The Newkirk Chamber of Commerce held its annual banquet on Monday, January 20, 2020 at the Newkirk Senior Center. The highlight of the evening was honoring our Business Persons of the Year, John & Pam Miller, owners of Miller-Stahl Funeral Service and Citizen of the Year, Tom Rigdon. Although Pamela Stahl moved to Newkirk in July of 1951 when her parents William H. “Bill” and Evelyn Stahl purchased the Hill Funeral Home and Ambulance Service and started Stahl Funeral Home, she and John Miller were both teachers for Waukomis Public Schools when they met. He taught special education and she taught band and music. They were married and then it wasn't long before they went back to college at what was Central State University in Edmond for John to get his degree in mortuary science with certification as embalmer, funeral director, and eye enucleator. Pamela has always said that they got into this business because she let her husband hang out with her father too much. They moved to Newkirk in 1977 and worked with Bill and Evelyn until Bill passed away in 1981 at which time John and Pamela purchased the business as Miller-Stahl Funeral Service and carried on the family business which has served the people of Newkirk for 68 ½ years.
They have both been very active in their church and also served and supported Lions Club and Chamber of Commerce, with John being past president of both organizations. John has also helped a great many in the community with their computer problems. Pamela has also in previous years shared her love and appreciation of music by giving vocal, flute, and piano lessons to many in the community. They have sacrificed family time, holidays, and vacations in order to be able to serve their community with great care and compassion at a time when it is most needed. Over the years they have always considered it a privilege to serve their community.
Tom Rigdon was honored as the Citizen of the Year, but was unable to attend due to ill health. Tom has been the quiet force for the Newkirk Community for many decades serving as a public servant. He had been the City Attorney from November 1, 1975 until June 15, 2018. He kept the management and governing board for the City of Newkirk on the correct legal path and was always there for advice no matter how small or big the matter at hand. The only compensation he ever received was his monthly retainer and he did more work than that small retainer covered for all those years. Another part Tom has played is being a Trustee for many estates - just a few notables are the Glenn and Madalynne Peel Estates, Horner Estate, Doug and Sandra Cline estates - from these estates there have been many donations to public improvements. A few of these are the Newkirk Public Library building, equipment and programs, Newkirk Senior Citizens Building, playground equipment for the Park, the Newkirk Fitness Path and the Story Walk Project. This is just to name a few there are many, many more over the years.
He has also provided legal advice to many civic groups in the Community - two being the Newkirk Takedown Club and Newkirk Youth Program - there are others - at no expense to keep these programs going for the youth who will eventually be future leaders of Newkirk. The Newkirk Community has and is very important to Tom. He has made valuable contributions to the community to improve it for all the citizens - young to old.
President, Debbie Leaming gave a report on what the Chamber had accomplished during the past year and the focus and vision for 2020. Carrie Grace of Stagecoach BBQ catered the event with heavy hors d'oeuvres. There was also a Silent Auction.
The Newkirk Chamber sponsored the annual lighted Christmas Parade recently. It was another huge success. Winners of the floats following the theme of "Christmas Stories" were Newkirk FFA, 1st Place, Newkirk First Baptist Church, 2nd Place, and Kaw Child Care Center, 3rd Place.
The Snow Princess/Prince Coronation was held in the lobby of the Courthouse. Teagyn Beliel was crowned Snow Princess and the Snow Prince was Easton Wells.
The Chamber recently held a ribbon cutting for a new business in town, Grit & Grace Outdoors. It is located at 712 E. 7th, home of the former Black Jack Bait shop. The shop is owned by Curtis Grace, who recently retired as manager of Two Rivers Coop, and his son Jason Grace. While the store previously focused on fishing bait and tackle, Grace plans to expand to a much broader outdoor offering which will include hunting supplies, as well as general outdoors equipment. If you haven't stopped by yet, you will be impressed with the shop and all of the work that has been done inside.
One of our community’s highest honors, Business Person of the Year, is given to a business leader to recognize the outstanding contributions made by an entrepreneur in our community. Our Business Person of the Year has committed a significant amount of time and capital to many services within the Newkirk community. Beginning his business in 2005, he has grown from pouring driveways and building porches to constructing roads and bridges across multiple states, but always returns to Newkirk, his home. Our 2019 Business Person of the Year is CEO of River Ridge Construction, Darren Wood.
Each of us has a duty to be a good citizen. Newkirk is only as healthy as its individual citizens. But what qualities mark a good citizen? First, a good citizen model’s good personal qualities universal to all good citizens. Honesty, Integrity, Responsibility, Kindness, Courtesy, Fairness. Every word applies to our 2019 Citizen of the Year. Second, a good citizen is Patriotic. A good citizen loves their country and by serving as a navy controller our Citizen of the Year is not only a patriot, but a veteran as well. Third, a good citizen is active in their community. By attending, and often funding community events, shopping locally, helping neighbors, attending church and sharing skills, talents, and resources our citizen has been active in Newkirk for decades. Fourth, a good citizen is well rounded. Well read, cultured, well educated. As a 1952 graduate of Newkirk High School and a 1961 graduate of Oklahoma State University, our Citizen of the year has been the past Chair of the State Chamber and a longtime regent for higher education. However you address our Citizen of the Year – brother, husband, father, grandfather, boss, mentor, neighbor, or friend, there is no doubt he has enriched your life and that you all agree with Newkirk Chamber of Commerce choice for Citizen of the Year 2019 – Mr. Ike Glass
The Newkirk Chamber met in the Chamber Office for their regular monthly meeting. Debbie Leaming, president, opened the meeting with the following in attendance: Marvin Johns, and Dawn Brakey, & Debbie Leaming, board members, and Glenna Blair, secretary. Kirk Brown, Roy Chaney, and Theda Sheets were absent.
