Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce President’s Message (Pub. 1/9/2019)

Judy Hyatt

It is just another beautiful day in the Kern River Valley! The sky is blue, the nights are bright with stars, and critters are out and about doing what critters do. We are truly fortunate to be in this valley.

I attended the Kernville Chamber of Commerce Whiskey Flat Kickoff Dinner on January 4. What a hoot! Pistol Packin’ Patty and Rescue Ranger Robbie have stepped up to sell bribes for the Whiskey Flat Mayor Race. The two candidates are raising money for two very important causes – Keepers of the Kern, our Trash Warriors, are working with Pistol Packin’ Patty, and Rescue Ranger Robbie is working to raise money for SOS Dog Rescue! Pleases support both worthwhile causes. The folks that take on this race work their tushes off for 6 weeks. Let’s give them the support they need.

On Monday, January 7, I was sworn in as the President of the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce. Marsha Smith, Past President, has proven herself to be a selfless leader that knows how to get things done. She has been my mentor as I moved closer to taking the reins of KRV Chamber of Commerce. Marsha has been – and will continue to be – a strong advocate for the new visitor’s center to be built at the Bob Powers Preserve. The paperwork has been completed and the design phase is ready to begin. This amazing addition to our valley will be a one-stop shop for the thousands of visitors that come to our valley to visit the national forest, to feel the thrill of whitewater rafting, to fish in both the river and lake, and to enjoy the outdoor recreation experiences to the fullest.

It is my goal to continue the service that Marsha has given our chamber while taking on some new challenges that businesses in our communities struggle with daily. We will provide opportunities for business owners and operators to get updates on new laws and regulations that affect the cost of doing business in our valley. We will provide resources for training business owners and be sure they are kept abreast of the latest business trends. The Chamber will be expanding the use of social media and using digital marketing for outreach in the tourist trade. We will address the blight that has overtaken Lake Isabella and some of our neighborhoods. More on those subjects later.

Fred Clark, Vice President, is chairing the Fishing Derby Committee this year and has jumped into the position with both feet. The Lake Isabella Fishing Derby is one of the largest derby events in California, and we are proud of the traditions that have been created as a result of the all the hard work that dozens of volunteers perform every spring. Fred and Elaine Roach have created a well-managed operation

Our July 4th Fireworks Show is on for 2019. A huge thank you goes out to the Starlite Lounge and all the restaurants and wineries that provided great wine and tasty treats for the Cork N Fork event held in November 2018. It was this event that got us over the top to cover the ever-increasing costs of the show. While many of our residents contributed to the event, the cost increases may be more than our valley can provide. This event is not guaranteed for 2020. This will a topic of discussion for our new Board of Directors. We would like to hear from our businesses and residents as we begin discussions.

One thing that will continue is the 4th of July BBQ. More about that next month. As you all know, we celebrate the 4th of July on the Saturday closest to July 4th. This allows us to share our enthusiasm with our visitors and residents alike.

I look forward to working with businesses throughout the Kern Valley. We are here to assist you and provide tools that you need for success. Please share with us any thoughts, fundraising ideas, or just what’s on your mind. The Kern Valley is limited in business resources and we are mindful of that shortfall.

Just remember this – in the Kern Valley, no business should have to go it alone.