The Monett Chamber of Commerce made plans for elections and the annual membership banquet during the December Board of Directors meeting.
"The Sights and Sounds of Monett" will be the theme for the annual meeting, slated for Thursday, March 8, 2012, at the Southwest Area Career Center commons room. Local artists, including painters and sculptors, will be invited to display their creations during the event. Artists are welcome to contact the chamber office at 235-7919 for more information.
Entertainment will be provided by Monett performer Leon "The Common Man" Troyer, who recently released his first compact disc on Table Rock Records.
"We're focusing on things really neat about Monett," said Suzy McElmurry, chamber executive director.
The search for potential board members will begin at the January 18, 2012 meeting. Anyone interested in being nominated can contact McElmurry or a current board member.
During the meeting, board members selected Cindy Stephens to serve as the new board treasurer, a position created by the recent bylaws change. Stephens will serve until the outgoing and incoming boards have their annual meeting in March. The treasurerer will be elected annually along with the president-elect.
Meetings were held on Dec. 13 to prepare for the annual agriculture conferences. The Dairy Day and Beef Cattlemen's Conference will both be held on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, at the National Guard Armory in Monett.
McElmurry said some of the topics may top last year's presentations. Both sessions will have presentations on how technology is changing both agriculture production and marketing through the use of Smart Phones and computer aps.
Committees reported on seasonal activities run by the chamber. The Festival of Lights has been very successful this season. McElmurry credited an abundance of volunteers and extremely favorable weather with helping traffic through South Park to see the lighting displays.
Over 10,000 cars had been through the lighting displays by Christmas. The count on Friday, Dec. 23 was nearly 400 cars by 9 p.m. and over 500 were tallied on Dec. 24, with more coming through after the Elf Hut closed at 10 p.m. On two evenings more than $1,000 in donations have been received. More than 20,000 candy canes have been given to those passing through.
The Festival of Lights has produced a following of its own. McElmurry said a family from Strafford came just for the show. A couple from Iowa made their annual trip south for the third year through Monett to see the lights, stay overnight and eat, then head on the next day.
Several people has approached the chamber about purchasing a lighting display for next year. McElmurry said expanding the displays into the downtown has been well received and may be expanded in the future. The location of a number of the displays, rearranged due to construction on the Monett Area YMCA, will need more work. McElmurry said the Bethlehem and nativity scenes have not worked as well against the tennis courts and will move to more prominent positions next year.
Scott Smith, chairman of the Christmas parade, reported the event had gone smoothly. Heno Head Jr. was praised for his service as narrator from the grandstand at Fourth Street. Crowds apparently shifted more from the west end of Broadway to the vicinity of Fifth and Sixth streets this year.
Negotiations with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) have resulted in the chamber paying the music organization a minimum fee of $100 for having high school bands perform live music at the parade for 2010 and 2011. McElmurry found the situation perplexing since the bands involved are all licensed to perform and the chamber charges no fees to participate in the parade. No other nearby parade organizers have been approach for fees. Arrangements for the 2012 parade still have to be worked out, she said.
Board members voted to initiate a new mobile link for Smart Phones through the Patterson Exchange. Travelers looking for the chamber in Monett will be able to receive general information, directions or make a call at the push of a button. The service is expected to be active by Jan. 1, 2012.
The arrangement with the Monett/Purdy affiliate of Habitat for Humanity was renewed for another year. Habitat needs a physical office for its business and stores documents at the chamber office.
Board members voted to add two more security cameras at the license office to aid in compliance with the Department of Revenue contract. Additional cameras will be place inside the lobby and outside the building.
McElmurry reported additional samples from Wyoming and California have been added to the license office's Plates from the States display. More are welcome as the exhibit strives to have a sample from all 50 states.
The board welcomed Exeter Feed Mill as a new member.
A ribbon cutting for the new Crowder College operation in Monett will be held on Jan. 5, 2012. The Industry Council will meet on Jan. 9, 2012.