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  • 10 Jul 2013 2:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This event has been postponed and will not occur this Thursday. We will post updated news when we receive it. Thank you!

    Deal to direct more funds back to parks

    By ALLEN REED allen.reed@theeagle.com
    Published in The Bryan Eagle
    Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013 12:00 am

    Officials from three Brazos Valley counties are poised for a big announcement this week regarding an overhaul of the operation of Lake Somerville that could potentially generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for the rural areas.

    Representatives from Burleson, Lee and Washington counties will join with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday to sign a cooperative joint management agreement. The agreement, which has been five years in the making, will shift responsibility for some management from two Corps parks touching the lake, Rocky Creek Park and Yegua Creek Park, to a nonprofit group created by the counties -- the Lake Somerville Resource Management Partnership.

    The Corps will retain maintenance duties at the park, but the nonprofit will operate the gates and collect the revenues that previously went to the federal government. The agreement will also allow the nonprofit to tap new areas to increase tourism, such as advertising for the parks and contracting with third-party vendors.

    Burleson County Judge Mike Sutherland said he expects the nonprofit to take in $500,000 to $600,000 in annual revenue through the agreement. Officials hope that figure will grow even more with extra amenities and advertising. They also plan to expand the nonprofit organization's operations into Burleson and Lee counties.

    The money, officials said, will have to be spent on the parks from which the fees are collected.

    Some of the initial ideas for park improvements kicked around by Sutherland include educational centers, bathroom improvements, courtesy docks and horse rentals.

    The signing ceremony will be open to the public and will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Corps offices at the Lake Somerville Dam. The management transition will go into effect on Oct. 1, and will not affect the nearby parks operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

    Doug Cox, regional partnership program manager for the Fort Worth District of the Corps, said a similar management agreement with a nonprofit group has only been arranged once prior in the district -- a 2009 agreement with the nonprofit Our Lands & Water Foundation for four North Texas lakes.

    He said the agreement will result in more park funds being directly spent on the park.

    "It's the wave of the future to keep these parks open and operating," Cox said.

    Similarly enthused is Clint Kolby with the Brenham Economic Development Foundation.

    "We really take pride that we're taking a regional approach to this," said Kolby, who serves on the nonprofit's board.

    He expects the funds to create a ripple effect through the participating counties that will help drive tourists, and their disposable incomes, to Washington, Burleson and Lee counties.

    "I think this a good model to use for other places for creating that public-private partnership to work together to create a positive impact on many areas," Kolby said.

  • 05 Jul 2013 5:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Greetings,

    Just a few reminders for the weekend and upcoming week –

    Tuesday, July 9th at 6pm – Lee County Transportation Workshop featuring CARTS is at the Giddings Public Library, 276 N. Orange(FM 141). Explore Our Services and Help us plan for the future. CARTS is a non-profit transportation system for Texans. Anyone can use CARTS. Call for a ride – 1-800-456-RIDE(7433) or check us out on the web at www.ridecarts.com.

    Thursday, July 11th Rotary Club of Giddings will host their annual Golf Tournament at Giddings Municipal Golf Course.  Contact Mark Johnson to register.

    Saturday, July 13th – Festival Hill will host their finale concert of the Summer Institute in Round Top.  This is the most beautiful place to hear music and hope everyone has an opportunity to attend.

    Tuesday, July 16th Regular Chamber Board of Directors meeting is held every Third Tuesday of each month. Members are welcome. We are still accepting applications for board members. Board elections will be held the first week of August.  Any member in good standing is eligible to run for a position on the board.  Contact the Chamber office for details.

    Friday, July 19th Entrepreneurial DNA Lunch N Learn featuring Jana Owen.  We will meet from 11am to 1pm at Giddings Downtown Restaurant.  Dutch Lunch allows everyone to join in and keep it simple.

