Dwight Economic Alliance Board has three positions for election at next meeting

by Brandon LaChance

The Dwight Economic Alliance Board is accepting applications to elect new members during the next meeting on Jan. 18.

There will be three positions on the docket as Rodney Connor is stepping down as DEA president and John Salzer and Gibs Nielsen will be running for reelection.

“The board helps organize all of our functions. Certain board members will run any specific project at any time,” said Katie Folkers, 39, and serves as the DEA coordinator. “Deb Karch is the director of the DEA and she oversees everything in general. Bob Ohlendorf, he runs the volunteer system at the Texaco station.

“Each board member has their own responsibilities and their own niche that they fill. In order to bring in new ideas and more awareness to Dwight, we have to have more events and more things to promote.”

Applications can be picked up at the DEA Office, 132 E Main St., Dwight, IL 60420. If you can’t make it in, call (815) 584-1830, or send an email to DwightEAstaff@gmail.com. Applications need to be submitted by Jan. 14.

The DEA was formed to help boost economy in Dwight by aiding restaurants and all small businesses with events, marketing and showcasing services or items to be purchased.

One of the biggest events is Dwight Christmas, which was held on Dec. 4, but there are many others including the DEA Gala scheduled for Feb.

“The organization has a bunch of events that happen every year. We have our Christmas event downtown so local businesses can get people from out of town into their business,” Folkers said. “It’s a way of bringing awareness to all our businesses and what we have downtown.”

There are no requirements to be on the DEA Board.

You don’t have to be a certain age.

You don’t have to have lived in Dwight a certain number of years.

The DEA is looking for people who can assist by coming up with ideas that are new, fresh, and will cast sunshine on Dwight.

“You just have to have a love for a small town,” Folkers said. “You have to want to make it grow. You have to want to make it succeed. You have to want to help the small business owners, especially after Covid-19 and a time like this.

“Small businesses are hurting. We have to want to keep them around. If we don’t keep them around, what is going to happen? Our downtown is so pretty. It’s beautiful. We want to keep it thriving. We want to keep it around so it’s not an empty shell. I’ve lived here my whole life. I have a lot of memories there. I don’t want to see it go to waste.”

The DEA consists of a president and nine board members, which currently includes Salzer, Nielsen, Sherrie Rhodes, Kevin McNamara, Bob Ohlendorf, Shayla Smith, Max Sulzberger, Bill Flott, and Deb Karch.

Brandon LaChance is a journalist with The Paper. He can be reached at (815) 876-7941, blachance20@gmail.com, or on Twitter @LaChanceWriter.