Kids' downtown Halloween event will reroute traffic

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While downtown Walla Walla merchants open their doors to little ones on Halloween, drivers should prepare for closed roads.

Businesses will stock their bowls with candy for the parade of costumed children expected during the annual Downtown Trick-or-Treat event.

A few details for those making Halloween plans: The event is scheduled for the actual holiday itself, which falls on Monday, Oct. 31. It runs two hours, starting at 3 p.m.

Crowds during the event have been estimated in the past at about 3,000 children and parents. Merchants stock up on candy and pass it out to children in a safe environment.

As part of the safety precaution, Downtown Walla Walla Foundation officials say vehicular traffic will be limited on Main Street during the event. Roads will be closed to traffic between Second Avenue and Palouse Street on that stretch of Main.

Parked vehicles can stay put, but movement is prohibited because of the number of children expected. For any more details, contact the foundation at 529-8755.

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Call it "#winning."

Businesses and other organizations in the pursuit of social media effectiveness are the target of an upcoming workshop.

Social media strategist Russell Sparkman of Fusionspark Media Inc. will present a Content Strategy for Social Media Success workshop Oct. 26 at the Walla Walla Regional Airport conference room.

The two-hour workshop begins at 11 a.m.

Tourism Walla Walla, the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation and the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance are sponsoring the event.

Known for his entertaining and engaging workshop formats, Sparkman will create content strategies for two or three randomly selected attendees.

Sparkman has spent the last decade on content and strategies for marketing communications through his boutique agency.

Clients have run the gamut from small nonprofits to large companies targeting a variety of markets.

He presents at an average of six marketing conferences per year.

To register for the event, contact Tourism Walla Walla at 525-8799 or email aholt@wallawalla.org . A registration fee of $25 can be paid at the door.

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This year's retail season is expected to be a little chilly for holiday hiring compared to last year.

Economists with the Washington State Employment Security Department say retailers are beginning to ramp up holiday hiring, but that this year's increase will likely match or fall slightly below last year's numbers, according to an announcement.

An estimated 13,000 jobs are expected to be added at retailers across the state from now through December. Most of those will take place in November, they say. The estimate is down 1,700 from last year's holiday hiring.

"Seasonal work often can be a gateway back into the workforce for the unemployed," said Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause in the announcement. "However, the uncertainty that retailers are feeling will make that less of an option this year."

Specific projections were provided for the state's metropolitan areas, which does not include Walla Walla. Regional labor economist Arum Kone said it would be difficult to estimate local numbers because they'd be lumped together with all of the surrounding rural areas.

As might be expected, the most jobs are anticipated for the Seattle/Belleve/Everett area, where 8,513 jobs are expected to be added. That figure is down from last year's 9,022 jobs.

Nevertheless, state officials say "big box" stores will lead holiday hiring with an expected 7,000 jobs.

That figure's up slightly from last year. The decrease comes from clothing and clothing/accessory stores, which are expected to hire fewer than 3,300 people.

That figure is down more than 1,000 from the 2010 holiday season. Other retail categories will grow by 3,500 workers across the state. That's about 500 more than a year ago.

To learn more about local holiday hiring, visit WorkSource Walla Walla or check out go2worksource.com.


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Think you have what it takes to be a trooper?

Those interested in a career as a Washington State Patrol trooper can learn more about the job by following the organization on Twitter at @troopercareer.

The feed is intended to help find qualified applicants, according to an announcement from the state patrol.

Tweets will include updates about the training that cadets experience at the State Patrol Academy.

Trooper Pete Stock will provide information on Twitter, as well as Facebook and the WSP's website.

Details will include the daily tasks required of a trooper.

Stock will provide information on upcoming job events, cadet testing dates and the application process.

More information is also available through the hash tag #joinWSP on Twitter. Those interested in joining the state patrol can contact Stock directly at pete.stock@wsp.wa.gov or at 360-239-4904.

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

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