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Paynesville Press - January 18, 2006

Chamber gives annual awards at banquet

By Michael Jacobson

Five local citizens were honored with Salute to Excellence awards by the Paynesville Area Chamber of Commerce at its annual banquet on Tuesday, Jan. 10. The Chamber honored Peter and Lynne Jacobson as the Bosses of the Year, Brenda Schmitz as the Employee of the Year, Kay Spooner with the Community Service Award, and Dugan Flanders as the Outstanding Young Person.

chamber board The annual banquet featured the first official appearance of Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes Katie Nelson, the 2004 Miss Paynesville and a 2005 PAHS grad. (See story.)

The board for the Paynesville Area Chamber of Commerce for 2006 includes: (front) Doug Miller, Doris Wendlandt, president Sheryl Fuchs, Rita Brossard, secretary/treasurer Kay Spooner, and Bob McDaniel; (back) vice president Jeb Johnson, Lance Louis, past president Dave Currens, and Tim Miller. Not pictured are DuDonne Andrie and Celia Frieler.

In addition, it included thank yous from the current royalty Miss Paynesville Lindsey Pelton, First Princess Kayla Nelson, and Second Princess Tanya Whitcomb as well as entertainment and the election of chamber officers for 2006.

Winners of the first holiday lighting contest were also announced. In the residential division, the winners were Chuck Steinhofer, first place; Cecil Gjelhaug, second place; and Larry Alstead, third place. In the commercial division, the Central Minnesota Federal Credit Union took first, the Blessing Well took second, and Beyond Basic took third.

Boss of the Year
Peter and Lynne Jacobson have been publishers of the Paynesville Press since 1973. The newspaper has been in Lynne's family since her grandfather bought the business in 1923. (The Press was founded in 1887.)

In their 32 years of ownership, the Press has won numerous state and national awards for its journalism, including winning the first Mills Trophy (as the best weekly newspaper in Minnesota) in 1983.

awards Their nomination for Bosses of the Year included reasons such as: offering independence and flexibility to employees; valuing ideas and suggestions; treating employees like family; being family friendly; leading by example; being willing to do any job; and helping employees outside away from work, said ad manager Ann Johnson.

Salute to Excellence award winners announced at the Chamber banquet last week were: Peter and Lynne Jacobson (Bosses of the Year); Kay Spooner (Community Service Award); Brenda Schmitz (Employee of the Year); and Dugan Flanders (Outstanding Young Person).

Peter, a 1961 PHS grad, and Lynne, a 1962 PHS grad, plan to partially retire in 2006. (Editor's Note: they are also my parents.)

Boss of the Year
2006 Peter and Lynne Jacobson
2005 Joe Spaulding
2004 Don Frank
2003 Bev Mueller
2002 Wayne Walther
2001 Butch Mueller
2000 Joe Voss
1999 Bert Stanley
1998 Wally Thyen
1997 Willie LaCroix
1996 Bob Jorgenson

Employee of the Year
Brenda Schmitz has worked as office manager for Flanders Realty since it opened in January 2002. She has worked with realtor Pat Flanders for over 15 years in all.

Schmitz, a 1985 PHS grad, handles a variety of tasks as office manager, everything except sales, she said, from keeping the books, answering the phone, making appointments, and updating their website.

Flanders nominated her for the award because of the sense of ownership she exhibits on the job. She is willing to find tasks and accomplish them to contribute to the business's success. He listed her character traits as loyal, trustworthy, innovative, confidential, enthusiastic, supportive, humorous, modest, capable, consistent, conscientious, honest, and trustworthy (with trustworthy intentionally listed twice).

"If one can fully trust an employee," said Flanders, "everything else will fall in place. She has earned my complete trust."

Employee of the Year
2006 Brenda Schmitz
2005 Sandy Wall
2004 Gayla Orbeck
2003 Tess Thielen
2002 Dave Spanier
2001 Linda Mayer
2000 Roger Heinen
1999 Ron Mergen
1998 Al Roemeling
1997 Donna Coulter
1996 Audrey Olmscheid

Community Service Award
Kay Spooner, who serves as the secretary/treasurer for the Paynesville Area Chamber of Commerce and represents Paynesville Township on the Paynesville Area Hospital Board, was recognized with the Community Service Award.

In addition, Spooner has been active on other boards, including the Paynesville-New London-Spicer Hockey Association.

"Whether it be making and giving quilts to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, taking tickets at a benefit dinner, or working with people with autism and other special needs, this person can always be counted on," said Chamber board member Doug Miller in reading her nomination.

Community Service Award
2006 Kay Spooner
2005 Jay Thompson
2004 Mark Leverington
2003 Joyce Spaulding
2002 Dwight Peteler
2001 Brenda Stang
2000 Rick Paul
1999 Otto Naujokas
1998 Tom Koshiol
1997 Dean Hanson
1996 Paul Pratt

Outstanding Young Person
Dugan Flanders, a junior at PAHS, was named the Outstanding Young Person by the Chamber.

Flanders, the son of Mike and Jo Flanders of Paynesville, is a cross country captain and three-time letterwinner in track; plays in the band and sings in the choir (receiving superior ratings in competitions); can be found on stage in drama productions and in one-act play; volunteers at St. Louis Catholic Church as both a mass server and in helping with Kid's Night Out; was a member of the middle school student council; helped stage a mock automobile crash last spring at PAHS; and works at H&L Express and as a riding instructor at Flanders River Ranch.

New principal Lorie Floura said that Flanders exemplifies why she chose to come to this community. When she needed to choose a student leader to be a facilitator at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center, his name was repeatedly mentioned by teachers.

"Dugan serves as a role model and friend to many students at Paynesville Area High School," said Floura, on behalf of the school administration. "He is always ready to help those in need and volunteers with a smile on his face. We believe he is deserving of this nomination for demonstrating all the fine qualities of the youth that District #741 is proud of."

Outstanding Young Person
2006 Dugan Flanders
2005 Bobby O'Fallon
2004 Not Given
2003 Morgan Martinson
2002 Melissa Bachman
2001 Becca Gardner
2000 Ryan Lang
1999 James Gilk
1998 Erin Pelton
1997 Josh Mueller
1996 Mike Jacobson

Business of the Year
(Award now includes farms and businesses.) 2006 Not Given
2005 Not Given
2004 Not Given

Farmer of the Year
2003 Ray and Rita Nietfeld Steve and Claudette Nietfeld
2002 Duane and Irene Burg
2001 Clarence and Viola Bertram
2000 Ralph, Ken, Julie, and Jason Schefers
1999 Not Given
1998 Bob and Roger Hemmesch
1997 Roman and Keith Schaefer
1996 Art Voss

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