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Kansas Beats the Virus campaign still rolling

Solomon Valley Economic Development met on Thursday to discuss items and events that are helping communities in MItchell County.

Director Heather Hartman spoke about the "Kansas Beats the Virus" campaign and shared the Mitchell County Strong logos that are now being distributed to Solomon Valley Economic Development members and others as well. With the logos, masks, hand sanitizers and "Love Where You Shop Local" logos are being included in the promotional package.

– Areas are being looked into on how well our communities are being marketed outside the area and interviews through some individuals including those that have lived here for 10 years or less nd those that have recently moved back to the area have shed some light on the subject.

– The Entrepreneurship Challenge is set to take place on March 9 for 7th through 12th grade students and spots are still available to compete in. Cash prizes include 1st - $750; 2nd- $500 and 3rd - $250 in judging of Executive Summary, Trade Show, and a 4 minute presentation. To be included contact Hartman at hhartman@beloitks.org or call her at 785-738-3000.

– New business, Bomgaars, held a job fair last week and are planning to open mid-April in Beloit.

– A "13 Ways To Kill Your Community" virtual forum half day event will take place this year and offers advise on what communities need to offer more. Contact Hartman to sign up for the webinar.

– The South Mill Street Project that began in 2019 with the Kansas State Architecture Students, then through the Dane Hansen student interns and Strategic Doing is now a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Pathways to a Healthy Kansas grant initiative for NCK Health Collaborative, along with 23 other organizations in Kansas as grantees.

The NCK Health Collaborative is a regional group with the goal of working across county lines to create better health outcomes. In Mitchell County, local representatives include the Mitchell County Regional Medical Foundation as lead facilitator and other key partners such as but not limited to the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development, AWARE NCK, Healthy Eating Active Living Council of Beloit and the City of Beloit.

As part of the grant, downtown Beloit has the opportunity to embark on a new project to increase beautification, physical activity and strengthen the local economy. The project would include a physical focus on South Mill Street through implementing historical and beautification features as well as provide better connectivity between downtown and Chautauqua Park.

As we begin to plan and prioritize the South Mill Street Project, we are seeking community feedback from businesses and the general public. We are excited to plan opportunities to share ideas and welcome anyone who would like to participate in project planning and implementation.

For more information on this project or details about how to be a part of the planning and implementation, email Julia Rabe at beloitchamber@nckcn.com or call 785-738-2717.

– The Mitchell County Development Opportunity profile shows that Mitchell County's unemployment rate is at 2.7 percent. It was at 2.2 percent before the pandemic. This is only a change of .06 percent.

– Lucille Heller of Kansas Tourism, talked about the the recent videos by Eberle Studios to promote the "Enjoy the Great Outdoors" campaign that was provided through the "Kansas Beats the Virus" program.

The program helped to promote the 1st Day Hike event that brought in 140 people to the Waconda Lake, Glen Elder State Park, at the first of the year. This allowed them to pay for 50 free 2021 park passes and 41-of the 50 were given. In an effort to give away the last nine passes and to keep the promotion going, they hired Eberle Studios to film videos for the area.

The part 1 video was on Waterfowl and the 2nd video just released through the Waconda Cultural Association Facebook site was on ice fishing and received 500 plus likes to date.

This video has received more likes then the State of Kansas promotional video, ToTheStars.TravelKS.com

"This is a great opportunity to help promote the area," said Hartman. "It all plays into the economy and promoting our communities."

– The Kansas Wildlife and Parks and Tourism will be subtracting the Tourism part to the mix, so other ways of promoting will be added.

– The Waconda Lake Association decided to dissolve, due to low membership and have used the remainder of their money to stay towards the Annual Youth Fishing Tournament held at the lake and also the Youth Hunting event. They also donated $500 to the Waconda Cultural Association.

– Jason Rabe discussed the Leadership Mitchell County (LMC) items and how they are finishing up the "Kansas Beats the Virus" campaigning. The LMC are getting ready for the next session and planning on their class programs to be held in person.

The Kansas Leadership in a public health partnership with the State of Kansas launched the “Kansas Beats the Virus” campaign. The purpose of this campaign was to partner with the leadership programs across the State of Kansas with the hope of convening 1,000 community meetings by Dec. 31. The LMC helped KLC take this challenge head on in our area. Thanks to the spearheading efforts of board members and alumni, LMC helped to facilitate 21 meetings in our area that were convened by local organizations. This far outpaced similar sized counties across Kansas and shows the commitment the citizens of Mitchell County to doing their part. The LMC facilitators included Shannon Duskie, Carol Cordel, Lucille Heller, and Gretchen Staples. The Kansas Beats the Virus campaign is about each organization doing a small part to take on a big challenge. Participating organizations were able to apply for mini grants to help fund their impact and for each meeting held Leadership Mitchell County received $1,000 up to $21,000 to provide further impact both now and in the future.

"As we all work to have a positive influence on our community during the pandemic, it is encouraging to see what else is being done – we are a team after all," said Rabe.

Thanks to last years LMC 20 class, some of their excess funds have gone towards this years class.

– Beloit Area Chamber of Commerce Director, Julia Rabe, talked about the The Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ

, Solomon Valley Economic Foundation and LMC presenting a Suicide Intervention Basics virtual Assist Training for Community Members, from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday on Feb. 23-24, and again for school personnel at the same times on Wednesday and Thursday, March 17-18. This is a grant funded service and there are limited spots available. To participate contact Emily Benedick to register at 785-534-3461 or ebenedick@nckcn.com

As suicide rates increase, participants will be provided the skills to protect the lives of clients, students, family members, and neighbors of all ages.

The chamber is working on Spotlight promotions through interviews on their members. They are also working on educational information on how important it is to shop local.

– Colleen Eberle, Solomon Valley Foundation Director, says they have received 20 applications for their spring grant cycle and that those awards, along with the scholarships will be coming out in the next few weeks.

– Another Rural Voices winning video from Avery Johnson was shown which promotes the moving back to the Beloit area. It stressed things such as Rural Economic Development, Recruitment, Preservation through Generations and Community Counceling – such as job shadowing in the schools, for growth and what they have to offer.

Beloit Call

P.O. Box 309, Concordia, Ks. 66901

Phone: 785-738-3537