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City of Newport Announces 2021 Community Vision Award Winner

Newport City Hall

The City of Newport’s Vision Advisory Committee created the Community Vision Awards in 2020 to give the community an annual opportunity to recognize and reward the many community helpers. Many people and organizations in the Greater Newport Area are busy implementing components of the Vision 2040 Plan, whether they are aware of it or not.

Despite another year during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 proved to be a year of people and organizations continuing to work toward implementing the Vision 2040 plan for the future and making a positive impact in the Greater Newport Area. Twenty well-deserving individuals or organizations are receiving a Community Vision Award in 2021.

To help increase the community’s knowledge of the Vision 2040 plan, the award categories were organized under the Vision’s six focus areas. Based on community feedback during 2020’s Awards, Volunteers, Employees, 501(c)(3) Nonprofits, and Businesses were eligible for recognition. Due to the number of nominations in 2021, all eligible nominees received awards without need for a Voters Choice phase.

Read on for a synopsis of the winners’ nominations, or visit tinyurl.com/2021communityvisionawards for in-depth information on this year’s

Awardees, including their personal responses to their recognition and how to support their efforts in 2022. Para ver en español: tinyurl.com/lospremiosvision2021

 

In the Preserving and Enjoying Our Environment Focus Area, the 2021 Community Vision Award winners are Ryan Parker, Consuelo Kammerer, Thompson’s Sanitary, Paul Seitz, and the Ultralife Café.

Ryan Parker’s nomination stated, “City Councilor Ryan Parker led the efforts to recruit and establish more EV charging locations around our community and also led the push to ban the EPS foam in take-out containers in our local dining establishments. I am so thrilled to see these efforts and I know it works to achieve our goal of preserving our environment. I am grateful for his efforts.”

Consuelo Kammerer’s nomination reported that she “works tirelessly to fight plastic pollution in our community. She walks the beach every day and removes trash (her dog, Rocky, helps carry it). Additionally, Consuelo has worked to pass plastic ordinances in Newport (most recently the foodware and food accessory ordinance in December 2021). She has put in many hours going door-to-door to businesses talking about reducing their single-use plastic use and explaining how proposed ordinances might impact them. Consuelo has also worked a lot with youth both in the school system and outside of it to educate them on plastic pollution and to help them find solutions within their daily lives. Her passion for the environment and for finding solutions to environmental problems is inspiring.”

Thompson’s Sanitary’s nominator reported that “Thompson’s Sanitary goes above and beyond to educate the community about responsible waste management. They go above and beyond supporting community cleanups. Thompson’s work with the Green Schools program is building leadership within our local youth. Their work goes well beyond our community to state-level decisions on waste management and sustainability.”

District Manager of the Lincoln County Solid Waste Consortium, Paul Seitz’s nominator states, “Paul’s enthusiasm, teamwork, and creativity make him wonderful at his job. He values collaboration to make projects as strong as possible. Paul is a terrific communicator, both internally and with the public. On the surface, being the Solid Waste Director for the County may sound boring, but Paul keeps things fun and lighthearted even when working through problems. His collaborative spirit helps on so many levels of waste reduction and compost education. He has also supported many community food-growing projects with his creative problem-solving ideas and exemplary community networking.”

Ultralife Cafe was nominated because “In its new location at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, Ultralife Café demonstrates its commitment to implementing and expanding environmentally sustainable practices. The café’s owner, Matt Harner, sources coffee cups and take-out containers that have a low carbon footprint, and he is committed to working with the Hatfield community as he further implements strategies that minimize packaging and waste. Ultralife offers a 25-cent discount to customers who bring their own reusable beverage containers, and the café recently participated in the HMSC Green Team’s Bring Your Cup to the Café challenge to help raise awareness about effective waste-reduction habits. Those of us who work, live, and play in South Beach not only appreciate that Ultralife Café opened in the OSU Marine Studies Building mid-pandemic, but also that the business has a vision to implement practices that minimize harm to ocean and coastal environments.”

The Creating New Businesses and Jobs Focus Area’s 2021 Community Vision Award winner is Margarita Macchia Osio. Margarita’s nominator reports “Margarita was nominated by the Oregon Employment Department to receive recognition during 2021 Public Service Recognition Week for her work as an Ambassador of Public Service. Work that has served so that many members of the community achieve their dream to achieve or improve their employment.” Margarita’s peers and supervisors say, “nominated for starting up Spanish-language, statewide virtual job seeker workshops for WorkSource customers and ensuring a high-quality Spanish online claim form for UI (Unemployment Insurance), along with providing many other translations throughout our Covid -19 response.”

Learning, Exploring, and Creating New Horizons 2021 Community Vision Award winners are Neighbors for Kids, and Joseph and Christina Swafford.

