December 13, 2017

Chamber and Dignitaries Honor Topangans At 61st Annual Awards Celebration

 

PHOTOS BY KATIE DALSEMER

Chamber and Dignitaries Honor Topangans At 61st Annual Awards  Celebration

Lynn Dickhoff was named Citizen of the Year at the Topanga Chamber of Commerce’s 61st Annual Awards celebration.

Froggy’s Topanga Fish Market rose to the occasion and transformed itself into a banquet hall in anticipation of the Topanga Chamber of Commerce’s 61st Annual Awards Celebration on Saturday, February 20. Everyone seemed to be happy to be there and excited to honor its chosen awardees: Lynn Dickhoff, Citizen of the Year; Briand and Mary Beth Gibson of Yoga Desa, Storefront Business of the Year; and a special award to Steve and Leslie Carlson and daughter Kristen, owners of Pine Tree Circle.

Chamber and Dignitaries Honor Topangans At 61st Annual Awards  Celebration

Topanga Chamber of Commerce 2009 honorees are (left to right), Steve and Leslie Carlson, owners of Pine Tree Circle for their Outstanding Contribution to the Topanga Business Community; Brian and Mary Beth Gibson of Yoga Desa, Storefront Business of the Year; and Lynn Dickhoff, Citizen of the Year.

After the welcome and some introductory comments by incoming Chamber president Bruce Royer, Arthur Nissman led the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by Catherine McClenahan singing the National Anthem.

Acknowledging outgoing president Kamakshi Hart, Royer said, “It is my pleasure to take over at the level Kamakshi built it to and will build on that foundation.” He then listed some of the 2010 goals: “This year we want to break the 200-membership mark and to that end, have added a new position: Membership Ambassador, Adam Scott. We will reach out to businesses and other chambers around the Topanga area in an exchange of ideas and commerce. We are excited to support Lynn Haigh’s continuing effort, Yes on State Parks, because the amount of business that comes to California through state parks is substantial. We are supporting the 2010 Census and will be reaching out to all businesses in Topanga because Everyone Counts. Our new website will be a place where events can be uploaded for the whole year and all organizations are invited to be represented.

Chamber and Dignitaries Honor Topangans At 61st Annual Awards  Celebration

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky inducts the 2010 Topanga Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “These are the leaders that will lead you forward into full economic recovery,” he said. Notice how everyone is laughing.

“We have added yet another position, that of Professional Development and Community Liaison, to reach out to all organizations and provide workshops and seminars, that Kamakshi Hart has consented to lead this year.”

He then called Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky to the stage: “We have prepared a new Chamber Emergency Preparedness kit for you that includes a Topanga Kleen Kanteen, a Topanga t-shirt ‘for hiking,’ a guide to Topanga to enjoy the restaurants and all that Topanga has to offer, and a bag to carry it in. “

Thanking him, the Supervisor replied, “This is a very special community and we are thankful. These are the leaders that will lead you forward into full economic recovery. (Pause) No pressure, Bruce!”

Royer gracefully recovered from the moment to introduce the first gift presented from the Topanga Chamber Giving fund: $500 to the Town Council’s newly formed Canyon Sages whose mission is to identify and assist seniors in the Canyon. Town Council President Stacey Sledge accepted the award.

Chamber and Dignitaries Honor Topangans At 61st Annual Awards  Celebration

State and County officials pose with some of Topanga’s movers and shakers at the Chamber’s Annual Awards dinner. Left to right: State Senator Fran Pavley, Alli Acker, Capt. Joe Stephens of Lost Hills Sheriffs station, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Sr. Field Deputy Susan Nissman, Arthur Nissman (behind), Susan Clark and Bruce Royer.

“This is wonderful,” she said admiring the gift. “Along with County services we put an organization together to help serve the needs of the community. We will ask our elders what they need and where can we support them. We have already identified about 100 seniors and have all ages in this group up to 100 years old.” Sledge thanked the Chamber and acknowledging everyone in the room, added, “The key to leadership is to surround yourself with great people.”

Yaroslavsky then proceeded to induct the 2010 Board members but first paid tribute to the Topanga community. “Thank you for the opportunity to serve you as a member of the Board of Supervisors. When I started this job, someone told me, ‘this is the only unincorporated area in your district. It is one percent of your district and will take up 50 percent of your time.’

“This is one of the great jewels in the entire County. You live here, and sometimes you take it for granted, but most of you don’t. You have this incredible beauty that is close to one of the major urban cities in the world. We have tried to save every nook and cranny and will continue as long as we can.”

He then presented a Certificate of Recognition to Lynn Dickhoff as Citizen of the Year, commenting that these certificates had all five signatures of the County Supervisors, evidently a rarity. In turn, he presented plaques to Yoga Desa, Storefront Business of the Year, and finally, to Leslie and Steve Carlson, owners of Pine Tree Circle (and to daughter, Kristen, who is also an owner), for their Outstanding Contribution to the Topanga Business Community, saying, “They have a special place in our office hall of fame. When we wanted to build the library, we needed a strip of land they owned. They donated the land. The library would not be possible without their spirit of generosity. It’s under construction and not going as fast as we would like, but it’s going.”

Chamber and Dignitaries Honor Topangans At 61st Annual Awards  Celebration

Catherine McClenahan singing the National Anthem.

Senator Fran Pavley recognized awardees with certificates from her office and stood in for Assemblywoman Julia Brownley who was unable to attend. When Captain Joe Stevens of Lost Hills Sheriffs station presented Yoga Desa with their certificate, he confided, “I just turned 49 and started taking yoga two months ago. I wish I had done it earlier.”

Royer then presented the Chamber’s award. Each awardee received a framed original painting of the table centerpiece artwork by Robyn Feeley. Dickhoff was acknowledged as “the epitome of true volunteerism … a quiet soul who gives and gives and gives.” Brian and Mary Beth Gibson of Yoga Desa were recognized for “contributing substantially to the greater Topanga community … and serving as a meeting place for both social and business events and many non-profit community organizations.” And the Carlsons for “preserving the integrity of Topanga … rejecting numerous advances from chain stores, restaurants and businesses they deem as unsuitable to maintaining a safe, healthy and family-oriented community. Their courage to stay aligned with their values in the world of business is exemplary.”

Finally, the people who transformed Froggy’s from our beloved Fish Market into a banquet hall, need to be acknowledged, as well. Julie Retzlaff was Event Coordinator; Susan Landau provided the hors d’oeuvres; Froggy’s Lance Roberts provided the dinner buffet and venue; Robyn Feeley created the Awards Art; Teresa Rosati-Royer was up before dawn to go to the flower market and created the beautiful floral arrangements; and Jim Machowski on sound made everyone wrestling with a microphone sound good.