Theater now has box office hours

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The Power House Theatre has introduced a regular box office schedule, which will likely come in handy with the attention that the operation's new downtown banners are garnering.

The new hours are 3-6 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the theater, 111 N. Sixth St. The box office is also open two hours before every performance at the theater, a 340-seat venue converted from the 120-year-old former power building at Sixth Avenue and Rose Street.

If you haven't already heard about the operation's next performance, there's a good chance you'll be seeing signs of it downtown.

Over last weekend banners were hung on 60 posts along Main Street. The banners feature a depiction of Seattle actress Sunny Thompson as Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming one-woman performance "Marilyn: Forever Blonde."

The banners, which have roughly taken the place of the hanging flower pots that have been removed for the season, are an experiment of sorts, officials say. Power House Theatre folks wanted to get the word out and had an idea to post the banners. City and downtown officials, however, have a number of details to sort through if the use of banners to inform residents and visitors will remain. Among them: Who will be responsible for costs and maintenance, and how will officials decide what banners to use if multiple groups have something to showcase at the same time, said Downtown Walla Walla Foundation Executive Director Elio Agostini.

In the meantime, the Power House Theatre operators fronted the cost of the hardware to hang the banners. They also paid for the banners themselves, as any group would presumably have to do if the banners are allowed to continue.

Denise Slattery, marketing director for Power House Theatre, said the theater group received a couple of specifications from the city before hanging the banners. Among them: Size requirements for the banners and the number of how many could be used. She said the theater's promotion is "a demonstration project" that gives the city "a chance to see what this looks like in full-blown play."

Response so far has been positive, Slattery said. That was particularly demonstrated Monday when ticket sales for the upcoming show jumped. To learn more about the theater and show, visit shakespearewallawalla.org or call 742-0739.

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Candidates on the general election ballot will face off in a debate this month hosted by the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The debate, the second organized by the Chamber for the 2011 election season, will run 6-9 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Maxey Auditorium at Whitman College.

Robert Withycombe, retired Whitman forensics and debate professor, will serve as moderator for the event, which is free and open to the public.

Kicking off the debate will be candidates for Walla Walla City Council: Dick Swenson, Jerry Cummins, Bradley Sandau, Barbara Clark, Fred Mitchell, Chris Plucker, Mary Lou Jenkins and Dominick Elia. A debate between Port of Walla Walla Commission District 2 candidates Mike Fredrickson and Barlow Corkrum will conclude the event.

The debate will take place prior to the mailing out of ballots. The general election is Nov. 8. Those with questions regarding the debate and those who would like to submit candidate questions for use during the event can call Damien Sinnott, the Chamber's vice president of public policy and business development, at 525-0850 or via email at dsinnott@wwvchamber.com .

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A flood, fire and rising food costs are proving to be a recipe for disaster for Milton-Freewater's custom bake shop Decadence.

This will be the last week for the business, owner Marissa Lemay announced Tuesday in a Facebook post.

She said recovery from a pair of "disasters" earlier this year has drained dollars that would have been used to absorb "skyrocketing" food prices. Consequently, Friday will be the last day for the shop, 123 E. Broadway St.

"Thank you so much to all of you who supported us along the way, and I am absolutely humbled by all of your expressions of gratitude and sympathy," Lemay wrote.

Opened just a little more than a year ago, Decadence quickly became known for its home-made treats and hearty lunches. But the business was sidelined at the end of April after a pipe broke under the kitchen floor and back entryway. Just when the shop was set to re-open three months later, a fire that started in the northeast corner of the building damaged the property. An office was destroyed, and much of the shop sustained smoke damage. Decadence re-opened Aug. 22. Nevertheless, Lemay said the financial toll from the flood and fire made it impossible to absorb the rising food prices as the business tried to regain its foothold in the market.

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

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