BY: RACHEL WUMKES
I don’t know about you, but there’s something special in the air today. Yes, being a Friday helps immensely. The onset of Spring Break is also a major contributor, I’m sure. Knowing the excitement of my children to have a week off from the confines of textbooks and schedules, I can only imagine how those teachers are feeling today!
My day started like any other. Get up – get the kids going – breakfast – get on the bus.
Except today was different. Today, instead of heading down to my office to write all the fun words about Clear Lake, I got to go to the Chamber Quarterly Coffee event at the Surf Ballroom Lounge.
Now… if you’ve never ventured out to one of these, it is a definite MUST. It is the most inspiring hour and thirty minutes and will leave your heart bursting with love for Clear Lake and all of North Iowa. Walking to my car in the parking lot, it took all my concentrated effort to NOT do some sort of cheerleading high kick followed by a massive fist pump after soaking up all the awesomeness I’d just heard.
Thankfully for all the other people walking to their vehicles, I was able to contain my excitement, which is a good thing considering I’m in my 40s and the gracefulness that once was is no longer!
Still, as I sat down to hash out the Feel Good Friday post for today, I just couldn’t stop thinking about what a great time it is to be a resident of Clear Lake. I had a recap blog scheduled for next week, but as it’s still fresh in my mind, I felt compelled to whip it up as part of the post for today.
A disclaimer feels necessary at this point – do not continue to read if you aren’t ready to do a little high kick and fist pump of your own, because after reading this next part, you’re going to want to attempt this.
Chamber President and CEO, Stacy Doughan, kicked off the meeting by welcoming the packed crowd into the Surf Ballroom Lounge. She then handed the microphone to Brandon Borseth for the school report.
Mr. Borseth, who became our next elementary school Principal after Wednesday’s school board meeting, gave an exciting update that included a recent highlight for our young students. In the jump rope for heart fundraiser for the American Heart Association, the students at Clear Creek Elementary raised just over $35,000! This placed the school FIRST in the state of Iowa, and 11th in the national rankings for amount raised.
Which. Is. Incredible!
Bennett Smith then gave the City of Clear Lake update. His highlights included membership numbers for the Wellness Center, how they are addressing the housing issue, and economic development. He also gave brief updates on the Main Ave project, including an update on the hot topic of tree removal and their plan to re-plant in the future, as well as the seawall rehabilitation efforts.
Chad Schreck with the North Iowa Corridor took the microphone next to fill everyone in on the regional aspect of economic development and growth. There were approximately 2200 jobs posted in our region last month alone, and with our unemployment rate hovering around the 3% mark, the focus continues to be drawing families and workers to North Iowa. He mentioned ongoing efforts with Pritchard’s as they are doing exciting things in EV at their new location in the old Team Quest building, and that the Mason City Industrial Park is booming with new company growth as well as expansion of existing companies.
In the final portion of community updates, we heard from the Surf Ballroom & Museum Executive Director, Laurie Lietz, about their venture into the restaurant business, including all the exciting updates and plans in the works. Spoiler Alert à they will be expanding the outdoor patio seating at BOTH locations, which includes adding a second story patio to the old Sips location.
That alone right there, made my whole week!
In the rapid-fire portion of the program, we met new employees and celebrated promotions. The Isle of Iowa Parrot Head Club presented a check to the Surf Ballroom for $16,545 from their trop rock event held last Labor Day.
I’m not going to lie; it made my eyes sweat just a little bit. What an incredible donation.
We welcomed our new members:
And finally, the meeting was wrapped up with updates on events and things of interest, which included Earth Day activities, the Jay Brooks Walk-A-Block for Autism Awareness, the Clear Lake Concert Association kickoff, Central Gardens hosting the Jaycee’s Egg hunt, a new sponsorship program at United Way of North Central Iowa, and the Hammers and Heels event hosted by Habitat for Humanity.
Now, maybe it was the two cups of delicious Cabin Coffee I consumed, but can you see how we leave this meeting with a bit of a hop in our step? Clear Lake is forging ahead, through all the mess of inflation and world issues. We’re still here. Doing what we do. Making this community an incredible place to live, work and play.
Great, now my eyes are sweating again!
Libbey closed out the agenda by giving an update on tourism. As the 2021 hotel/motel tax receipts were closed out, it seems we exceeded our previous record of visitors from 2019 – which is fantastic news!!! She is also planning some fun activities this spring to promote in-person meetings including an open house on April 7 at many of our meeting venues. The first week of May will celebrate tourism with a new & exciting geocache that is underway
Have an incredible week, my friends. CLICK HERE for the Facebook live stream of the event if you’d like to watch it in its entirety.