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Chamber announces new board strategies for 2011

During an all-day planning retreat, the Chamber board (including newly elected directors) brainstormed ideas, set priorities, and rolled up their sleeves for another year of hard work.

Five subcommittees were formed to break down the priorities into bite-size portions. We encourage any Chamber members who are interested in these subcommittees to attend at least the first meeting to see if you would like to contribute to the development of plans for the upcoming year. What comes out of these meetings is meant to assist the membership — and that is you!

Most of the regular monthly Chamber board meetings will be held on the third Wednesday of the month at 5:45 p.m. in the Chamber conference room. The November board meeting will be held the second Tuesday of the month so as not to conflict with that month’s SunDowner. Board meetings are open to the membership; the public is invited and input is always welcome.

The five new subcommittees are Membership, Education, Finance, Special Events and Marketing/Social Media. The first subcommittee meetings are as follows: Finance — Wednesday, March 2, at noon in the Wells Fargo Board Room; Education — Wednesday, March 2, at 4:30 p.m. in the Chamber conference room; Membership — Tuesday, March 8, at 8 a.m. in the Chamber conference room; Special Events — Wednesday, March 9, at 5 p.m. at Farrago Market Cafe; Marketing — Wednesday, March 9, at 6 p.m. at Farrago Market Cafe. Share your ideas concerning how we can do things better and on issues you would like to see addressed.

The Chamber will launch a new website, with RFPs due Friday, Feb. 25. The new database and website should roll out mid-May 2011. The RFP for the website is available on the current Chamber site,

The Chamber will coordinate the fourth annual Colorado Rural Entrepreneurship Conference in May. We will not be able to implement this conference successfully without the complete cooperation of the community. Many businesses and organizations wrote letters of support for bringing this conference to Pagosa. Please continue to be involved. The first big planning meeting will be held Friday, Feb. 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center. There are many facets to the execution of this conference, from logistics to coordinating the various educational tracks, securing speakers, engaging marketplace vendors and arranging “the Store” vendors. We need help. This conference will showcase our community to hundreds of visiting entrepreneurs. You can be as busy or as minimal as you or your business allows — but we would like your input. If you cannot attend the planning meeting, but have some ideas, e-mail Mary Jo Coulehan at

If you are not a friend of the Chamber on Facebook, please sign up to get reminders and the latest information. We already have many projects on the table for 2011 and have already begun working on a number of them. We hope we will continue to see an increase in attendance at our monthly business seminars and SunDowners, in Facebook fans and participants to help plan the Entrepreneurial Marketplace. Without your input and feedback, we cannot change what needs to be changed or expand on what is successful. If you would be more comfortable speaking with a Chamber board member: Kathy Keyes, president; Bill Schwab, vice president; Doris Green, treasurer; Paul Boyd, secretary; and directors Aurora Wright, Todd Stevens, Angel Preuit Stahr, Madeline Lyons and Pam Barsanti.


As we look forward to some upcoming events, we would also like to take this time to thank those that participated in this year’s WinterFest activities. It was certainly an on again/off again schedule, with last-minute changes made to accommodate the unusual “no snow” winter conditions.

Most of our participants in the snow sculpting and obstacle course were visitors to our community who opted not to ski that day in order to enjoy events in town. There was a tie in the snow sculpting contest between the Dorsey family with their ice cream sundae creation and the Coston family and their fire-breathing dragon. Unfortunately, shortly after sculpting, the skies opened up with rain and ruined their beautiful creations. Many thanks to the Pagosa Lodge for allowing us to sculpt on their property alongside the lake and to get some great highway exposure. They provided delicious food and drink as well.

The winter obstacle course is an event we would like to incorporate in future WinterFest schedules since it can be designed for any weather condition and is certainly is a workout for children and adults. Mason Shoffner was the winner in the 5-7 age category, Emily Ho was the winner in the 8-10 age category, Julia Ho was the winner in the 11-13 category, and Tyler Dorsey was the winner in the adult category. I will confess I couldn’t get anyone over 21 to participate — probably too hard a course!

Too bad we didn’t have participants for the snowshoe race — the course was straight up the ravine from the San Juan Trail. Larry Fisher of Ski & Bow Rack and Mary Jo Coulehan were the winners in their age category for this race. The views were stunning and we realized we need more exercise!

