Look what’s cooking at the Shrimp Cook-Off until 6pm today!

Nearly three dozen cooks are preparing fresh wild caught Gulf shrimp until 6 p.m. today at the old Wal-Mart parking lot (future home of Sutherland). Take a look at some of the tasty dishes below! And, of course, a World Championship Shrimp Cook-Off tradition, The Agency will be on stage all day! Games, Vendors, Entertainment! Free parking. Admission: $4.00, under 10 years- $2.00.

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Sponsored by: City of Port Isabel ~ Port Isabel Economic Development Corporation ~ Sutherlands Express, LLC ~
Coleman Hall & Heinze Insurance ~ Port Isabel South Padre Press & Parade ~ Coastal Current Weekly ~ H. E. B. ~ AEP Texas ~  L & F Distributors / Budweiser ~ Texas Department of Agriculture ~ Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport

Snook Foundation holds meeting in Port Isabel

A group of like minded, focused anglers and board members of the Snook Foundation and the Port Isabel Chamber met at White Sands \"\"Restaurant on Friday, Marcy 6, for a meeting where Snook took presidence. Also in attendence were Danno Wise, local guide, writer and Snook Foundation Lower Laguna Madre Regional Director and Port Isabel Chamber Marketing Committee member; Calvin Byrd, Port Isabel Chamber Board Treasurer; Valerie Bates, Port Isabel Marketing Director and Betty Wells, Chamber Executive Director.  Aaron Reed, Snook Foundation Texas State Director led the discussion which included a variety of topics such as considerations for an October tournament focusing on Snook which will include species research. Board members of the Snook Foundation also attending included Rick Roberts, Executive Director and Kendal Larson, Director.

Other topics up for discussion were paddling trail projects in the Laguna Madre and Bahia Grande area and partnerships between the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the Snook Foundation and other groups interested in promoting the local Snook fishery and activities related to the Laguna Madre and the Bahia Grande.

The Snook Foundation Board is to be in communication with the Port Isabel Isabel Chamber of Commerce to finalize the planning of October Snook Tournament and will continue working together to identify and maximize the opportunities that the Snook species brings to the Laguna Madre area.

David Sikes, Corpus Christi Caller-Times Outdoor Writer, was also in attendance during Port Isabel March 6th Snook weekend events. Sikes publishes an article Thursday and Sundays and has posted Snook Foundation hopes to increase fish in Texas waters this weekend, see full story here: http://www.caller.com/news/2010/mar/20/snook-foundation-hopes-to-increase-fish-in-texas/.

For more information on the Snook Foundation, visit their website at www.snookfoundation.org.

FREE Hospitality Workshop by Texas Tropical Trail l SPI CVB 2/18

The Texas Tropical Trail Region will be hosting a Texas Friendly Hospitality Workshop in South Padre Island on February 18, 2010 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

This workshop is now being offered at no charge to anyone interested in attending but you will need to RSVP by February 12, 2010.

This workshop will include lunch and all the workshop materials. Location: South Padre Island Convention Center, 600 Padre Boulevard, South Padre Island.

Workshop Topics
– Community Pride, Customer Service, Know Your Community
– Personal & Phone Communication Skills, Make a Good First Impression
– Correspondence (Email & letters) Communication Skills , Handling Problems Effectively
– How Your Job Affects Your Community, Make a Good Last Impression

For registration form and other information, click here: http://www.texastropicaltrail.com/index.aspx?page=1475 or email Lane Hollingsworth, Regional Director at texastropicaltrail@yahoo.com.

Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce l February Newsletter online

\"\"Check out the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce February newsletter at: http://portisabel.org/newsletter/february2010.pdf

Letter from the President
Dear Chamber Members:
One month of the new year is already gone and our Winter Texan visitors have been arriving in good numbers.
Our 26th Annual Longest Causeway Run & Fitness Walk was a success in spite of the colder weather with a total registration of 2,654. For results and photos, please see other news in this issue of our newsletter.
The Chamber is starting to plan for its annual awards banquet and will also host a Winter Texan Shrimp Boil on February 24th. For more information on Chamber programs and activities, please contact the Chamber office.
I’d also like to remind you that our regular All Member meeting has been set for Friday, Feb. 5th  at 8:30 am at Pirates Landing. I look forward to seeing you there!

Betty Wells

26th Causeway Run A Success
More than 2500 participants competed in the 26th Annual Longest Causeway Run & Fitness Walk, held Saturday, Jan. 9.
“It was successful year for this event,” said Chamber President Betty Wells, “and it went very smoothly in spite of cold weather conditions.  We registered almost 1,000 competitive runners and over 1500 serious walkers.”

The event began at 10 am at the Port Isabel Community Center. Walkers finished their course at the base of the Queen Isabella Causeway on South Padre Island. Runners continued to Louie’s Backyard on the Island, where an awards luncheon and ceremonies were held. The top three overall male and female runners received cash prizes of $1,000, $600 and $400 respectively. A complete list of winners can be found at the Chamber website at www.portisabel.org.

The date for the 27th Annual Longest Causeway Run & Fitness Walk has been set for Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011.

Chamber to Host Winter Texan Shrimp Boil
The Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce will host a Winter Texan Shrimp Boil on Wednesday, Feb. 24th from 3-5 pm.

