Local residents and businesses helped make it a merry Christmas for nearly 1,200 local kids.
The numbers are in from the 2011 Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive, which turned out to be a record-breaker, said local coordinator Beth Swanson.
With support from the National Toys for Tots office, the local campaign netted 2,002 toys, 588 books and 460 stocking stuffers.
All of that was distributed to 1,196 kids from newborn to 18 and stretching from Walla Walla to Columbia County. Swanson worked with St. Vincent de Paul, Walla Walla Public Schools, Children's Home Society, the YWCA, local hospitals and other nonprofit agencies to try to see that every child throughout the Valley received a little Christmas spirit.
"I am so grateful to the community for embracing Toys for Tots," she said in a prepared statement.
Organizations that supported the campaign this year: the Early Learning Coalition, The Moms' Network, Book & Game Co., Community Bank, Providence St. Mary Medical Center, City Slickers, Inland Cellular, Assumption School, AAA Washington, NAPA, Tumac Machinery, O'Brien Chevrolet, Windermere Walla Walla, John L. Scott, Walla Walla Bread Company, Walla Walla Clinic, Parent to Parent, Walla Walla Sweets, Whitman College Bookstore, Legacy Ford, Oil Haus, Tiki Grille, Mama Mia Pasta, Walgreens, Tallman's, Waitsburg Hardware & Mercantile, Dayton General Hospital, Dayton General Store and Dayton High School.
The Marcus Whitman Hotel Conference Center brought its own version of an extreme makeover to its restaurant and lounge last week.
The Marc Restaurant and The Vineyard Lounge were closed for several days while crews quickly refreshed the areas with a new look.
A Tuscan yellow color was painted on the walls running from the lounge into the restaurant at the historic hotel at the corner of Second Avenue and Rose Street. New carpet was also installed throughout the spaces.
The new look was revealed last Thursday evening and was highlighted, too, by the release of all new menus for dinner, the bar, dessert, happy hour and wine.
Take a peek at the hotel's "Extreme Makeover" blog entry via its Facebook page.
Williams Team Homes real estate firm has welcomed a new team member.
Dave Anderson joined the office, 126 E. Alder St.
A li- censed Realtor in Washington since 1984, he has had a number of positions with the Walla Walla Association of Realtors, according to an announcement.
Anderson has taught a real-estate licensing class at Walla Walla Community College and has been an active volunteer with local youth. For more information, call 525-8326.
Walla Walla's Harvest Foods has a new award in the bag.
Owners of the Southgate grocery store, 905 S. Second Ave., received word they'll garner an honorable mention award for their entry in the National Grocers Association's 2012 Creative Choice Awards Contest.
The entry submitted was part of the "Special Event Ad" category. It was the store's "Celebrate Presidents Day as a Guest at Our Head of State Dinner."
The category is shared with two other independent grocers and a first-place winner, said Nolan Lockwood, who owns the store with his wife, Kathleen Lockwood.
He said three of the four recognized ads were submitted by the retailers' advertising and marketing headquarters.
The Walla Walla store's was submitted individually with creative work from the Union-Bulletin. This year's award is a follow-up to a first-place recognition two years ago in the "Best Non-Price or Consumer Value Print Ad" category.
"We are very excited to receive this recognition considering how many independent grocers there are in the United States," Nolan Lockwood said in the announcement.
Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8321.