The Penguin Plunge on Sunday was met with great enthusiasm from the participants and the onlookers. There were 11 participants and they raised over $4,200 for local organizations: Paul Boyd and Cole Moulton for the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs; Soledad Leo and Patricia Shoffner for the Pagosa Youth Center; Richard Choffe for Art in the Garden; Merlin Wheeler for San Juan Basin Area Agency for the Aging; Stacy Boone for Relay for Life; Tim Walter for Victim’s Assistance; Evan Greer for the Americana Project at the Pagosa Springs High School; Natalie Woodruff for Head Start; and Jim Miller with the Town of Pagosa Springs. Jim said that everyone tells him to “jump in a lake,” and since the lakes were all frozen, he chose the river! I also plunged for the Chamber’s Twelve Months of Christmas program. We hope to continue to enlarge participation and exposure for this crazy and unique activity during the WinterFest weekend. Think about plunging for next year. The water was between 31.5 and 32.4 degrees.

We thank our sponsors, The Overlook Mineral Springs and Healing Waters Spa, for sponsoring the Plunge and allowing participants to warm up at the facility. We also greatly appreciate the presence and attention of the Pagosa Fire Protection District and EMS crews that were on hand to assist in case there was an emergency. Luckily, everyone got out of the river and no hypothermia set in.

We’re already thinking of more events for next year and planning some activities that are not so weather contingent. Come help us out.

Upcoming events

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council will present a Broadway Sing-along on Friday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at DJ’s Italian Grill, 56 Talisman Drive. At the keyboard is the talented John Graves, with special guest stars and local singing talents Johnny K and Natalie Oman. The restaurant will resound with famous and favorite Broadway tunes. DJ’s will provide pizza bar, salad and cash bar. Tickets are $25 and are on sale at the Chamber, DJ’s and Boulder Coffee, as well as at the door.

Rotary Club Mardi Gras Ball Casino: The Rotary Club holds their annual Casino Night Saturday. This year’s event will be held at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts on Eagle Drive. The festivities will run from 6-10 p.m. Tickets are $35 each and include gambling funny money, hors d’oeuvres, music, entertainment, dancing, an auction, and gaming including craps, blackjack, poker, craps and Texas Hold’em. There will also be a cash bar. Tickets can be purchased from any Rotary Club member, at Exit Realty on Put Hill, and downtown at The Pagosa Springs SUN. Mardi Gras colors are encouraged but not required. Proceeds from this event help with scholarships, teacher mini grants and non-profit community projects.

Little Black Dress Affair: The Animal Within: On Saturday evening, March 5, Seeds of Learning hosts its annual fund-raiser. This year, the little black dresses or animal prints come out of the closet as the women of Pagosa enjoy an evening out with elegant appetizers by Alley House Grille/Farrago Market Cafe and a fashion show. The fashion show will feature Goodman’s Department Store and Little Weedz Dresses that Grow. There will also be a silent and live auction and cash bar. The event will be held at the Ross Aragon Community Center from 5-8 p.m. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at Switchback Mountain Wear in the Country Center and at Seeds of Learning. And gentlemen, while the women are out, don’t feel badly — you can have a fun “man-cave” evening out at Pagosa Brewing. Your festivities begin at 5 p.m. and go until 8, and include mug club status for everyone, special burgers, pizza and food, and the ability to watch NHL and NBA games. No black dresses and no tickets ... but a portion of the proceeds will benefit Seeds of Learning. Also at Pagosa Brewing will be a signed Colorado Avalanche jersey. The item will be bid on simultaneously at both the brewery and the Seeds event, so no one misses out. For more information, contact Seeds of Learning at 264-5513.


We have renewals to mention this week: Alpen House Ski Center; Citizens Bank; Pagosa Dental with Dr. William Thornell; Kirk Becker and Farmer’s Insurance; Laurie Simi and Safer Living In-Home Care Agency; Personal Touch Home Services with Paula Craig; The Buffalo Trading Post; the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office and the Pagosa Area Trails Council.

Another last-minute reminder is for youth or families to attend the taco dinner Monday, Feb. 28, at the Youth Center and see the riveting teen dating violence prevention movie “Reviving Ophelia” based on the book by Mary Bray Pipher. The event is offered to everyone free of charge, courtesy of the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program, Liberty Theater and the Pagosa Springs Youth Center. The evening begins at 5 p.m. followed by the movie at Liberty Theatre. Thank you to all these partners for looking out for the health and well-being of our community youth.

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