Fort Walla Walla Museum extends season into late December

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The start of November usually marks an end to visitation at Fort Walla Walla Museum.

But this year, operators are gearing up for an extended season to last just before Christmas. And as an early gift, admission will be cut in half, according to a new announcement from the nonprofit operation.

An increasing number of visitors in the post-Labor Day stretch have apparently prompted the extension. Though typically closed after Oct. 31, the museum will continue to operate 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily through Dec. 23. Thanksgiving Day will be the only exception.

The museum's Entry Hall will be open throughout the extended season and the four large Exhibit Halls will remain open as long as the weather allows. The 17-building pioneer settlement and the rest of the grounds will be available for walk-through viewing. Programs and classes for adults and children are in the planning stages.

Also, if you haven't dropped by since construction at the museum took place, you may be surprised at what's in store. Or, rather, you may be surprised when you see the museum's store.

As part of the overhaul of the new Entry Hall, a newly expanded Museum Store -- four times the size of the museum's previous store -- is an attraction all its own.

The shelves have been stocked with an array of items -- from toy kits, books and old-style games like marbles and yo-yos to mustards, cookbooks, aprons, jewelry and stuffed toys.

"People can't believe it's the same museum," said Don Locati, Fort Walla Walla Museum's operations manager.

Store Manager Cheryl Gibson, who started at the museum as a volunteer and was recruited by Locati to help with the store, said the inventory is intended to "capture the hominess of the museum." Local vendors and consignors have offered their wares to create the chock-full store that opened last April.

The store has become a hot spot for school kids on tours in search of period pieces from gold-mining kits to train whistles and pioneer-themed clothing. It's also become a popular resource for local gifts and educational items. Admission is free to the store, which operates 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for the rest of the year.

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A grand-opening celebration is on the menu for South Fork Grill on Wednesday.

The Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce will welcome the restaurant with a ribbon-cutting and celebration starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday. The ribbon-cutting will take place at 3:30 p.m.

South Fork Grill, 1129 S. Second Ave., suite D, is owned by Chris and Jodi Worden. They became owners of the former CreekTown Caf when that business closed. Their menu includes a number of CreekTown favorites as well as some new dishes. The business operates 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For reservations or more information, call 522-4777.

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Walla Walla's Harvest Foods is thanking veterans for their service Thursday with a cup of coffee and a treat.

Servicemen and women who drop by the Southgate store, 905 S. Second Ave., between 7 and 11 a.m. Thursday, will get a free cup of "Joe" and a treat from one of the store's "Donut Dollies." Veterans will also get a 10 percent discount on their purchases all day.

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Sloan Kimball, a Walla Walla resident and the chief financial officer of Pasco's Bank Reale, has been appointed to the Chartered Financial Analysts Disciplinary Review Committee.

The Disciplinary Review Committee is part of the Professional Conduct Program for the CFA Institute, a nonprofit organization of more than 100,000 international investment professionals. The organization was formed in 1963 to bring ethics and integrity to the profession, according to an announcement on Kimball's appointment.

Eighteen investment professionals comprise the committee, which holds regular hearings to review and update its code of conduct -- "The Rules of Procedure for Professional Conduct." The group's next session will be early this month in New York City.

A chartered financial analyst, Kimball previously worked as treasurer for Baker Boyer Bank before becoming a founder of Bank Reale.

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

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