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Cultivating, nourishing and honoring community resources

Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a monthly column sharing news from the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and its Visitor and Convention Bureau

Historically grounded since 1889, the Ashland Chamber, formerly the Ashland Board of Trade and Ashland Commercial Club, promotes businesses and the community by providing business resources, creating events, maintaining strong community partnerships, promoting tourism, conducting community issue discussions and collaborative problem solving while providing community leadership.

Annually the Ashland Chamber of Commerce creates innovative programs and projects that promote business and the area, including the production of the award-winning Living and Doing Business Guide, the In & About Visitors Guide and the newly created Ashland Map and through the work of the Visitor and Convention Bureau’s exceptional promotional efforts for Ashland.

Small-town quality of life is enhanced through the production of community events such as the Fourth of July Celebration, Children’s Halloween Celebration and the Holiday Festival of Light — all free community events.

The Ashland Chamber is a nonprofit 501c6 organization and does not have a political action committee nor does it support candidates. Instead, the mission is that of education, promotion and enabling the community to succeed and grow. The Ashland Chamber provides business education with workshops, meetings and conferences that strengthen the community through collaboration and effective partnerships.

Awareness of important issues affecting Ashland are showcased through forums and community programming. The Ashland Chamber has many committees, programs and projects that are successful because of the work of hundreds of individuals working tirelessly year-round to continue to achieve the goals of always seeking improvement and reaching higher.

We thank them and you for the support and enthusiasm for this special town.

The highest recognition given by the Ashland Chamber of Commerce was recently awarded at the 108th annual Dinner Celebration for 2014 with over 250 guests in attendance at the Historic Ashland Armory on Oct. 9. The theme was "Savoring Ashland’s Culinary Legacy," cultivating the art of the table, fields and vineyards.

The program reflected upon the growth of the farms, restaurants, food artisans, wineries, breweries and culture that has and continues to thrive in Ashland. The featured guest speaker was Gregory V. Jones, Ph.D. Ashland Chamber President Cindy Bernard, owner of Rogue Valley Roasting Company, was re-elected to serve a second term as president.

The top awards for the evening were presented to many individuals for their business successes and community contributions:

• Ashland Culinary Festival Top Chef 2013: Larks Home Kitchen Cuisine

• Emerging Business of the Year: Piccadilly Cycles

• Green Business of the Year: Deluxe Awning

• Greeter of the Year: Ed Laskos

• Retail Business of the Year: Ashland Outdoor Store

• Service Business of the year: Neuman Hotel Group

• Manufacturing Business of the Year: Grizzly Peak Winery

• Chamber Volunteer of the Year: Bob & Jeanne Arago

• Community Volunteer of the Year: Joan Thorndike

• Citizen of the Year: Jim Teece

• Honorary Life Member: Jac Nickels

All awards recipients received awards highlighting their accomplishments.

Katharine Flanagan Cato is director of sales, marketing and the Visitors and Convention Bureau for the Ashland Chamber of Commerce.