Neighbors for Kids were nominated because: “From holiday gift drives, to take home enrichment activities, to nutritious freshly cooked meals, Neighbors For Kids (NFK) has gone above and beyond to support our community during the difficult past two years of the pandemic. NFK strives to eliminate barriers to childcare by providing inclusive services with sliding scale fees, scholarships and quality year-round programming for families in Lincoln County. In addition, after identifying transportation as a significant barrier to childcare, NFK acquired 12-passenger vans to transport students to and from their after-school program and summer day camp. Their activities with youth have included outdoor recreation such as kayaking, surfing, rowing and hiking, as well activities such as visual arts, music, educational field trips, hands-on scientific inquiries, and much more. At the Kids Zone, the staff strike a great balance between fun and education. Without NFK, many families would not be able to afford childcare or have out-of-school-time programs available.”

The nomination of Christina and Joseph Swafford reads, “Joe and Christina Swafford know the importance of community. In their retirement, the Swaffords have worked tirelessly with the Hospitality Committee of the Newport Symphony Orchestra, which Christina chairs and Joe serves on. The committee feeds the NSO’s musicians, sometimes 50 or more of them, at rehearsals. The Swaffords mobilize the group to make sandwiches, soups, dessert and more. Christina always pitches in with her amazing culinary skills. Despite its small budget, the NSO continues to attract some of the most talented musicians in the region, who all love coming to Newport to play, in part because of the work of the Hospitality Committee. Joe and Christina should be commended for helping to ensure that our community gets to enjoy the incredible music of the NSO.”

Improving Community Health and Safety’s 2021 Community Vision Award Winners are Bob Berman, Food Share of Lincoln County, Asia Richardson, Friends of the Lincoln County Animal Shelter (FOLCAS), La Juquilita, and Canales Catering (previously Break Time Catering).

Bob Berman was nominated for his tireless community volunteerism. His nomination includes his 2021 volunteer activities, including: Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) Counselor, Newport 60+ Activity Center Advisory Committee, Meals on Wheels Delivery Driver, Newport Planning Commission, Newport TSP Project Advisory Committee, AARP TaxAide, Tax Preparer & Tax Options Advisor, Newport Budget Committee, Surfrider Foundation, Blue Water Task Force. Bob has been a volunteer with other organizations over the years, including, VAC, PAC, OSU Hatfield Marine Sciences Center, Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, Community Emergency Response Team, Newport 60+ Center, and the Oregon State University Extension Service.

The nominator of Food Share of Lincoln County explains that this organization wasnominated because “it has played a very important role during the Covid pandemic, responding with immediate nutritious food boxes to the community at times when families or individuals have been quarantined due to Covid or other financial circumstances. Another area of support has been the provision of food for preparation at hot meal sites. The work done by Food Share has supported many people in our community at vulnerable times. Their staff are always very attentive and willing to support the needs of the community. It is a privilege to have this support in our community and especially to know that they are prepared to respond immediately to the needs of the community.”

Asia Richardson’s nominator reported that “There is no bigger heart in Newport than Asia Richardson’s. Asia has served on the board of the Lincoln County Foster Parent Association for four years, recently stepping into the role of president. The all- volunteer Lincoln County Foster Parent Association serves a tremendous need in the county, with a mission to ‘improve the quality of life for foster families in Lincoln County by providing opportunities for activities, clothing, toys, books, and more.’ For Asia, work with the Foster Parent Association goes far beyond the theoretical: She and her husband, Ollie, have been foster parents themselves, fostering a number of children since 2016. In her work with the Association, Asia has spearheaded Christmas activities and gift drives for foster families, assembled COVID support baskets, started support groups, and has helped out with the Hope Chest project.”

The Friends of the Lincoln County Animal Shelter was nominated because “The Pick of the Litter thrift store, a project of Friends of Lincoln County Animals (FOLCAS), benefits a large segment of our community by offering quality goods at affordable prices so that everyone’s dollars go further. POTL supports the Animal Shelter by covering all spay/neuter-related costs for shelter animals. Many more dollars are paid to our local vets to help with the cost of medical and dental care so local residents can keep their beloved companion animals healthy and at their side. As of year-end 2021, income from Pick of the Litter, established in 2009, has enabled FOLCAS to spend more than a million dollars to improve the quality of life of thousands of local animals and the people who care for them.”

La Juquilita’s nominator states that this business “has been a critical partner to expand access to COVID-19 vaccinations and testing for Latino/a/x and Hispanic community members. They hosted many vaccination clinics in 2021 at their business. Having a community-based business that is central to the community being a location for vaccinations made it easier for more people to get vaccinated. This has had a huge impact on supporting health equity and increasing access to important services to community members that were previously having difficulty accessing vaccination services.”

Canales Catering (Previously Break Time Catering)’s nomination states, “This business was a critical partner to expand access to COVID-19 vaccinations and testing for Latino/a/x and Hispanic community members. They participated in vaccination clinics by providing catering services that were incentives for people to participate. They were part of an effective outreach method to bring together people, food, and health care services. This included several community clinics as well as a La Fiesta Latina event during the Lincoln County Fair. Their participation in COVID-19 vaccination clinics had a huge impact on supporting health equity and increasing access to important services to community members that were previously having difficulty accessing vaccination services.”

Fostering Collaboration and Engagement’s 2021 Community Vision Award Winners are Maria Pacheco, KYAQ, Tom Hurst, Cathey Briggs, Wanda Janes, and Ralph Breitenstein.

