Mardi Gras gets local with 'Walla Crawl'

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Walla Walla may not be home to Bourbon Street, but it will be celebrating Mardi Gras with some New Orleans flare.

Eight local businesses will be part of a Mardi Gras-style pub crawl next month dubbed "Walla Crawl."

Tickets are on sale for the Feb. 18 celebration, that will be commemorated with beads, drinks and food.

Dressing up is encouraged as participants bounce from one bar venue to the next. Businesses included in the lineup are: CrossRoads Steakhouse, El Corazon winery, Laht Neppur Brewing Co., Marcy's Bar & Lounge, Mill Creek Brew Pub, Public House 124, Red Monkey Downtown Lounge and Sapolil Cellars.

The cost to participate is $25. Of that, $5 will be donated to the Walla Walla Fire Department Benevolence Fund. That price will get participants a wristband, which grants eight tokens to be used for food and drink specials at the participating businesses. The event runs 1-7 p.m. A-1 Taxi will provide free cab rides throughout the event. More details are available on the event's Facebook page, Walla Crawl (pub crawl).

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Woodward Canyon Winery co-owner Darcey Fugman-Small has been appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire to the Walla Walla Community College board of trustees.

Her term runs through September 2014. As a college graduate who got her start in the community college system, Fugman-Small said she knows first-hand the value of the programs.

"I am a product of the community college system and know how important it is for students to have access to the unique programs that community colleges offer," she was quoted in an announcement from the community college.

Fugman-Small attended Olympic Community College and also has a degree from the University of Washington. She spent more than 20 years working for Walla Walla County as assistant planner and eventually planning director.

Along with her husband, Rick Small, she owns Woodward Canyon Winery in Lowden, where she is also general manager.

Additionally Fugman-Small has served in roles for a number of organizations over the years, including the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, Downtown Walla Walla Foundation and Walla Walla Public School District Facilities Advisory Committee.

Other organizations for which she's volunteered include United Way of Walla Walla, Planned Parenthood, AAUW and the Carnegie Art Center.

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Businesses that hired hard-to-place job seekers in 2011 will get a big payoff this year.

The Employment Security Department has said Washington employers will collect a record $56 million in federal tax credits under the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

The credit provides up to $2,400 in tax savings per worker to businesses that hire military veterans, disabled workers, ex-inmates, food-stamp recipients and those who receive Supplemental Security Income. In addition, businesses that hire long-term welfare recipients can save as much as $9,000 per person over two years.

Another credit is available this year. Businesses that hire veterans can save even more money, including up to $5,600 for long-term unemployed vets and as much as $9,600 for those with service-connected disabilities.

Businesses certified for the credit must complete IRS Form 5884 when submitting their federal income taxes.

Employers who want to participate should call Employment Security at 800-669-9271.

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

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