Finalists announced for Chamber Awards

The Cortez Area Chamber of Commerce will be honoring the winners of the Chamber Choice Awards on Saturday, March 23 at the annual Community Celebration Gala beginning at 6 p.m. The theme of this year's event is a speakeasy/casino night at the new Millennium Center for the Performing Arts, located at 20 W. Main in downtown Cortez.

Perry D. Lewis, from Geeks on Grand and Chamber Board President, will be the master of ceremonies for the evening that will include a speakeasy style buffet, a full cash bar and professional casino games complete with local celebrity dealers. There will be door prizes and drawings for prizes.

The Cortez Journal's Citizen of the Year Award honors a person who has made a significant contribution to the community's quality of life through their involvement in any of a variety of community activities including charity, youth, educational, patriotic, religious or other like activities. There are three finalists for this prestigious award: Johnny Mosher, Becky Brunk and MB McAfee.

One business will receive the Dad and Daughter's Agribusiness of the Year Award, which is given to a business that has demonstrated exceptional performance in the agribusiness sector such as - farming and ranching, education, government service or other agribusiness related areas. The top three finalists in this category are: The Farm Bistro, Southwest Seed and the Jones Farm.

The Four Corners Character Council will honor one outstanding volunteer of the year who is consistently a positive role model, has demonstrated strong leadership qualities and has contributed to the community individually or as part of a team. The following finalists are individuals who have inspired others through their own initiative, enthusiasm and commitment: Patsy Brown, Orly Lucero and Linley Leonard.

Empire Electric celebrates excellence in environmentally friendly practices, strategies and/or products. They recognize the most innovative, ambitious and effective green initiatives for achieving sustainability and implementing energy efficient measures to reduce energy usage. Cortez School District RE-1, Ute Mountain Farm and Ranch or Muscanell Millworks will be the notable winner of this year's Green Business of the Year Award.

The Dolores State Bank's Unsung Hero Award will be presented to a remarkable person who has made a substantial yet widely unrecognized or uncelebrated social impact. An unsung hero acts nobly and challenges others to believe in something more. Finalists for this extraordinary award are: Leigh Waggoner, Jody Chinn and Rose Jergens.

The public is invited to come congratulate and celebrate with all of these top businesses and professionals who have given so much to the community. Tickets are $35 and include $200 worth of gaming chips to start your play and more chips will be available for purchase. This event is open to the entire community and tickets must be purchased in advance by calling the Cortez Area Chamber of Commerce at 565-3414.