Lake Norman Chamber e-Brief for September 21, 2011

Chamber program this Friday examines education

Focus Friday: September 23rd 8-9:30a.m.

Setser

Continuing our month on education, September’s Focus Friday will feature Bryan Setser, a Sr. Partner at Open Education Solutions.  Open Education Solutions is a blended learning service provider which helps states, districts and school networks design schools and solutions that are innovative, personalized and deliver better results at the same or lower cost. Bryan will talk about programs that use existing resources and technology to impact teaching and learning in a digital world. 

We will also hear from the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce Vice-President of Education, Bill Balatow.  Bill was instrumental in bringing Franklin Covey’s “The Leader in Me” program to the Iredell County School System.  This is a unique program that guides student’s actions using the skills of Steven Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and “The Leader in Me: How Schools and Parents Around the World are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time”.  Also on hand will be a representative from the Iredell County School System to share the implementation and success of the program. 

The Focus Friday is open to all members and is designed to show multiple views to a regional issue.  Participation by those who attend is encouraged.  The program is sponsored by CorneliusNews.net and DavidsonNews.net.

Next month’s Focus Friday will examine the Democratic National Convention with Torre Jessup, Deputy Executive Director of External Relations for Charlotte in 2012.

Democratic National Convention

Business Today recently held a very informative breakfast meeting on the DNC to be held in September of 2012.  It featured two hospitality officials with significant input by both Visit Lake Norman and the Cabarrus Convention & Visors Bureau.  Sally Ashworth, Executive Director of Visit Lake Norman cited her organization will be creating packages (group tours) when state assignments have been made in January.  She also pointed to information on her website at VisitLakeNorman.org that pointed to volunteer and vendor opportunities as well as information.  

The Lake Norman Chamber is working with the Charlotte Chamber and surrounding regional Chambers of Commerce in conjunction with the DNC Host Committee.  The Host Committee will use the Chambers of Commerce to create events, plan outings, and disseminate information on the convention.

A vendor directory has been created on the Charlotte in 2012 website that you can list your business as a potential vendor.  The Chamber’s will be examining opportunities to engage retail, hospitality, and attractions as we move closer to the event.

Chamber Takes Voice to Washington

Ten years ago, on 9/11, the Lake Norman Chamber joined Chambers of Commerce from throughout North Carolina in a program held in Washington, DC organized by eight NC Congressman.  Our Chamber once again made the annual trip and reflected on the somber occasion and the impact that fateful day has had on our nation.

This year, a delegation of the Chamber, Lake Norman Economic Development Commission, and Visit Lake Norman met with Legislative Assistants for Senator Burr and Hagan as well as Congresswoman Myrick and Congressman Watt.  Specifically we addressed the widening of I-77 utilizing HOV lanes for HOT lanes ; the Red Line Commuter rail; the challenges facing small business and our corporate business such as the uncertainty when it comes to regulation and healthcare costs; and financial regulations, access to capital, and refinancing.

We also had the opportunity to inform our delegation of business expansion/relocation by the EDC and Visit Lake Norman accomplishments with recent events.

On a related note, North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis will be the key-note speaker for the Chamber’s Commissioner Appreciation Luncheon November 10th.  Details to follow.

Chamber sets dates on fall candidate forums

The Chamber has planned local candidate forums this fall for the three North Mecklenburg Towns.  The Cornelius Forum will be Tuesday, October 4 from 7-9 pm. held at the Cornelius Town Hall.

The Huntersville Forum will be held Thursday, October 13 7-9 pm at Huntersville Town Hall.

The forum for Davidson will be Tuesday, Oct. 18, 7-9 pm at the St. Alban’s Episcopal Church Sanctuary in Davidson   The event is co-hosted by the Chamber, the St. Alban’s Neighborhood Committee and sponsored by DavidsonNews.net.

The Cornelius forum is the only event which will include the candidates for Charlotte Mecklenburg School District at large candidates

Visit Lake Norman and Final Thoughts

Many of you have asked about Visit Lake Norman and the recent media coverage of the Chamber’s “Veto Authority” when it came to the Visit Lake Norman Articles of Incorporation.   As you no doubt have read in our local papers, the North Mecklenburg Towns have reached an agreement with Visit Lake Norman (approved now by all three towns) which is expected to be approved by Visit Lake Norman at their Board Meeting this coming Monday.

That agreement in place should free up the hospitality taxes the towns have been withholding from Visit Lake Norman pending approval of an Interlocal.  This will allow our travel and tourism authority to begin locking down tournaments and promoting events such as the upcoming DNC.

