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ATTEND LACEE CONFERENCE - Fran Bihm, left, executive director of the Rayne Chamber of Commerce, and Amy Thibodeaux, center, president and CEO of the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce, recently attended the Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Conference held at the Golden Nugget Resort and Casino in Lake Charles. With the two chamber executives is Kathryn Shea Duncan, a former staff member at the Acadia Chamber and now employed by the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau, one of the organizers of the conference. (Photo Submitted)

Rayne Chamber hears reports, announces upcoming events

RAYNE - The Rayne Chamber of Commerce held its monthly board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at the Chamber office here.
Of new business to come before the board to be discussed, President Jeremy Lavergne called upon the following:
• Executive Director Fran Bihm announced that a document has been created for the public on the details of the future rental of the Chamber building.
• Mardi Gras Parade and After Party was discussed with Parade Chairman Brian Mouton announcing the parade to roll on February 22 at 3 p.m. with the “After Party” to follow. The After Party is still in need of chairperson. The first committee meeting will be held Monday, Oct. 21, at 5:30 p.m. at the Chamber.
• First Responders Breakfast Chairperson Marietta Sikat was absent and was unable to give a report. Lavergne mentioned to the board this year’s event will need sponsors. Cynthia Oliver mentioned the Rotary of Rayne may be interested in co-sponsoring the event with Lavergne needing to contact the Rotary president.
• The board voted and accepted the resignation of board member Ricky Bonin.
• Lavergne noted that nominations for three perspective new board members are needed for the upcoming 2020 term.
• Suzette Leonards announced to the board the Louisiana Fairs & Festival Conference will be held the first week in February of 2020. This is a networking event to gain ideas and best practices with the price to attend at $145.
The treasurer’s report was presented by Tiffany Thibodeaux and accepted by the board.
Fran Bihm presented the director’s report and was reviewed by the board.
Bihm also announced the reception of a letter was received for the LWCC (Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corp.) informing the board the LWCC will be mailing out a dividend check to the chamber as in previous years.
Under committee reports, Lavergne called upon the following:
• Lavergne, who also serves as 2020 Frog Festival chairman, provided updates and reminded members that sponsorship is the current focus for the Frog Festival Committee. He also noted the music lineup will be finalized in November.
• Rayne Market Chairperson Marietta Sikat was absent and was unable to give a report, but Cynthia Oliver provided an updated on the September Rayne Market. The next Rayne Market will be on Saturday, Nov. 30, at the Depot Square as part of the Black Friday weekend events planned for the downtown Rayne area.
• OST Chairperson Eddie Palmer was absent and was unable to give a report, but word was sent to the board that arts and crafts and memorabilia are needed for display at The Bank on the day of the event (Nov. 2nd).
• Trooper Leader Dineen Constantin provided an update on the frog pond, noting the pond is clean and the frogs are very healthy. Bihm explained their is a $25 a week expense to maintain the frog pond. Constantin recommended to the board that no more frogs should be placed in the pond without consulting the Boy Scout Troop. By adding additional frogs there is a strong possibility the eco system will be impacted.
A motion to continue to allow the Boy Scouts of Troop 61 to maintain the frog pond and that it’s use will be only for a tourist attraction and that no other frogs will be placed in the pond because of the impact to the eco system.
• Lavergne gave a report of the recently completed Chamber Open House attended by past Chamber members and the community, noting the evening was a complete success and thanked everyone for their assistance.
Under old business, Lavergne called upon the following chairpersons:
• Brian Mouton provided an update of the new Chamber sign being created by the Rayne High Ag Department. He stated the sign has been delayed due to a metal machine breakdown. The Rayne High Ag Dept plans to complete the sign by October 18.
• For marketing plans for the month of November, Lavergne announced there would be a planning committee in the next two weeks to discuss ideas.
• Suzette Leonards gave a report of the 2020 Rayne Court Mardi Gras Ball and updated to the board with information on the progress of the annual event. The court has been announced and tickets are now being sold.
• Cynthia Oliver gave a brief report of the recent Tri-Parish BAH held at LSUE noting it was a great opportunity for the board to network and gain understanding of how LSUE has impacted the entire parish. A number of Rayne Chamber members were in attendance.
Lunch held prior to the meeting was provided by Southwind Heathcare and Rehab, Southwind Senior Living Suites and Encore Healthcare and Rehab.

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