Today’s Spring Breakers Are Tomorrow’s Residents

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As spring break continues this month in full force, local residents above the age of, let’s say, 25, know it’s best to stay away from the Channel. The CVB anticipates the arrival of as many as 25,000 students from more than 40 schools throughout the U.S. Besides the shot in the arm that spring break brings to local rental services, restaurants and hotels, remember that today’s spring breakers very often turn into tomorrow’s residents.

This year a new spring break organizer is on the job. JusCollege, a Las Vegas-based company which offers travel packages, events and activities for college students, is welcoming spring breakers with open arms, as well as pool parties, sports tournaments, games, yoga and live music.

“JusCollege is a multimillion-dollar company, and year after year they’ve proven themselves. They were well received by the CVB, and we wanted to get away from the ruckus-type atmosphere,” CVB president Chip Shilosky told Today’s News-Herald.

“We want to give students an experience they can enjoy, to go home and remember, and one day come back after spring break is over,” Shilosky said.

JusCollege, which calls Lake Havasu the most popular drive-to spring break destination on the West Coast, this year also introduced the HeatWave Havasu Music Festival with world class DJs at its HQ property, the Nautical Beachfront Resort.

After hours, there’s a resident-pleasing Silent Disco for late night parties after midnight. Instead of loud speakers, dancers wear their own personal headsets.

But whatever your opinion of spring break, the city is being promoted to tens of thousands of millennials who once they marry and have families, may very well become neighbors, or buyers of your own home when you’re ready to sell.

Take Sativa Castellucci for instance, a 44-year-old married mother of two from Granada Hills, Calif., who was first introduced to the city during spring break in the mid 1990s.

As a child Sativa came to Lake Havasu with her mother and tent camped at Crazy Horse Campgrounds, learning to waterski at the age of five. As she got older, she would return for spring break with a best friend. Their favorite haunts were the bars Kokomo and Hussong’s, the Casa de Miguel Mexican restaurant, Copper Canyon for some cliff jumping, and other spring break pastimes.

“I didn’t have a boat, so I had to find guys with boats,” she laughs.

“It was pretty clean fun. It was all about meeting people. We were amazed that other students visited from all over the U.S. This was a big deal before the days of social media,” Sativa told us.

Married now for 16 years, she became a permanent resident when her husband received a job offer in the city. Sativa currently works from home running a clothing business called June Bird Designs.

“I’ve been coming to Lake Havasu my entire life. I started as a tourist and became a resident and have watched the city grow.”

“What really attracted me was the friendliness of everybody, and how the town has a strong community and everyone has a relaxed atmosphere, certainly in relation to the fast-paced California lifestyle. Besides, the weather here is great,” Sativa said.

Visit the CVB’s official Spring Break 2017 website at:

havasuspringbreak.com

Saluting New Nonstop Service Between Phoenix and Laughlin/Bullhead

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Traveling to Lake Havasu City is now easier than ever thanks to new nonstop service from Phoenix directly to Laughlin/Bullhead City, just an hour drive from our shores. You’ll be surprised how they greeted the first flight when it arrived.

The 100 spectators at Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport went wild when the first American Airlines non-stop flight arrived from Phoenix last month. The 70-seat jet was greeted by a water cannon salute – giant sprays of water from fire trucks as it taxied to a stop. A cake and champagne celebration followed for the lucky first passengers, which is a whole lot better than a tiny bag of pretzels if you ask us.

“We have been waiting for nonstop service between Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport (IFP) and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) for a really long time and were beyond excited when it landed,” said Jeremy Keating, Airport Director.

Adds John Hastings, President of the Mohave County Airport Authority, “The arrival of American Airlines marks a new era of economic growth and enhanced quality of life for the region as a whole. Each year, more than three million people come from around the country to stay at the region’s resorts, enjoy the Colorado River, and hike through the mountains of the Mohave Desert. Now, the airport will be able to connect those visitors and local residents to the international air travel network more efficiently.”

There is one midday flight per day each way, connecting through PHX with 307 daily flights serving 81 destinations in four countries. IFP’s extra long 8,500-ft. runway means it’s easier to take off in hot weather, thus reducing delays.

“We take pride in being such a convenient small airport. You can pull up to the front door to pick someone up. We have four rental car companies inside the terminal adjacent to baggage claim, with rental cars a short walk away,” said Keating.

