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Nominees named for Chamber award
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The Ceres Chamber of Commerce has announced the nominees for several awards to be doled out at the 47th annual Community Service Awards & Installation Dinner which is set for 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 29 at the Ceres Community Center, 2701 Fourth Street.

Since 1969, the Ceres Chamber of Commerce has recognized outstanding members of our community who have made extraordinary contributions in community service. This year, the categories for the 2015 Community Service Awards include Distinguished Service Award, Citizen of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award, Young Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Business of the Year, Downtown Business of the Year and the Legacy Award.

The person who will be honored with the Citizen of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award will be selected not by open nomination but by past award recipients.

Throughout December, the Chamber received nominations in eight categories. Nominees will be selected through an online balloting at through Jan. 22.

"We've opened up voting to the community simply because when businesses become members, it entitles their employees to participate in Chamber events, including voting," said Chamber Office Manager Dovie Wilson. "Because not all employees use their business email address, it's much harder to track, so we decided to allow all citizens to vote."

Three have been nominated for Distinguished Award. They are Courier editor Jeff Benziger, county Supervisor Jim DeMartini and Lonny Davis of Hope Haven West.

Young Citizen of the Year nominees are Kendall Meyer and Michael Thompson.

Volunteer of the Year nominees are the American Legion Post #491, Lisa Mantarro Moore and Lou Toste.

Nominated for Business of the Year are Exit Realty and Supermom's Frozen Yogurt.

Ceres Dry Cleaners and Sole Save Shoe Repair are up for the Downtown Business of the Year honors.

The Legacy Award will go to either Alfonso's Mexican Grill or Superior Fruit Ranch. The Legacy Award honors individuals and/or businesses that have contributed through service, support or volunteer efforts, to the Ceres community for more than 40 years.

The Service Club of the Year award has several nominations: Center for Human Services/Ceres Partnership, Ceres Garden Club, Ceres Masonic Center, Ceres Rotary Club, Soroptimist International of Ceres and although technically not service clubs the Howard Training Center and Love Ceres.

The nominees of the "Citizen of the Year: Lifetime Achievement" award are not publicly released in advance and the winner is selected only by past recipients of the award.

New this year, the Chamber will be employing the auction expertise of Pacific Auction Company of Davis. PAC auctioneer C.J. Brantley, of Modesto, will be auctioning off several items including an 8-day/7-night Anderson Valley Wine Country Ridge-top Vacation Home that sits within distance of 33 local wineries on the western edge of Mendocino County. Also to be auctioned will be an 8-day/7-night stay in a three-bedroom private condominium in Los Cabos, Mexico, art work, fine wine, and autographed sports memorabilia.

The Chamber is also hoping to have on site for viewing, the 2016 Ford F-150 Super Crew 4x4 truck that it plans on giving away at this year's Ceres Street Faire in May.

"We are just waiting to hear from Country Ford Trucks that the truck has come in so that we can have it at the event," said Wilson.

Only 650 tickets, at $100 each, will be sold for the first-time giveaway now until the Street Faire.

The annual banquet will also call for installation of new Chamber officers Narinder Bahia, Becki Barton-Nicholes, John "JC" Curtis, Octavio Gutierrez, Lea Ann Hoogestraat, Geri Lewis, Juan Romo and Benjamin Sivils. The Board of Directors has voted to re-elect Renee Ledbetter as president and Helen Condit as vice president, each to another two-year term. Outgoing board members will also be recognized.

Tickets for the event are $35 per person or $300 for a table of eight, which includes complimentary wine. Gold Sponsorships of $500 are also available and include a table for eight, complimentary wine, two free drink tickets per person, recognition on the Chamber's website and the event program, emcee recognition and a table sign. Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at 537-2601 or at the Chamber office at 2938 Fourth Street, Suite A in downtown.