The much discussed “Veto Authority” that was indeed part of the VLN Articles of Incorporation, gave the Chamber the authority to approve potential Board Members and Bylaw changes.  However, it never provided the Chamber with any control over financial or operational matters, marketing, staffing, or even what events would be held.

Actually, it was an item we as a Chamber thought had been removed in 2003 when we made sweeping changes to the VLN Bylaws.  Much like that favorite sweatshirt you have boxed in the attic from college – no longer able to wear or even remember possessing.  Yet, reluctant to part with when it is discovered.

That said, our Chamber Board of Directors had one objective and that is providing a reliable and consistent funding stream of hospitality taxes to Visit Lake Norman to fill our hotels and restaurants by means of special business and amateur sporting events.  That accomplished – we are delighted the towns and Visit Lake Norman have reached an agreement that serves the interests of everyone involved.

Recently, I was asked by a reporter can the Chamber,VisitLakeNorman, and Town elected officials get past the stressed relationships of the past several months? Absolutely!  The towns, tourism, and business leaders all have the same objective and goals for our community which is sustained, healthy business growth.  We may not agree on how we get there.  But we will put issues of disagreement behind us and focus on our strengths and commonalities which make us a stronger region.  There are a great many misperceptions, and perhaps suspicions of motive, but what cannot be discounted is all of us as community leaders have the best interests of our communities at heart and that is the foundation from which we must rebuild our trust and efforts.

You as members of the Chamber and citizens of our communities would expect nothing less.

Bill

Lake Norman Chamber e-Brief Newsletter for September 2, 2011

Charlotte Mecklenburg School Superintendent to speak at Luncheon

Hattabaugh

Join us as the Interim Superintendent for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Hugh Hattabaugh discusses the state of the public school system and education trends and priorities for the year at a luncheon to be held Thursday, September 15th.  The Luncheon will be held at Kabutos of Lake Norman 11:45 am until 1:30 pm.  To register for the event, visit the PowerLuncheon registration on the website.  The event is sponsored by Park Avenue Properties

Focus Friday: September 22nd Continues Focus on Education

 Continuing our month on education, September’s Focus Friday will feature Bryan Setser, a Sr. Partner at Open Education Solutions.  Open Education Solutions is a blended learning service provider which helps states, districts and school networks design schools and solutions that are innovative, personalized and deliver better results at the same or lower cost. Bryan will talk about programs that use existing resources and technology to impact teaching and learning in a digital world. 

We will also hear from the Greater StatesvilleChamberof Commerce Vice-President of Education, Bill Balatow.  Bill was instrumental in bringing Franklin Covey’s “The Leader in Me” program to the Iredell County School System.  This is a unique program that guides student’s actions using the skills of Steven Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and “The Leader in Me: How Schools and Parents Around the World are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time”.  Also on hand will be a representative from the Iredell County School System to share the implementation and success of the program. 

The Focus Friday is open to all members and is designed to show multiple views to a regional issue.  Participation by those who attend is encouraged.  The program is sponsored by CorneliusNews.net and DavidsonNews.net.

Chamber sets dates on fall candidate forums

The Chamberhas planned local candidate forums this fall for the three North Mecklenburg Towns.  The Cornelius Forum will be Tuesday, October 4 from 7-9 pm. held at theCorneliusTown Hall.

The Huntersville Forum will be held Thursday, October 13 7-9 pm atHuntersvilleTown Hall.

The forum for Davidson will be Tuesday, Oct. 18, 7-9 pm at the St. Albans Episcopal Church Sanctuary in Davidson   The event is co-hosted by the Chamber, the St. Alban’s Neighborhood Committee and sponsored by DavidsonNews.net.

The Cornelius forum is the only event which will include the candidates for Charlotte Mecklenburg School District at large candidates

Rural Hill Warrior Dash Generates $3.4 million in Visitors Spending

Warrior Dash

The First Warrior Dash event to ever be held in the Carolinas took place at Rural Hill last weekend (August 27-28).  Over 13,400 participants registered and jumped through fire, crawled through mud pits, and worked their way through nine additional grueling obstacles.  The event was a cooperative effort of Rural Hill andVisitLakeNorman.

Chamber to host reception for all Leadership Lake Norman Graduates

Twenty-three business leaders have been accepted into the LeadershipLakeNormanclass for 2011-2012.  A special orientation will be held for those individuals who have been accepted into the fifteenth class of the program at 5:30-7:00 Thursday, September 8th.

All Past graduates to the program, Classes 1 through XIV are invited back to meet them and networking with each other from 4:30 to 5:30 that day.  If you are a past graduate of any class, please consider attending this drop in.  We would ask that RSVP to Bill Russellat russell@lakenorman.org if you expect to attend.

