Things are looking up in Dolores; farewell

We're starting our summer hours at the Dolores Visitor's Center.

We will now be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to noon on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Ruby Gonzales, who has done another masterful job overseeing the Visitor's Center, has her volunteers ready to work again this summer every Wednesday. I cannot tell you what a wonderful experience it has been working with Ruby for the past seven years.

All indications are that this is going to be a better summer as far as visitors goes.

Every visitor's center in the area is up in the first four months of 2014. Plus Mesa Verde Country, the marketing arm of Mesa Verde National Park, has seen a staggering 322 percent increase in travel planner requests over the same period in 2013. Heather and Candace have been working tirelessly at rebranding Mesa Verde Country with a logo that will include Dolores right at the top in the very center. This new logo will be seen in all their ads and will be featured on the home page of their website.

On Saturday, May 3, the Cortez Cultural Center, Heart and Soul, the Cortez Rec. Center and Vida en Victoria Foursquare Church are hosting a Huge Cinco de Mayo Cultural celebration. Celebrating cultural diversity. Booths are available. There will be music, great food, salsa and chili contests, piņata-making demonstrations and a whole lot more. It will be from noon to 6 p.m. in the gazebo behind the Cortez Rec Center in Parque de Vida. Call 970-739-9774 for more information or to reserve a booth.

Every Thursday night at 6 p.m., the Cortez Family Worship Center Foursquare Church hosts a free Community Dinner. It starts at 6 p.m at 500 N. Washington in Cortez. Call 970-749-9774 for more information.

In a way this is my farewell article as I am stepping down from my position as the director of the Dolores Chamber. By the time you read this, the chamber may have very well hired somebody to replace me.

I want to personally thank the Chamber board and members, town and businesses of Dolores, visitor center volunteers, our weekend seasonal employee, our Montezuma County and Mesa Verde partners and everybody else for a wonderful seven years.

This has been both a rewarding and, at times, a somewhat challenging position. But the one constant has been that the Chamber Board has always been supportive, encouraging, relational and committed to doing everything possible to see businesses in Dolores as well as all the other chamber members succeed. I hope and pray that everybody responds to my replacement with the same respect and consideration I have received in those seven years.

When I started in 2004, the Dolores Chamber had never had a director and had about 55 members. We recently reached the 165-member level. Our building is now paid off, and I'm not stepping down for any negative reason or because of internal struggle. For seven years, I've been holding down two full-time jobs which, when combined, required that I work seven days a week. My church has prospered to the point that I can move to that full-time. So with this decision I can concentrate on being the pastor of the Cortez Family Worship Center Foursquare church and Vida en Victoria Spanish Foursquare church in Cortez. We meet Sundays at 10:30 a.m. at 500 N. Washington if you would like to come see me in that capacity.

I will miss everybody, but I will still be in the area and will visit periodically. Until then.