    ARE YOU IN? How do you spread the news about your products & services?  Join us for the greatest networking opportunity around! Intentional Networking is the process of learning who is doing business in your community. The better acquainted you are with your local business owners and operators, the better you will be able to refer customers to them.  As we all know today, it is not what you know, but who you know.  Your customers are actively searching for the products and services you provide, but when you don’t have what they are looking for, you can make a huge impact on them by sending them to someone you know and trust.  That means, when you refer them to another local business that carries the product they want you are making your customer happy and creating a friend in the industry. Let us help you be part of the IN crowd.  Attend one of our networking events and meet fellow business owners you need to know!

     

    Today's Inspirational Quote:

    "Whatever you do, do it with all your might. Work at it, early and late, in season and out of season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a single hour that which can be done just as well now."

    -- P. T. Barnum

     

  • 10 Jun 2013 2:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    REMINDER:

    We will be at Los Patrones on Tuesday from 11am to 1pm for this great seminar!  Hope YOU will join us for great networking, business building and of course information for the Entrepreneur in you.

    PLEASE LET US KNOW SO WE CAN SAVE YOUR SEAT!  979-542-3455 or 979-540-8350 to reserve your space.

    Dutch lunch at Los Patrones.

  • 06 Jun 2013 3:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Greetings,

    We hope you are getting your summer itinerary planned out.  Here are a few things to help you get started!  Vacation Bible School, Giddings Swimming Pool, Training Seminars, Summer Music Series, all within our community and the surrounding area.

    Make this your year to enjoy all the things that make Giddings GREAT!

     

    •¶  June 8th – Festival Hill Summer Concert Series Begins with concert at 3:30pm and at 7:30pm. Hear great musicians in the most amazing facility in Texas!

    •¶  June 11th - Entrepreneurial DNA Seminar, 11am - 1pm at Los Patrones, sponsored by the Chamber. Dutch lunch and networking for members.

    •¶  June 14th – Ribbon Cutting at The Commons at 11am. Come help us welcome our newest members!

    •¶  June 14th - Relay for Life, 7pm - Buffalo Stadium, the public is invited!

    •¶  June 15th - Open House at The Commons on FM 141 all day. Check out their new digs!

    •¶  June 20th - Lee County Health Fair - Giddings High School sponsored by Lee County Extension Office from 9am to Noon.

     

  • 14 May 2013 12:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Greetings,

    This is exciting for all the entities that have worked so hard to see this project through.  Please join us as we celebrate the 14th Annual Lee County Fair with a ribbon cutting on Thursday night to reveal the New Pavilion. Your efforts are what helped to make this project possible.  We hope to see you there. Remember there is no charge to get in the gates on Thursday!

    You are invited to a Ribbon Cutting

    Thursday, May 16th at 5:45pm

    New Pavilion in Firemen’s Park 

    Please share this information with your friends and neighbors.

     

  • 15 Feb 2013 5:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The Chamber of Commerce held their monthly networking luncheon at Giddings Downtown Restaurant on Friday, February 15, 2013. Bill Thompson with the Texas State Small Business Development Center and Janice Young with Texas Workforce Commission discussed the many services available to business owners that are free or low cost. Technology training, customer service training, and business plan development are just a few of the many services provided.

    SBDC, SCORE and SBA along with Texas Workforce are here to help business owners start, grow, expand and improve their business. Call the Chamber of Commerce for more information.

    We will have the next meeting on March 15th at Giddings Downtown Restaurant at 11:30am. Our speaker will be Chuck Holland, creative mind behind the Steampunk event that will be held on December 7th in Giddings at the Yellow Depot.

    Call to reserve your seat.
  • 18 Jan 2013 4:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Greetings Friends,

    We are so fortunate to live in Texas!  There is so much good news to report, we don’t know where to begin…

    Welcome – Tex Toler, Executive Director of Giddings Economic Development Corporation,

             We are pleased to have Tex as our new Executive Director for the Giddings Economic Development Corporation.  He is already working hard for our community by attending several of our meetings and getting to know our members.  Stop by the Red Depot for a cup of coffee and to visit.


