Wednesday night, July 27, Christopher’s Ristorante Italiano at the Sonora Days Inn was the place to be to celebrate tourism in Tuolumne County. The Visitors Bureau held it’s awards and installation of new officers dinner in this annual event, co-hosted this year by Christopher’s and the Sonora Days Inn in the hotel’s banquet rooms.
Each year awards are given out in five categories. 2011 winners were:
Brian Kermeen of the Forest Service and Jeff Costello of Mt. Brow Winery received the President’s Award for 2011 for their outstanding efforts in helping to get our new temporary visitors center off the ground in Chinese Camp to replace the closed location at the Yosemite Junction. Brian, being a landscape architect designed the changes needed in the temporary facility, and Jeff utilized his contracting background to help negotiate necessary improvements. Both put in a great deal of time and effort to make this a reality.
Laverne Richmond was selected as Volunteer of the Year winner. In the past 20 + years, Laverne has on many occasions been an integral part of the bureau doing more than one would expect from any volunteer. It was Laverne who developed and perfected the Sidekick Program for celebrities during the early days of the Wild West Film Festival.
The Outgoing Director of the Year Award went to Kim Mathie of Sierra Repertory Theatre. She served on the Executive Board and as Treasurer. In addition to her marketing work at SRT, she’s a talented writer who’s work is often published in local and regional publications.
Tracy Mills, an employee of the Gunn House in downtown Sonora, was the winner of the Gold Nugget Award which is given for outstanding customer service and promoting tourism for our area. She’s done an outstanding job in representing the quality of service provided to visitors from our many member establishments.
And finally, the Inns of California in downtown Sonora was the Lodging Tally Winner for this past fiscal year. This award is based on how well lodging establishments do in provided demographic data on our visitors – primarily where they come from and what time of year. It’s invaluable information in helping us direct our marketing efforts more effectively.
Following the awards, the new board of directors was installed and includes:
Tim Wyman, Wy’s Acres, Columbia as board president
Shirley Sarno, Gunn House, Sonora as Vice President
Tricia Gardella, Here’s the Scoop and Local’s Make Good, Jamestown as Secretary
Jeff Costello, Mt. Brow Winery, Sonora
Cindy Zelinsky, Lazy Z Resort, Twain Harte, Treasurer
Margaret Davis, Junction Shopping Center, East Sonora
Michael McCaffery, McCaffery House B&B, Twain Harte
Peggy Mosley, Groveland Hotel at Yosemite, Groveland
Jerry Fuccillo, GJF Engineering, Sonora
Amber Jenquin, Dodge Ridge Wintersports Area, Pinecrest
Kristie Brower, Yosemite Chamber of Commerce, Groveland
George Segarini, Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce
Chris Link, Best Western Sonora Oaks, Tuolumne County Lodging Association
plus ex-officio members representing various community organizations…
Larry Cope, Tuolumne Economic Development Authority
Deanna Dechaine-Maurer, Central Sierra Arts Council, Sonora
Tuolumne County Supervisor Randy Hanvelt
Brian Kermeen, Stanislaus National Forest
Charles F. Marangio, Promotion Club of Jamestown
Donna Sisson, Yosemite National Park
Sonora City Councilman, Ronald Stearn
We also had some local dignitaries attend including Daron McDaniel, Aide to Congressman, Jeff Denham, County Sheriff – Jim Mele, Film Commissioner-Jerry Day, City of Sonora Administrator – Tim Miller, Sonora Mayor – Bill Canning, Sonora City Council Members Ron Stearn, Hank Russell and Matt Hawkins, General Manager of Black Oak Casino – Ron Patel representing the Me-Wuk Tribal Council and Lisa Mayo, Executive Director of the Calaveras Visitors Bureau.
Tuolumne County continues to enjoy growing interest in the area and increasing visitor counts, thanks to the hard work of the board of directors, visitor bureau staff and volunteers and the outstanding members who provide a great experience for all visitors.