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Chamber celebrates business leaders

Cathy Whittlesey received a standing ovation Saturday evening for her community work, marking the culmination of Nevada City’s annual Chamber of Commerce awards ceremony and installation dinner.

“(We have) taken Cathy’s dedication for granted. … We are setting that straight,” said Pat Dyer of Nevada City in presenting the Elza Kilroy Community Service Award, which is seen as the most prestigious honor bestowed by the organization.

Dyer described the longtime chamber executive director as “ambitious,” “enthusiastic” and able to facilitate the development of many ideas sparked by area residents, such as the Constitution Day Parade, the Nevada City Classic bike race, the Mardi Gras Celebration, and most recently, the South Yuba River Citizens League Environmental Film Festival.



Whittlesey was clearly moved by the applause and gave credit to the many chamber volunteers.

Several other Nevada City business people were honored during the 104th annual event as well, which was held at the Miners Foundry.




Dave Painter, co-owner of SPD Market, received the evening’s surprise award, which was given by Don Fultz, president of the Nevada City Rotary Club. Each year, the organization names one business or business person who exemplifies the spirit of Rotary, Fultz said. This year, he said SPD was chosen because “I understand they never say no; they do so much for our community.”

Others who received honors included Lisa Gorbet and Joe Hash, who rebuilt the home at 416 Commercial Street after it was destroyed by fire in November 2004. Hash, a contractor, did most of the work himself, Whittlesey said. They were given the W. Lon Cooper New Construction Award.

Dix Sullivan, of the town’s Chinese Quarter Society, received the group’s award for the Dr. Leland and Sally Lewis Visual Arts Award. He said a plaque in Chinese script is expected to arrive in early February and will be installed at the memorial on Commercial Street honoring the area’s Chinese pioneers. The Nevada County Performing Arts Guild was given the Dr. Leland and Sally Lewis Performing Arts Award. Founded by Mila Johansen in 1981, the group has produced more than 80 shows and taught more than 2,000 children, garnering 28 Elly Awards along the way.

Tom Coleman, owner of the National Hotel in historic downtown, was recognized with the Stan Halls Architectural Award for the renovating of the Broad Street balcony.

Buck Love and the Humperheads, a band of well-known local musicians, received the chamber’s Live Music Award. The band entertains regularly in Nevada City. Members include Mikail Graham, Paul Kamm, Tom MacDonald, Bill Smart, Dave Smith and Mark Yedinak.

New board members were installed. Bob Buhlis, owner of the Nevada City Postal Company, and Denise Anderson, of Bank of America, were both reinstated in their respective positions as president and treasurer. The Union’s sales representative, Stacy Drake, was newly installed as vice president.

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To contact staff writer Brittany Retherford, e-mail brittanyr@theunion.com or call 477-4247.


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