“What’s more, the fares are competitive compared to flying to Las Vegas and driving 2-1/2 hours to Lake Havasu, not counting the shuttle bus to the LAS McCarran Rent-A-Car Center.”

Of course airfares change, and it depends on when you go, but recently Keating looked up a fare for one woman from Lake Havasu who flies to Miami through Las Vegas. It showed she could drive to IFP, park for free, and fly to Miami through Phoenix for less.

“There have been a lot of stories like that.”

When we heard the news about the new service, they had us at “free parking.” Indeed, you can park at IFP for free for 30 days. Try to find that at the Las Vegas Airport and you’ll be out of luck.

To book tickets, log onto www.AA.com.

Learn more about the Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport at FlyIFP.com, which believe it or not, stands for International Fun Place. Truly. You learned it here first.

See video of the arrival ceremony here:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/FlyIFP/videos/?ref=page_internal

CVB is Attracting New Events to the City

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Now here’s a little known fact about special events in Lake Havasu City: the Convention and Visitors Bureau has a full-time employee named Jackie Leatherman (no relation to the multi-tool) who works non-stop attracting special events to the area.

Recently she assisted in attracting two new events that will debut in Havasu this year – the Toughman Half Triathlon series and the Armored Combat League National Championships.

Triathletes from over 35 states arrive this month to compete in one of the premier triathlon races in the nation. When the Toughman Half Arizona joins the 14th annual Havasu Triathlon on March 18, it will be one of the earliest half-distance triathlons of the triathlon season.

Later this month, the Armored Combat League will bring armored knights to Lake Havasu City for the organization’s national championships, as competitors square off with blunted axes, swords and medieval combat weaponry.

Spectators will experience an exhilarating display of skill and bravery as the fully armored combatants face off with real weapons. The event, scheduled for March 25 to 26, 2017, will determine which of the league’s competitors will travel to Denmark in May for the organization’s world finals.

As the CVB arranges events for this year, they are also exploring further possibilities ahead. Among the ideas posed are a summer lake concert series, the possible screening of movies on the lakeshore, and a proposed wakeboarding competition on Lake Havasu.

According to Jackie, the organization is already in talks to bring a new, undisclosed off-shore racing tournament to Havasu.

The CVB is not only attempting to gain new events, but is soliciting the Havasu public for fresh ideas. Jackie can also provide advice on family reunions, regattas, or club outings. She speaks to event organizers 24/7 helping them bring the most exciting, most interesting, in some cases, totally unique only-in-Lake Havasu type attractions, both large and small, to town.

“In everyone’s lives, there are different events,” Jackie told Today’s News-Herald. “Some of them stand out more than others. We’re encouraging people to call and tell us their event ideas. What would they like to see here? We’re trying to offer more events that make sense in the summer months and early fall.”

In fact, come to think of it, Leatherman has the perfect last name. She can offer a veritable tool kit of assistance to any event organizer. To paraphrase the SNL ‘Church Lady’, “Now isn’t that special?”

For details about the Havasu Triathlon and Toughman Half Arizona, log onto:
http://www.golakehavasu.com/events/details/111/

Learn about the Havasu Armed Combat League U.S. Nationals at:
http://www.golakehavasu.com/events/details/287/havasu-armored-combat-league-us-nationals/

New Ad Campaign Emphasizes Events and Recreation

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Lake Havasu is getting the full Madison Avenue treatment for spring/summer 2017 as a series of ads launch in southern California, Phoenix, Las Vegas, as well as online.

The CVB has developed a multi-media ad campaign this spring that includes display advertising, magazine advertising, and TV commercials. The campaign will also be promoted through Facebook and Instagram. Those two services are a favorite of millennials, many of whom the CVB hopes will continue to return with their own families in years to come.

What’s more, Google AdWords will be purchased to ensure the city appears during online searches for keywords such as “fishing,” and “spring break.” Ads will also be placed on TripAdvisor which, not surprisingly, ranks visiting the London Bride as the number one thing to do in the city.

One major theme for the campaign is that fishing, boating and yes, even fun, are “always in season.” Visitors can also experience “Amazing Events Every Season,” according to another series of ads.

