St Patrick’s Day Parade set for Tuesday

There are lots of activities slated for St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, culminating with the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade beginning at 4:30 p.m. Fun, funky and very green floats will proceed down San Juan and Pagosa streets from 6th Street to 2nd Street, bringing smiles, goodies and handfuls of candy to all the viewers.

Entries are still being taken at the Chamber. If you would like to enter the parade and have a float, contact Kimberley and she will fax you a form . Or, stop by the Chamber and fill one out there. It costs $3.17 to enter the parade and there will be cash awards to the Best Overall Entry, the Greenest Entry, and the Most Bizarre Entry.

Show off your business, organization or family and enter this funky parade. We look for the weather to be good. Once the children are out of school, gather them up to participate, or to watch the annual event. If you have any questions, call the Chamber at 264-2360.

Business Bites

The March Business Bites series continues this month on St. Patrick’s Day.

This month, the topic is the “Seven Biggest Computer Mistakes to Avoid,” presented by Kurt Raymond of Raymond Rent a Nerd.

Kurt will cover the following topics: Thinking that your virus protection software will protect you from all threats; thinking that your e-mail communications are private; not investing in training for you and your employees; not buying an extended warranty for notebook computers; not paying close attention to your cost per printed page; not making sure that all of your important electronic equipment has robust power protection; and — No. 1 — believing that all of your important data is being continually backed up and is safe and secure.

All of these topics are super important — ask any business owner who has had the system crash or has lost data. If your employees continue to make computer mistakes, then perhaps the problem is in the training. Come to this session and find out about the various types of detrimental viruses, as well. The computer industry is one of the fastest growing and changing industries today. As a business owner, you must keep up on the trends and the devices and services to protect your business.

The Business Bites luncheon will be held at Boss Hogg’s Restaurant Tuesday, March 17, beginning at noon and lasting until around 1 p.m. The cost of the lunch is $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers and this cost includes a choice of entrée, a beverage, gratuity and, of course, lots of information. The Chamber continues to offer these short, yet effective, learning sessions to help you run your businesses better. We hope members will continue to take advantage of this luncheon opportunity and meet other business owners at the same time.

Surviving Tough Times

Also on Tuesday, March 17, there will be a workshop and forum held in Durango, entitled “Surviving Tough Times,” presented by numerous regional and state agencies.

There will be free one-on-one business counseling during 30-minute sessions from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There will also be workshops every hour from 8 a.m. to noon. There will be various informational booths, including those manned by SBA financing, Colorado Bankers Assoc., Department of Agriculture, various educational institutions, and more. Governor Bill Ritter will also be on hand to participate.

The conference will take place at Fort Lewis College in the Union Building Ballroom at 1000 Rim Drive. This half-day seminar is free. It is a great opportunity to receive counseling tailored to your business from an experienced counselor, and to network with other businesses. You can register for the seminar in advance at www.scordenver.org. It would help the counselors if you could bring your business plan, any financials (P&Ls), current strategies, and any marketing materials. We hope people in Pagosa take advantage of this opportunity, as there will only be six sessions of this type held in the state.

Casino Royale

On Saturday, March 14, try your luck at the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club’s “Luck of the Irish Casino Royale.” This yearly event offers the public great fun with gambling tables, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction and cash bar. Win prizes and test your skills against the volunteer card and craps dealers. Tickets for the event are $30 per person and the festivities will be held at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse from 7 to 11 p.m. While you’re having fun, remember that the funds raised will benefit local Rotary community service projects and Rotary scholarships. You can purchase tickets at the Chamber, Moonlight Books, Higher Grounds Coffee, and from any Rotarian. Who knows, you may just have the luck of the Irish with you on the 14th, and win big!

New Works Festival

Square Top Repertory Theatre presents the 2009 New Works Festival at the Community Center March 19, 20 and 21. Three new plays will be read. Tickets for these plays are only $5 each. All plays begin at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30. For more information about the plays, go online to Square Top’s Web site at www.squaretoptheatre.com.

Community activities

Lifelong Learning Series. The Lifelong Learning Series begins this spring on Saturday, March 21, at the Ruby Sisson Library, starting at 3 p.m. Since there will be three playwrights in town for the New Works Festival, the Lifelong Learning Series takes advantage of their presence by having them as the initial speakers. Meet the playwrights, and find out about their challenges and the excitement of writing for the theatre. They will also perform readings from their current plays. If you couldn’t attend all three plays at the Community Center, this is a perfect opportunity to meet the playwrights.

Water in the San Juan Basin. Join numerous experts as they talk about Water in the San Juan Basin. Speakers include Peter Butler with Colorado Water Quality Control Commission; Denis Reich, CSU Extension water resource specialist, speaking about water quality issues on the Western Slope; Meghan Maloney with the San Juan Citizens Alliance, speaking about protecting our rivers; Jerry Archuleta with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, addressing the Stolsteimer Creek Watershed Project; and Gene Tautges with PAWSD, who will address water quality, protection and planning for the future.

The seminar is Tuesday, March 24, from 6-9 p.m. The session will be held at the Extension Building. Call Kim at 264-5931 to reserve your seat. Find out more about our water, its sources and become educated on the upcoming projects for our county.

