Dolores ends February with a bang

The Dolores Chamber had an incredibly busy final week of February and ended with a hugely successful blow-out of a party.

The Chamber's Annual Spring Banquet was Saturday night in the Dolores Community Center. The weather was threatening to snow, but it was perfect inside for a Mardi Gras mash down.

Last year, we sold 81 tickets; this year, 135. We raised a lot of money for scholarships for graduating seniors of Dolores High School. Last year, we handed out 12 scholarships. (The deadline for getting current applications back to the Chamber is April 9.

The food by Robert and Tami of the Naked Moose was superb. The live music from Thom Rader, Michael Lofton and Linda Baker, known as the Foam Jazz Trio, was fantastic. The Dolores Chamber of Commerce selected Ruby Gonzales as the Citizen of the Year and the West Fork Gallery/Karma Coffee and Wine Bar, owned by Michelle Pickens, as the business of the year. All the nominations were very deserving, making the decision a tough one, but in the end the nomination committee did a great job.

Check out our Facebook page for great photos by Ida Cox. I will add others to the facebook page as well as to my Constant Contact e-mail blasts.

Scott Cooper, Dolores schools superintendent and Chamber president, did a great job as emcee for the night. I must also extend a huge thank you to all the businesses that donated, and to the chamber board, which worked diligently and cohesively to make this a success. Keep your eye out for a huge thank-you ad listing all the contributors.

Shawna Valdez, the head of our the Spring Banquet Committee, did a masterful job organizing this event. Susi Seiber, head of our decorating crew, was incredible. Ruby Gonzales helped me every day keep things organized. Jeanne Scrivner again did an unbelievable job in securing auction donations. Larry Engel and Dewayne Findley were the primary bartenders and were remarkable. The board members in attendance gladly helped with the cleanup. It was an unmitigated, undeniable success.

On Tuesday Feb. 25, the Dolores Chamber, Dolores State Bank, Dolores Library, and The Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center collaborated to offer a QuickBooks Class. We had 24 in attendance for a great turnout. Bethany McManus was phenomenal as instructor.

Our monthly membership meeting was Wednesday, Feb. 26 at the Ponderosa. Diane McBride, of the new nonprofit Southwest Colorado Canyons Alliance did a fantastic job as our speaker. The next membership meeting will be March 26 at the Naked Moose at noon.

The next night, we had our well attended business after-hours at the Rio Grande Southern. In conjunction with that, the Rio Grande Southern kicked off its grand reopening for the winter with Rita back in the kitchen. We are now seeking our March host for business after-hours on March 27, 5-7 p.m.

Stuart Hanold