ETCETERA - Local night out event garners national award

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The National Association of Town Watch in Wynnewood, Pa., notified organizer Vicki Ruley in mid-November that it selected National Night Out at Jefferson Park as a national award winner.

The Walla Walla event was recognized for outstanding participation in the 27th annual National Night Out crime, drug and violence prevention program.

NATW listed Walla Walla in its winning Category 4 for communities with a population of 15,000-49,999.

The national event involved 47 million people in 15,110 communities throughout the country and in U.S. territories and military bases around the world, the letter to Vicki said.

Attendance at National Night Out at Jefferson Park has been steadily climbing since 2006. From 400 participants that year, another 100 stopped by in 2007, 1,000 came in 2008, 1,200 came in 2009 and 2,000 hit the park in 2010, according to a newsletter.

The numbers reveal that in two hours, Banner Bank volunteers dished up 1,250 free hot dogs and 950 root beer floats. Ten bins of material were chewed up by the CI Shred truck, which is nine more bins than last year; and 30 organizations participated in the event that offered information to the crowd as well as activities for children who attended.

Attendees learn about crime, drug and gang prevention at NNO events and "the children were given an opportunity to see police and other public safety officials in a positive light and as people who can be trusted - not feared," the newsletter said.

A number of officials participated in the first parade, including the city manager aboard a fire truck; a College Place City Council member in a police car; a Walla Walla County commissioner in an armored vehicle; the Washington State Penitentiary superintendent in the prison's antique fire truck; and McGruff and Scruff in a convertible.

Many people were involved in making NNO happen. The planning committee included Vicki Ruley, Walla Walla Police Department, lead coordinator; Walla Walla Area Crime Watch board members; Alex Luft, Substance Abuse Task Force, vendor coordinator; Commitment to Community, flyer destrucution and donation gathering; Shari Hall, WSP, and Tim Bennett, WWPD, parade coordinators; and Jessica Peters, Banner Bank, hot dogs and root beer floats.

A neighborhood rock band entertained; 20 emergency service vehicles provided a vehicle display, including the Washington State Department of Fish & Game's pontoon boat and the county's armored vehicle. Boy Scout Troop 305 provided a broad range of help, including running errands and garbage control.

Not only that, but 12 volunteers ran 1,413 folks through registration in two hours; five volunteers filled 1,000 balloons; one high school student managed parking lot control; and six volunteers staffed McGruff and Scruff during the evening.

Former Walla Wallan Lisa Rudell and Jesse Weber of Seattle married Aug. 14, 2010, at Crystal Mountain (Wash.) Resort.

The daughter of Dave and Kathy Rudell of Walla Walla, Lisa graduated from Walla Walla High School and earned sociology and accounting degrees from Washington State and Portland State universities. She is an accounting analyst for Clearwire in Kirkland, Wash.

The groom graduated from Central Valley High School, Spokane, and earned a business degree from Eastern Washington University. The son of Blaine and Mary Weber of Spokane, Jesse works in marketing for Concur Technologies in Redmond, Wash.

A reception dinner and dancing followed at the resort and the newlyweds honeymooned in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They reside in Seattle.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Contact Annie Charnley Eveland at annieeveland@wwub.com or 526-8313.

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