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Fifty years of continuous community service in Pagosa Springs is what the Mountain View Homemakers have given to this community.
From monthly meetings where there is a theme, to their annual auction or just plain having fun, the Mountain View Homemakers continue to keep “home” in all that they do. “Home” can mean so much, including community, family life and activities that continue to enhance a home environment. The Mountain View Homemakers have given away thousands of dollars to various organizations or persons in need in this community through their fund-raising efforts. The Holiday Bazaar is now under their guidance, with even more generous donations going out to the community. The organization welcomes women of all ages to interact, learn and give back to Pagosa. On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, congratulations on being an integral part of our community and an organization from which we can all learn.
Affordable Care Act
As mentioned in last week’s Chamber column, we have begun to try and inform the public of the changes and requirements for businesses and individuals associated with the Affordable Care Act. There are some key timeline dates the public needs to be aware of.
October 1 is the date when businesses need to inform their employees if they will be offering group insurance or the employee needs to seek insurance through the Connect for Health Colorado Marketplace. Business owners and individuals can go to the Chamber website, www.pagosachamber.com, and click on the “Stay Connected” tab. The drop-down menu will list the Affordable Care Act with links and sample informational fliers that business owners can either download or modify to suit their own enterprise The important part is not that your business offers insurance, but that you inform your employees if you are offering insurance or not. It will then give them time to shop for insurance or apply for insurance tax credits. You will not be fined should you not notify your employees; however, it is important to do it, so that all involved can make appropriate arrangements.
October 1 is also the date that the Connect for Health Colorado website opens to the public. The website will list all the health care providers available in Archuleta County. Actually, shoppers can go now to the website, www.connectforhealthco.com, to find a list of health care providers. Connect for Health Colorado will also list the insurance providers in Archuleta County that can help you with medical insurance coverage.
If you want your insurance to begin on Jan. 1, then you must purchase insurance by December 15. Open enrollment for medical insurance coverage will continue until March 31, 2014. If you do not purchase insurance by this time then, unless you experience a “life changing” event, you will most likely not be able to purchase insurance until the following open enrollment period, which will be from October to December 2014. This enrollment closure is set to deter people from signing up for insurance after an incident occurs.
Business to Business Expo
These Affordable Care Act dates and much more will be discussed at the Chamber’s annual Business to Business Expo to be held Wednesday, Oct. 16. Linda Gann, Western Slope outreach coordinator for Connect for Health Colorado will be the lunch keynote speaker. She will review important dates, explain the Connect for Health Colorado website, describe the next steps for employers and individuals, and answer your questions. Also present at the Expo will be representatives of Pagosa insurance companies that have been certified with Connect for Health Colorado to issue policies with carriers approved in our region.
Tim Merriman and Lisa Brochu, international consultants in community visioning and planning, will give us guidance on how to avoid duplication of efforts, how we can take various ideas and put them into action, and how groups in the community can work better together and achieve more. The Chamber will coordinate with organizations to try and complete some “homework” assignments prior to the Expo. We encourage members of community groups, nonprofit and governmental organizations and members of the general public interested in moving our community forward to attend.
The Expo is a great place to have a business booth so people in the community can find out more about what your business has to offer. Admission to the Expo is only $25 for a half day of learning, lunch and a networking reception. Vendor space, at $50, allows you to show off your business, attend the learning breakouts and enjoy lunch and the evening reception. This year’s Expo will be held at the Pagosa Center for the Arts, so there will be lots of room to work the vendor booths, network with other business owners and find quiet time to learn. Tickets and vendor space for the Expo will be available Monday, Sept. 22.
Business After Hours
On Tuesday, Oct. 1, it is also the time to sign up for the 2014 Business After Hours networking receptions. The changes to the SunDowners or Business After Hours will not be too evident until after this first signup. As a business owner, you might get to the Chamber early, but we will not take signups until 8 a.m. There will not be lottery numbers to pull, you will be on the honor system. The signups will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis, with those folks coming in at 8 a.m. being able to select the networking month of their choice. For this first signup day, we will not be taking requests by phone or by e-mail. This gives an unfair advantage to those who actually came down to the Chamber to sign up. After Oct. 1, you can call or e-mail the Chamber to sign up for a Business After Hours reception for either 2014 or any date in the future, or you can be placed on a waiting list.
The rest of the guidelines for hosting a Business After Hours reception remain the same. The host business is responsible for providing eats and the Chamber provides the beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages. Admission will remain $7. The business owners should take some time to tout their business — any new merchandise or service, business practices or items that would be of interest. If you have any questions, contact Jan Santopietro, membership coordinator at the Chamber.
Calling all HAM radio enthusiasts
In conjunction with our ColorFest activities, Fred Lete, one of our hot air balloon pilots flying at the rally, will offer certification for HAM radio operators. Lete will offer amateur radio licensing renewal or upgrade license testing. He will be at the Chamber of Commerce on Friday, Sept. 20, beginning at 4:15 p.m. You need to schedule an appointment for license testing by calling Lete at (505) 261-7464.
This is a reminder that we will have the second holiday meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Oakridge Lodge. This meeting will allow us to develop, brainstorm or finalize activities, events or plans for the month of December. The Chamber and the Town Tourism Committee would like to produce a more robust holiday calendar for our visitors and local residents. This monthly guide will give people ideas about what is happening throughout the community all month, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. We plan on having lighting contests, maps of areas that are decorated, theatrical and musical performances and other community events listed. We encourage our business owners to start planning some activities around their locations. We would like to post weekly shopping specials and other activities of interest to attract and engage visitors and locals. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and light snacks will be provided.
We have two new businesses to welcome to the Chamber this week along with a long list of renewals.
With their complete renovation, beautiful new bar and snazzy new digital sign, we have The View Restaurant at Pagosa Springs as a member. The View has a great lounge, offering live entertainment weekly. They also have a general dining area serving breakfast to hotel guests only at this time, and dinner during the winter season. Should they open up for lunch, a digital sign will alert the public. The View also has the fine dining restaurant offering creative specialties in a relaxed, well-appointed area. Don’t forget that The View can also handle large parties during the upcoming holidays and don’t miss tasting some of their new fare at Passport to Pagosa on Sept. 20.
We also welcome Snips Hair Salon. Under new ownership with Carolyn Salman, Snips is still located on the west side of town, between Citizens Bank and the Plaza Grille and next to the The Ice Cream Shop. Snips offers cuts, coloring, highlights, perms and other creative hair treatments for men, women and children. To schedule an appointment with one of their stylists, call 731-6500.
Our renewal list this week is extensive and includes Boss Hogg’s, Southwest Elegance Gallery and Gifts, Pagosa Home Inspection, Arborilogical West, Pagosa Springs Real Estate Online, Exit Realty Advantage Pagosa, Dancing Bear Retreat, And Justice For All, Thin Air Landscape and Construction, Pagosa Wireless, Upscale Resale, Action Insurance, San Juan Backcountry Tours, and Music in the Mountains. Our non-profit agencies include Immaculate Heart of Mary/Pope John Paul II Catholic Church and Pagosa Trail Riders. Rounding out the list are individual associates Ron and Cindy Gustafson, Malcolm and Joan Rodger, and Jackie Schick.