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Governor praises our community

By Staff
Susan Hines, Chamber Chatter
Last week was a big week for the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce as we had the annual meeting and awards banquet, hosted international journalists and had our second annual Wings of Thunder Charity Ride. Overall, the week was a success.
On Tuesday, April 19, we were honored to have Governor Riley in Hartselle as our keynote speaker. The governor met with the chamber board and Mayor Dwight Tankersley for 30 minutes before the annual meeting and awards banquet began. A week before the event, we hand-delivered a package to him in Montgomery educating him about Hartselle, our history, where we are now and our vision for the future. This scheduled meeting was to ask for his assistance in helping us to achieve this vision. The conversation was good and he was supportive of our efforts. Over the next year the governor plans on having this same type of meeting with every chamber in the state. The governor spoke about how lucky we are to live in Hartselle, what a great community we have, our wonderful school system, the economy, a few things he is working on for our area that he couldn't reveal and briefly about the proposed budget. This meeting was followed by a wonderful buffet meal prepared by The Oden House Bed &Breakfast and Catering.
After the governor spoke, we proceeded with the presentation of the 2004 annual awards. Our presenters were both eloquent and informative in regards to the recipients of the 2004 awards. We believe that all of the recipients were very deserving of their awards. This year we made presentations to three gentlemen who retired this past year. Police Chief Ron Merkh, Fire Chief Rickey Joe Smith and Dr. Lee Hartsell all were honored for their service to the community.
Also, I had a great meeting with Dr. Reed, our new school superintendent, as we discussed the various ways the chamber and the school system have worked together in the past to promote our youth, our teachers and their activities. We look forward to continuing this partnership.
On Friday, the chamber helped the city host three international journalists who were guests of the state department. Fran was from Namibia, Africa and loves country music, Mohamed was from Egypt, and Steve was from Macedonia. After visiting with our youth at the high school they came to the depot for a reception attended by a number of city and chamber leaders. Also in attendance were Dr. Reed with Hartselle City Schools, Bob Francis with the Hartselle Development Board and Ferrell Vest of Hartselle Utilities. We then adjourned to lunch at OH! Bryan's where we ordered a southern meal for them – fried catfish, hushpuppies and slaw, mmmmm good! We had great conversation and laughter and were even entertained as Muhammad sang to us in Egyptian.
Then, as it often goes, we were off and running to the next event – Wings of Thunder. This year's ride was moved to Hartselle Plaza on Highway 31. If you were outside this weekend you know it was rather chilly and very windy. We appreciate those of you who took the time and made the effort to come out and support this charity event. We believe that everyone in attendance had a great time. Awards were in abundance as we presented two Best of Show awards, one for the best motorcycle and one for the best tattoo. We awarded a prize for the oldest bike, and door prizes were in abundance. All of the vendors were real troopers, even though the wind prevented them from using their tents and the crowds were not as large as expected.
Thanks to everyone involved with all of these events for helping them to be so successful!
We had a ribbon cutting on Tuesday this week at Culinary Express, located on Main Street West. A Business After Hours is scheduled for May 5 at Apple's Florist and Garden Center in Falkville from 5 – 7 p.m. We'll then head to E.A.R.T.H. Park and kick off the 2005 Music in the Park concert series. This year's series begins at 7 p.m. on May 5 and continues every Thursday evening through Depot Days in September. Look in next week's Hartselle Enquirer for the May schedule of performers.
For more information on this or other chamber programs, please call the Chamber office at 773-4370 or email us at