It’s a rarity to be able to gather many of any town’s influential individuals in one room with the sole purpose of bettering the community.Posted Jan. 24, 2014
By Breanna Kaitfors
It’s a rarity to be able to gather many of any town’s influential individuals in one room with the sole purpose of bettering the community. However, that very thing happened last week at the Hettinger Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. More than 90 tickets were sold for the meeting and award ceremony.
The night began with a social hour as people slowly made their way to Suzie’s Woodfire Grill. After dinner, the meeting was called to order with many Chamber members present.
A couple of the Chamber’s by-laws were changed. The main change updated the annual dues. Due rates had not been changed since the early 80s making them incredibly outdated. The categories for dues have been renamed and prices have increased to more accurately support the modern economy. Dues for supporting membership were raised from $25 to $50. This category is for individuals or organizations. Businesses with three or fewer employees are now under the Silver Business Membership categorization. Their rates remain at $100. Previously, all businesses with four or more employees paid the same dues of $150. Now, this group has been broken into two different categories. The Gold Business Membership is for businesses that employ between four and fourteen people. This group has a due rate of $200. Finally, the Platinum Business Membership is composed of businesses that have fifteen or more employees with a membership due rate of $300.
Going hand in hand with due changes, another by-law revision states exactly what makes a full-time employee and what makes a part-time employee. Any employee working an average of 32 hours or more per week is considered full time. Any person working less than 32 hours per week will be considered part time. When considering which category of dues a company fits in, each part-time position will be considered half of one person.
Finally, it was noted that any future due changes will need to be voted on and approved by the membership present at the January annual meeting.
The Hettinger Area Chamber of Commerce received 501©6 status from the federal government last year. While the Chamber does still pay sales tax, they no longer have to pay income tax.
Elections went rather quickly as both Aaron Roseland and Scott Smith were reelected. Matt Miller will fill the remaining spot on the Board. Rochelle Shirek, formerly Vice President, moved up to President and the board will choose the 2014 Vice President at their meeting on February 13.
Next up on the agenda were the various community events. The Chamber currently sponsors many different annual events.
The Hettinger Street Fest is normally held on the Saturday following Memorial Day in conjunction with Hettinger’s Annual City-wide Rummage Sale. Last year, the committee tried out a few new things like the inflatables downtown and the relay for life.
“The main reason we have this,” said Aaron Roseland, Head of the StreetFest Committee, “Is to keep people in town so our local businesses benefit from the large numbers in town.”
Every year, Hettinger’s July 4th Celebration brings in many people to celebrate the United States of America. Last year, there were a few new attractions added to the normal line up. The Chamber hopes to incorporate even more new events this year and in years to follow. One thing, however, remains true; the evening of the 4th is always brought to a brilliant close with the largest fireworks display in Southwest North Dakota, which is sponsored by the Hettinger Jaycees. This display is shot over Mirror Lake, giving the crowd a spectacular view of the fireworks and the beautiful reflections cast over the calm body of water. Chamber Rodeo is held the first weekend in August in along with the Adams County Fair. Hettinger always seems to come alive with cowboys and cowgirls during this event. Last year, the Chamber decided to remove the Bull-O-Rama portion of the rodeo. Instead, they held a dodgeball tournament. This seemed to go over well with everyone involved and audiences alike. They’re planning to do the same when the 2014 Chamber Rodeo rolls around.
The Pitchfork Fondue is a steak supper held at the Hettinger Country Club in August or September, however, this is no ordinary steak supper. The Chamber Ag Committee places 12 oz. ribeye steaks on the end of a pitchfork and into a kettle of boiling oil, giving these steaks a taste like no other! This is one event everyone should experience at least once in their life.
The Christmas Season kicks off in Hettinger with the Wake Up Santa Parade. It is a special event held the Friday night after Thanksgiving. Fireworks brighten the sky to kick off this event. Lighted parade entries march down Main Street. The lights are so bright, that Santa can’t help but wake up and start preparing for the Christmas Season. Santa and Mrs. Claus always stick around after the parade pass out candy to the children at the Fire Hall. Everyone is invited to the Fire Hall for hot chocolate. The Christmas Spirit comes alive throughout the season with things like the Main Street Christmas Tree, The Christmas Music at Centennial Park and Christmas movies at the theatre.
The committees for all of these events are always looking for volunteers. If you’d like to help out, talk to any of the board member and you’ll be pointed in the right direction.