DNC Host Committee Unveils New Website and Vendor Directory
This past week,Chamber leaders from Lake Norman along with York County, Mooresville, Lincolnton-Lincoln County, Gaston, Statesville and others met with officials from the Charlotte Chamber along with Torre Jessup, the Deputy Executive Director Of External Relationships with the Charlotte DNC Host Committee.  Jessup is planning on attending an October Focus Friday (Friday, October 28, 2011) to share how businesses can get more involved with the DNC.

Momentum is picking up with plans for a public ceremony at Time Warner Cable Arena and the launch of the new site.  Read more about yesterday’s announcement by the DNC along with a portal where businesses can register to get more information on involvement.  >> Read and watch

Final Thoughts

This week’s news that ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has fled his country is great news.  This past week I was speaking with otherChamberleaders inCharlotteon the planned DNC event just a year away and we discussed the eyes of the world will be on theCharlotteregion just as we are watching the developments a half a world away in theMiddle East.

I have always been intrigued with the Kennedy family and Bobby Kennedy in particular. At a speech in Nashville, Tennesseein 1968, Senator Kennedy said, “Every dictatorship has ultimately strangled in the web of repression it wove for its people, making mistakes that could not be corrected because criticism was prohibited.”

In the wake of every dictatorship, the will of the people eventually win the day.  Kennedy was citing the value of dissent.  We are so fortunate as Americans to have the ability to disagree, to have the right of free speech, and to voice our opinions.  Often it is a freedom we take for granted – but it came for us at a high price with the men and women, who paid for that freedom with courage and blood.

Ironically the day we celebrate Monday, Labor Day, became a federal holiday in 1894,  following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike,  Later the day came to symbolize the strides made in the labor laws and recognizing workers in general.  Throughout the history of our country, we too have struggled with the rights of people to dissent.  From the Pullman Strike of 1894 to the Civil Rights and Anti-war demonstrations of the sixties and seventies.

While the challenges we face today with our economy and the social issues we wrestle with seem daunting, let us hope we never lose the right of dissent, the freedom of speech and expression we hold so dear, and the right to disagree.

Have a great weekend at the lake!

13,500 Warriors Attack Huntersville!

When I was 10, I remember coming home one afternoon literally covered in mud.  A new house in the neighborhood was being built and the work crews had dug out trenches for a foundation and a huge basement for this new home.  The net effect was a maze dug nearly ten feet into the ground in one place and trenches around the perimeter.  However, before the crews could pour the concrete, we had a storm that left the trenches and holes a vast playground for young boys.

My mom, Sarah, nearly had a fit when she saw me caked in mud as I stood at the back door.  Only the white of my eyes betrayed the fact there was a young boy underneath.  She refused to let me near the house until she took a hose pipe and sprayed me down.  To my indignation, she had me completely strip in the backyard assuring me no one would see.

I have never forgotten the hosing down and lecture from my mom about playing at construction sites. That said,  I also remember the fun we had running that self-made obstacle course.

Last weekend (August 27-29, 2011), 13,400 participants registered in the first Warrior Dash ever held in the Carolinas.  Willing Warriors jumped through fire, crawled through mud pits, and worked their way through nine additional grueling obstacles.

Visit Lake Norman, the lake’s Convention & Visitors Bureau made contact with the event organizers last year while attending a travel and tourism conference in Charlotte.  Working closely with the staff of Rural Hill in Huntersville, the organizations helped put together an event that is estimated to have brought $3.4 million in estimated visitors spending to our region.

The two-day extreme event produced by Red Frog Events was the ultimate race for thrill seeking athletes and party-goers as perhaps 15,000 gathered for the fun and fellowship.  I have not seen the final numbers, but I was simply amazed at the crowd on Sunday.

Those that were not covered in mud dressed as warriors, costumed crusaders, panthers, and a couple of costumes I can’t write about in mixed company!  Warriors were encouraged to suit up in their best warrior attire and their sneakers were donated to charity at the end of the race.

After conquering the course, racers and attendees (those like me who were too timid this year to compete) celebrated with live music, beer, and food including turkey legs and other warrior grub.

Jeff Fissell of Rural Hill and his staff did an excellent job, as did Travis Dancy of Visit Lake Norman and their dedicated personnel in putting together an outstanding event.

I’ve already decided I’m going to participate in next year’s 5k event.  If I can endure the distance, I’ll survive the elements and even the hosing down.  Just don’t tell my mama.  Warrior or not, she would agree I’m too old to be stripped down but never too old for a stern lecture about running through fire and playing in the mud.

But the notion of competing has my blood stirring.  Perhaps it’s that Scotch-Irish heritage or maybe it’s because deep down .. .  there’s a little warrior in all of us!