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Beautification event raises $22,000

The Othello Outlook of Othello, Washington

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Around 120 people attended the Othello Beautification Committee's Banners and Blooms garden party.

The total from the live auction, ticket sales, silent auction and the direct donations to the lighting project topped all expectations at $22,400 raised during the course of the evening.

Though the auction totals are impressive, it was the reaction to the auction of the light pole and the direct donations that were the most surprising for the committee.

"We debated whether to even do that," Beautification Committee President Lynette Caruthers said. "We knew there were a couple of people who didn't get to participate at the Chamber Banquet so we figured 'hey, if we get a couple thousand dollars, it'll be better than not.'"

The direct donations brought in almost $10,000, with each donation over $500 receiving a plaque on one of the light poles to honor their contribution. Ann Sperl stole the show during the initial bidding of the light pole, contributing $5,500 to the project.

With no more than $1,000 in expenses for the event, a vast majority of this money will go directly to funding the next phase of the Main Street Lighting Project.

"All of us were just absolutely blown away, flabbergasted by the results of that evening," Caruthers said.

Each of the StressCrete poles costs $6,200 to purchase. With funding secured for the first two poles of the next phase of the project during the Othello Chamber of Commerce banquet earlier in the year by the generosity of Roger Theime and the chamber's matching donation, the committee will be able to begin the next phase of their project this summer.

Attendees enjoyed the musical background by harpist Rena Harrison Schlener and a selection of finger foods provided by committee members as the audience generously opened their wallets for the cause.

The success of this event and the Main Street Light project entirely depends upon the support of the community members and the businesses of Othello.

"I'm not sure how to handle this," Caruthers said. "If a blanket, heartfelt thanks to this amazingly generous community for every aspect of their generosity (is enough)."

She said the auction items donated tied into the evening's theme perfectly and helped make it a huge success.

"This is all about the feeling, the wave that is happening in Othello about making a difference in the appearance in our community," Caruthers said. "And people have just jumped on board."

With enough money to complete the next block and even start on the next, the committee has started the process to get the lights up by the end of the summer. Once the planning and engineering is completed for the next phase, the committee can place its order to StressCrete.

Caruthers anticipated the order would be placed sometime in June.

It takes approximately eight weeks for the poles to be manufactured.

"Toward the end of summer, I would anticipate the lights going in," Caruthers said.

Next year's event will be held at the Othello Senior Center again to preserve the atmosphere that is signature to the garden party.

"It's special because of where it is," Caruthers said. "It's a big part of that."

The supporters of the committee also play a crucial role in helping make the event special. From the volunteers to those bidding on items in the auction to the businesses and individuals who provided the auction items, Caruthers was thankful for all of the support from the community.

"People were just so generous in support of the Main Street Project," she said. "Our absolute, heartfelt thanks to the generous citizenry of Othello. It's just amazing."

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Original Publication Date: May 7, 2015

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