Beer Drinkers Agree: Lake Havasu has a Bright Future

can of Bright Future beer

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

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, or call (928) 453-3444. Tell us your ideas or just come by to say hello. We want to hear from you.

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


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:

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

Locals Say Pokemon Go is “Good Clean Fun”


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.

What’s it Take to be the Best?


They call it the Five Pillars of Change, a road map to economic success created by Lake Havasu citizens, who will join other residents in guiding its path to success. The 11-Month Implementation Plan & Budget provides details on those actions from the Vision

20/20 Lake Havasu City Revitalization Plan that will be implemented through spring 2017. Each of the eight finalists received a $100,000 prize grant from competition sponsors Frontier Communications, DISH Network, CoBank and The Weather Channel.

Briefly, the Five Pillars identified by Vision 20/20 are: Economic Development and Job Creation, Education and Talent Supply, Tourism and Place Development, Water, and Community Engagement.

The funding will be earmarked for programs that include establishing a Virtual Entrepreneur Center; assisting businesses in Lake Havasu City with education, training and apprenticeships; creating a culture of Hospitality Excellence; and funding and implementation of a water research and environmental science center. Plans also include the Downtown catalyst project and expanding the current ASU Entrepreneur Outreach Network (Start Up School) whose services call for a mentor network for the business community.

“The judges want to see how well we initiate these programs with $100,000 in seed money before they select the $3 million top prize winner,” says James Gray, director of Lake Havasu City’s Partnership for Economic Development. “We need to show we can get maximum bang for the bucks they’ve already granted.”

Gray continues, “There was existing planning underway focused on the city’s future, but the ABC competition really supercharged our efforts to think long and hard about what would make Lake Havasu City an even better place to live in the future.

“Honestly, from where we were to where we are now, we’ve already won.”

Learn more about Vision 20/20 here:

Learn more about the competition here:

To see Lake Havasu City’s promotional video, log onto:

New Havasu Movie is a Matter of Taste



Jeff Janke and his wife Amber, owners of Jeff + Amber Destination Wedding Photographers, have poured family money into a $250,000 road trip film. The journey is sort of a rite of passage for its characters. It speaks to a younger demographic – young adults who find our shores a great destination for spring break. But the film isn’t everyone’s cup of tea by any means. In the tradition of American Pie and Animal House, it deals with scenes you may not want to watch while sitting next to your parents. Or your children for that matter.

Still, Highway to Havasu is, to use a play on words, “exposing” the beauty of this city to thousands of potential new visitors thanks to a national 30 to 40 city tour including Los Angeles, New York, and Phoenix. It co-stars Caleb Thomas who has guest starred in Modern Family, appeared on the Dr. Phil Show for his film work with the FBI Child ID app, and is the lead in Nickelodeon’s brand-new three-part original TV movie, Lost In The West. Thomas shares the spotlight with Andrew Fromer, guest star on Anger Management and The Nick Cannon Show, and Ben Edlin who co-produced, wrote and stared in the film, The Union.

The thing to remember is Highway to Havasu is not a promotional video by the Convention and Visitors Bureau. It’s not a commercial for the city. It was produced to sell tickets and includes scenes similar to what you might see in R-rated films. As such it resonates with a younger audience. Apparently, plenty of people not connected to the city like it: the film won two awards last February at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, including “Best Comedy Film” and the festival’s “People’s Choice Award” for feature films.

The film is certainly not for everyone. We also hasten to add, it’s entirely make-believe and has about as much to do with reality as a film about a lake full of piranhas.

“We love living in Lake Havasu City and wanted to share its beauty with a new audience of potential future visitors,” said Jeff Janke who is seeking an official R rating. “That’s why we chose to shoot it in Rotary Park, The Nautical Beachfront Resort, the channel, out on the lake – the characters are seen camping, off-roading, and riding personal watercraft. These are activities that drew my wife and I here in the first place.”

Janke continues, “We’re poking fun at an immature young persons’ lifestyle that most of us north of age 35 have since outgrown.”

“At theater showings outside of Lake Havasu, people have been telling me it reminded them of their own spring break experiences. They tell me their favorite Lake Havasu stories. These are people who first came to the city as young adults and later returned with their own families,” Janke says.

“Its story may be fiction, but the beauty of the lake is a real as anything.”

See the list of coming showings here:

Finally, a Pat on the Back … to Us

The DMO is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of the Destination Marketing Association International, 2025 M Street, N.W., Suite 500, Washington, D.C., 20036, USA, Ph. 202-296-7888.
The DMO is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of the Destination Marketing Association International, 2025 M Street, N.W., Suite 500, Washington, D.C., 20036, USA, Ph. 202-296-7888.

We’ve been praising the work of restaurants, hotels, special attractions and special events in town for so long, please excuse us if we give ourselves a pat on the back this time.

The Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) has again been awarded the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) seal by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI).

The CVB is what’s known as an accredited destination marketing organization (DMO). As such, we’re required to complete a re-accreditation process every four years. The seal we received in December 2015 recognizes our commitment to industry excellence and meeting industry standards for performance and accountability.

To maintain accreditation we must demonstrate excellence in nearly all aspects related to the management and marketing of Lake Havasu City, including governance, finance, human resources, sales, communications, destination development and research.

This means our advertising, brochures, website, special events, even the Visitor Information Center in the English Village, are as good as it gets.

“DMAP re-accreditation requires DMOs like the Lake Havasu City CVB to demonstrate their continued compliance across 16 disciplines, composed of 53 mandatory standards. It is globally recognized by the destination marketing industry as the highest achievement in destination management and marketing,” said Jack Wert, DMAP Board Chair.

“Only 210 DMOs across the world have obtained DMAP recognition,” said Doug Traub, President/CEO of the Lake Havasu City CVB.

“We are very proud to be among the leaders. There is no shortcut for excellence. Our Board looks very critically through a strategic lens at every dollar invested in tourism for our city to make sure it works as hard as it can.”

Love Lake Havasu City? Prove It in Pictures

Havasu Balloon Festival & Fair Lake Havasu City, AZ.
You want to be in pictures? Here’s your chance to win a $100 VISA gift card.
Launching this month on Facebook is the “I Love Lake Havasu City” photo contest wherein we ask you to submit original photos showing the people, places or things you love best about our commuinty. The winner will be determined by online voting from our 50,000+ Facebook community. The contest is open to fans of the CVB Facebook page.

The top three best photos will be announced in early March. In addition to the $100 VISA gift card for first place, second and third place winners will receive $50 and $25 gift cards respectively. We’ll send the champion shutterbugs a surprise Lake Havasu City-themed item from the Visitor Information Center store, where the winning photos will be posted for all to see during the entire month of March.