Tuesday, April 15, 2014

REACH FOR THE SKY By Barney Ballard

Creative, employment-ready educational opportunities for students in our remote area are a must, and it truly takes a village to get these opportunities off the ground.  In the fall of 2013, twelve students from the Forrest Bird Charter School and Sandpoint High School have been working together in the inaugural year of the High School Aerospace Program.  The main goal of this unique program is to provide a well-structured, comprehensive and cost-effective course of study for local area high school students to investigate and experience potential careers in the aerospace industry, interfacing with regional colleges and aerospace businesses.

The program’s fall 2013 course, Survey of Aerospace Careers, was led by local aviators and aerospace professionals Ken Larson, Randy McLain, Hunter Horvath, and Andy Berrey.  The current trimester at FBCS offers an introduction to aircraft maintenance under the guidance of Jason Hauck, a certified A&P mechanic. For the fall 2014 trimester, Tamarack Air engineer Steve Babin has offered to teach an introduction to aerospace engineering.  To facilitate those students wishing to attain a Sport Pilot license, Granite Aviation has provided a model aircraft, the Tecnam P92 Eaglet, for flight lessons. The membership of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1441 has also given generously of their time and money to support the efforts of this program.

Joining in on our exciting education-in-aerospace efforts, North Idaho College has initiated a composite program at the CDA airport with forty students enrolled in the first year of this industry specific college level certification process.  Boeing has stamped its seal of approval on this NIC course, certifying that students who complete this program have achieved an initial level of competence for job opportunities.

Bonner, Boundary and Kootenai counties are the hotbed of aviation activity in Idaho, and there is no better time than now to offer our local students an outstanding opportunity to get a leg-up on a growing industry – right in their own hometowns.

Next month: The impact of P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) for the students of North Idaho.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chamber’s Women in Business Updates Name to Chamber Chick Connections

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce and Women in Business Committee is excited to announce a new name and organization make up for their committee. At last month’s April Luncheon, the WIB announced that their strategic planning processes helped them realize the committee’s purpose and benefit to their members: Connecting.

After learning what the women of our community wanted, the name Chamber Chick Connection seemed to accurately describe their new mission, vision and purposes. One of the biggest reasons for the name change was to be more inclusive to all the women in our community. The Chamber Chick Connection kicks the stigma only business owners and managers are allowed or benefit from joining the group.

“The Chamber Chicks are at it again,” said Judy Baird, Women In Business committee member. “We’ve been shaking up our committee for the last three months and we’re excited to share some of our new developments.”

The Women In Business committee has been working with a strategic plan facilitator to hone in on their mission, vision and purpose. Their new mission is “Empower women to achieve success.” Their new vision is “live the dream.” Their 3 purposes are: Connect, Collaborate and Celebrate.

“The group has done an excellent job and worked very hard at surveying our membership, as well as their regular attendees,” explained Kate McAlister, Chamber CEO. “I am looking forward to the many good things to come.”

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber invites the community to attend the Women in Business meetings and monthly luncheon on the first Tuesday of every month.  For more information, please call 263-2161 or visit www.sandpointchamber.com

Community Garden Teams up with Food Bank - Sponsors Needed

Please consider sponsoring a Community Garden plot for the Food Bank at $50/each (we have 7 plots).  We need someone to "rent" the plots so that we can give the food, grown by volunteers, to the Food Bank.  The City is not able to give stuff away, no matter how great the cause.  Technically the sponsors are renting the spot and then giving the food away.  We will place a small sign on each box with the name of business sponsor.  It would be really awesome if we could just find one or two folks to cover but as long as we find a home for each of the 7 we're golden.
- Kim Woodruff, Parks and Recreation Director, City of Sandpoint

Spring has sprung - March Bonner Biz

 We have officially made it through another North Idaho winter and, according to the calendar at least, spring is once again upon us.  In Sandpoint’s Business Improvement District (BID), that means it is spring cleaning time! 

Sandpoint’s BID is gearing up for the annual ‘Shake the Sand Out’ downtown clean up event.  Teams of business owners and community volunteers join forces for a few hours on a spring morning and put the sparkle back into our downtown core (and Sand Creek).  This year’s event will take place on Saturday, April 26th.  Volunteers will gather at 8:30am in Jeff Jones Square to receive sector assignments, gloves and garbage bags, as well as coffee and pastries to get them started.  Volunteers will reconvene at the Square for lunch, also provided by the BID. 

This project usually takes just a few hours, and is a great way for individuals and service groups to jump in and help provide much-appreciated sprucing up of our downtown – as we know our spring and summer guests are soon to visit, and we want to look our very best!  If you are interested in volunteering, either as an individual or a team, please contact me to sign up by phone at (208) 263-2161, or by email at kim@sandpointchamber.com.

The Sandpoint Shopping District’s retailers and restaurants will also be holding their much-anticipated annual ‘Get Your Spring On’ event that same day – Saturday, April 26th.   Many of our unique downtown shops will be offering discounts on winter merchandise and showcasing their new seasonal products and services, as well as hosting fun mini-events for you and yours to take part in. Several restaurants will also have specials available, paired with the excellent fair and friendly service they have come to be known for.  There will even be a $500 Shopping Spree available, as the Grand Prize in the ‘Enter-to-Win’ contest that day - sign me up, please!

