Chamber Blog

Ruth Ann Hanson, Chamber Area Director
Ruth Ann Hanson
Lisa Paxton, Chamber CEO
Lisa Paxton
Kathi Nagorski
Kathi Nagorski
Shannon Janco
Shannon Janco

Business Issues Reviewed with MN Chamber

Friday, January 15, 2010

About 20 chamber members joined Jennifer Byers, Mn Chamber Vice President, to dialogue about proposed policy priorities for the 2010 legislative session. The priorities included state spending reform (projected spending increases are outpacing revenue), repeal of the nuclear ban (MN law actually won’t allow nuclear power generation to be considered), environmental permitting reform (guaranteeing a delivery time frame for environmental permits), K-12 education including alternative teacher licensure, and health care reform (implementing the laws passed in 2008). There was considerable discussion about ensuring that our future workers are able to compete nationally and internationally, as well as the high cost of higher education and the burden it places on graduates. Spending reform was also a high priority because of the projections for limited revenue increases for government – as well as the businesses that pay the taxes.

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No Easy Answers to State Problems

There was spirited but good natured bantering at Eggs and Issues on January 8th between Representatives Ward and Howes, and Senator Koering. Their comments ranged from the proposed bonding bill to voting records and positions on business issues. Two of the audience questions focused on K-12 – with attendees concerned about school funding disparities in our region vs. the Twin Cities and the unfairness of a law that will fine ISD 181 $200,000 fine if the teacher’s union contract isn’t resolved by January 15 without any penalty to the union. Others shared the difficult decisions they’ve made to reduce staff, wages, and benefits in order to stay in business, concerns about competitive bidding, new taxes on services, a unicameral legislature, and job creation.

Lakeland Public Television, Echo Publishing, and the Brainerd Dispatch covered the event. The Chamber also recorded it for rebroadcast on public access channels 8 and 15.

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Build Your Business Facebook Page & Promote It

Facebook isn't just for your personal friends. This can be a free tool to promote your business and dialogue with customers. The Brainerd Lakes Chamber hosted a one-hour class and webinar, poweder by Charter Business, providing step-by-step instructions for setting up your business on Facebook.

To view the Facebook Training Wheels Class PowerPoint and one-hour recorded webinar, visit the Chamber’s library page.

This is the first in a monthly series being taught by business leaders in the Chamber's Social Media/Online Networking Committee. The next class will be February 9 on LinkedIn, click here for more details, other upcoming sessions, and registration.

Once, your Facebook page is built promote it on your e-mail signature, website, and other communications. Click here for the official Facebook logo you can download to use. Save this to your desktop and follow these instructions to add the logo to your e-mail signature and have it link to your Facebook page: in Outlook go to “Tools” “Options”, “Mail Format” tab, click the “Signatures” button. You need to add the logo (saved to your desktop) and create a link, SAVE.

Following is the link for the ExploreBrainerdLakes Facebook page, you will have a specific url for your Facebook page as well: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Explore-Brainerd-Lakes/93326798267

I hope you will join us for an upcoming session!
Miranda Anderson, Event & Communications Director, manderson@explorebrainerdlakes.com

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Brainerd City Council – January 4, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The City Council scheduled its annual retreat for Monday, February 8 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall and agreed that it will be televised and last no more than two hours.

They also approved pursuing a request to amend the liquor zone area west of the East Brainerd Mall (Cub Foods) to include the old County Market building. The realtor for the property stated in a letter that allowing alcohol to be served on the property would make it more desirable for redevelopment by restaurants. The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, January 19 at 7:30 p.m.

The City Council accepted with regret the resignation of Bob Sherman from the Planning Commission and the Transportation Commission.

The Specialty Food Shop saga continues. The issue is whether or not to allow coffee bean roasting in specialty food shops (i.e. coffee shops). The City Planner brought two versions of the zoning ordinance amendment before the City Council. Both versions add Specialty Food Shops to the Neighborhood Business District (B-2) as a conditional use, however only one version allowed on-site coffee roasting. The City Council approved holding a public hearing for the ordinance amendment which would not allow coffee bean roasting in Specialty Food Shops.

“To roast or not to roast, that is the question.” –Mark Ostgarden, City Planner

Emily Northey, Chamber Main Street Coordinator, enorthey@explorebrainerdlakes.com.

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