Attend the gala annual meeting Jan. 24

We give our members a few weeks to recuperate after the holiday rush and activities before we host the Chamber membership annual meeting and celebration .

This year’s event is slated for Saturday, Jan. 24. “Some Enchanted Evening” will be held at the beautiful and newly-renovated Winslow on the Shire, formerly the Echo Manor Bed and Breakfast, beginning at 6 p.m. This facility will lend itself to a lively evening of exploration, and provide lots of room to move around, interact with other chamber members, partake of sumptuous food and libations, listen to wonderful music, and enjoy a function at a new and different venue in Pagosa.

Winslow on the Shire is decorated in elegant and fanciful motifs. Because of this decorative theme, we have decided to encourage the wearing of costumes to the event. Costumes are not required, but we thought they might be fun and add to the ambiance. Dress such as medieval, storybook, or even a Disney character, would work. However, if costumes are not your bag, evening dressy or casual is acceptable. There will be a prize for the best costumes in addition to the other prizes that will be offered throughout the evening — including a year’s free membership, free SunDowner admissions, ColorFest tickets and more.

Also taking place on this evening will be the awarding of Citizen and Volunteer of the Year and the Pagosa Pride awards. Nominations for these awards are now closed, the judging committee has set the criteria to guide the selection process, and the winners will be announced in the later part of the evening.

Also available will be your final chance to vote for three board members, picking them from a slate of six candidates.

This year’s candidates are: Doris Green, owner of Lantern Dancer; James Vincent, office manager of Colorado Land Title; Julie Simmons, executive director of Colorado Housing; Angel Preuit, with The Spa of Pagosa Springs; Bill McKown, manager of Stevens Field Airport; and Kathy Keyes, owner of Pagosa Baking Company. We appreciate these six candidates running for the three slots open on the Chamber board. The new directors will each serve a three-year term. It is very important that the Chamber membership votes for its directors. It is not the responsibility of the current board or staff to choose new board members; it is the responsibility of the members. We have a strong and large membership, and we hope people will take just a few moments out of their busy days to vote.

Tickets for “Some Enchanted Evening” are now available at the Chamber. They are $35 per person in advance, and $40 at the door. Come out for a fabulous evening of entertainment, awards, gourmet food, a cash bar and lots of fun — all in a stunning new venue. For more information, contact the Chamber at 264-2360.

Good-bye to outgoing directors

The 2008 graduating class of the Chamber Board is unique this year. Of the three board members elected in 2006, only one remains: Michele Mesker. Jan Brookshier moved outside of Abiquiu, N.M. and Elsa Lucero resigned due to personal commitments. Replacing these members were other nominees not initially elected: Buz Gillentine and Dede Dietz. One of these members is also leaving the board this year, Buz Gillentine. Dede Dietz will be staying on one more year, filling the slot vacated by board member Mark Horn who was elected in 2007 and who took a job with Bank of Colorado in Durango at the end of 2008.

Michele Mesker defies all the common clichés that exist about blondes being dumb and beauty only being skin deep. Michele has not achieved the level of success in her business, Paint Connection Plus, by being a dumb blonde! She has brought business savvy, her perspective on the retail sector, and financial experience to the Chamber board. Along with her great sense of humor, hard-working attitude, and sense of involvement and commitment, Michele’s business sense will greatly be missed. She has been an inspiration, a hard-working board member, and we will miss her laughter and fashion sense.

Although serving only one year, Buz Gillentine also made a great impact on the board. Buz’ expertise in looking at financial documents all day long certainly paid off for the Chamber. He can always be counted on to ask questions, give suggestions, and he is not afraid to play the devil’s advocate and challenge the board to look at all sides of an issue. Buz’ term was definitely too short, and we will also miss his sense of humor and contributions to the board’s strategic plans.

We can’t thank these two enough for their years of hard work, commitment and enthusiasm. Their efforts and time are much appreciated, and I can assure the membership that their commitment to the business community was total and exercised with the highest regard. Thank you, Michele and Buz.

Don’t forget

On Wednesday, Jan. 14, Ros Wu, fire ecologist with the Pagosa Ranger District, will host a talk on wildland fire — why fire is critical to the health of our forest. She will lead a discussion and education session dealing with the challenges presented by reintroducing wildland fire back into our ecosystems, as well as the different types of fire regimes. Join Ros at Higher Grounds Coffee at 5:30 p.m. For more information, you can contact the Horseback Riders for a Wild San Juan Mountains at 731-3471.

The Shy Rabbit Contemporary Arts presentation of “For the SMALL of It” is drawing to a close. The exhibition ends Jan. 17. Stop by the gallery at 333 Bastille Drive Thursday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to see this delightful exhibit. The artists not only local, but regionally and nationally-known as well.

Shy Rabbit continues to bring to Pagosa unique and creative artistic exhibits. For more information about the studio, classes or future exhibits, call 731-2766 or visit www.shyrabbit.com.

Membership news

We start off the year welcoming these renewing businesses to the Chamber: PBS Heating & Air; Southwest Silver Gallery; Lake View Condo Pagosa; San Juan Outdoor Club; and, last but not least, we welcome back former Chamber director and now friend of the chamber, Mamie Lynch.

We look forward to a busy 2009. With community involvement we hope to bring three new events to Pagosa: an antique car show in May, the Wounded Warriors in June, and a Renaissance Festival in July. If you are interested in finding out more about these events or about helping out, contact Autumn Daily in our offices at 264-2360 or come to the Chamber annual meeting to get a first-hand report on all the exciting plans for 2009.