Most of the ad campaign will be placed on media reaching residents of Los Angeles. A Benchmark Visitor Study in 2014 indicated 33 percent of visitors come from the City of Angels, versus 18.5 percent from Phoenix and six percent from San Diego. Las Vegas ranked fourth at 4.5 percent.

In all, 377 TV spots in three regions are expected to make 20 million impressions.

“The emphasis on events as well as recreation reflects the increased role that events play in drawing visitors to the city, which increases both sales and lodging tax revenue, as well as generating more exposure throughout the U.S. and, depending on the event, parts of the world,” says Jason Castellucci, the CVB’s Director of Digital Marketing and chairman of the CVB’s Marketing Committee.

View the TV commercials here:

Beer Drinkers Agree: Lake Havasu has a Bright Future

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Beer drinkers everywhere in the city agree that Lake Havasu has a bright future. It’s particularly obvious in local stores and bars where the city’s rising stars under age 40 are being honored with a new locally-brewed beer. Imagine the surprise of 30 businesspeople under the age of 40 when they were recently recognized at College Street Brewery for their efforts in improving and shaping the Havasu community.

Expecting a (yawn) wall plaque or perhaps a Lucite desk clock, they received instead a case of locally brewed beer with their names on each can. But not just any beer. This was a brew called Bright Future Mandarin Pale Ale developed in a collaborative effort by all four local breweries: Barley Bros, College Street, Mudshark, and Outlaw.

The America’s Best Communities (ABC) Vision 20/20 Team “30 Under 40” event, which followed publication of a special Today’s News-Herald supplement honoring the city’s top young business leaders, was part of an effort to highlight the young leadership, skills and talent that already exists in Havasu.

The breweries crafted the beer while the Vision 20/20 committee customized the label and came up with the Bright Future name. Aymie Spitzer, another example of young local talent, created the graphics for the can and the corresponding website.

“One of the basic goals of our America’s Best Communities project is to help slow the aging of the community and recognize those younger professionals who represent the future growth of Lake Havasu,” said James Gray, director of the Lake Havasu City Partnership for Economic Development.

“Honoring Lake Havasu’s next generation of leaders could take us one step closer toward reversing a trend of ‘demographic starvation’ in Havasu – the aging and retirement of the present workforce, many who are baby boomers and older, without a younger workforce to replace it,” Gray continues, “We wanted a fun, unique way to highlight the millennials in our city. Since the city already has a thriving microbrewery scene, we thought a special brew could help us recognize our future business leaders in a way that expresses our appreciation for their talent.”

Gray is spearheading Lake Havasu’s entry in the America’s Best Communities competition. The city, which has already received $100,000, is one of eight finalists vying for a $3.5 million top prize that will go towards improving the quality of life here. The top three winning cities will be announced in April 2017. “Creating Bright Future Ale was a fun way to think outside the box, or in this instance, the case, and change the narrative of an aging workforce by emphasizing the city’s young talent pool,” Gray said.

If you were wondering, Bright Future is a brisk and bright pale ale that utilizes the unique citrus flavor and aroma of the Bavaria Mandarina hop variety. The pale ale was dry hopped with 30 lbs. of Bavaria Mandarina to achieve the subtle hint of mandarin orange and citrus notes. The beer finishes at a 5.7% alcohol by volume (AVB), with a mild bitterness and bold aroma.

Bright Future has a limited run. When it sells out you’ll have to wait until a new crop of leaders are selected for the 2017 awards. Until then, raise a glass and toast to our future.

Watch the video and see the list of award winners here:
Bright Future Mandarin Pale Ale

Learn about the local breweries and distilleries at golakehavasu.com

An Open Letter from Your Tourism President

To each and every Resident of Lake Havasu City,

I have finally settled into my position as President/CEO for the CVB and wanted to take a moment to express what an exciting opportunity this is for me, ranging from marketing Lake Havasu City as a major destination, to promotion of local events that draw thousands.

This transition for me from the public safety environment to tourism has been exciting and would not have been possible without the support of the excellent staff here at the Bureau and a Board of Directors committed to making Lake Havasu City America’s Best Community.

As I roll up my sleeves, it is my commitment to look outside the box, so to speak, and explore new marketing strategies that will ultimately generate increased visitation to our community.

To achieve our goals will require successful partnerships with all our stakeholders – chamber members, Partnership for Economic Development, the Lake Havasu Hospitality Association, homebuilders, civic groups, city leaders, non-profits, and others. This is our city. Working together in a spirit of mutual cooperation will benefit us all.

