Curves supports fitness goals, area food banks

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What do you get when you combine a local gym with a food drive? A concept that's good for the body and soul.

That's how operators of the women's gym known as Curves are billing their 14th annual food drive that starts Thursday.

Curves clubs across the country, including in the Walla Walla Valley, are asking members to donate bags of nonperishable food or cash throughout the month of March in support of area food banks.

As an added incentive for nonmembers, Curves will waive the joining fee for new members who bring in bags of food or donate $30 to the local food bank March 12-25.

"Curves is committed to supporting the health and well-being of our members, so the food drive is a natural extension of that commitment to the communities where our clubs are located," said Curves founder Diane Heavin in a prepared statement. "Many families are struggling with basic expenses and need some help to make ends meet. Our food drive gives our members a way to reach out and support their neighbors."

The body-and-soul theme this year is meant to remind members of the importance of making time for good health and exercise while also helping others in the community.

Curves International will award cash prizes to the clubs that collect the most food; show the greatest increase in donations over 2011; and to two additional clubs randomly selected.

Local Curves are located at 2200 Melrose St., suite 3, in Walla Walla, and 15 N. Columbia St. in Milton-Freewater. For more information, visit curves.com or call the Walla Walla branch at 522-7888 or Milton-Freewater at 541-938-6996.

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College Place corporate communications firm CMBell and Walla Walla manufacturer Key Technology Inc. made a winning team during a recent communications contest for annual awards.

For the second consecutive year, Key's annual report, developed in partnership with CMBell, was listed on the Top 100 Winners Gallery in the 2010-2011 League of American Communications Professionals Visions Awards Annual Report Competition. The international contest included companies such as Hyundai, Charles Schwab, WalMart and more.

Key's report also earned the Platinum Award, the highest of four awards offered, for annual reports in its industry. Judges scored the project on eight factors, ranging from first impressions to message clarity, according to an announcement. More than 5,000 entries were submitted from 24 countries.

Key has been producing its reports with CMBell for more than a decade.

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The Department of Ecology is looking for teens who want to help keep their community clean.

The agency's Eastern Regional office in Spokane plans to hire about 118 teenagers from Eastern Washington this summer to help clean up roadside and park and recreation areas. Those who join the Ecology Youth Corps will also learn about caring for the environment.

Those 14 to 17 who live in Eastern Washington counties can apply through April 2. Crews will work 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in one of two four-week sessions. Locations are in Chewelah, Clarkston, Colville, Inchelium, Ephrata, Mose Lake, Othello, Pasco, Pullman, Republic, Ritzville, Spokane, Walla Walla and Wilbur.

The sessions runs June 25-July 20 and again July 23-Aug. 17. Participants will be paid the state minimum wage of $9.04 per hour.

The Ecology Youth Corps program paid for through a dedicated account called Waste Reduction, Recycling and Model Litter Control Account, which is funded by a voter-approved tax on items related to the litter problem. The program has been cut back this year because of a decrease in state revenue. About 100 fewer teens will be hired this year statewide because of the overall loss of about one-third of the program's budget.

Applications are available through area school counselors and online. To learn more visit ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/eyc/ or call Lynette Kuehl at 509-329-3434.

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

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