    HonorVet.org Project Update – Join us in welcoming Corporal Sean and Anna Friedrich to Giddings

    Community Helps Vet Start New Life in Giddings

    Ribbon Cuttings and Open Houses –

    • •·      St. Mark’s Professional Building is hosting their Grand Opening of their new location at 185 Decker Drive and FM 141.  This new location has X-Ray and Lab offices in addition to the physician facilities.
    • •·      Pizza Hut will host their Grand Opening of their new location with a ribbon cutting on February 7th at 10:30 am. 
    • •·      Future ribbon cuttings will also be held for Salon Tonic and Pauly’s Restaurant.  We are just waiting for them to let us know when.
    • •·      Special recognition goes out to Los Patrones on their new façade upgrade!  They have made a huge investment in their business and the community appreciates their efforts.  GOOD JOB!

     

    Sales Tax Report - January numbers indicate that there were additional taxable sales in the amount of $1,500,000 in Giddings over the same time frame as last year. Great job by our businesses in this economy!

    Unemployment Rate - Unemployment Rates Fall in All Counties of the Rural Capital Area; Largest Declines are in Bastrop and Caldwell Counties

    Posted on by headlight

    The Rural Capital Area unemployment rate currently stands at 5.5%, which is relatively low compared to the US rate of 7.6% and represents a drop of -0.6% over the past six months.  Currently 23,400 workers are unemployed in the Rural Capital Area.

    Unemployment rates continue to vary within the Rural Capital Area.  The counties with the highest unemployment rates are Caldwell County (6.4% rate; 1,100 unemployed); Williamson County (6.3% rate; 12,800 unemployed); and Llano County (6.3% rate; 500 unemployed).  The counties with the lowest unemployment rates remain Lee County (4.5% rate; 500 unemployed) and Fayette County (4.5% rate; 600 unemployed).

    The change in the unemployment rate over the past six months reveals sizeable drops in some counties.  The counties in the Rural Capital Area with the greatest drop in unemployment rate between March and September were Bastrop County (-1.5% drop) and Caldwell County (-1.0% drop).  By comparison, the Rural Capital Area’s rate fell -0.6% while the State of Texas and US rates dropped -0.7% and -0.8%, respectively.

    Board of Directors Notes – The Board of Directors has voted to create a task force that will investigate the possibility of making Giddings known as a Pet Friendly Community.  This Task Force is forming to look at the costs and effectiveness of developing a recognizable logo and designated areas throughout the community that welcome pets as a way to get more traffic to stop as they travel through Giddings. Stoppers are Shoppers!  Call the Chamber to get details!

     

    Education and Training – Education and training is important in every field at every level.  We have lots of information for you and your business about possible training.  We have access to Texas State Small Business Development programs, SCORE and SBA.  There is also plans to have several seminars in the future to help Non-Profits stay in compliance with the new IRS rules.  Let us know if you have a training need.  One of the all time favorites is Customer Service Training for your staff.

    Chamber Luncheons – We are pleased to announce the return of our Chamber Membership Networking Luncheons.  This is a great way to develop new contacts for your business.  They are held on the third Friday of each month.  We will let you know where they will be located for the February luncheon. 

    As you can see, we have a lot to be thankful for today!  Our blessings are many and our troubles are few if we keep smiling and work hard. 

    Thank you to our Board of Directors, our community leaders, and the many hard working businesses that strive daily to make a difference!

  • 16 Jan 2013 11:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Greetings,

    We are pleased to report that Mike Warren with Fox 7 News will do a special report on Thursday at 5 and 9pm featuring the story about our HonorVet.org project going on in Giddings.  We want to make your aware of the story so you can see what the project is all about and share that information. 

    Our goal is to welcome Corporal Sean and Anna Friedrich to our community.  Our office is keeping an official list of all donations, volunteer hours, sponsorships and contact information for the project. 

    Watch the story Thursday evening! We are so proud of our community!
  • 14 Jan 2013 10:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The following press release has been sent out to local news outlets.  The Chamber of Commerce is the leading business organization in our community. We Serve, Protect, and Promote our members each and every day. Thank you for continuing to support our mission!

