Full outdoor course is big addition at mini golf operation

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Tee off in T-minus four days.

The Sweet Putt will celebrate the grand opening of its outdoor miniature golf course, the second phase in the mini-golf spread at 417 Wellington Ave.

The 18-hole outdoor course will open for business Saturday at 11 a.m. The cost to play is $5.50 per round for adults; $4.50 per round for kids/students; and $1 off for same day replay.

Saturday's celebration follows the opening last December of The Sweet Putt's nine-hole indoor course. The operation, also features arcade games and snacks.

As a lead-up to the weekend's opening, operators are offering daily trivia challenges to Facebook fans. Images of the 10 new golf ball designs are also being unveiled throughout the week. They include: basketballs, zebra print, tie-dye and more. Owners are also soliciting old Washington license plates to help with dcor on the third green, known as "Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang!"

Furthermore, those who buy a round of golf at the indoor course this week can get a raffle ticket that will be entered Saturday for drawings throughout the day.

The Sweet Putt is owned by families Brent and Juli Dunn and their two sons and Tyler and Julie Morris and their two sons. For more details call 876-4949.

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Over 40 businesses and organizations will be promoting their goods and services during the Milton-Freewater Community and Business Showcase on Thursday.

The event runs 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Community Building, 109 N.E. Fifth Ave.

All are welcome at the free showcase, which is open to the public.

The evening's event is not so much an opportunity to purchase items as it is to learn about local businesses and organizations and their offerings. The showcase is coordinated by the Milton-Freewater Area Chamber of Commerce. Those who attend can enter to win the night's door prize, a Kindle Fire, in a drawing sponsored by Cayuse Technology. For more information on the event, call 541-938-5563.

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Spokane-based AmericanWest Bank will build its footprint in California through a merger with Security Business Bank of San Diego, the companies announced.

The merger is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals as well as customary closing conditions, but is expected to close in the third quarter.

Under the terms, Security Business Bancorp shareholders are expected to receive aggregate consideration in cash equal to about $26 million at closing, subject to adjustment. As of Feb. 29, that would have meant about $14.32 per share of common stock.

At the end of December, AmericanWest Bank had total assets of about $2.3 billion and deposits of about $2 billion. At the same time, Security Business Bank had total assets of about $233 million and total deposits of about $181 million.

"We have found a merger partner who shares our core values and in one of the most vital, energetic markets in the Western United States," said AmericanWest Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Scott A. Kisting, in a statement. "We're a good fit -- two financially strong banks coming together to better serve our collective customers -- which makes this a good business decision."

Security Business Bank's four locations -- San Diego, Carmel Valley, Carlsbad and Escondido -- will complement AmericanWest's presence in Southern California, officials said.

Security Business Bank CEO Paul Rodeno said the merger represents the next stage of growth for that operation. "Access to additional products and services, expanded infrastructure and new office locations will help solidify our position as San Diego's premier, community-focused business bank," he said.

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

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