The Bitterroot Chamber of Commerce has started a new year with plans to increase their involvement in helping businesses succeed in Ravalli County. And they want as many businesspeople as possible to join the organization and share their ideas and concerns.

The board recently hired Hamilton businessman and former Chamber of Commerce Board President Al Mitchell as the new Director, replacing Rick O'Brien. Al and Carol Mitchell own the Paper Clip on Main Street and Al has been instrumental in helping bring high school sports tournaments to the valley, which has been a nice business boost during the slow winter months.

Al and the board are having a Meet and Greet for chamber members and businesspeople Wednesday from 5pm to 7pm at the Bitterroot Valley Board of Realtors Office, 224 North 4th in Hamilton. There will be hors d'oeuvres and refreshments.

Also at the event will be most of the BR Chamber board, including president John Stevens, owner of Caffe Firenze in Florence, president-elect Jeff Fulleer of Rocky Mountain Bank in Stevensville and Don Johnston of Sterling Savings Bank.

They will be talking about plans this year and into the future. They also will be reminding you of the big fundraising and "fun-raising" event during Daly Days in Hamilton July 28. That's the annual 2012 Bitterroot Brewfest, which will be from 3pm to 10pm on Bedford, in the same location as the weekly Hamilton Farmers Market.