By Todd Tranum
President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Sout
What a proud moment for Chautauqua County this past week when Westfield music teacher Kent Knappenberger was presented with the inaugural Music Educator Award by the Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation! We are continually in awe of the accomplishments of local people, and this is one for the record books.
Knappenberger is well known locally as more than just a music teacher. In a county where music education has a long and proud tradition, his work stands out not just at Westfield Academy and Central School, but also at Jamestown Community College where he is an adjunct faculty member and as an alumnus of SUNY Fredonia. He was nominated by former students and the parent of a student, and was selected from a field of over 30,000 applicants.
He called the award "humbling," and added that it "goes a long way in recognizing the important job music educators do."
While this award is a testimony to Knappenberger personally it is also a tribute, we think, to the job of teachers, their impact on students and families, and to the success of a rural education here in Western New York. We can proudly stand our public education system against any school in the country and demonstrate how they succeed here despite the constraints of tight budgets, harsh winter weather, transportation logistics and a variety of other factors.
While the Chamber/ MAST has been focused recently on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, we also have tremendous respect for arts education. We recognize and encourage the importance of a well-rounded academic and enriching experience for all students. We know that students who graduate from Chautauqua County high schools are fortunate to have a broad background that will carry them into all types of higher learning and career fields.
This Grammy award winning teacher has drawn the spotlight onto local music education. We congratulate him and the entire Westfield school team for this exemplary honor.
Network with Chamber members at Webb's Feb. 13
The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will hold its next Experience Chautauqua Networking Event at Webb's Year Round Resort on Thursday, Feb. 13. This event will help to kick off the annual Presidents' Day Weekend Winter Festival, which is organized by the Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce.
Providing networking opportunities with other members is a key component of the Chamber's work. The Chamber's goal is to give each business ample opportunity to market itself in one-on-one sessions with other like-minded business people. The Chamber's focus with these events is also to provide Chamber members with a glimpse of the fascinating business and tourism occurrences right here in Chautauqua County.
The cost of the networking event is $10 for pre-registered Chamber members or $12 at the door. You can register online at www.chautauquachamber.org or by calling (716)366-6200 or (716)484-1101.
Watch for more details coming soon on the variety of activities scheduled for the Presidents' Day Weekend Winter Festival in Mayville!
Presidents' Day Weekend Winter Festival set
The Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce has been hard at work once again planning the annual Presidents' Day Weekend Winter Festival. Because of the very cold weather in recent weeks, ice harvesting has begun on Chautauqua Lake in preparation for constructing an ice castle at Lakeside Park as part of the festivities.
A full weekend of events is scheduled from Friday, Feb. 14 through Sunday, Feb. 16. For more details, visit the Presidents' Day Weekend Winter Festival - Mayville New York page on Facebook. Still going strong in its 28th year, the festival features winter events and activities for the whole family, including contests for children and adults as well as food and craft vendors.
Salute to the Finest Feb. 24
The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Salute to the Finest award celebration on Monday, Feb. 24 at Shawbucks Press Room, 212 W. Second St.
Receiving awards this year are: Manufacturer of the Year - Artone, LLC; Retailer of the Year - Everydays True Value; Community Service Award - Terry Frank and Dennis Webster of Media One Group; Pride of Jamestown Award - Chautauqua Striders; Business of the Year - Jamestown Business College; Service to Humanity Award - Chautauqua County Health Network; and New Business of the Year - VIE for Fitness.
Registration opens at 5 p.m. and the ceremony will begin at 6 p.m., the cost is $20 per person for the buffet and there will be a cash bar. Advance registration is appreciated and this event is open to Chamber members or non-members. You can register online at www.chautauquachamber.org or call 484-1101.