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Vote for the Mural on Main Pepsi Refresh Grant

At 10:01 p.m. on March 1, Pagosa Springs was successful in entering the Mural on Main program on the Pepsi Refresh Project Web site. We were fast enough and our proposal requesting $50,000 was accepted. Now the hard work begins.

But, let’s step back a few paces.

In December, the Pepsi Corporation announced that, instead of funding its usual $1 million Super Bowl ads, it was going to put these funds back into national community projects. Thus, a grant process developed.

Beginning in February, at midnight EST on the first of each month, individuals, nonprofit organizations and for-profit groups could submit a grant application where the first 1,000 entries are accepted. Grant awards are then issued, with 10 grants for $5,000, 10 grants for $25,000, 10 grants for $50,000 and two grants for $250,000, for a total of $1.3 million each month.

The Pagosa Springs Chamber, in conjunction with the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, is vying for a $50,000 grant under the Arts and Culture category for the Mural on Main Program.

We are making this request to the community now, even though we have not been informed “officially” that we have received final grant approval. We are moving forward, anticipating that we have been approved and that voting for our project will begin April 1.

So, now the work begins. It is important that everyone vote for this project in order that we receive the funds. Only the top 10 vote-getters will be selected. We will be competing against grants in the health, education, neighborhood, general, other arts and culture and planet categories. For each e-mail address, you can vote once a day. Actually, you can vote up to 10 times a day, but it must be for 10 different projects — so you can certainly help out other worthwhile causes around the U.S. while voting for our Mural on Main Project.

Here’s how it works. Go to www.pepsirefreshproject.com Click on Arts and Culture in the $50,000 category and vote for the Mural on Main project. All the projects in that category will be listed. Voting continues until 11:59 p.m. April 30 so, again, it is important to vote every day until the end of the month.

We can track the status of our grant position every day since voting is tabulated and displayed right next to the project’s listing. You can find out more about the Pepsi project by visiting the Chamber Web site at www.pagosaspringschamber.com and go to the events listing and view the Mural on Main project.

This project is critical for our community. It is a symbol of rejuvenation and hope. This project will employ people and create a small pocket park right on our main downtown street — a place where people can gather and relax ,and it will become a community landmark complete with a beautiful new mural created by Jeffery Haas and Hayley Goodman. Construction RFPs were posted with a deadline of April 5, 2010. Questions can be directed to Mary Jo Coulehan at the Chamber, 264-2360. We hope to break ground by May 5, with the project completed in June.

Just because we are a small community and competing against larger communities does not mean that we cannot be one of the top 10 winners. E-mail the Pepsi link to family and friends who have visited Pagosa, have lived in Pagosa, who might visit Pagosa, or who know that you live here. E-mail your groups, acquaintances, or anyone you think might be interested in helping out our project. Please encourage everyone to vote every day until the end of the month. You must live in the United States in order to vote. So many times the process is easy at the beginning, but gets tedious towards the middle and end. We cannot give up. Bookmark the Pepsi Refresh site on your computer, make it part of your daily routine to vote as you check the weather and load your e-mails. Put a note reminding you to vote on your calendar, your mirror, your steering wheel. If there are several people in your family, everyone can vote as long as they have a different e-mail address.

The Mural on Main is definitely a grass roots program. The mural is complete, safely stored and waiting for a home. Let’s give this beautiful piece of artwork a place to reside and let’s retire the current facade. This is the community focus for the month of April. Let’s make it happen Pagosa!

Easter activities

Easter is a special day to get out and about and enjoy the fine fare at one of our wonderful restaurants. Head out to one of these other events as well.

On Sunday, April 4, several activities will take place. Join the Boy Scouts of Troop 807 as they host their annual Easter pancake breakfast at the Community United Methodist Church. Breakfast will be served from 7:30–11 a.m. and donations are appreciated. Then, from 1-2 p.m. there will be a free Easter egg hunt in the Artisans of the Southwest courtyard. Bring your basket to collect those special egg prizes hidden everywhere.

Spring fever gardening

Spring fever is definitely in the air and Growing Spaces is offering “Gardening and Beyond,” just in time to get you started for growing season. Classes are free and are offered every Tuesday in April at the Archuleta County Extension Building from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Learn about seed starting, container gardening, gardening in the mountains, herbs, growing dome gardening and much more. There will be guest speakers every week. Call ahead of time at 731-2120 to reserve your free space.

‘The Sun is in the West’

Thought provoking and interactive, Square Top Theatre’s “The Sun is in the West” comes to the Liberty Theatre on Saturday, April 10, for just one performance at 7:30 p.m. As the characters grapple with their connection to history, land and family myths, live music and storytelling is integrated throughout the play. Local performers Geoff Johnson, Sean Downing and Felicia Meyer make up the cast. Tickets are available at the Chamber and online at www.squaretoptheatre.com for just $10 each.

‘High School Musical’

This popular musical will be performed at Pagosa Springs High School beginning April 13. The musical will continue until Saturday, April 17. If you’ve never seen the production, you’re in for a fast-paced, music- and dance-filled event. With a cast of 53 people, this production is very lively, funny and great for all ages. Tickets are only $10 and available here at the Chamber, at the high school, or at the door. Come out and support the arts in our schools.

Ed Center fund-raiser

And speaking of schools, the Archuleta County Education Center is hosting its annual fund-raising lunch this year, titled “In Times of Crunch — Expand not Contract.” The luncheon will be held Tuesday, April 13, from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets are available for $50 each, or you can purchase a table for eight. Tickets are available at the Chamber and at the Education Center. The catered luncheon will be held at Centerpoint Church in Aspen Village. The guest speaker this year will be Dr. Teresa Chasteen who is the co-founder, CEO and president of Worldwide Interactive Network (WIN). The Education Center utilizes the WIN WorkKeys curriculum and this system is getting more popular all the time. Attend the luncheon, find out what all the buzz is about and help out a very important aspect of our community!

Harness the power of eBay

The Fort Lewis College SBDC will present “Learning How to Sell” and “eBay Sales to the Next Level” on Tuesday, April 13.

The first course, 9 a.m. to noon, will highlight researching and creating listings, setting prices that will maximize your profits, opening and using PayPal, how to avoid costly mistakes, and more.

The second class, from 1 to 4 p.m., will focus on how to grow a business on eBay, opening an eBay store, marketing your eBay business, and Web site and relationship marketing, along with other topics.

Each class is $60 and includes the books and materials. Or, you can take a whole day of classes for just $99.

Professional eBay trainer Terry Gehrke will lead the course. Terry is one of only 29 certified eBay business consultants in the country and is a four-time eBay Power Seller. One of his last classes had over 500 attendees. Don’t miss this excellent opportunity, whether you’re looking to experience eBay on a personal or professional basis. Call the Chamber or the Small Business Development Center, 247-7009, to register.

Membership news

Our renewals this week include Pagosa Springs Golf Club; Juli Morelock with Galles Properties; Tess Challis; Pagosa Health and Wellness Network; and Durango Coca Cola. We also welcome back associate members Steve and Dee Butler.

Get ready for lots of education opportunities offered by the Chamber during the month of April. Take advantage of free or nominal-cost classes during this slower season in Pagosa. Watch your e-mail news blasts from the Chamber for news on the latest in education and information seminars.