The event is designed to show our appreciation for our Winter Texans and will be limited to the first 200 tickets sold. Tickets are priced at $5 per person and are available at the Chamber office.

The event will be held in The Garden at the Lighthouse—the new patio area just opened next to Designer Consigner and operated by Glenda Stafford. “We really appreciate Glenda allowing us to have this event at her new facility,” said Chamber President Betty Wells. “It is a perfect venue for this type of activity.”

The shrimp boil will feature a Cajun shrimp boil meal, refreshments and live entertainment by Tom Wayne. For more information, contact the Chamber office at 943-2262.

Museums of Port Isabel Plan February Fundraiser
Viva la Revolution! is the theme for the annual Museums of Port Isabel fundraiser.

Scheduled to be held Friday, Feb. 12 at 7 pm at the Treasures of the Gulf Museum, the celebration features food, drink, music, an auction, and special Mexican Revolution exhibits and presentations. A highlight of the celebration will be the live opening of a Mexican Revolution era safe. Register your guess of what’s in the safe at participating businesses and you could win a prize to be awarded at the event.

Area restaurants and merchants have donated an array of items for the fundraiser, which is the 13th annual Essence of the Laguna Madre celebration. Tickets are priced at $50 per person and all proceeds benefit the museums.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the museums at (956) 943-7602 or email jrivera@copitx.com.

City of Port Isabel to receive TPW Grant for Boat Ramp Repair and Improvements
Port Isabel Mayor Joe E. Vega, Commissioner Memo Torres and City Manager Edward Meza returned Friday from a trip to Austin with news that the City of Port Isabel had been awarded $388,330 to renovate and improve the Pompano Park Boat Ramp located on Pompano Street in the Modern Venice area. During a January 28th meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in Austin a total of $2,545,249 in grants were awarded to 10 Texas projects for which local governments will operate and maintain the ramps in their communities.

Pompano Park Boat Ramp will have renovations and improvements to the boat ramp, parking area, bulkheads, restroom, utilities and lighting area. Funds received will also cover new construction for a courtesy dock and fish cleaning table.

Mayor Vega, Commissioner Torres and City Manager Meza expressed a sense of accomplishment with the news that the City Docks will soon be back in commission. “Fishing is such an important part of what Port Isabel has to offer and having the boat ramp and parking facilities back in business will make access to the Laguna Madre Bay and the great fishing we are known for so convenient for visiting anglers. We appreciate the partnership with TPW on this new project,” Mayor Joe Vega added.

Museums of Port Isabel “Telling Our Stories” Encore Causeway Collapse Presentation
Due to the response of Thursday’s Telling Our Stories’ “Queen Isabella Causeway Collapse”, two more presentations have been scheduled. February 4th at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. the Museums of Port Isabel will again be hosting the story of the day the bridge collapsed. Speaker, Valerie Bates.
For more information, contact the Port Isabel Museum at 956/943-7602.

South Padre Island CVB to Host Texas Friendly Hospitality Training Workshop 2/18

January 26, 2010                                                                               361-592-4603
South Padre Island CVB to Host Texas Friendly Hospitality Training Workshop
(South Padre Island TX) – The South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau will host a Texas Friendly Hospitality Training Workshop on Thursday, February 18. This Customer Service Workshop will be held from 9:30 am – 4:00 pm at the South Padre Island Convention Center.
The workshop will be coordinated by the Texas Tropical Trail Region heritage tourism initiative headquartered in Kingsville. The presentation was developed by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. The Texas Friendly program encourages business owners as well as employees to promote hospitality habits when dealing with local customers and visitors.
Sponsors include South Padre Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, South Padre Island Convention Center, Texas Agricultural Extension Service – Texas A&M University College Station, Travelodge – South Padre Island, South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce, and Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce.
Cost for the workshop is $15 per person which includes workshop materials and lunch. Lunch will be catered by Church’s Chicken. Each participant will receive a two piece chicken meal with mashed potatoes, biscuit, and a drink.
Throughout the workshop, participants will learn about community pride, personal & phone communication skills, correspondence (email & letter) communication skills, knowing your community, making a good first impression, how your job affects your community, handling problems effectively, and making a good last impression.
Workshop speakers will include Dan Quandt, Executive Director for the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, Miki McCarthy, Executive Director for the San Juan Economic Development Corporation, Valerie Nite, Program Coordinator for Texas Friendly – Texas Agricultural Extension Service and Lane Hollingsworth, Executive Director for the Texas Tropical Trail Region.   Certified Texas Friendly Hospitality Trainers will include Valerie Nite and Lane Hollingsworth, Executive Director for the Texas Tropical Trail Region.
\”In today hurry-up society, we sometimes forget how to slow down and treat the customer or visitor with respect and friendliness,\” said Hollingsworth. \”It is critical that tourism professionals and service providers remember that tourists need to have a positive experience when visiting the great state of Texas.\” According to Texas Economic Development, the state agency for economic development, tourism is a $40 billion industry in Texas each year.
Participants at the workshop will be given a certificate of completion. For more information about the Texas Friendly program or the Texas Tropical Trail Region, please contact Lane Hollingsworth, 361-592-4603, info@texastropicaltrail.com.