Citizen and Volunteer of the Year nominations due

Hard to imagine that another year has flown by.

There have been many incidents that have happened in our community along with all the national financial setbacks. However, we have lower gas prices, great snow, creative businesses and lots of activities planned for 2009.

We’re ready for a new year with lots of positive community interaction.

To start off the year, the Chamber is collecting nomination forms for the Citizen and Volunteer of the Year awards. These awards are given out at the annual Chamber of Commerce membership celebration. This year, the festivities are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 24, beginning at 6 p.m. at Winslow on the Shire (formerly Echo Manor).

It takes only a few minutes to nominate an individual, couple or group for these awards.

The criteria are easy to understand. To qualify for Citizen of the Year, the nominee must have been a resident here, or an organized group here, for at least three years. They need to have made an impact in the community in at least one of four categories: economic, philanthropic, cultural and lifestyle. They must have shown strong leadership and integrity and contributed to the community with measurable results not related to their work or business. There are numerous individuals and groups that meet these guidelines and who should be recognized for their efforts.

The Volunteer of the Year can also be an individual, couple or group, and they do not have the three-year residency requirement. The Volunteer of the Year unselfishly volunteers time outside the workplace for community events. They volunteer for community events with significant results; they will have given time, money or both with great humility, expecting nothing in return. There are quite a few people and organizations that should be recognized with this award. Just look around you and at the people you work with, and take time to thank these people by recognizing them for their efforts. Just being recognized for either of these awards is a great honor.

Nomination forms need to be into the Chamber Monday, Jan. 5, by 5 p.m. We can fax you a nomination form or you can pick one up at the Visitor Center. The nominees will be selected by a committee that judges their qualities, not by how many nomination forms are received. Take a few minutes out of your day to thank someone who gives to this community unselfishly. For more information, contact the Chamber at 264-2360.

Annual celebration

We always start the new year off with the selection of three new board members to serve three-year terms on the Chamber of Commerce board.

The candidates running for the board are business representatives who can bring to the board the qualities needed to provide direction, ideas and leadership on behalf of the Chamber membership.

The candidates running for the Chamber Board in 2009 are: Doris Green of Lantern Dancer Gallery; Kathy Keyes of Pagosa Baking Company; Bill McKown with Stevens Field/Archuleta County Airport; Angel Preuit of The Spa at Pagosa Springs; Julie Simmons with Colorado Housing, Inc.; and James Vincent with Colorado Land Title.

The individuals running for the board have agreed to serve a three year term. Each candidate offers unique perspectives on how to fulfill a term and on the skills they can bring to the board.

It is up to you, the membership, to elect three of the six candidates to represent you and your business with the Chamber of Commerce. There is only one vote per membership. You must vote in person — no online or e-mail voting. Ballots are available now at the Chamber or you can vote at the annual membership meeting and celebration on Saturday, Jan. 24. There are profile sheets on the candidates available at the Chamber.

The theme of the annual meeting is “Some Enchanted Evening,” due to the stunning surroundings of Winslow on the Shire. The festivities begin at 6 p.m. You will be awed by the venue and can see the majority of the facility and all the renovations that have taken place. The evening will be filled with lots of room to move around, music, scrumptious and hearty hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and, of course, the awards ceremony. Since Winslow on the Shire lends itself to creativity, romanticism and a sense of a time gone by, costumes will be encouraged, but are not necessary. You can dress up in a costume from the Renaissance era, one that reflects a movie theme or Disneyland character, or in other fun attire. If costumes are not your style, just come to the party and enjoy all the festivities. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased at the Chamber. Then, either at the membership celebration or when you come in to purchase your ticket, you can vote for Chamber board members.

If you have questions concerning the candidates, the voting process or the annual membership celebration, give the Chamber a call at 264-2360.

Entrepreneur training

If you think you know how to run your business, this class will certainly test your skills. If you are thinking about running a business, this class is a must for you.

The Archuleta Economic Development Association (AEDA) is offering a business training course to help existing business owners and start-up companies develop the necessary strategies and plan for business success.

This is an intense 12-week program taught nationwide by Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and we are tied into the Fort Lewis College SBDC. The cost of the course is $280 or $395 for those who would like three hours of college credit.

The class begins Feb. 5 and will be held from 6-9 p.m. on Thursdays at the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

Interested entrepreneurs can call Bart Mitchell at 731-1443 or you can download an application at www.aedaed.org. Participants can also apply for one scholarship to be offered by Region 9 Economic Development District.

In addition, for every participant who completes an acceptable business plan, the Fort Lewis College SBDC will provide a $100-reimbursement scholarship on the registration fee.

And, finally, there will be a business plan competition with a $500 cash award to the first-place winner, $250 cash award to second place, and a $100 cash award to the third-place winner.

This intense, well-developed class takes you and your business to the next level. Think about moving your business forward, investing in yourself, and registering for the Leading Edge Entrepreneurial Training Course.

Membership news

We welcome another new member this week. Re.Sport consignment sporting goods store is open in the Country Center Plaza, just a few doors away from Shang Hai. Re.Sport has everything from skis and snowboards to golf equipment, bikes and camping gear. All merchandise is in good working condition and gently used. There are name brands like North Face, Patagonia, Columbia, Atomic and much more. The store is looking for good sporting equipment or clothing. Call 731-6900 to set an appointment to bring in your merchandise and set up an account. We welcome Crista Munro and all the staff and wish them much success in this clever new endeavor.

Renewals this week include: Moonlight Books; Briliam Engineering; HTI Builders; Foam Insulation Specialists; Four Seasons Land Co; Congregation Kadima Yisrael; and Bruce’s Snowshoe Lodge and B&B in Creede.

We are interested to see how this holiday season goes for everyone. We also want to thank the businesses that participated in our Wolf Creek White Out Days. Again, it is critical that lodging facilities and businesses know about this activity so our “stranded” visitors then know of things to do when Wolf Creek Pass is closed. For more information, go to www.visitpagosasprings.com and click on Activities & Events. If you would like to participate in the future, call us at the Chamber.

Happy New Year, Pagosa.