Eatery GRAZE celebrates 1st anniversary

GRAZE -- a place to eat -- has cause to celebrate this week.

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GRAZE -- a place to eat -- has cause to celebrate this week.

The downtown eatery will commemorate its first anniversary at its Colville Street shop with a special discount on sandwiches and drinks through Thursday, said owner John Lastoskie.

The official anniversary is Tuesday, for those keeping track. Those who stop in today through Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m. will get $1 off sandwiches and $1 off all beer and wine.

The first anniversary of the business that specializes in hand-crafted paninis, sandwiches, salads and soups is not to be confused with GRAZE's catering operation, which is now more than 4 years old.

Those interested in perusing the menu can stop by Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Baker Boyer Bank has promoted two new branch managers.

Marianne Renick has been named manager at the bank's Eastgate branch, and Brooke Herman is manager of the bank's Plaza Way and College Place branches.

The promotions are just two of a cluster of moves taking place among the branches announced by the company.

Renick has more than 37 years of banking experience with Walla Walla-based Baker Boyer. In her role as branch manager she will work with individual and small-business clients to provide products and services designed to meet their financial goals.

Herman, who began her career at Baker Boyer in 2006, will partner with other experts throughout the company to do the same at the College Place and Plaza branches.

Along with these staffing changes, Baker Boyer also announced that Patti Lightfoot, previous manager of the College Place branch, will move to the bank's Wheatland Village branch; Sharon Gowdy, previous manager of the Weston branch, will move to the Milton-Freewater office; and Annie Chemin will move from the Wheatland Village branch to the bank's main office in downtown Walla Walla.

Washington's unemployment-claims call centers are extending their hours of operation starting today.

The claims phone line will open one hour earlier each day for those in need of benefit applications or who have questions.

Unemployed workers can access assistance for with their claims for benefits from 7 a.m.-5 p.m., according to an announcement from the state's Employment Security Department. The call centers will continue to operate on the extended hours through Jan. 31.

The change is made to help accommodate those with questions or needs during the busiest time of year when jobs in construction and agriculture are at their sparsest.

Tricks to cutting down wait times for those who need to dial up:

Apply for benefits and submit weekly claims online at www.esd.wa.gov. The online system has been improved to allow more people to file claims at the same time.

Use virtual hold. During busy times, callers can choose to be called back instead of waiting on hold.

Call later in the week. Thursday and Friday mornings are the least bustling times in the call centers for those with new applications. The best time to file weekly claims via automated phone system is after 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Be ready. Have information available regarding your previous employers for the past two years, including the name of the business, mailing address and employment dates.

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

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