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Last call: Vote for chamber board members

With a recent batch of snow, the theme for the Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting, Winter Wonderland, is certainly apropos.

We are grateful for the fresh powder to enhance our winter economy. While summer is definitely our busier tourist season, without the winter activities and moisture, our community would not flourish as it does.

And now it’s time to celebrate and enjoy an evening out at the annual Chamber of Commerce meeting and celebration on Saturday.

This year’s festivities will be held at the beautiful Winslow on the Shire, with the fabulous fare provided by Alley House Grille, returning to the rave reviews from last year’s event. Also on tap for this year’s festivities will be dancing after the information session and awards ceremony. Providing the entertainment will be a local favorite band, Leadfoot Ruthie, playing all your favorites. It will be a festive evening, with lots of good food, beverages, surprises and awards.

The Chamber will also hand out several prizes: an annual membership, Passport to Pagosa: Wine & Food Festival tickets, Bands, Brews, Etc. Blowout tickets, yearly SunDowner admission tickets, and more. It’s a perfect time to enjoy an evening and perhaps win a great prize!

The Citizen and Volunteer of the Year winners have been selected and the recipients are well deserving. Come out and see first hand who the winners are.

And, while attendees won’t know who the board winners are on the 23rd, the annual meeting is the last time you will be able to vote for Chamber board nominees. The candidates this year are Jon Zissman, Todd Starr, Bill Schwab, Wendy Saunders, Madeline Lyons, Erin Jeansonne, Lauren Cohen, Thaddeus Cano, and Paul Boyd. You can cast votes at the Chamber office until 5 p.m. Jan. 22, after which time you can obtain a ballot at the annual meeting. It is always important for members to vote, since these people represent you and your business with the Chamber of Commerce. We look forward to adding three new members to the Chamber board.

Tickets for winter Wonderland are available at the Chamber for $35 in advance. If you have questions, call the Chamber at 264-2360.

Get ready to Plunge!

With the lakes frozen over, the San Juan River’s path is also reduced, but not enough that it will keep people from “plunging” into the river on Sunday, Feb. 14, for their favorite charity or community organization.

The Pagosa Penguin Plunge is one of the new events this year at WinterFest. Participants can gather pledges for their favorite charity, then jump into the river. The temperature is expected to be about 34 degrees — just cold enough to get the blood pumping!

The activity will take place in front of the Chamber Visitor Center at “The Wave.”

All necessary safety precautions will be taken. However, we encourage people who may have medical issues not to participate. Children under 15 will not be allowed to participate and youth 15-18 years of age must have parental consent. Admission for the privilege to plunge is $20, with an additional $50 minimum pledge for the chosen charity. Registration and pledge forms are available now at the Chamber, so participants can get started acquiring pledge signatures.

It will also be an entertaining spectator event, since viewers can watch all the activity from the comfort of the River Walk, where they can enjoy hot drinks and selected food items. The event begins at 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 14. Visit the Chamber Web site, www.pagosaspringschamber.com, for a list of all WinterFest activities, or call the Chamber for more information.

Upcoming events

Organizers of the 2010 Archuleta County Relay for Life are starting to plan in preparation for the Relay walk on June 18-19. On Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 6 p.m. at the PLPOA Clubhouse, attendees can break out their favorite Hawaiian shirt or bikini and take part in the RFL Kickoff Party. There will be prizes for the best costume, as well as entertainment and refreshments. The event is free and open to the public. Early registration for Relay teams will be $75 — a savings of $25 from the later sign-up rate. The team that brings the most members to the party will only pay $25 for registration! Volunteers are still needed for the Relay, especially for Mission, Advocacy, Sponsorship, Survivorship and Logistics. For further information, call Barbara Briles at 264-0216.

On Thursday, Jan. 28, come out to Pagosa Pub Works Brewpub for an evening of Broadway Show Tunes with John Graves. This Sing-Along is sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Arts Council and is expected to be an evening of great fun, with lots of voices. Tickets for the evening are available at the Chamber, Pagosa Pub Works and Higher Grounds for $15. What a clever and enjoyable event this Sing-Along should be.

Then on Saturday, Jan. 30, the Pagosa Springs High School drama students will present their one-act play “Chicken Bones for the Teenage Soup.” This parody on the Chicken Soup series will be performed by 18 students in 21 scenes. There is only one performance, at 7 p.m., and a donation of $5 is appreciated.

Also, we want to remind local non-profit entities, including churches and government agencies, to attend the next Rural Philanthropy Days meeting on Feb. 9, from 4-6 p.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center. In preparing for this important event, scheduled June 9-11 in Mancos, we are building a local collaboration team to further the needs of our community. This is a way for non-profit organizations to team up, work together and capitalize on existing resources. Pagosa is lucky to have such strong non-profit organizations creating a stable safety net and infrastructure. Though non-profits enjoy a special tax status, they are viable businesses and should be respected as such. Without their support and the volunteer commitment they bring, Pagosa’s needs would be much greater. Come out and see how your agency can further the collaboration cause. For more information or a copy of the last meeting minutes, contact Julie Simmons with Colorado Housing at chijulie@centurytel.net.

Leading Edge

Thursday, Feb. 4, marks the start of the 2010 Leading Edge Entrepreneurial season. This 12-week course is perfect for new businesses or business owners in general. The course will help owners hone their skills and improve their business acumen.

Course work includes planning and research, financial overview, marketing, managing your money, understanding financial statements and much more. There is also a business plan competition, with the winning business plan awarded $350. Second place wins $150, third place $100. Tuition for the class is $280 or $435 for three hours of college credit. There is also a scholarship opportunity provided by Region 9 Economic Development District.

Applications and a class schedule are available at the Chamber, the SBDC, or online at soba.fortlewis.edu/sbdc/seminar.htm, or archuletaeconomicdevelopment.org. For more information, contact the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College at 247-7009.

Membership news

We have quite a few members renewing this week: Pagosa Realty Rentals; Adobe Abodes; Snow Country Adventure Tours; Ole Miner’s Steakhouse; Sharon’s Custom Creations; Judy James; Taylor Ranch; GECKO; Pagosa Area Trails Council; St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church; Pagosa Ranger District, San Juan National Forest; Rocky Mountain Health Plans; Directory Plus; and Bayfield Gardens. We also cannot forget to mention our renewing Friends of the Chamber, Bob and Carole Howard, Laquita and Raymond Johnson, Deborah and Dow Timmen, and Mary and Fred Webb.

We look forward to a lively and informational annual meeting on Saturday. Don’t miss the fun!