Good morning, and happy Friday.

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend the Pike County, IL Chamber of Commerce annual meeting at Collver Family Winery in Barry. First, it was nice to reconnect with a lot of folks, since I spent the better part of a quarter-century living and/or working in Pike County. It was also nice to be there just to enjoy the evening in my capacity as Pastor of Griggsville Christian Church, a chamber member.

As you might imagine, the evening was a celebration of the area business community, with recognitions handed out to individuals, businesses and community efforts. In the latter category, the group that has spearheaded the formation of the Western Community YMCA at the site of the old Catholic Church in Barry was cited. The one fact that came as a surprise to some was that tourism in Pike County generated some $21 million dollars in 2010. Tourism may not spring to mind when you think of Pike County, IL. But, when you think of places like Collver's, Heartland Lodge, Hopewell Winery and Sprague's Kinderhook Lodge, along with events like the annual Fall Color Drive, maybe it should.

All in all, northeast Missouri/west central Illinois has always been a good place to live, and more folks are finding it to be a good place to visit, as well.