Etcetera - 11/02/11

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Homecoming events brought 25 high school students from around the Walla Walla Valley into Tabitha's Closet to borrow formal wear, said Kim Morasch, who coordinates the resource.

Formal wear and accessories are loaned to students for a $10 dry-cleaning fee.

Altogether 60 people have borrowed and returned formal wear since Tabitha's Closet opened last year, Kim said.

"I think people are surprised at the quality of clothing and accessories that are available," Kim said. "We have pretty much relied on word of mouth and flyers to get the word out. Tabitha's Closet has definitely grown since it began last year."

They've built additional dress racks and started a second room for the guys' formal wear. "We could still use donations of modern, gently used short dresses and plus sizes for the girls, and white dress shirts, black pants, vests, ties, tuxes and black shoes for the guys."

Donations may be made at Christ Lutheran Church, 1420 S. Second Ave. from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. The office is usually closed between noon and 1 p.m.

The service is open year-round to anyone in the community, Kim said. Those wishing to have formal wear for the holidays, such as Christmas, New Year's and concerts, may call 525-2243 to make an appointment.

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Washington State Association of Sister Cities awarded its 2011 Peace Prize Award to Walla Walla-Sasayama Sister City Affiliation Committee during the 2011 state sister city conference, said Robert Keatts in a release. The honor is awarded to a city in Washington state that has demonstrated promotion of peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation - one individual, one community at a time.

Fifty-six cities in the state have more than 121 relationships in cities around the world, Robert said. On Aug 23, 1972, Walla Walla established its sister city relationship with Sasayama, Hyogo, Japan.

The two cities established a one-year high school student exchange in 1976 and a student home stay program in 1994. The two-week home stay program has continued annually without interruption since its inception, allowing 300-plus students from both places to experience the culture of the other city. "The friendship, cultural understanding and mutual respect has set a path of peace between the citizens of each community," Robert said.

They have built a bridge of friendship with exchanges of the arts and music, as well. In 2007 the Blue Mountain Troublemakers performed in Sasayama in conjunction with the 35th anniversary of the Walla Walla-Sasayama sister city relationship.

As chairman of the Walla Walla-Sasayama Sister City Affiliation Committee, Robert accepted the peace award on Oct. 22 at the state conference in Bellevue. For more about the local organization, contact Robert at 509-525-0049 or robert_wwscc@yahoo.com

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

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