    Denice Harlan of Giddings Completes First Year at

    Institute for Organization Management
    A Leadership Training Program Produced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

    Washington D.C.undefinedInstitute for Organization Management, the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, is pleased to announce that Denice Harlan, Executive Director, of the Giddings Area Chamber of Commerce has recently completed her First year at Institute for Organization Management, a four-year nonprofit leadership training program at University of Arizona in Tuscon.

    “Institute participants are recognized across the country as leaders in their communities,” said Raymond P. Towle, IOM, CAE, the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s vice president of Institute for Organization Management. “These individuals have the knowledge, skills, and dedication to achieve professional and organizational success in the dynamic association and chamber industries.”

     

    Since its commencement in 1921, the Institute program has been educating tens of thousands of association, chamber, and other nonprofit leaders on how to build stronger organizations, better serve their members and become strong business advocates.  Institute’s curriculum consists of four weeklong sessions at five different university locations throughout the country.  Through a combination of required courses and electives in areas such as leadership, advocacy, marketing, finance, and membership, Institute participants are able to enhance their own organizational management skills and add new fuel to their organizations, making them run more efficiently and effectively.

     

    Graduates of Institute receive the IOM recognition, signifying completion of 96 hours of course instruction in nonprofit management. In addition, participants can earn credit hours toward the Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) or Certified Association Executive (CAE) certifications. Nearly 1,000 individuals attend Institute annually.
     

    Institute for Organization Management is the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. It is the premier nonprofit professional development program for association and chamber professionals, fostering individual growth through interactive learning and networking opportunities.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness by addressing developments that affect our nation, our economy, and the global business environment.

    institute.uschamber.com            @GetConnectedIN         

    ###

     

    Denice Harlan attended Institute for Organization Management in Tuscon, Arizona

    I am amazed at how much I learned in that short time.  We are very fortunate to live in a community such as ours.  My classmates and I compared notes on many of the things that make our communities similar and different. What was really interesting was how much passion each of these professionals had for their community.

    I came back to Giddings ready to tackle some big issues and to find some answers to some challenging questions.  Our board of directors and I will develop several task forces that will work on some of these areas that need attention. Our community is amazing and we want every person that travels through here to see why we love it so much.

    Let’s get to work!

    MISSION STATEMENT

    To create a progressive business environment, take a leadership role in the community, be an information resource for members and increase growth of tourism.

  • 07 Dec 2012 10:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you think health insurance rates are high now...just wait.

    There are still a lot of unanswered questions about Obamacare, but there is one thing we know.  It's going to cost everyone more, and mean some very tough decisions for businesses and individuals.   

    Bill Hammond
    President & CEO
    Texas Association of Business


    The Affordable Care Act: Ten Months to Launch "Obamacare"––Get Ready for Some Startling Rate Increases

    What will health insurance cost in 2014?

    Will the new health insurance exchanges be ready on time or will the law have to be delayed?

    There Will Be Sticker Shock!

    First, get ready for some startling rate increases in the individual and small group health insurance marketplace due to the changes the law dictates.

    In a November 2009 report, the CBO estimated that premiums in the individual market would increase 10% to 13% on account of the health insurance requirements in the ACA. In the under 50 employee small group market, the CBO estimated that premiums would increase by 1% to a decrease of just 2% compared to what they would have been without the ACA. All of these differences in premium would be before income based federal subsidies are applied to anyone's premiums.

    In recent weeks, the Obama administration issued a series of proposed regulations for the health insurance market. Since then, I conducted an informal survey of a number of insurers with substantial individual and small group business. None of the people I talked to are academics or work for a think tank. None of them are in the spin business inside the Beltway. Every one of them has the responsibility for coming up with the correct rates their companies will have to charge.

    Hold onto your hat.

    On average, expect a 30% to 40% increase in the baseline cost of individual health insurance to account for the new premium taxes, reinsurance costs, benefit mandate increases, and underwriting reforms. Those increases can come in the form of outright price increases or bigger deductibles and co-pays.

    In states with the least mandates or for health insurance companies with the tightest underwriting now, the increase could be a lot more.

    But when you add the impact of the requirement that older consumers can be charged no more than three times as much as the youngest consumers (the usual standard is now a five times difference), premiums increase dramatically for the youngest.

