As I write this column I just finished reading an article in the Tulsa World.† They left the impression that all is not well around our pond.† I do not think they took the time to interview as many businesses as they should have to get a real picture of what is happening here on Grand.† Yes the winter months are slower than the summer, but for those who have prepared for this time can survive.†

There are many parts of the local economy that are doing well and many doing better than ever.† This goes from the yacht dealers to the paint contractor, sales are up and demand is up.† I am not unaware that some folks may be finding it harder, but if you had been at the chamber membership luncheon you would have seen the great attitudes of most of our members, new and old, as they look to the coming months.† For the Chamber our measurement is in the growth of member numbers and we are adding to that list every week.† During the last 2 boat shows we got commitments from over 30 businesses and half of them have followed that with full payment.† Kristal Hodges, our member services director, is doing a great job in keeping in touch with our members and showing prospects the benefit to being apart of the group.† We are working on a project with area Chambers to put together a regional group to work with our area and state governments to better communicate with those appointed and elected officials.† As we develop the range of this group we will report back to our members how they can be involved.† For your long range planning in this area we are going to be taking a bus load of members to visit the Capitol and the Tourism Department† in OKC on April 22nd.† If you would like to be in this group please contact the Chamber office for details.† We still have some Sponsorship opportunities with this trip available. For those of you who have not made your reservations for Welcome Back Weekend Casino Night, now is the time.† The event is presented by Grand Lake Casino and will be held at Cherokee Yacht Club.† This is our major fund raiser for the Chamber and will feature a silent and live auction, professional gaming tables, light food snacks, cash bar, Miss Grand Lake, BACA, Left on Harvard Band, and more fun than you have had all winter.† Join us and the rest of your Grand Lakers as we kick of the 2009 season around the pond. For reservations call 918-782-3214 or e-mail info@grandlakechamber.org . Besides Grand Lake Casino sponsoring the event other major sponsors are GRDA, WM Couch Construction, JB Robison Auctions and 16 table sponsors that will help make this the best event ever.† Go to the web site and check out the group and some of the auction items that will be up for bid.†

NOTE:† Now is the best time to make sure we have all the correct information about your business as we are putting the final touches on the 2009 businesses directory.† To be listed you must be a business member in good standing to get in the publication.† For those who want to make a bigger impact in this publication we still have ad space available. The 2008 has been fully distributed with just a few copies left at the office.† Our pledge to our members was to get the information out to new and old customers of yours and we have done just that.† We are now looking at better ways to get the word out and tell the Grand Lake Story. Donít be left out!!!