Update from chamber director

Greetings from your Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.  After my first week at the helm of your chamber I can say one thing — oh boy, have I got an interesting job. I hope this is the first of a monthly letter from me that will inform you about our ongoing events and other things we’re working on.

We have several ongoing events of which locals can take part. Remember that the Shopping Derby runs through Sept. 2, and there’s a $5,000 prize for the winner who is drawn. This is your chamber’s effort to help our members in the retail business and it needs your support. To help your chamber and town by shopping local, buy Shopping Derby tickets for your chance to win.

Our Jackpot Halibut Derby continues to see a banner year for tagged fish being brought into derby headquarters. All the tagged fish are money fish, ranging from $250 to $10,000 — plus the GCI $50,000 and the Stanley Ford F-150 fish. You’ve heard it before: you can’t win if you don’t play. We’ve weighed in several big fish and received several tagged fish from folks who did not have a derby ticket. Who knows what they could have won. On Sept. 21 at 4 p.m. we will know when we hold our Jackpot Halibut Derby Jamboree here at the Visitor Center, and match our tag numbers to the prize payout.

Our car and ATV raffle has started. This is the fundraiser that helps us pay our bills and gets us through the long winter.  You can pick up a car raffle ticket at the Chamber for $100, an ATV ticket for $35, or a combo car/ATV ticket for $130. There are only 500 tickets sold, so get in on that action.

One of my pet projects has to do with the restoration of the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon to its former days of glory. I watched and filmed, back in June, the stocking of more than 130,000 coho smolt into the Fishing Hole. It is exciting to know that these fish planted in the saltwater will return next summer. I’ll be starting a “They’re Coming” campaign before the beginning of next summer, and I hope to see the return of visitors, too, as the lagoon becomes a major draw from around the state and our Outside visitors again.

I’m a busy man, but always available to speak to anyone, especially our members, who have a suggestion or concern. My best to you all.

Jim Lavrakas, executive director

Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center