Special events bring an excitement to the city and makes this a more enjoyable place to live, not to mention the positive economic impact of thousands of visitors staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants, and otherwise contributing to the tax base. Lake Havasu City’s beautiful mountains, weather and lake are a great marketing tool for recruiting new events – we’re an attractive venue for event organizers representing a wide variety of activities.
First on the agenda is to look at events appropriate for hotter climates and the cooler winters, events that also enhance the quality of life within the community, both young and old.

Not all events need to be held outside, of course. Considering the city’s inventory of indoor venues, we’re looking to fill them up as well.
A great portion of our population has moved to Havasu from somewhere else so maybe you have an idea to bring your favorite event here. Just let us know and we’ll reach out to organizers to explain the wide variety of facilities and services we can offer.

There is no reason this town shouldn’t be busy every weekend. Events are a win/win for everyone.

It is my pleasure to serve as your President. Please stop by the office at 344 London Bridge Rd., visit our website at golakehavasu.com, or call (928) 453-3444. Tell us your ideas or just come by to say hello. We want to hear from you.

Sincerely,
Chip Shilosky
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House of Reps: “Don’t Box Us In”

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The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment in mid-July that would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from using federal funds to restrict recreational tubing, waterskiing or wakeboarding on Lake Havasu.

No changes are likely to occur on the lake until the legislation meets approval by the U.S. Senate, and is signed into law by President Obama.

“I’m pleased to see the House pass my bipartisan amendment and instruct the service to reopen Lake Havasu for all users,” said the amendment’s primary advocate, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ 4th District).

“The irresponsible and arbitrary boating restrictions made by the Service in May of 2015 should alarm all Americans who value the rule of law and a government that is accountable to the people it serves.”

In May 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expanded a no-wake zone in Lake Havasu National Wildlife Refuge. The restrictions drew city and county administrators’ disdain by inconveniencing boaters without any advance public notice, Gosar said, and was implemented two days prior to Memorial Day weekend.

Last April, Fish and Wildlife submitted a proposal that would effectively close large areas of the Refuge to motorized watercraft out of concern for the Refuge’s shoreline and wildlife. Those restrictions, however, could do irrevocable harm to the region’s recreation-based economy.

“This half-mile area is a place where families taught their children to ski and wakeboard,” Gosar said. “Several special needs children no longer have a safe place for these activities. Instead, these restrictions have created a safety risk as more people have been confined to a smaller space with boats traveling 70 miles per hour.”

Read the complete story here:

http://lhmarineassn.com/amendment-on-lake-havasu-restrictions-passes-u-s-house/

Volunteer Group CERTainly Contributes to the Safety of Visitors, First Responders

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Next time you’re at a special event like the Havasu Balloon Festival, Relics & Rods, the Renaissance Faire, triathlons or mountain bike races, look for the group in the bright orange safety vests and take a moment to thank them for their contribution to the community. Lake Havasu City CERTainly appreciates their support.

CERT, or Community Emergency Response Team, is part of a national program that educates individual volunteers about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area. Members are trained in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Locally there are 38 volunteers ages 30 to 70-plus from all walks of life, who provide first aid services at local events, and support firefighters while they’re working a blaze, a process called Firefighter Rehabilitation, or simply Rehab.

CERT volunteers report to fire scenes to switch out air packs and monitor the health of firefighters, especially when the weather is its hottest. According to Bob MacMillan, team leader, they provide personal restorative measures such as refilling air packs, providing sports drinks, coffee, snacks, cooling buckets and cold towels, and shady places to sit during hot weather, always keeping a watchful eye on the physical conditions of the working firefighters.

“They are involved at fire scenes with their own vehicles and supplies, and provide hydration to firefighters, as well as assist the Police Department and SWAT as needed,” said Convention & Visitors Bureau interim president Chip Shilosky, a former Fire Marshall Division Chief.

“They are a terrific asset to the community willing to do anything within their scope of training. Kudos to Bob MacMillan for making that happen.”

CERT, which donates over 2,000 hours a year to community service, is also installing Knox-Box Rapid Entry Systems around town. Inside are house keys that provide immediate entry into a home in case of emergency. CERT has installed over 300, each accessible only by firefighters, according to MacMillan.

