Sweet Putt to get the ball rolling on autism research

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Those who tee up at The Sweet Putt on Wednesday will be taking a swing on behalf of autism research.

Owners of the Walla Walla miniature golf course this week will host their first of many fundraising events dubbed "Awareness Wednesday." The monthly events are expected to take place the third Wednesday of each month.

This week's will be for autism support and services. The 10th green, "Be(A)Ware," will be transformed by representatives of the Eastern Washington Autism Spectrum Disorder Association to help raise awareness.

During that day, 10 percent of golf proceeds will be donated to the organization. Special hours will be adopted for the event. The business, 417 Wellington Ave., will be open 2-9 p.m.

Nonprofit organizations interested in being featured during one of the monthly events should call the operation at 876-4949.

A celebration of progress on the new veterans outpatient clinic will take place late this week in a traditional construction event.

The Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center will host a steel beam-signing ceremony Friday.

The 10 a.m. event on the VA campus is open to veterans and the community in commemoration of construction of the over-$20 million outpatient clinic. The two-story, 67,000-square-foot facility will consolidate clinical, administrative and support functions on the sprawling campus into one facility behind the 1921 hospital building.

The event will open with a few words from local hospital Director Brian Westfield. Guests, including VA leaders, employees and veterans, will be able to sign the beam before it's erected. For more information, contact Linda Wondra, public affairs officer, at 525-5200, extension 22811 or at linda.wondra@va.gov.

Old Town Freewater will get some sprucing up thanks to a grant from the Milton-Freewater Area Foundation.

The organization has given $1,370 to the Milton-Freewater Merchants and Property Owners, a nonprofit group that's partnering with McLoughlin High School's Future Farmers of America and Oregon State University Extension Service to fill downtown's planters.

Xerophyte plants, which require little water through the dry summer, will be rooted in the planters. Planting is expected to be complete in time for the community's Old Town Freewater Street Fair June 8 and 9.

The Milton-Freewater Area Foundation was established in 1962 to assist, promote and boost the community and its residents. The sources of its scholarships and grants are estate gifts and memorial contributions from community members. Since 2006, the organization has provided $231,560.

Board members are: Lewis Key, president; Rachel Rohan, director/secretary; Mike Swinnerton; Cindy Garton; and Rick Trumbull.

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

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