By Darla Welchel
Who doesn’t like a good party? And, it is especially sweet if the party will benefit your hometown.
The Newcastle Chamber of Commerce would like to invite the entire community to the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet and Auction, said Chamber President and CEO Jeannette Lore.
The doors will be opening at 6 p.m. and dinner will be served at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 20, 2014. This year’s event will be held in the Riverwind Showplace Theater located at 1544 West Highway 9, Norman, but the dress is casual, she said.
“We want people to come and have fun and enjoy networking with other business and community leaders,” Lore said.
Chamber members, KT’s Smokehouse will cater the dinner and will be serving smoked chicken, sliced beef and all the “fixins” including drinks and dessert.
First National Bank and Trust is this year’s Entertainment Sponsor bringing in vocalists Michael Cooper and Newcastle’s own Jaci Lane from the Yellow Rose Theater. They will be performing a variety of country music throughout the evening, Lore said.
Event Organizers are still seeking items for both the silent and live actions. All proceeds for the evening will benefit the chamber.
“This is one of only three fundraisers we do each year,” Lore said. “The Racer Dye fun run did so well, we were able to donate over $900 to the Firehouse Santa program. That is the thing about the chamber, we want to be an asset to the city of Newcastle by not only helping our businesses, but our community as well.”
There is still time to reserve seats for your company or to purchase individual tickets at $40 each for an evening of dinner, live entertainment and live and silent auctions.
For more information or to RSVP for this year’s banquet, contact the chamber by emailing to newcastleok.org or calling 387-3232.
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With a week left to go, at least 50 garage sales have been registered for the annual Newcastle Citywide Garage Sale, bringing in buyers from all over the country.
Buyers from states such as Texas and New Mexico are expected to descend on Newcastle for the sale, running April 24, 25 and 26, Newcastle Chamber CEO Jeannette Lore said.
“I can’t compare participation to last year yet, but I know that our call volume alone has been amazing,” Lore said. “People from all over have been calling for months now, and now I get 10 to 15 calls a day asking about the sales.”
In addition to letting Newcastle residents find new homes for some of their unwanted items, the benefit extends to local businesses as well.
“It’s all about sales tax dollars,” Lore said. “When people come here, even if they’re shopping at garage sales, they’re still going to stop at our stores. They’re going to eat here, they’re going to get gas and supplies.”
Last year nearly 100 individuals, organizations and businesses held sales throughout Newcastle despite unseasonably cool and damp weather. As of press time Tuesday, a forecast for the sale weekend was not available from the National Weather Service.
For Lore, who is running her first sale since being hired as the Newcastle Chamber CEO in August, no major changes are currently in the works compared to years past.
“You just make sure to put out the banners and to get the advertising done and everything,” Lore said. “It’s one of those events that really runs itself.”
To register a sale, call the Chamber at (405) 387-3232.
The Newcastle Pacer will also be publishing a special section the week of the sale with a map and listing of addresses registered with the Chamber. Sellers can buy a listing directly on the map, marked with a star, for $25. Map listings must be purchased by Monday, April 21.
For more information or to purchase a star, call the Pacer at (405) 387-5277.
Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello will be the latest legislator to visit Newcastle when he speaks at the April "Breakfast with the Legislators" event hosted by the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce.
The breakfast and public forum will be held at Bigg Papa's Friday, April 11 beginning at 9 a.m.
In addition to fielding questions from the public, Costello will speak on current labor issues and common core education, Chamber President Jeannette Lore said.
Elected in 2010, Costello was elected on a campaign to reduce spending n the labor department. Since his election, he has reduced department spending by more than half a million dollars, using methods including returning a portion of his salary and using a personal vehicle instead of a state-supplied car.
Before his election as labor commissioner, Costello was the founder of several technology companies, including AMCAT Telephone Software, which produces software for telemarketers and call centers.
The "Breakfast with the Legislators" series brings state legislators to talk with Newcastle residents about current social and political issues that affect their daily lives. Presented by the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce and State Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville, past speakers include Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb.
There is currently no talk scheduled for May, Lore said.
Bigg Papa's will offer a breakfast buffet for $8.29 per person, with free coffee. For more information, call the Chamber at (405) 387-3232
Starting this month, the Bank of Verden in Newcastle will have a new look, and a new name to go with it.