Look for CERT’s bright orange vests at over 20 events a year and thank them for their help in keeping us all safe.

For more information, contact Bob MacMillan at macmillan@npgcable.com.

Locals Say Pokemon Go is “Good Clean Fun”

PokeGo

Hundreds come to the English Village to stare at their screens. They chase around town searching for imaginary monsters. Is Pokemon Go the next “pet rock” craze? Maybe so. But for now, the new online game, an international sensation, is generating business for local entrepreneurs.

There are “pocket monsters” lurking everywhere if you ask fans of this new pastime. Nintendo released the location-based augmented reality mobile game Pokémon Go  on July 6 for download in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. Over the next 24 hours, the game was installed on more U.S. Android phones than the dating app Tinder. Recent estimates are that downloads of the game has surpassed 100 million worldwide.

If you’re one of the few without the game, it works by dropping its user into the Poké-verse (a neon version of your exact location, Google Maps style), where the player physically walks through the world in search of rare Pokémon creatures. The point is to capture, battle and train Pokémon. It uses GPS and camera functions to place the other-worldly creatures within our day-to-day lives – the game is designed to appear as though players are capturing these creatures in the real world.

Unlike virtually all other video games, viral sensation Pokémon Go requires its players to get outside and walk around. It has encouraged masses of players to gather in places like the National Mall and Central Park in search of adorable little monsters. Its appeal in Lake Havasu City is no different. The city has no shortage of so-called Pokestops to attract Pokemasters to come and play.

“It motivates a generation of people to get up from their desktop computers and actually walk out of their homes and into the outdoors,” says the Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Jon Slater, Communications & Brand Specialist.  “It’s something for the millennial generation to share with each other. Luckily, we have no shortage of monsters for people to capture.” Based on what he’s seen and captured, he estimates that 124 of the game’s 150 Pokemon can be captured within Lake Havasu City.

Cinda Anderton, owner of Havasoap in the English Village calls it “good clean fun for everyone.” She says, “Imagine my surprise when someone told me there were monsters on my countertop. This has been like free advertising for us, especially after I offered a free $5 bar of soap to anyone who captures a monster in the store or just outside. Now, the monsters seem to multiply the more people capture them. Pokemon loves Havasoap. It has definitely introduced our store to new customers.”

Cinda continues, “I realize this could just be a fad, but I hope it doesn’t fade until well after I receive my new Pokemon molds so I can make natural goats milk soap for fans.”

Her husband, Director of Visitor Services Jan Kassies, who runs the Lake Havasu City Visitor Information Center, reports 200 to 300 people recently met to capture monsters, and he doesn’t mind a bit.

“Anything that brings people out to enjoy the English Village is a great thing,” he says.

“The fountain is running, we have trees and benches, and renovated bathrooms. Everything is painted and looking good. Plus, we have plenty of Pokemon monsters –  they’re everywhere.”

Long-time Lake Havasu City Resident is Interim Boss of CVB

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Born in Cambridge, Mass., Chip graduated from Lake Havasu City High School and along with his father and brothers, helped run the family karate studio, known in the city for 25 years as the House of Samurai.

Interested in public service, he gained certifications in firefighting, law enforcement, and public administration, which led to a 35-year career in the Lake Havasu City Fire Department, where he retired in April 2015 having achieved the rank of fire marshal/division chief. During this period he was president of the Arizona International Association of Arson Investigators and was honored as its Member of the Year.

In his spare time, Chip gave of himself selflessly, serving as president of the local school board, chairman of the Parks & Recreation advisory board, assisted in establishing the high school swim team, and currently works safety and rescue for the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series.

Meanwhile, he’s steering the CVB, helping it maintain a high level of service both to the local community as well as the tens of thousands of visitors who come to town each year. He serves on the search committee for the new CVB president, a position he hopes will be filled by early fall 2016.

“It’s important that our excellent staff continue its work to make this area the premier golf, fishing and boating destination in the southwest,” he says. “The new president of the CVB will be able to hit the ground running with a well-tuned marketing machine at his disposal.”

He and his wife Cathy, a retired real estate agent, will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary this fall. After his service with the CVB, they’ll spend more time together boating, camping, cruising, and enjoying the company of their two grown daughters and one granddaughter, who he tells us is a “chip” off the old block.