Windows to the World. On Wednesday, March 25, the Education Center will host its annual luncheon. This year, the theme is “Windows to the World” and topics such as the formation of a new charter school, Mountain Career Academy, will be presented. Another topic will concern work done toward establishing a rural learning network via teleconferencing technology.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Teresa Chasteen, CEO and president of Worldwide Interactive Network. Chasteen will present information on ACT, Inc.™ WorkKeys® assessments and the opportunities this education provides to individuals seeking career and work-related educational opportunities.

This is a very important luncheon to attend, for a couple of reasons: this is one of the Education Center’s big fund-raisers, but more importantly, this luncheon will provide information concerning what Archuleta County and Pagosa Springs are doing to address our educational needs. Tickets are $50 each, or you can reserve a table. To reserve your space, contact Renee Haywood at the Center at 264-2835.

Marketing for Smarties. The popular class offers three sessions, beginning Wednesday, March 25, in the Chamber Conference Room. The classes start at 5:30 p.m. and go until 9:30. Although this seems long, believe me, the time flies by and the classes are chock full of information, challenging exercises and homework to help you become a better marketer of your business. This class is straightforward, step-by-step and brief, and helps business owners adopt a new, proven marketing and sales process. The class will guide you as you look at your business in a new way, identifying what your business is and who you are trying to attract as a customer. Cost is $149 and it includes all the books and materials. Seating is usually sold out, so book early with Patsy Lindblad at 731-9074.

Back to Basic Gardening. Beginning on Thursday, March 26, the Extension Office is offering Back to Basics Gardening. There will be two opportunities for you to learn more about gardening in general, and about gardening here in Archuleta County. On March 26, attend “The Very Basics.” Session 2, on April 9, will deal with “Location,” container gardening, soil, grow domes, cold frames, etc. “Getting Your Hands Dirty” will be conducted April 16 and will include planting cycles, rotating crops, watering and more. The final session will be held April 23 and will deal with “Stayin’ Alive” — bugs, pruning, and trouble shooting. The sessions are free and will be offered twice on the designated days, 10 a.m. to noon and 6-8 p.m. at the Extension Building. Please R.S.V.P. your space request to Kim at 264-5931. It’s amazing how a little knowledge can increase the production, beauty and life expectancy of your plants and crops, especially in our cold climate and with our short growing season.

As you can see, there are a number of wonderful opportunities to learn more about our community, expand your mind, and have fun. Many of these seminars are free, so take advantage of all the help and fun that is offered to you here in Pagosa Springs.

Membership news

We have quite a few new members to welcome to the Chamber this week.

We start off with the organization that serves five counties in southwest Colorado, and two Indian Tribes. Region 9 Economic Development District provides information concerning business loans, administers the SW Enterprise Zone Tax Credits, staffs the SW Regional Transportation Planning Commission, and assists communities with economic development planning and technical assistance. This non-profit community development corporation is under the direction of Ed Morlan and other capable staff members. They provide a wealth of information concerning your developing business, our developing communities and so many of the projects that are underway in our region. For more information, visit the Web site at www.scan.org or call 247-9621.

Mud Shaver Car Wash, with new owners Aurora and Ryan Wright, joins this week. Right now, most of our cars have a base coat of mud, and it is time to get that first layer of dirt off your cars and trucks. Mud Shaver is located behind Copper Coin Liquor across from the elementary school. There are shampoo and vacuum stations and a super-size bay for large trucks and RVs. They offer discount club cards, business fleet accounts and you can use your credit card or the handy coins. If you want to find out about savings and promotions, visit their Web site at www.mudshaver.com and get ready for their grand opening at the beginning of April. Be aware that as you are doing something nice for yourself, Mud Shaver Car Wash is doing something nice for the community by donating 1 percent of net profits to community projects. Call 946-7942 for more information.

Paula Craig comes on board with Personal Touch Home Service. This is a great service. especially if you are a part-time resident. Personal Touch will conduct weekly ,or bi-weekly inspections of your property including locks, utilities, furnace, hot water heater, gas or propane tanks, drainage, fire alarm batteries, and trees and shrubs. Contractor and referral services are available if anything harmful is detected. Feel secure when you are away from home. Call Paula at 398-0351 to find our more about their home care services.

Another new member this week is the St. Francis Sanctuary and Wildlife Rehabilitation. They are located in Arboles and perform wildlife rehabilitation strictly for birds. They also provide a sanctuary for unwanted or abused horses. Heading up this project are Rolly and Pat Jackson and they can be contacted at 883-2519. Just another caring, important organization in our town.

Riverdance Condo, located at a site overlooking the San Juan River on 6th Street, joins this week. This new townhome is close to town, and has beautiful views of the river and the mountains, and a panoramic view of the town and the hot springs. The townhome is so close to the river you can actually fish from the deck, and you can enjoy the relaxing sounds of the river from the master bedroom. Discriminating renters will appreciate the HD TV, super comfortable beds, a fully appointed kitchen and beautifully appointed house. For reservations, call Beth Gillich at (707) 815-7070.

Renewals this week include Pagosa Realty Rentals with Sue Angelo; Denver McCabe and McCabe’s Repair Service; and Mike Dalsaso and Dalsaso Associates in Durango.

Don’t forget to get your applications in for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It will be a high-steppin’ good time!