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 Ortonville Big Stone Lake Area Chamber working for the government?

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Lady Hawk
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PostSubject: Ortonville Big Stone Lake Area Chamber working for the government?   Mon May 03, 2010 7:46 pm

Over the past few months I have been looking at the notices put out by the Ortonville Big Stone Lake Area Chamber. Since the Sport and Leisure Show I have counted 20 emails. Here is the breakdown of the content.

Member Business:_____4 (One business got a second reminder email.)
Church: _____________1

Chamber:____________5
City of Ortonville_______3
EDA________________6

That is a total of 5 notices for Churches and Members and for the City/EDA/Chamber the count is 14. Seems a little lopsided to me. The Ortonville Chamber is supposed to be promoting all of the businesses but we see so few being promoted. There was a flyer promoting a Stay and Play package to spend the night at a local motel and play 18 holes at the Ortonville Golf Course. The flyer advertised four websites. The motel, the chamber, the golf course, and the city website. The flyer featured the signature photo from the City of Ortonville website and their web address. There you have it. They promote the city twice the chamber once and toss in a business to make it look good.

There were 4 notices of The classes put on by the EDA at the Media Center and news about taxes from DEED and the ever hyped Small Cities Development Grant. That is the EDA pet project which includes using government loans that the city had to match to get new roofs for local businesses like past mayor Blair Johnson and City Councilman Steve Berkner.

At the city council meeting on April 5 I believe it was Craig Randelman who talked to the council and told them how every other town who had signed on for this program has dropped out. Ortonville is the only town left that is still going forward. He considered it a credit to Ortonville to stick with it. Perhaps he hasn't considered that every other town figured out it was best to drop out and only Ortonville has yet to see the writing on the wall. The EDA keeps pushing this project even though three business dropped out and they had to pay more money to bring on two more businesses to replace them. The question remains: WHY IS THE ORTONVILLE CHAMBER PROMOTING THE EDA SMALL CITIES DEVELOPMENT GRANT PROGRAM?

The chamber is supposed to be promoting the local business but few get the support. There was a flyer to sell ads on a magazine called Big Stone Lake Area Visitors Guide that would have 8,000 guides printed. Consider that the two businesses making money on this project are Artie Arndt (recently resigned board member) and the local newpaper. (Sue is a board member.) Does it strike anyone else that only two people get to make money off of the remaining chamber members? In light of the fact that they NEVER bid the project and no other chamber members who print were given an option to participate. Are members of the Ortonville Big Stone Lake Area being treated equally.

One could almost get the impression that the Ortonville Big Stone Lake Area Chamber is an arm of the local government and a few board members get the sweets. There was also a flyer stating that another board member had Welcome Home posters for the troops for $5.00. Some people may think it is smart business to make people pay you $5.00 to advertise your business on a welcome home poster. Others may think it would have been in better taste to sell the posters and not use our troops coming home as an advertising gimmick.

The Chamber and it's members need to take a good look at what their goals are and what direction do they want to go. The leadership is entrenched in office and their elections are a mockery. They keep the old guard in and do not have a free election. They come to the annual banquet with the election sewn up. They claim it is legitimate by announcing minutes before the vote that they will take any other possible candidates. Like anyone is going to bring that up at such a late time. The old guard has all their friends there to rubber stamp them in.

Does the Chamber serve the business community or do the businesses serve them? The Chamber needs to improve and equally promote the businesses who pay them and not act like another committee of the city.

_________________

Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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Lady Hawk
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PostSubject: Re: Ortonville Big Stone Lake Area Chamber working for the government?   Tue May 04, 2010 11:24 pm

At the recent Ortonville City Council meeting there were, we are told, about 45 people present to defend Vicki Oakes as the Community Development Coordinator. Evidently Councilman Steve Berkner cut the Community Development Coordinator out of the budget to pay for the park. In their enthusiasm to get the park no one noticed when they cut the CDC out of the budget it meant the Community Development Coordinator. That is what CDC means. In an effort to undo the damage we are told that 45 people came forward to tell how important the CDC was. Friends are nice to have. But let's take a closer look at who the friends are. Many were among the people who showed up to push the city to pay for the park project. Among them members of the EDA and the Ortonville Big Stone Lake Area Chamber.

The connection between the Ortonville Chamber and the EDA is so glaring one can hardly distinguish the difference between the two. Consider that Donnette Herberg was the Chamber Director as well as being on the EDA board at the same time as Vicki was involved in both organizations. Here is a question. Why would someone who just moved to town be put on the Chamber Board? Wouldn't you think that people who have lived here for years would be on a board? Sue Kulbeik is on the Ortonville Chamber Board. Kulbeik's are new to the area and opened up a business. They got a low interest loan from the EDA and their bank contact is Chad Hanson who is also on the Ortonville Chamber board. Their attorney was Craig Ash who was City Attorney at the time. Oh yes, and Donnette was on the EDA board that approved the loan at the same time she was the Chamber Director. Sue was at the meeting defending the Community Development Coordinator position. One may wonder how many of the people who defend the EDA and the CDC have benefitted from them. The Chamber and the EDA are to closely connected and run by to few people. The Chamber needs to open up their elections and have a clear written statement of purpose so that members know what they are a part of. The Chamber should not favor the few but represent the paid membership.

_________________

Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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