Money Smart course to be offered in May

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A little time understanding financial fundamentals could pay off for attendees of next month's Money Smart program.

The Walla Walla Asset Building Coalition and Banner Bank will partner in May to present the FDIC's Money Smart program, an award-winning financial education curriculum designed to help instill a foundation of financial knowledge, according to an announcement from the coalition and Blue Mountain Action Council.

What better time to sign up than now -- in the midst of National Financial Literacy Month, organizers say.

The two-hour program will be offered Wednesdays throughout May. Topics include working with banks, understanding credit, developing spending plans, consumer rights, how to save and more. However, the course is not designed for those seeking investment advice or complex financial training.

Classes start at 6 p.m. and will take place in downtown Walla Walla, officials said. A light supper will be provided for registered attendees starting at 5:30 p.m. Child care will be available for those who need it. Transportation reimbursements may also be available. Those who attend all four sessions will receive a $100 gift card from Banner Bank.

Registration is required and can be done by calling Stephanie Silver at 529-4980. The class will be filled in the order registrations are received. To learn more, visit: www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/adult.html .

Plumb Cellars will host a grand-opening this weekend at its new downtown Walla Walla tasting room. The winery that shares space with Mansion Creek Cellars in the "Wine at NINE" tasting room will showcase its blends, including its signature "Damn Straight." Friday's festivities run 4-7 p.m. The celebration continues Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Discounts will be offered at various times throughout the weekend. Works by local artist Mark Van Donge will be on display.

Plumb Cellars owner and local contractor Gary Kagels led the tasting room's remodel, including pouring and finishing the massive concrete bar, according to the announcement. Co-owners Margo Kagels, Dale and Edie Johnson and Crandall Kyle assisted. Help also came from Roger Russell who co-owns Mansion Creek with Julia Russell.

Design touches in the space include floors stained with Plumb Cellars' 2009 syrah and a revamp of the tasting room's skylight.

In addition to the Plumb pouring, owners of Mansion Creek Cellars will pour their wines this weekend. A separate celebration for their wines will take place at a later date in the space.

The reconstruction has been ongoing for months with several peeks into the space during wine weekend events. For more details on Plumb Cellars opening, call 529-WINE or visit plumbcellars.com .

Two local businesses have signed on as sponsors of the Walla Walla Sweets baseball team. Laht Neppur Brewing Co., the Waitsburg-based microbrewery that operates an ale house in Walla Walla, has signed a new sponsorship that will continue the operation's sale of brews at Sweets games in 2011 and include naming rights to the new alcohol service station that will be located beyond the right-field fence and the Pepsi Pavilion in the Am Fam Zone.

Construction of the new beer garden at Borleske Stadium will be completed well before Opening Night presented by Northwestern Mutual on June 3. That's when the Sweets host the Corvallis Knights.

Laht Neppur will also host the Sweets' second annual Hot Stove dinner May 5, according to the announcement. Sweets owners and field staff will attend, along with keynote speaker Ken Wilson, West Coast League president and Seattle Mariners broadcaster. Tickets will go on sale Friday for that dinner.

Also signing on as a sponsor in 2011 is Columbia Rural Electric Association. The electricity cooperative will sponsor the Field of Dreams program, which incorporates local youth into the all-American pastime, allowing the kids to join the Sweets during pre-game introductions on the field. Every child must be registered individually. Parents can visit the Columbia REA Walla Walla office at 115 E. Rees Ave. or in Dayton at 115 E. Main St., to sign up their kids.

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

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