Effective April 7 the Bank of Verden, 2245 N US-62, will be known as the Community Bank of Oklahoma (CBO).
Bank officials felt the change would reflect their mission better as a community-focused bank.
"We're expanding into other markets, and we thought we would need to have a name that is more identifiable in the communities that we're in," CBO President John Allen said. "We're more about old-fashioned banking, and we thought our name would be more appropriate as a community bank."
In addition to the Newcastle branch and the main branch in Verden, the name change will affect a new branch opening up in Chickasha in May, the bank's third.
The re-branding will not affect any services currently provided by the bank, Vice President and Newcastle Branch Manager Linda Eyler said. Bank customers will be able to continue using their "Bank of Verden" branded checks and cards. No routing or account numbers will change.
Services offered by CBO include personal and commercial lending, online banking, and remote deposit, among others.
The Newcastle branch of CBO opened six years ago. The main branch has been in the same building since 1907, Allen said.
"[Verden locals] are curious if we have merged or changed affiliation," Allen said. "Once they hear that it is just a name change, they get excited about it."
In addition to banking services, the Newcastle branch is heavily involved as a corporate citizen of Newcastle and the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce. Eyler serves on the Chamber's Board of Directors, previously serving as chairwoman of the board.
"For Newcastle, I at least thought it was nice that we feel a part of that community," Allen said. "I think a name that is more identifiable with that, even if we didn't open the Chickasha location, we'd have discussed this name change."
There are no current plans to expand beyond the new Chickasha branch in the forseeable future, Allen said.
Bank officials hope to hold a public celebration of the new identity in early May, Eyler said, though no date has been set. Eyler expects a new sign, featuring CBO's new logo, will be installed within a few days of the April 7 name change.
"We're excited about the name change, and we're excited about being a viable part of Newcastle," Allen said.
At any Newcastle Chamber of Commerce event, Blake Callaham can often be seen behind counters and tables, taking money or keeping tabs.
It’s this work on the Chamber’s behalf that earned him the title of Chamber Volunteer of the Month for March.
A 15-year employee of Pioneer Telephone, Callaham has been at the Newcastle branch for 10, now serving as the branch’s Public Service Administrator.
“I mainly deal with events for the Chamber,” Callaham said. “I also help [Chamber CEO Jeannette Lore] with networking and stuff at her office.”
Callaham has been volunteering with the Chamber for seven years, during which he has benefitted, both personally and professionally, from the connections the Chamber brings.
“You get to know people within the community, along with other business members,” Callaham. “It’s a great way to be involved and be aware of the community, as well as to meet business connections you can rely on in the future.”
Some of Callaham’s most recent work involves running the tasting fork table at the Sweet Scholar Auction, to benefit the Leesa Cornett Scholarship Program.
Callaham is married to wife Laura, who is the director of the Blanchard Chamber of Commerce. The couple have two kids, both students in Blanchard public schools.
Over a Tex-Mex lunch, the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce voted to change bylaws and recognize the business of the month during their monthly Business Exchange Luncheon Mar. 25 at the Newcastle Multipurpose Center.
The luncheon was sponsored by Republic Services catering provided by Trevino’s Mexican and Deli.
The proposed changes to the bylaws and constitution included verbiage that would allow the Chamber to officially employ an executive director, an allowance that was overlooked in previous bylaws. They also proposed a change to the auditing schedule, as well as an amendment allowing the Chamber members to directly elect officers.
The amendments to the bylaws and constitution were submitted by the Policy and Procedure Committee.
The Chamber also encouraged business representatives to complete a satisfaction survey pertaining to the Chamber’s ability to help each business and to join a Chamber committee to help with upcoming events.
“This our way to hear from you,” Chamber President Jeannette Lore said. “We want the chamber to be integral to you and your business.”
The luncheon covered upcoming community events and seminars as well as recognized members for their work.
The Chamber recognized Maness Veterinary Services as the Business of the Month.
“Thank you,” owner and veterinarian Patti Maness said. “It’s my office manager Shelly that really does all the work and keeps the place running.”
Blake Callaham was also recognized as the Volunteer of the Month.