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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
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July 25, 2012     The New Era Paper
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July 25, 2012
 

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tte - July 25, 2012 VOuR COMMUNITV Page 7 From page 1 "We're forming cohesive relation- ships with commit:tees that rely on community involvement and vol- unteers, but benefit from chamber backing in areas such as insurance and fiscal management." In other words, chamber mem- bers and volunteers are stepping up to handle the parades, the finance, the Sportsman's Holiday Court, events such as the annual awards banquet and After Hours mixers, membership and just about every- thing else the chamber is involved in. And if the volunteers aren't in place yet to make these things happen, Hawkins and Sweet Home Economic Development Director Brian Hoffman, who has brought his past experiences in other com- munities to bear in counseling the board as it has worked through various problems and issues, say that's the wave of the future. Last August the chamber cut its hours and reverted largely to volunteer help to keep its Visi- tors Center open during the height of the tourist season. Hoffman took an active role in advising the board, based on his previous expe- rience with other chambers, and a comprehensive policies and pro- cedures manual, along with finan- cial accountability guidelines that previously had been non-existent, were implemented. The chamber office was staffed a few hours a day, mainly by Cher- rie Carranza, who volunteered her time for more than a year. Those moves have paid off, Hawkins and Hoffman say. With help from the city, the Visitors Center is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Carranza resigned recently, but Visitors Center coordinator Sherri Pagliari and Heidi Saito are paid staff. Pagliari has previous ex- perience in a much larger chamber in the Sacramento area, Hawkins Said. "She has a passion for tour- ism," Hawkins said. "She's very proactive. She knows who to reach out to, almost intuitively." Firlancial assistance from the city has been key to getting the Visitors Center operation back on its feet, she said. "The city has decided to make the Visitors Center a priority, help- ing to fund the Visitors Center. This is a monetary partnership, but the support factor is more impor- tant than the money - just the fact that the city is willing to stand be- hind it." Hawkins said the Beautifica- tion Committee spent two days planting and redefining the flower beds and lawns outside the cham- ber. "(Committee Chair) Alice Grovom came out personally and watered for an entire week to make sure everything was set," she said. "She called Brian at Santiam Spray Service to come over and spray the entire area so we could put down bark dust. He did that as a dona- tion. "T2 Trucking, the Totmans, donated a truckload of bark dust. We're seeing members who want to be involved and change things." The next step, Hawkins and Hoffman say, is to define what the community wants the chamber to become. A general meeting forAnita Hutchins. members is being planned for the "That's why I call myself a fall. facilitator," she said. "The board "It will take the community makes all the decisions and, for to create a vision for how Sweet the most part, implements every- Home views itself," Hoffman said. thing." "They need to define what tourism Two seats are vacant and looks like for Sweet Home." Hawkins said board members are Though membership is notinterested in hearing from prospec- yet what Hawkins and other board Live candidates, members want it to be, she said it is Even more, she said, they want on the rise and the chamber is start- to hear from the community. ing to generate some enthusiasm. "We want transparency," Key to that will be communi- she said. "We want to know what cating with former members who members think of our ideas. Mem- may not have had positive experi- bers need to be involved rather ences in the chamber, than peripheral." "We want to repair the frac- Her personal dream, she said, Lures," Hawkins said. "I think as is "to have our motels so busy they people see personal and philo- have to expand. That's the kind of sophical changes, they are starting environment we want to create." to respond to that. In time, as the The public is invited to cham- community sees things happening ber board meetings the third Thurs- and builds trust in the chamber, day of each month at 9 a.m. at the that trust will come full circle." chamber office. Though Hawkins chairs the In September, the board plans board and is a visible proponent of to hold a meeting of the general the chamber and its activities, she membership to talk about goals for said decisions are made by the en- the organization and get feedback tire group - Andrew Allen, Brandi to prepare for such goals, Hawkins Pickett, Kim Palmer, Diane Ger- said. son, Mike Hall, Don Gonzales, and "What we want to see happen Photo by Scott Swanson Chamber members and staff, from left, Rubble Nyara, Cindy Thompson, Sherri Pagliari, Don Gonzalez and Lerena Ruby visit during a recent Af- ter Hours mixer hosted by Periwinkle Provisions and Oregon Prospecting and Rita's Relics. and what we're beginning to see members, really seeking relation- happen is our members become ship, with membership secondary more inclusive in the process and to relationship that we have with make more contributions to the various businesses. That's going to community as a whole," she said. be how we focus, which will be dif- "We're, rather than seeking ferent. It's a philosophy change." 2012 summEl COFICEI I; SEi Every Friday thru Aug 31 Theo's Trio JospmLep=k ] Iio 1,Pop & Blues FridayJuly 27 7~Opnl rnaay A=j3 7~pm more about all the shows @ www.marksridge.com , T fin Thurs-Sun & picnicki '- 124 r I| I co~" BACON CHEDDAR DOG I live Mus :July27th R0ddn 'the nighta,aj "NoW#0ut F. Ha[ : order biscuits & Grawi 2 P e s &Hashbrowns O0 FREE coffee for Seniors Mon. & Tues. w/breakfast purchase Ap FcCk CALL IN your TO-GO order (541) 357-0433 Mon-Thursday/am -2:30pm Fri - Sun 6am - 2:30pm Limit 1 coupon per table ,~ Coupon required Expires 8/02/12 C A F E 1333 Main StreeL Sweet Home, OR Sweet Home (541) 367-5353 1323 Main Street |m m mmm m,mmm m mm m m mmm --, m m mm NO SUBSTITUTIONS WITH COUPON EXPIRES 08/31/12 l Medium 1-Topping Pizza With purchase of any regular menu priced ',H a m o u rg e r A ii Extra Large Signature Pizza ! 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