USDA Rural Development representatives address the California Area Chamber of Commerce

California Area Chamber of Commerce President, Norris Gerhart, called the monthly meeting to order Thursday morning at the California City Hall meeting room. Board members in attendance were Brad Baer, Melissa Bonecutter, Dolores Burger, Michael Gengler, Norris Gerhart, Todd McCluskey, Melanie McDonald, Robin Ratcliff, Charlie Roll. Also in attendnace were Tammy Kirchoff, Creative Awards, Jason Witt, Cargill, Doris Imhoff, Nutrition Center, Cheryl Tillery and Travis Zimmerman from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and Diane Eulinger, executive secretary.

The board approved the miniutes and treasurers report from the previous meeting. Bonecutter noted a profit of $2,500+ was made from the Chamber Golf Tournament.

Diane Eulinger distributed a written report in the member's packets. Several telephone calls have come through asking about the 4th of July parade, the fair and the Ham & Turkey Festival.

Zimmerman and Tillery handed out material explaining what the USDA Rural Development can do for rural communities. They shared a list of business and industry loans/projects for 2012. USDA Rural Development in Missouri has many programs to assist individuals and communities in rural America. In addition to the financial assistance, they also provide a wide variety of technical assistance to individuals and rural communities. Its area mission includes housing, community, business, utility and cooperative programs. These programs consist of a variety of loan, loan guarantee and grant programs, plus technical assistance in the areas of business and industry, cooperative development, rural housing, community facilities, water and waste disposal, electrification and telecommunications, including distance learning, broadband and telemedicine.

The board voted to move forward with Phase I of signage for signs on the new highway. The focus will be "Welcome to California" signs on the new highway at the 87 interchange.

A sign-up sheet for chamber members to work Friday, Aug. 9, at the Fair was made available for volunteers. More volunteers are needed to work the back gate from 5 p.m. until the gate closes. Please contact the Chamber office if you can help.

Chairman of the Ozark Ham & Turkey Festival, Brad Baer, reported the committee met July 1. Bids were granted to Promark for t-shirts; Creative Awards for trophies; and B-W Graphics for ornaments and printing of advertising materials. The next meeting will be Monday, Aug. 5, at 5:30 p.m., in city hall meeting room.

A letter was distributed by Jim and Tammy Kirchoff of Creative Awards asking the Chamber to take into account "supporting local businesses and programs because it is important to both the economic growth and continued establishment of both local businesses and implemented programs."

Baer shared the Ham & Turkey committee only considers bids from current due-paying members of the Chamber. At this time the Chamber encourages area businesses to be members.

The Chamber acknowledged receiving the letter from the Kirchoffs and no action was taken.

Dolores Burger reported the Taste of Local Missouri Food Festival went well. The attendance was low due to the heat but the vendors provided quality products and those in attendance enjoyed the food and entertainment.

The next board meeting of the California Area Chamber of Commerce will be Thursday, Aug. 8, at 8 a.m., at the California City Hall meeting room.

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