on or after July 4. The maximum weekly benefit, calculated at 63 percent of the average weekly wage, will climb $10 to $570.

Curious how many people get the maximum percent of unemployment benefits? According to the state, the number represents about 24 percent of the unemployment claims; 6 percent of recipients get the minimum.

Apart from the unemployment benefits, the average annual wage is used to determine employers' unemployment taxes. Starting in 2011, employers will pay unemployment taxes on the first $37,300 paid to each employee, an increase from $36,800 this year. About one-third of all employees in Washington earned more than $37,300 last year.

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

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