Joplin Area Chamber hosts Sweet Treats Buffet

the Joplin Chamber of Commerce Leadership hosted Joplin Day with a Sweet Treat reception for lawmakers, captial staff and passers-by. In the foreground, Cini-Minis from event co-sponsors General Mills of Joplin await the rush.

Greg Salzer

the Joplin Chamber of Commerce Leadership hosted Joplin Day with a Sweet Treat reception for lawmakers, captial staff and passers-by. In the foreground, Cini-Minis from event co-sponsors General Mills of Joplin await the rush.

Greg Salzer

JEFFERSON CITY – Flowers and treats drew legislators, staff and visitors to the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce “Joplin in Bloom” Sweet Treat Reception April 20.

The Chamber Leadership Joplin Class of 2005 hosted Joplin Day at the Capital to sell Joplin to legislators.

In the past, the Leadership Joplin reception has typically included breakfast.

“This year we just decided to have an afternoon reception,” Stephanie McGraw said.

Sponsors of Joplin Day, including General Mills and Richardson’s Candy House, provided sweet treats, fruit and cake to share.

The reception start time, 2:30 p.m., coincided with the start of afternoon sessions for both the House and Senate. Many legislators sampled sweets before heading upstairs to their respective floors.

Rep. Bryan Stevenson (R-Joplin) stopped by the reception with his 19-day-old baby, Preston Stephenson, and his wife.

“We’re very excited and proud of our local representatives as a team,” McGraw said. “They all have important positions this year …”

The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce supports legislation that would benefit businesses and education.

Some of the Chamber’s state legislative action items for the 2005 session have already been passed by the General Assembly.

A reform of the workers compensation law was the first item on their list.

Gov. Matt Blunt signed into law reform bills on March 30.

“This meaningful piece of legislation will bring fairness to our state’s workers’ compensation laws and help free employers from frivolous rulings that hinder economic development,” Blunt said when he signed the bills.

Both the Senate and House are still working on a new school funding allocation formula for state schools, another issue supported by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.

Many of the 39 Leadership Joplin participants and board members who drove up from Joplin distributed gift baskets to lawmakers from Southwest Missouri.

For some, the trip to Jefferson City was their first trip to the Capitol.

They took advantage of the visit to tour the historic capital.

Thirty-four people participated in the Leadership Joplin Class 2005.

“[Leadership Joplin] is a professional development program for new leaders in an organization, a new community citizen within an organization,” McGraw said. “What we help do is we help them understand how Joplin works. We take them behind the scenes.”

Belinda Belle, an employee at the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks in Joplin, graduated from Leadership Joplin in 1997.

Belle said the class taught her how high tech Joplin has become, something she did not know even though she has lived in Joplin since 1978.

Belle has worked for the CBC for the past five years.

The CBC has a blood drive scheduled for Friday, April 29 at Missouri Southern. The Biology Club is sponsoring the drive.

“We appreciate the Biology Club doing this,” Belle said.

The Chamber Leadership Joplin class planned to stay in Jefferson City overnight and visit with other community Leadership classes on April 21.

The Chamber planned to take local legislators to Holt’s Summit Winery for dinner on April 20.

They also brought a plush Missouri Southern Lion along as a gift for Blunt’s new baby boy.