Tipsy Taxi totes 264 tipplers

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More party-goers than ever tapped Walla Walla's designated driving service over the holidays.

Tipsy Taxi, the community's sober-ride home program, provided transportation for 264 people, the greatest number since the program began five years ago, operators announced.

The free taxi service is coordinated through the Walla Walla County Traffic Safety Task Force. Local residents and businesses donated more than 342 volunteer hours and services to get people home safely from private parties, restaurants or bars, said program coordinator Nancy McClenny-Walters.

"We are very pleased that so (many) people are planning their night out and using the services of a designated driver," she said in a prepared statement. "Riders seem very grateful for the service."

The greatest number of rides home came on New Year's Eve, when 71 people used the service.

Tipsy Taxi ran Dec. 16-31 throughout Walla Walla and College Place. The service is made possible through the contributions of numerous local businesses: Abajian Motors provided the vehicles; McDonald Zaring provided insurance coverage; Inland Cellular supplied cell phones for the drivers; Professional Telephone Answering Service answered the calls and dispatched drivers; Inland Saxum and Union-Bulletin provided publicity; Graphic Apparel contributed to the cost of the uniforms; and Odom Corp. covered fuel costs.

Local volunteers who participated are: Ramona Kemph, Cheryl Rickertsen, Todd Smith, Dennis Lepiane, Gail Lane, Karen Margart, Debi Allessio, Christine Roberts, Daryl Daugs, Tim Bennett, Stan Grabinski, Heidi Lee, Tim Meliah, Lauri DeBroeck Withers, Carl Withers, Roy and Alice Lightle, Andy and Dawn Alexander, Nina Conn, Dale Grogan, Josh Long, Curtis Evanenko, Ted McKinney, Toni and Jeff Jackson, Mike Humphreys, Vicki and Steve Ruley, and Nancy and Jim Walters.

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If more exercise is part of your New Year's resolution, a visit to the Jazzercise studio this weekend may be in order.

The downtown Walla Walla studio will host a free-for-all event Saturday through Monday.

Owner Janet Byerley will open the doors at 231/2 S. Spokane St. for a series of free classes to serve both as a thank-you to longtime supporters and also a sneak peek for those considering a new program.

"This event allows me to thank all the students who have made Jazzercise a success in Walla Walla," Byerley said in a prepared statement. "I also want to give the public an opportunity to see what Jazzercise is all about."

The classes will be 7:30 and 9 a.m. Saturday; 4:30 p.m. Sunday; and 9 a.m., 4:30 and 5:35 p.m. Monday. A muscle toning class will also be offered at 9 a.m. Sunday. That class features a combination of strength training movements and stretch.

The open houses will provide information on the Jazzercise program and a free workout. Admission is free to everyone. Byerley said participants should dress to exercise. The 60-minute Jazzercise classes include a warmup, high-energy aerobic routine, muscle-toning and cool-down stretch segment. Jazzercise combines elements of dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, kickboxing and more. A free month's pass will be given at each workout class.

To learn more, call Byerley at 525-9772 or visit jazzercise.com.

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A new year may also bring a healthier you in the form of tai chi.

Sandi Wicher, owner of Harmony and Health Tai Chi and Qigong, is extending a free week of exploration of classes, which are on a new schedule for 2012.

She said new students looking for fun, healthy exercise and lifestyle changes will find something worthwhile at Many Waters Wellness Center, 820 Sprague Ave. at Jefferson Park.

Among the offerings: Qigong and Introduction to Tai Chi basics and principles begins Tuesday at 11:15 a.m. The class is a good introduction to the traditional Chinese exercises, stretching techniques and easy movements that result in both relaxation and energy. A new class will be introduced Saturday mornings at 9:30 a.m. Tai Chi Basics is another introductory level class focusing on techniques and principles that will progress to continued practice and the education of some forms.

For more details, visit www.manywaterswellnesscenter.com or call 386-4305.

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

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