The minutes were approved on a motion by Dawn, seconded by Marvin. The financial report was accepted after a motion by Marvin, seconded by Dawn. Glenna gave the secretary’s report.
Under old business, the Newkirk Pathway Project was the first topic. We have been assigned the crosswalk at 5th & Main to paint. We will meet on April 10th at 6:00. Debbie has the template and all of the supplies. Glenna will call Joe Anderson to see if the Lion’s Club would be interested in helping. The annual Appreciation Meal for area law enforcement, first respondents, and city workers will be held on the Court House parking lot on May 15, at 5:30 p.m. The chamber will provide the meal free of charge to everyone in the community who joins us in giving a BIG thank you to these employees. If the weather is bad, it will be moved to the Senior Citizen Center. Two Rivers Coop has been selected as the Business of the Month for April. We will meet Thursday morning, April 4, at 10:00 a.m. for a picture. The Chamber will have a booth at the Kay County Fair in Blackwell in Sept. to showcase our great community. Debbie is looking into items to give away to the kids and to entice new Chamber membership for the adults.
New business brought up the idea of adding the availability of rental property to our website. It was decided that we would approach the people who rent houses out but who are not members of the Chamber to see if they would be interested in joining. Then we will list those realty persons on our site. It was decided that we would again help with the July 4th celebration on the Court House lawn. It would be similar to the one last year. Glenna will check with Main Street along with Marybeth Glass and Dollie Testerman who were in on the planning last year. Debbie presented ideas for getting people into town for some fun activities. Several really fun things were mentioned and more information will be forthcoming.
Some dates that we don’t want to forget are:
April 10th—Paint crosswalk
April 13th—Trash Pickup
April 24th—Business Women’s Luncheon—12-1 at Stagecoach Restaurant
April 27th—Kickoff Event for Newkirk Pathway Project, 9-12 a.m. at the Court House. The Chamber will serve lunch.
May 4th—Community-wide Garage Sales
May 15th—Appreciation Meal for City workers and law enforcers, & EMT’s
Meeting was adjourned on a motion by Marvin, seconded by Dawn.
Glenna Blair, Secretary
The Newkirk Chamber board of directors met for the monthly meeting on March 4, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. Members present were Dawn Brakey, Kirk Brown, Roy Chaney, and Debbie Leaming along with Glenna Blair, secretary. Theda Sheets and Marvin Johns were absent. Debbie called the meeting to order and asked for a motion to approve the minutes. Dawn made a motion, seconded by Roy. Kirk moved that the financial report be approved and Dawn seconded the motion. In her secretary’s report, Glenna updated the board on current membership. Debbie volunteered to contact those businesses who have not paid or who might be interested in joining.
Under old business the Newkirk Pathway Project was discussed. The deadline for the crosswalk submission has been extended. Debbie will submit our plan. The tentative date for the Appreciation Meal for City employees and area law enforcement is May 15. Debbie and Jane Thomas will get together to confirm that this is a good date for everyone.
New business brought up the spring city-wide garage sale. The group decided on Saturday, May 4. Glenna will let the City office and newspaper know of the date. The group selected Two Rivers Co-op as our Business of the month for April. Debbie got an application for a booth at the Blackwell Fair. The cost is $100.00. We will decide at a later date what we want to do as far as brochures, pictures, giveaways, etc. Debbie announced that the Main Street Annual meeting and dinner will be held on March 14 at the Senior Center.
Kirk moved and Dawn seconded the motion to adjourn.
Glenna Blair, Secretary
The Newkirk Chamber Board of Directors met at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5. Members present were Roy Chaney, Marvin Johns, Dawn Brakey, Debbie Leaming, and Kirk Brown along with Glenna Blair, secretary. Theda Sheets was absent. Debbie called the meeting to order followed by approval of the minutes on a motion by Marvin, seconded by Debbie. Roy moved and Marvin seconded that the financial report be accepted. Motion carried. Glenna gave the Secretary’s report.
The first order of business was to elect a new board member, Dawn Brakey.
Members reviewed the Police and Fire Appreciation event. It was suggested that we try to set a recurring date and make it a family event. Glenna will send thank you notes to Cheekyburger, Bruce Horinek, G&B Auto, and Gene Scheiber for their contributions. Everyone agreed that our Halloween Trunk or Treat celebration was a huge success. It was suggested to start 15 minutes later and end 15 minutes earlier. Some kind of PA system is needed and maybe a stage of some sort for the costume judging. Glenna reported that she is getting the Christmas Parade lined out using volunteers from the past. Kirk presented a map of what is planned for Newkirk if the grant goes through for a walking path. The City will hopefully give the Chamber permission to provide some things along the way to enhance it and entice participants.
January 22, 2019 was selected as the date for the annual Chamber Banquet. It will be held at the Newkirk Senior Center at 6:30 p.m. The theme will be “A New Tomorrow”. Members were advised that there is a meeting scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 15, at 5:00 p.m. at the Library for the City, Main Street, and the Chamber.
Meeting was adjourned on a motion by Marvin and seconded by Dawn.