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Is $50,000 worth a minute of your time?

One minute a day or approximately 25 minutes for the rest of month.

That’s less time than you probably take to get to work each day; shorter than it takes to wait in line for a latté each day; shorter than it takes for you to wait in line at a fast food restaurant to get your lunch.

That’s all the time it will take for you to vote for the Mural on Main/Pepsi Refresh Project, to help see to it that residents and visitors can enjoy a new amenity for decades to come.

But it’s easy to blow off voting: someone else will vote and it really won’t matter. But every vote does matter. One less vote could move our project from 10th place to 11th place, thereby negating our opportunity to receive a $50,000 grant.

Here is what all the talk and the voting activity is about: the Pepsi Refresh Program, is giving away $1.3 million a month to communities all over the United States. Organizations or individuals can apply for these grants beginning at midnight on the first of each month. The Pagosa Springs Chamber was fast enough to be one of the first 1,000 entries to the Refresh program for the month of March. The next step was for the grant to be reviewed and posted, with voting beginning April 1. When the voting began on April 1, the Mural on Main project was ranked at 361. At the time this article goes to print, the Mural on Main project is now ranked 50.

What does the ranking mean? There are four financial categories for grant awards: two winners in the $250,000 group, 10 winners in the $50,000 group, 10 winners in the $25,000 category, and 10 winners in the $5,000 category. In order to be awarded the grant money each month, applications must be among the top 10 vote getters in a particular financial category. The Mural on Main project is in the $50,000 category and we must rank in the top 10.

How do we get there? We are working strong and steady. To those people who say that we will never get the grant because we are too small of a community, I say pshaw! A small community in Idaho approximately the same size as Pagosa ranked eighth and won a $25,000 grant last month. It has everything to do with how badly this community wants this new structure. Aren’t you tired of looking at the deteriorated and dilapidated mural? Are you just waiting for someone else to take the initiative to get the work done? Wouldn’t it be great to receive grant money and not tap our community? Wouldn’t it be great to revitalize and spruce up our downtown area and make it obvious to our summer visitors that we are open for business?

All of these questions can be answered with community involvement. Now that we know how to maneuver around the Pepsi Refresh Web site, here is the quickest and easiest way to vote for the Pagosa Springs Mural on Main project. Go to www.refresheverything.com/visitpagosasprings and this link will take you directly to the Pagosa Springs Mural on Main project page. Or, if you already have the Chamber site bookmarked on your favorites list, go to the Chamber site, www.pagosaspringschamber.com and click on the Mural on Main link on the homepage. This link will take you directly to the Mural page as well, so you can vote. On the right side of the page it will say “Vote for this idea”. Click on this button. The first time you enter the site you will have to register your name and e-mail address. This takes about a minute for each e-mail address. After this initial registration, all you have to do is enter your e-mail address and password. Vote for the Mural on Main project and that’s it! It takes about 30 seconds a day.

Vote every day at each e-mail address you have until 9:59 p.m. on April 30. Vote in the morning when you are having your coffee and looking at the weather. Vote in the evening when you are doing research with the kids or shopping online. Put notes in your office asking everyone to vote. Put the Pepsi Refresh link on your Web site homepage for the month of April. Share the project with your friends and fans on Facebook and Twitter or other sources. Ask family members to have their friends vote. It is a viral process and we can do it! It won’t be easy. There are a lot of projects competing in the $50,000 range, but we are growing quickly and steadily every day. We can overtake many other projects with some concerted effort.

Stop for a moment: imagine the smile on your face and the feeling in your heart when the grant is received and you know that you were a part of the action that made this project possible. Let’s have some fun and win this grant!

Upcoming events

Square Top Repertory Theatre presents “The Sun is in the West” on Saturday, April 10. The live stage production will take place at the Liberty Theatre starting at 7:30 p.m. Local actors, Felicia Meyer, Geoff Johnson and Sean Downing make up the cast for this play by Damon Falke. Tickets are available at the Chamber, or online at www.squaretoptheatre.com for only $10.

Beginning Tuesday, April 13, until Saturday, April 17, Pagosa Springs High School will present “High School Musical” with a cast of over 53 people. This lively, fast-paced musical takes place each night at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Chamber, the high school or at the door for only $10. Bring the family out for a night of great music and dance.

Harness the power of eBay

Do you buy from eBay or want to learn how to sell?

Perhaps you already sell on eBay and want to do more, or learn how to do it better. On Tuesday, April 13, Fort Lewis College SBDC and the Chamber of Commerce are hosting two eBay classes with eBay master Terry Gehrke, four-time eBay Power Seller.

The first class, from 9 a.m. to noon, will cover the basics of eBay, including enhancing your listings with better descriptions and photography, opening and using PayPal, monitoring sales to determine what is working and what is not, and how to avoid many of the costly mistakes new eBay use make.

The second class will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. This is a more advanced eBay class focusing on growing your business on eBay, opening an eBay store, how to market your eBay business and more.

Both classes will be held at the Ross Aragon Community Center and each class comes with books and training materials. Each class will cost $60 unless you take both classes — the cost is then reduced to $99 for both.

To register for the class, call the SBDC office at 247-7009, or go online to www.myauctionexpert.com. This is a great way to sell some of your goods online and make some money.

Education sessions

On Friday, April 16, if you’re looking to find out more about the latest Microsoft 7 software, there will be a short educational seminar from 1-2 p.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center. Certified instructor Kurt Raymond, with Raymond Rent-a-Nerd, will be giving you tips on how to upgrade your software from Vista or XP to the newest Microsoft 7. There will be giveaways and discounts and lots of simple information. This seminar is free and open to the public.

Ed Center luncheon

The Education Center hosts the annual fund-raising luncheon on Tuesday, April 13, from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Centerpoint Church in the Aspen Village Center. Speaker Teresa Chasteen, CEO and co-founder of the WIN WorkKeys program, will be the keynote speaker. The WorkKeys curriculum is currently being used at the Education Center and is a wonderful tool for training and career placement. The luncheon will also highlight the successes of the Education Center and efforts with the new Charter School and “at risk” programs. Tickets are available at the Chamber and at the Education Center for $50 each, or you can e-mail Lynelle Wiggers at lwiggers@pagosa.k12.co.us.

E-Cycle

On Friday and Saturday, April 16-17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Chamber and Archuleta County will partner to provide two E-Cycle days in Pagosa Springs.

Bring your electronic equipment to the Chamber and recycle them for free or for a nominal charge. Items such as keyboards, cables, laptop batteries, cell phones and other small equipment are all free. Equipment such as CPUs, desktop printers, scanners and small fax machines are $5. Monitors, laptops, and TVs up to 27 inches are $15. Larger equipment such as copiers, plotters, big screen TVs will be 25 cents per pound. If you have a lot of equipment, call Jennifer at the county at 264-5660, Ext. 221, to schedule your delivery.

Don’t throw your electronic equipment in the dump — recycle it! Cash or checks will be accepted for payment, no credit cards. If you have any questions, call the Chamber at 264-2360. This event is being presented in conjunction with Earth Day/Week events.

Membership

While we have no new members to welcome aboard this week, we have a plethora of renewals: Oak Ridge Lodge; the San Juan Mountain and Golf Resort; Be Our Guest B&B; Four Seasons Land Company with Lynn Cook; The Source for Real Estate; Kimberley Siler with P.S. Just for Fun; The Boulder Center; Solutions/CybrCollect; Christine’s Cuisine; The American Postal Workers Union; and Chamber associate Jerry LaQuey.

Don’t forget to vote for the Pepsi Refresh Program. We have some tough competition, but we can do it. Vote every day.