Chamber 1 Diane

Diane Hairston

At the Clearwater County Chamber of Commerce’s (CCCC) first meeting of the year, held Jan. 5, Diane Hairston was asked to share a bit about herself and how her prior experience will apply to her new position as she takes on the role of Director for Clearwater County Economic Development Council.

Many folks know Hairston from her years of service spanning almost two decades with the Department of Labor. Some might know her from her long-time seat on the Clearwater County Planning and Zoning Commission, others may know her from the family business, Little Canyon Shooting at Hairston Farms.

“First, I’d like to address the elephant in the room,” said Hairston. “We will all miss Chris St. Germaine. She was awesome. We’ll miss her skills, knowledge, and experience, and all the great things she’s accomplished; but she’s not totally gone - and she has assured me of being there for me as a resource, so I’m thankful for that.

“This role is unique in that every person that comes to the job, comes with different strengths. We come from different backgrounds, and all have something different to share. Most of my career has been in Customer Service, helping folks through a process.”

Hairston said she has immersed herself this past few weeks trying to learn all the various processes and details of her new position. She will oversee several projects initiated by St. Germaine, such as the Safe Routes to School program with Brenda Drobish, and the Healthcare Feasibility Study for Oral Healthcare for rural communities.

“My job is wherever I can make a positive impact on issues you see that benefit the quality of life as citizens in the communities of this county. I hope you will help direct me whether it concerns infrastructure, business services, retention, expansion, attraction or staffing, I want to know you better to learn what is needed.” 

Executive director report

By Erica Holland

Membership renewals have been sent out and are due Feb. 1. Revenue from dues help to pay for publishing the Chamber’s new Adventure Guide. Feedback from last year’s edition is appreciated and any suggestions or updates for this year’s issue are needed now.

The Orofino Old Fashioned Christmas festival and parade was well attended. The efforts of many are greatly appreciated.

The Chamber Board met Dec. 15, to elect officers. Ashley Steinbruecker remains President for 2022, Tanna Zywina is Vice President. New to the board are Malia Erlewine with Lewis Clark Credit Union, and Michael Hunter with Inland Cellular.

The Chamber’s Facebook page received 3,941 views in the last 28 days, with 2,430 followers.

Dennis Harper provided members with a legislative update. The Corps of Engineers, Clearwater County Commissioners, the City of Orofino and Fish and Game met Dec. 20 to talk about Dworshak Hatchery’s transition to the Tribe. Apparently there was some miscommunication, because the Tribe wasn’t there and claims not to have been invited to the meeting.

Harper reported Fish and Game saw no problem with the transfer and, according to Harper, “skirted around the seven or eight jobs which would be lost in our community. Some of those workers may be transferred, but the Corps hopes to save $250,000 by hiring tribal members at a cheaper cost and use the money saved to help maintain the hatchery. Ultimately, the Corps have the authority to decide. We continually pay the price for other people’s ‘stuff,’ “ said Harper. “We’re tired of it.” 

Harper also stated he had been in contact with our representatives and currently there is a big scramble for two House members in our district, which is now District 2. “We’re trying to find people to run and I’ve chosen not to this year, but we need to be involved as a chamber to get good people running for us.” Harper promised to keep the members posted and will have more updates to come.

Chamber Auction

Special events include the Chamber Auction and Banquet to be held at the lodge at River’s Edge, April 29. Anyone interested in working on the planning committee, please contact Ashley Steinbruecker or Tanna Zywina.

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