Local hairstylists to begin head-to-head competition in Feb.

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One local hairstylist will be a cut above the rest in a "beauty battle" that starts next month, organizers say.

"Lather, Rinse, Defeat" will return to the community on Mondays in February. The beauty industry competition - modeled after reality television show "Shear Genius" - is designed as a creative contest that also raises awareness of local nonprofit organizations, according to an announcement from organizer Jan Corn.

The four-week competition will pit teams of local hairstylists in head-to-head competition. Here's how it works: Participants are divided into teams through a lottery system. Each week they will perform challenges specifically inspired by various organizations. The teams will create hairstyles, which will be captured by local photographers. The locations of the challenges will change each week.

The looks will then be judged by a select panel of representatives from nonprofit organizations. Last year's winner, Carlie Hatley-Gordon, will also serve as a judge. The panel's judging will represent half of the votes. The other half will come from Facebook fans.

Inspiration for the challenges will come from the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, Downtown Walla Walla Foundation, YWCA and Friends of Children of Walla Walla. Local tasting rooms Waterbrook Winery, Walla Faces, Le Chateau Winery and Sapolil Cellars will host the events. Models will be selected by the teams, and an accessory/clothing wall will be curated for the event by Amy Glase of Studio Opal Boutique and Jessica Whiteside of Door Number Two.

Photographers who will capture the events each week include Connection Photography, Leslie Palatos of Cosmic Farmhouse, JP Photos and Nikki Phillips.

The events are open to spectators. The first one takes place Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Waterbrook Winery. For more details, follow Lather, Rinse, Defeat on Facebook or call Impress Salon on 529-3534.

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Just seven months after starting, an organization designed to prepare leaders for nonprofit boards has reached 188 members.

The Walla Walla Leaders Network has also helped connect six participants in the program to various boards, said Manager Amy Erickson.

In an announcement this week, Erickson said she'd like to hear from more nonprofit boards about how they hope to connect with future members for service.

The purpose of the Walla Walla Leaders Network, she said, is to identify, engage and prepare emerging leaders for service.

Many of the current network members are active participants in ongoing leadership development sessions to prepare themselves for service on boards.

Nonprofit organizations that anticipate board position openings can start planning for successors by completing a survey on the network's home page at wwleaders.org . For more information, contact Erickson at amy@capacity4good.com .

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Blue Mountain Action Council has announced the hiring of a full-time chief financial officer.

Rick Claridge has been selected for the position after serving the last three months as an interim consultant for the organization that provides job training and placement, low-income housing, food distribution, energy assistance, tutoring and other services to those in need throughout the Walla Walla Valley.

Claridge's appointment, announced by Chief Executive Officer Steve Moss, came after a search and interview process that involved board officers and the agency's management.

A Walla Walla University graduate, Claridge formerly served as president of Blue Mountain Credit Union; owner and manager of a construction company; and manager of a wood products factory, helicopter business and private schools. He has also served on numerous local and regional boards. Moss said Claridge's passion for nonprofit work fits with the agency's mission to serve low-income people.

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A grand-opening celebration event canceled last week at Sterling Savings Bank is back on the agenda this week.

The new branch, 680 W. Rose St., opened last month but will be commemorated with a ribbon-cutting and open house Friday.

The event runs noon to 1:30 p.m. Following the official ribbon-cutting, guests will be treated to a building tour and light lunch fare.

To celebrate the opening, the bank has also committed to splitting $5,000 among three local nonprofits: Blue Mountain Action Council, Children's Home Society and Helpline. The community can vote on which agency should receive the top prize of $2,500. The second and third vote-getters will receive $1,500 and $1,000, respectively. Friday will be the last day to vote. Ballots are available at Sterling's branches but must be dropped off at the new one on Rose.

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