Published On: Thu, Jan 23rd, 2014

Chamber members celebrate 2013, and look ahead to 2014

LAUREL — Sixty-two Chamber members and guests looked back on the last year during the Laurel Chamber Community Club dinner on Thursday evening, Jan. 16.

Chamber President Melissa Graham talked about successful events in 2013 which included an Easter Egg Hunt, Ag Days and the Night of Lights Christmas event.

“We had an Easter Egg Hunt at the City Park. Two bicycles were given away,” Graham said. “It was fun to see the different alumni that came back.”

Ag Days was a huge hit with inflatable’s, a ping-pong ball drop and food along with the new activities that were introduced at Ag Days this year.

T & E Ag hosted laser tag. Lackas Service sponsored Ag Olympics which included tire flipping, hay bale throwing, post pounding along with catching pigs and chickens.

“It was quite a show – I can’t wait to see it grow. Ag Days was very successful,” Graham said.

Graham thanked Citizens State Bank and Security Bank for their big donations.

The Chamber members tried something new this year by meeting at a business after hours.

“It is a great way to network fellow businessmen and women,” Graham said.

“The first one was held in October,” Graham said. “We were lucky enough to try Gary Anderson’s wine.”

Graham said they are looking for people that would be willing to host the next one.

Turkey and ham donations were received for the Food Pantry. Security Bank had a nice reception for those who donated.

The Christmas Night of Lights had a great turnout even though the temperature was not favorable.

“It is fun to see this event grow each year,” Graham said.

Graham, who was ending her one year term as Chamber president, introduced the 2014 president.

“The time has come to hand over the reign, which is fitting since it is going to the ultimate cowgirl, Robin Camenzind,” Graham said.

Robin and her husband Dr. Dave Camenzind moved to the Laurel area in 1991. Robin grew up in Battle Creek and Dave in Newman Grove.

Jessica Recob, treasurer, announced the Chamber now has sixty-one business and associate memberships.

“That is good,” Recob said.

During the last year the Chamber gave $500 to the Laurel Fire Dept and also gave a $100 donation to the Belden, Coleridge, Concord, and Wayne Fire Departments which had responded with mutual aid to the fire in downtown Laurel.

A $1,000 gift was given to the Library fund.

The Chamber purchased a banner, which is used in the downtown area, during Ag Days.

Luke Virgil, Laurel Economic Director, said 2013 had been a year with some ups and downs.

“The entire downtown landscape in Laurel changed with the fire,” Virgil said.

Seventeen businesses and the City Auditorium participated in the Downtown Revitalization program according to Virgil.

Virgil talked about two important events that took place this summer: the ribbon cutting for Laurel Bio Composite and the groundbreaking ceremony for the Agrex grain handling facility.

“As you drive into town you see the change in the skyline. The Agrex project has been moving fast and furious,” Virgil said. “Bio Composite will be at full capacity before long.”

Virgil welcomed Dr. Aaron and Katie Christiansen to the Chamber dinner and to Laurel. The Christiansen have opened A C Chiropractic & Wellness, a new business in downtown Laurel.

Melissa Graham received a round of applause as Virgil thanked her for the work she has done during the last year for the Chamber.

“You have been an excellent president,” Virgil said.

A slide show during dinner included pictures taken in Laurel throughout the year.

Chamber Board members include Peter Brummels; Keelan Halloway; Jordan Hansen;  Randy Klooz; Teri Korth, vice president; Bobbi Lanser, Secretary; Jessica Recob, treasurer; and Luke Virgil.

New board members include Megan Kvols and Mikayla Nitz, who will be the student Chamber member. Jay Vance will replace Randall Klooz on the board and represent the Laurel-Concord School.