Outgoing President Lori Negre, who missed the annual membership banquet due to illness, was presented with a clock in appreciation for time spent leading the organization. Incoming board members Clif Crockett, Walter Branch, Keith McCracken and Doug Childress, along with first alternative Israel Patino, were welcomed and engaged in extended discussion about activities in the year ahead.
The board voted Regina Bowsher, who has served as membership chairperson, to serve as president-elect, to serve with President Danny Vaughn this year.
Discussion focused on the chamber's major activities in the coming months. The next membership mingle will be on April 22 at noon at a location to be announced. The annual Prayer Breakfast will be at 7 a.m. on May 6 at the Monett City Park Casino. Jay Apostol will head this year's Industrial Appreciation Golf Tournament, which is scheduled for Friday, June 4.
One of the biggest changes in 2010 will be the chamber's approach to the community July 4 celebration. Mayor Jim Orr had prevailed upon the chamber in 2007 to take over running Monett's largest community event following the voluntary retirement of the Fourth of July Committee led by Deborah Schoen.
"We never intended for the chamber to do it forever," said Suzy McElmurry, chamber executive director.
McElmurry said the chamber has paid the $2,500 deposit to retain the services of A&M Pyrotechnics to do the fireworks show after dark on July 4 at South Park. A letter has been prepared to try to raise an additional $10,000 for the fireworks. The chamber plans to confine its involvement to the fireworks portion of the event.
A new Monett Fourth of July Community Committee has organized to work out details for other activities and dealing with vendors. Sarah Hohensee is the chairperson and Brittie Oakley is the co-chairperson. The committee has 10 members, McElmurry said, including several who worked on the holiday event for the chamber like Josue Cavazos.
Other volunteers are welcome, McElmurry said, and can contact Hohensee at 235-7919.
Board members also reviewed recent Chamber events. McElmurry reported the deadline for ordered displays for the Festival of Lights for 2010 is April 15. Several orders have been placed expanding the popular holiday attraction, she said.
The annual membership meeting was deemed a significant success. Board members agreed the event was well attended and the entertainment by the Lennon Brothers and Gail Lennon was well received.
One of the popular additions this year was the balloon bouquets, where every balloon purchased for $10 had a number inside corresponding with a prize on the display table. Gifts were generally worth more than the investment, ranging from movie tickets to a ceiling fan, painting prints and a Monett Centennial book. McElmurry said demand exceeded the 26 balloons that were available.
To support the Junior ROTC program, which helped serve dinner at the membership meeting, the board agreed to help promote a Monett Night at the Springfield Cardinals game on April 27 when the JROTC color guard will present flags. Discounted tickets are available by calling 417-832-3018.
Weekly Leadership Monett classes have been continuing over the past month. Walter Branch said there is enthusiasm among the group and participants are excited looking at new ways of doing things.
The chamber's new fiscal year began on April 1, triggering the membership renewal drive. As of March 31, 135 members had already paid for their renewals, McElmurry said.
Discussions are continuing between the city, downtown merchants and the chamber about the Main Street Coordinator position that is being established. McElmurry said the job description is being finalized. McElmurry and Keith McCracken were named as the chamber's representatives on the six-person oversight committee.
New members joining the chamber during the past month included Century 21 Properties Unlimited and Heritage Medical Clinic in the Sunrise Plaza off Highway 60.
A written report from the license office recounted the visit by the field representative from the Missouri Department of Revenue. The Monett is in full compliance with its contract, the representative stated.
Jamie Stephens and Adriana Salas from the license office attended a one-day training session in Jefferson City on recognizing fraudulent documents. McElmurry said they returned with an abundance of new information on how states are working together and improving detection techniques.
The next chamber board meeting will be on April 21.