The Centerville-Rathbun Lake Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual banquet at the Manhattan on Tuesday night.
Members heard the annual report by Chamber Executive Director Joyce Bieber, who highlighted changes coming to member services, including changes to the chambers web presence. Bieber also spoke about upcoming tourism events, including a geocaching conference at Honey Creek Resort in April that may draw as many as 1,000 people to the area and the WHO Tractor Ride scheduled for June.
Bieber also spoke about the new groups that have sprung up to address ongoing issues in Appanoose County, such as the 10.10.10 group and the Wellness Coalition, saying the the county’s new focus on health is important. Changing the culture of Appanoose County to be more health conscious will help both businesses and the community.
“It’s [health] not something we can buy, but it’s something we can buy into,” said Bieber.
Outgoing Chamber President Ben Lange introduced 2012 Chamber President Doug Dop, who presented Lange with the President’s Award.
Pancake Day Queen Jill Whisler also spoke at the event.
Daily Iowegian publisher Becky Maxwell presented the 2011 Citizen of the Year award to Madeline Cummins for her 25 years of community service and volunteer work in Appanoose County.
The audience was also treated to speakers Janine Van Vark and Jim Hallihan.
Van Vark works at WHO radio and let the audience in on what to expect this summer when approximately 1,000 tractor riders will descend on Appanoose County for three days in June. Van Vark said the three day annual event is great for local communities and very family oriented. The group was inspired to choose Centerville as their location this year after having a smaller tractor ride around Rathbun Lake last year.
Hallihan, the recently retired Executive Director of the Iowa Sports Foundation, spoke enthusiastically about Appanoose County’s participation in the Live Healthy Iowa 100 Day Wellness Challenge. The county finished in second place this year in terms of participation, with 21 percent of the population participating. Bieber later said that just motivates the county to get the number one spot and the trophy next year.