HJ - Chamber Banquet Speaker Burney

Juli Burney explains her reasons why more people need to laugh more during her presentation Monday, Feb. 4 at the Clarinda Chamber of Commerce annual banquet. (Herald-Journal photo)

According to Juli Burney, it’s OK to laugh at the joke at the office or at home because it will make you healthier.

“People are getting crabbier,” she told the Clarinda Chamber of Commerce annual banquet audience Feb. 4 at the Clarinda Country Club. “Humor is what saves us. We are all born with a sense of humor but as we grow up we are told to, ‘Wipe that smile off your face.’”

A teacher, entertainer and author living in Lincoln, Nebraska, Burney provided some comedy and motivation in her presentation.

Her research showed a 15 minutes of laughing a day is as healthy as jogging, “and you don’t need special clothes for laughing.”

An intense, from-the-gut five minute laugh has the health equivalency to running a rowing machine.

But what may be as important, is knowing when, and how, to confront someone who needs a laugh. While in the St. George, Utah, airport, she noticed a customer upset over the airline that was providing the commuter flight for 18 people, including Burney.

“It’s an opportunity,” Burney said.

She said the woman felt like the victim of the airline’s decisions and when Burney confronted the woman she said no one else felt like a victim. That caught the woman’s attention.

During the woman’s outburst, her cell phone hit Burney in the head. The woman apologized for the incident and told Burney the common phrase, “I’m not the brightest Crayon in the box.”

Further discussion lead to the woman saying she worked at Crayola, the makers of Crayons, which made everyone laugh.

Burney is also disappointed in road rage. She said the slow driver of the other car is “not out to get you” she told the audience. The older women who play cards don’t intentionally leave at a certain time only to frustrate other drivers on their way to their destinations, she explained.

“We take things too personally,” she said. “Find your joy and share it.”

Sponsors of the evening include Cornerstone Bank, Clarinda Youth Corporation, Bank Iowa, Clarinda Regional Health Center, Clarinda Herald-Journal, Eiler Place, NSK, NSK-AKS, Taylor Pharmacy, Lisle Corp., EZ Way Inc. and PCSB.

The annual Spirit of Clarinda awards were given to Mike Anderson and Clarinda Police Chief Keith Brothers. The nominations are from chamber members who note people who have contributed to the betterment of the community and chamber.

Anderson retired as manager of the Easter’s True Value store last year. During his 30-year plus career, he contributed to several chamber events and the chamber organization. Brothers was honored for his department’s assistance with security and traffic control for Clarinda’s annual parades and events.

Clarinda Mayor Lisa Hull informed the crowd of the city government’s activities during her first year as mayor. She was elected in 2017.

“It makes my head spin,” she said.

Hull said the square improvement project was nearly finished as some properties’ work won’t be done until spring. The city spent $60,000 on improvements for seven fire hydrants. “Public safety is number one,” Hull said.

Clarinda had 11 water main breaks in 2018 while the yearly average is four. Clarinda is addressing nuisance properties as the house at South 20th and West Main was demolished on Feb. 4.

The city assisted the county by using a $1 million grant to replace the East Washington Street bridge. Filters at the Lied Center pool were replaced.

Hull gave some highlights on what is expected in 2019 from the city.

A vacant lot on the east side of the square will be converted into a mini-park. Sidewalk around the square will be repaired. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is expected to visit Clarinda to formally announce the town’s involvement in Home Base, a program connecting veterans to available jobs.

Hull said more fire hydrants will be worked on this year and encouraged others to find people willing to join Clarinda’s volunteer fire department.

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