Keep an eye out for ‘Get Your Spring On’ posters and advertisements soon, where you will find a detailed list of the events and the businesses involved. Opportunities for business owners to join in on this one-day event are still possible, which offer co-marketing and advertisement (cost sharing) within and outside the area. If you are a business located within the downtown core and interested in taking part in this event, please contact Ranel Hanson at (208) 946-7703, or at zanyzebrastore@gmail.com.  Deadline for inclusion is coming quickly, so please act fast!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Chamber Welcomes Cocolalla Heating & Cooling LLC

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce is excited to welcome Cocolalla Heating & Cooling LLC to the Chamber. With 30 years’ experience, Rick Ralls of Cocolalla Heating & Cooling LLC offers great knowledge of residential and commercial heating and cooling systems. They can help all businesses, homeowners, and property owners decide what is best for their particular application and are excited to work with community members.

After his schooling at Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, Wyoming, Rick Ralls spent time working in Arizona and Colorado before starting his own business. He opened Mountain Aire Heating & Cooling LLC in 1999 while living in Wyoming. 

“We ran a very prosperous business for 12 years and closed our doors in 2011 to relocate to Idaho for a better quality of life,” explained Rick. He then added, “After working for a couple of different HVAC companies in northern Idaho in 2013 I again decided that I needed to be in business for myself and Cocolalla Heating & Cooling LLC was created.”

Cocolalla Heating & Cooling LLC is a HVAC company offering service repair and installation of heating and air conditioning products including: air cleaners, a/c's, furnace, humidifiers, boilers, heat pumps, all commercial kitchen appliances including walk-in coolers, freezers, exhaust hoods etc. They offer free estimates and do not charge a travel charge for northern Idaho - Boundary/Bonner counties.

“We provide honest and affordable rates: Residential $60 per hour/commercial $80 per hour.”

Please join the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce in welcoming Cocolalla Heating & Cooling LLC, and wishing them success in our community. For more information, give them a call in at 263-5570 or email them at tinknocker4545@gmail.com

In photo left to right: Corrie Greene, Kim Queen, Rick Ralls, Kate McAlister and Melody Circo. 

Volunteers needed for Annual ‘Shake the Sand Out’ downtown clean-up event

The Sandpoint Business Improvement District (BID) is seeking volunteers, individuals and groups, to help clean up area streets and public spaces on April 26.

The ‘Shake the Sand Out’ clean-up event will bring local businesses, community organizations and area residents together to remove litter from streets in downtown Sandpoint, as well as Sand Creek, prior to the start of the busy summer season.

The event will take place on Saturday, April 26, when volunteers will meet at 8:30am in Jeff Jones Square.   There, they will register and enjoy a light breakfast, courtesy of the BID membership.  Participants will be assigned an area in downtown Sandpoint, then fan out in teams to pick up litter, pull weeds and tidy up business corridors, public spaces and Sand Creek. 

Disposable gloves and bags will be provided.  Volunteers are encouraged to dress for the weather by wearing comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear, as well as to bring gardening gloves or any additional clean-up tools they are comfortable using.   The event will wrap up at 11:30am back at the Square, where volunteers will be treated to lunch.

For information or to preregister, please contact Kim Queen at 263-2161, or by email at kim@sandpointhchamber.com.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Chamber Honors Les Schwab Tire Center

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize Les Schwab Tire Center as March’s Business of the Month. With more than 25 years as a Chamber Member and great community member, the Chamber give them this award as a way to say “thank you for always supporting our community and thank you for exemplary customer service.”

“We’re aware of businesses around our community who are leaders and contribute some of their time and as much as they can back to the community,” explained Clem Hackworthy, Chamber Ambassador. “This month we have chosen one of the largest independent car dealers in the world. I can attest for the job they do and the service they give.”

Some of the places they show their support include the Senior Gift Card Center, 4H Fundraisers and Animal Auction, School fundraisers and graduation, little league and other team sponsorships, Backcountry Horseman, car shows, Bonner County Fairgrounds, Rotary and other local clubs.

Please join the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce in congratulating Les Schwab Tire Center for their success and thanking them for their commitment to our community. For more information, call them at 208-265-4518 or stop by and see them at 279 Bonner Mall Way, across from Yoke’s.

In photo left to right, Clem Hackworthy and Nick Badoux.

Chamber Honors SHS Key Club with Volunteer of the Month

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce honored the Sandpoint High School Key Club as March’s Volunteer of the Month. Key Club is very involved in our community and the work these students do is amazing.

“This year we fund-raised for The Eliminate Project, which aims to eliminate Maternal Neonatal Tetanus from the world, mainly focusing on third world countries. We earned enough money to provide for 1,000 vaccinations by selling cotton candy at SHS football games. We also donated a superhero themed tree for The Festival of Trees which sponsors Kinderhaven. In addition, our club partnered up with the local Kiwanis Club and participated in bell ringing for the Salvation Army. Key Club has also sponsored Head Start's parent meeting dinners. Our latest project was a school-wide diaper drive in which we teamed up with the SHS Interact Club. We collected diapers, wipes, and money for the food bank,” said Alicia Walker, SHS Key Club President.

Please join the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce in congratulating SHS Key Club for being honored as the Volunteer of the Month and thanking them for all of their contributions and dedication to our community. From the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce, as well as the whole community, Thank You! 

In photo left to right: Austin Diercks and Alicia Walker