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M-I community awards go online

MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE — In an effort to bring the “community” back into the annual Monmouth-Independence Community Awards Banquet, the voting and nomination process has gone online.

Monmouth-Independence Chamber of Commerce

Monmouth-Independence Chamber of Commerce

February 18, 2014

MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE — In an effort to bring the “community” back into the annual Monmouth-Independence Community Awards Banquet, the voting and nomination process has gone online.

The second round of voting starts Wednesday (today) on the chamber website, micc-or.org.

“It’s huge, a little scary huge,” said Kathy Martin-Willis, chairwoman of the community awards banquet. “For 49 years, it’s been a community awards banquet. This year, we wanted to focus on putting the community back in the whole process.”

For starters, every business that belongs to the chamber was up for the business awards, broken down into five categories: retail service, food and beverage service, professional or personal service, Nonprofit Organization of the Year and Business or Organization of the Year.

Kathy Martin-Willis

Kathy Martin-Willis

“We want to let people choose those (businesses) that they feel exemplify our community: giving back, service, overall friendly experience,” Martin-Willis said. “We’re letting people go through the categories and select who they really enjoy dealing with.”

The second half of the survey allowed participants to nominate people for First Citizen, Junior Citizen, Distinguished Service, Educator of the Year and Education Support Staff of the Year.

In spite of past efforts to slim down the nomination process, the awards haven’t raised much interest.

But the new online method has produced more community participation, Martin-Willis said.

Rather than include a nominee’s resume, letters of support and other extensive background, people had 200 words to describe why their nominee deserves a distinguished service award.

In the first 24 hours the survey was online, the chamber received 34 submissions, including nominations, Martin-Willis said.

Businesses have been narrowed down after the first round of voting.

Nominees for the citizen awards will be evaluated by a committee of people including business owners, students and members of the community.

Junior Citizen is new this year, and will be for a student in grades 5 through 12. Unlike in years past, it can be any student from any school within Central School District’s boundaries.

The Teacher of the Year award has been changed to Educator of the Year award, which opens the category up beyond teachers in the Central School District.

“Professors at Western Oregon University, private school teachers, preschool teachers are all now eligible for nomination,” Martin-Willis said. “Support Staff of the Year can be anyone who supports in education. It could be a janitor.”

Tickets are on sale now at the chamber for $40. The event will be held at Eola Hills Wine Cellars, 501 S. Highway 99W, Rickreall, on March 14. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6. Cocktail dress is encouraged.

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