Maria Pacheco was nominated “because she is a person who has been willing to support when there are opportunities to help the community, whether it is helping in the preparation of hot meals at the Episcopal Church or helping in the spiritual area at the church she participates in. Her volunteer work in the church highlights a great job in listening to Latinx/o/a or Mesoamerican Indigenous people about their spiritual requests and connecting them with the church. She has also been willing to support in the area of disaster preparedness information through LISTOS during virtual sessions or radio. Maria has been very involved in different areas in the community and always does it with enthusiasm. Thank you very much Maria for being available to support us!”

KYAQ Radio 91.7 FM was nominated because “KYAQ is the only community radio station in Lincoln County, broadcasting a broad range of programming and supporting the Latino, Indigenous, LGBTQ communities. KYAQ carries local news, emergency PSAs, and local COVID-19 updates. Music shows are locally produced. The staff is all-volunteer, including the Executive Director, Frankie Trujillo Dalbey, the Station Manager, Bill Dalbey, and all of the music/public affairs producers.”

Tom Hurst’s nominator reports that Tom “has been the volunteer President of the Central Coast Soccer Association (CCSA) for eight years. CCSA provides the opportunity for hundreds of kids ages 5-12 in the greater Newport area to play soccer every year, including 2021 during the pandemic. Tom runs two regular soccer seasons (three months long) each year and oversees all logistics that make the league successful, including registration, recruiting volunteer coaches, and establishing teams and schedules. Tom believes that no child should miss out on playing soccer due to financial limitations. Under his leadership of CCSA, Tom established scholarships so any kid who wants to play, can play. Soccer unites people from all backgrounds in Newport, and CCSA provides the backbone that supports these friendships. Due to the leadership and action of Tom Hurst, youth soccer in Newport is accessible, fun, and beneficial for hundreds of kids every year, which provides lasting and positive connections across our whole community.”

Cathey Briggs received two nominations in two Focus Areas. Her first nominator reports that “Cathey’s volunteer efforts have made a positive impact in the Greater Newport area in 2021. Over the last year, she has volunteered on a regular basis as an individual for the following organizations: Pick of the Litter resale store, Visual Arts Center Gallery, Coastal Arts Guild – Art Bus and other kids programs, Oregon Coast Council for the Arts, Food Share Donation Cans, City Beautification with Anita Albrecht, Daily litter pick-up throughout Nye Beach, Group Beach clean-ups in cooperation with City of Newport and/or Surfrider Foundation and SOLV. Through her group organizing and example, she has cultivated the community’s spirit of collaboration and engagement.” Cathey’s second nominator shared: Cathey is a consistent and dedicated presence in the Nye Beach area. On a nearly-daily (and often twice a day!) she walks the entire Nye Beach neighborhood area picking up trash. She is passionate about Nye Beach, public beautification and the environment. I’m so impressed by her quiet, consistent dedication to the beautification of our community… She is one of those leaders who goes about her work quietly, passionately, and consistently without looking for anything in return and yet she leaves our community better than how she found it on a regular basis.”

Wanda Janes nominator reports that “Wanda is one of the volunteers at the American Legion. She has been in charge of making sure that our community has had a hot Thanksgiving dinner serving up to 700 meals. She also is the head of the Kids Christmas Event each year. In 2021, this event provided over 600 toys for kids. She goes above and beyond to help out our community in times of need even if it’s just to rent or use the banquet room. She is always there to help out. We need more caring people like her.”

Ralph Breitenstein’s nominator stated that “from the moment Ralph Breitenstein stepped up to serve on the Pacific Communities Hospital Board, he had a vision for Newport. As a physician, dedicated community citizen Newport has been blessed by his permanent residency. Ralph not only created a cogent financial and benefit talk, he got out in the community and stumped for a new hospital. His tireless campaign and dedicated outreach allowed for Pacific Samaritan Hospital. The measure passed and we now have an amazing medical center. Dr. Ralph Breitenstein is responsible for the passage and continued evolution of the hospital. Ralph continued as an active Newport citizen to build community unlike no other citizen in Newport. He is the missing link in Newport’s resurrection of community leadership. Ralph Breitenstein is the vision of the 2040 Vision Plan. He continues to advocate, organize and bring community to the table. This was not a short-term project. As we look at the plan and the present leadership his vision has blossomed and we can see a bright, healthy future. I have seen the movers and shakers in Newport and Ralph takes the prize for exceptional duty and dedication. He deserves to be celebrated!”

The 2021 Community Vision Award winners will receive a locally-made trophy and a $200 gift card. As in 2020’s Awards, some winners (including those whose jobs make them ineligible for gifts) will be forwarding their gift cards to local organizations or causes aligned with their work.

The City of Newport celebrates the efforts of all these volunteers, employees, organizations, and businesses. The City also encourages its residents, neighbors, and friends to support each of these important endeavors.

For additional information on the Vision 2040 Plan, or the Community Vision Awards, contact Peggy Hawker, at p.hawker@newportoregon.gov, or by telephone at 541.574.0613.

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