• Chamber’s People of the Year

    Six annual awards will be presented at the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce Installation of the Board of Directors and Special Awards Presentation on Saturday, May 30, at the Asilomar Conference Grounds.

    The event begins with a no-host reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and entertainment at 7 p.m. Bruce Obbink, a former Pacific Grove planning commissioner, County Grand Jury foreman and City Golf Course Advisory Committee chairman, will receive the James R. Hughes Citizen of the Year Award. The award is named for the late Dr. James Hughes, who was a well-known Pacific Grove dentist with a long history of community service as a city councilman, state coastal commissioner, water board member, and in many other roles.

    The past recipients of the award selected Obbink. Former honorees were: John Miller, Jeanne Byrne, Steve Covell, Steve Honegger, John O’Brien, Sandy Koffman, Steven Gorman, Don Gasperson, Morris Fisher, Charlie Higuera, Alex Rodriguez, Richard Stillwell, Nadine Annand, Don Martine, Erma Dinkel and Ed Whittaker.

    Other awards will be presented to:

    • Robin Blakley,           Assistant Superintendent for Business Services for the Pacific Grove Unified School District – Public Official of the Year. He is in his 16th year as the school district’s assistant superintendent in charge of the day-to-day operations of non-educational functions, such as transportation, food service and finance. Robin monitors the operating budget to ensure that the District “lives within our means” amid uncertainty. “This is the most challenging period financially” for the school district, he said. Robin also oversees implementation of the District’s facilities program financed by a $42 million bond issue, Measure D, in 2006. Among the projects are the Middle School auditorium and band room and the High School stadium. Before coming to Pacific Grove, he was Assistant Superintendent for Business Services in the Tracy School District after serving as the District’s Facilities Director. And before that he was a planner for the City of Tracy.
    • Joan Jeffers McCleary, Director of the Pacific Grove Art Center – Non-Profit of the Year. For six years, she has been Director of the Art Center, founded in 1969 and now in its 40th year. The Art Center at 568 Lighthouse Ave. is a grass roots organization that serves the community and the artists. Its goals are the 3 E’s in Art – educate, exhibit and encourage community involvement. With 10,000 square feet in the upper floor of a building that dates back to 1904-05 and originally housed the Masonic Lodge, the Art Center offers studio space to artists and art classes for children, teens and adults, in addition to ballet classes and tai chi. Special events include live music and lectures. During her tenure, Joan has upgraded the quality of the Art Center’s newsletter, making it more colorful; greatly expanded publicity for the center; and worked closely with a hands-on, hard-working Board that is very involved in the center. Also, the Art Center has taken on a more attractive interior appearance because of painting and plastering projects.
    • Kyle Krasa, an attorney – Ambassador of the Year. Kyle, whose law practice at 704-D Forest Ave. involves wills, trusts and estate planning, has been a Chamber Ambassador for about three years. As an Ambassador, he represents the Chamber at Open Houses, Grand Openings and Ribbon Cuttings, and many of Pacific Grove’s community events, chief among them being Good Old Days. Kyle helps out when and where he is needed, from providing a warm welcome to directing traffic to helping put up posters for a special event. He became involved in the Ambassador program as an extension of his membership in Pacific Grove Rotary, which is heavily involved in community activities. Kyle enjoys the camaraderie of being an Ambassador and became it keeps him very involved and very active in community activities. He began practicing law five years ago in the local area, and started his own firm, called Krasa Law, in Pacific Grove in February. Kyle grew up here and his family’s connections to the local area date back over 60 years. 
    • Michael and Michele Casey of The Bridge Restoration Ministry – Volunteer of the Year. Michael is Executive Director and Michele the Program Manager for the residential program for men recovering from addictions who do voluntary community service as a condition of living in the house. The ministry, now involving eight men with a capacity of 12, contributed nearly 1,000 hours of volunteer time since it began in November 2006. Moving to Pacific Grove a year ago, the ministry continued with its many volunteer activities, mostly in Pacific Grove. Among them are:  Monarch Butterfly Habitat Restoration, Feast of Lanterns, Highway 68 Clean-up, Trees for Pacific Grove, Recreation Trail Clean-Up, July 4th Barbecue, Good Old Days, Triathlon, Car Rally, Yellow Brick Road Thrift Shop and Food Bank. The ministry offers men who want to make a change in their lives a place to make that change. Michael and Michele started their ministry, modeled after the Well Ministry of Rescue in Chino, in response to a need they saw from their own experiences and that of others.
    • Glenn Gobel, owner of Glenn Gobel Custom Frames – Rookie of the Year. Serving more than 1,500 new customers since opening his store at 562 Lighthouse Avenue more than a year ago, Glenn has created a beautiful and sophisticated studio environment, using state-of-the-art framing equipment and technology to ensure high quality. He has more than 15 years framing experience on the Peninsula and specializes in custom mirrors, fine art and treasured art objects for both residential and commercial clients. Glenn offers on-site consulting and installation services and a wide-range of superior, ready-made frames for every need. With an open door policy, Glenn has created a warm and inviting environment. As a downtown business owner. Glenn also supports many local organizations with donations of goods and services, and offers his shop for meetings of an area photography group to discuss framing techniques and challenges. “I believe everyone deserves to receive the same attention, no matter how big or small the project because the value of their art is such a personal thing,” he said.glenngobelweb.jpg

    For reservations and more information, contact the Chamber office at 373-3304.






    posted to Cedar Street Times on May 21, 2009

    Topics: Current Edition, Front PG News

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