    For example, expect individual health insurance rates for people in their 20s and early 30s to about double.

    People in their late 50s and 60s might see net decreases because of the benefit they will get from the rate band compression.

    Small group rates won't increase by quite as much as for those in the individual market––a baseline increase of 10% to 20%. Small group policies won't be as hard hit as individual policies because the underwriting reforms aren't as big a leap in this market. But small groups with lots of young people will be hit disproportionately since each person in the group has to be rated on an individual basis and then all of those covered rolled up into an average rate. Older groups might see rate decreases.

    And, the new regulations require that insurance companies have to treat their old and new business the same. Most existing business will not come under the "grandfather" rules. That means most existing individual and small group customers can expect pretty much the same thing.
    That will be a shock to those who already have insurance and don't think the new law will impact them.


    The health law also sets a maximum individual deductible of $2,000 for the "Silver" plan in the small group market. However, the new proposed rules gave insurance companies flexibility to make the deductible higher if they can't reasonably price such a deductible into a plan and still hit the coverage targets (i.e. covering 70% of all medical costs in the "Silver" plan). That flexibility is there for only one reason––it's looking more and more like the health plans will have to put higher deductibles on at least some of these plans so that they can comply with the overall cost and coverage requirements.

    Come October 1, consumers will find that they will be faced with very comprehensive health plans but those plans––including the lower cost "Bronze" and "Silver" plans––will have very high deductibles. Middle class families (300% to 400% of poverty), who aren't fortunate enough to be in employer-sponsored plans and will be eligible for only partial federal premium subsidies, will still have to pay many thousands of dollars in premiums. They will also be confronted with a choice––pay the big premiums for a plan that will cover only 60% or 70% of their health care costs, with a big upfront deductible, or pay a fine equal to 1% of their income for each adult in the family.

    Consumers with incomes in excess of 400% of poverty ($46,000 single and $92,000 family of four in 2014) are going to have to pay the full cost of these health insurance policies. But consumers who make less than 400% of poverty will have their premiums capped at a percentage of their income. So, anyone getting a subsidy will be insulated from the very highest premiums. Who will pick up the rest of the premium? Federal taxpayers.

    Will the Health Insurance Exchanges Be Ready On Time?

    In ten months, Americans without access to employer health plans are due to be able to purchase their own health insurance on the new health insurance exchanges.

    So far, only 18 states have said they will run their new insurance exchange––and that does not necessarily mean they will all be ready. The feds are required to run the exchange if the state won't do it––20 have already said they won't do it and five more are "partnering," which essentially means they are leaving most of the work to the feds.

    Complicating this even further, ten months out we are still waiting for the detailed rules on how those insurance exchanges are supposed to operate.

    Will the feds be ready to provide an insurance exchange in all of the states that don't have one on October 1, 2013?

    I have no idea. And neither does anyone else I talk to inside the Beltway. We only hear vague reports that parts of the new federal exchange information systems are in testing.

    The former CIA director couldn't get away with an affair in this town but the Obama administration has a complete lid on just where they are on health insurance exchanges and haven't shown any willingness to want to talk about their progress toward launching on time––except to tell us all not to worry.

    We are all worried. I would not want to be responsible for the work that remains and only have ten months to do it.

    The feds keep extending the states' deadlines but there is one deadline that isn't moving––October 1, 2013.

    Another Big Date

    Given the big rate increases that are coming because of the ACA and the political risk the Obama administration faces if they don't get the exchanges up on time, I would suggest there is another big date they need to be worried about––November 4, 2014.

    The Republicans said this would not work. If it does not launch on time, or does with serious problems, I would not want to be an incumbent Democrat.

    I told them not to call this the "Affordable Care Act."
     
    ROBERT LASZEWSKI at 5:33 PM

Giddings Area Chamber of Commerce                               Phone: (979) 542-3455
Mailing address: PO Box 52, Giddings TX 78942      

Temporary physical location: H&R Block office, 761 E. Austin (Hwy 290), Giddings TX 78942

Chamber email:  chambergiddings@gmail.com            Tourism email:   giddingschamber@gmail.com

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