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North Fork To Choose Its Citizen Of The Year

NORTH FORK – Someone (or two) will join the ranks of past local luminaries when the town of North Fork bestows upon one of its own, the title of “Citizen of the Year.”

The tradition began back in 1979, when the very first designee, Marilyn Coelho, was singled out as someone deserving of recognition. Since then, local residents are given the opportunity each year to nominate those among them who have made notable contributions to the town and its citizens.

The North Fork Boosters accept nominations between mid-December and mid-January. Anyone can submit a nomination, with a letter expounding the virtues and contributions of their candidate.

All past winners are invited to participate in the selection of the new Citizen of the Year. This year, 14 past winners gathered on Wednesday, Jan 16, to vote for those they felt most worthy.

Tom Wheeler 9-14-12Tom Wheeler – North Fork resident of many decades, Madera County Supervisor and chairperson of the selection committee – will be introducing the nominees at this year’s dinner.

Vince and Ginny Smith 2012 Citizens of the Year“This is a chance to showcase all the hard work that our North Fork citizens do over the year for our community,” says Wheeler, who took over the Citizen of the Year program when founder Jim Zizzo moved away in the early 1990s.

Vince & Ginny Smith, 2011 Citizens of The Year for their work with the North Fork History Group, will be orchestrating the preparation of this year’s dinner. Winners are invited to take on that task, though it is not required.

Tickets for the event are $10. Doors open at 5:30, dinner at 6, with the ceremony following.

The 2012 nominees for Citizen of the Year, submitted by the North Fork Boosters:
David and Donna FisherDavid and Donna Fisher – David and Donna are heavily involved in the Grace Community Church. They were instrumental in getting the Food Bank truck to come and service our area. Thanks to David’s commitment and efforts, the Food Bank large truck comes once a month, and David is usually on hand to help distribute the food. This one project services over 200 needy families. Nine years ago, Donna helped start the Grace Community Church twice-a-month community dinners that enable the less fortunate to socialize and enjoy a good meal. The Friendship Circle is also part of the church, and Donna helps in voting on and dispensing funds, with monies going to residents, school projects or other town organizations.

Robyn and Al FloryAl and Robyn Flory – Robyn and Al have been members of the Squirrel Cage Theatre since the 1980’s. They worked as producers, directors, and have starred in many of the group’s performances. Robyn was the Fine Arts Specialist at the North Fork School for over 20 years. Al has served many years on the Board of the Boosters and Squirrel Cage Theatre. They volunteered to run the beer booth for the last few years at the Loggers Jamboree, and this was a huge responsibility. Whenever there’s a job to do at the Town Hall, whether painting, building sets, or cleaning, they are both there to help any way they can.

Hansel Kern in his greenhouse photo by David GansHansel Kern – Unless you are involved at the North Fork School, Hansel’s amazing contribution to our community may go unnoticed. Thirteen years ago, Hansel started an organic garden behind the primary playground. Every Friday he’s donated his time in developing a great gardening experience for every child at the school. Each class takes care of its own spring and fall planting under Hansel’s supervision. He has given thousands of volunteer hours to the school’s garden and contributed to the educational experience of our children. The best part is the kids get to enjoy the fruits and vegetables of their labor. But gardening isn’t all Hansel is known for. His masonry throughout town (as an example, the rock work in front of Kennedy Hall) and in homes around the area, is beautiful. When the Ross Cabin was dismantled and moved to a new location, Hansel rebuilt the chimney with the original rocks using an old photograph as a guide. More recently, he constructed the stone steps going into the cabin.

Mark LogeeMark Logee – Mark, a long-time resident of North Fork, recently retired after 20 years with the Chawanakee School District as Maintenance, Building and Transportation Director. Mark was always available to help make things run smoothly for our kids, teachers, parents, and all who came in contact with him. He helped organize the 4th of July parade, handling parade applications, setting up the entries with a number for judging, and creating a history of the participants for the judges and announcer. Mark has worked the gate collecting the monies for the Logger’s Jamboree for 12 years. He has also been an announcer, and in general, volunteers his time and efforts any way possible to ensure the Jamboree’s success. If Mark sees something that needs to be done, he does it willingly. He has a giving spirit, and is devoted to North Fork.

Roger RobinetteRoger Robinette – Roger has attended all the functions in North Fork for about 10 years, and has taken millions of photos of North Fork, its events and its citizens. You see him with his camera at the Christmas Parade, Santa at Town Hall, Logger’s Jamboree, graduation, school dances, and pretty much any and all community events. He offers free photos for the kids at the Buckhorn at Christmas. Plus, he does weddings and private photo shoots such as family portraits. Some of his photographs have been in the Sierra Star and the Yosemite Visitor’s Guide. Roger’s efforts throughout the years have helped preserve the many memories of this community.

Scott Marsh

Scott Marsh – Scott continually and tirelessly encourages the young people of North Fork to become involved in the community. He has offered his walls in Slim’s Koffee Shak to the artists in town, and is a gathering place for folks of all ages in North Fork. Scott is President of the Chamber of Commerce, a board member on several other community organizations, and offers many good ideas on how to give North Fork a boost. The Woodchopper’s Ball was a fun success thanks to Scott’s obtaining not one band, but four. He was instrumental in getting the Boosters website up and running. You will often find musicians singing and playing in front of the Koffee Shak. Scott helped make Christmas 2012 special with a tree lighting ceremony at the Crazy Y. The many decorations and lights throughout Main Street showed that the spirit of North Fork is still alive.

Janet WheelerJanet Wheeler – Janet has been a leader of the North Fork community for many years and has a reputation for being honest and fair in the real estate industry. She’s been involved with North Fork events for over 20 years. She currently serves as Vice President of the Boosters and handles the rentals for Town Hall, as well as spearheading the bar sales for events in which the Boosters are involved. Janet has diligently worked on the Boosters main fundraiser, the Loggers Jamboree. Her daughter is a past Queen and her grandson was Little Logger in 2012. She is always willing to give her time and go the extra mile to make our community events successful.

Gina Clugston – Gina, a long-time resident has worked tirelessly to promote North Fork local businesses. She is the North Fork choir director, producing the seasonal musical events that the community looks forward to every year. Gina is a member of local singing group Sugar Pine, president of Squirrel Cage Theatre, and editor, owner and head writer for the new website. This was a huge undertaking, but thanks to Gina’s dedication and hard work, the website has become a great resource for our community.

Past Winners –

1979 Marilyn Coelho
1980 Grant Sturm
1981 Paul Barnes
1982 Jim Zizzo
1983 Bob Quick
1984 Tom Wheeler
1985 Betty Lyons
1986 Blaine Shultz
1987 Tom Hebrard
1988 Charles Coelho
1989 Tal Carter
1990 Jim and Dot Morris
1991 Elaine C. Fink
1992 Beverly Cole
1993 Paul Vining
1994 Tom Digilio
1995 Charles Harrington
1996 Lloree Knowles
1997 Mary Myers
1998 Frank Verduzco
1999 Mark and Cindy Swarts
2000 Chris Stanley
2001 Cathey Thornburg
2002 Loretta McKee
2003 Tammy Armstrong
2004 Kirk and Alice Koda
2005 Volney Dunavan
2006 Bill and Gretchen Choate
2007 Augie and Cindy Capuchino
2008 Viola Carr
2009 Dave Smith
2010 Joan Constable (aka Connie Carpenter)
2011 Vincent and Ginny Smith

One comment

  1. Gina is the one! She has done so much for the North Fork community in the past year. North Fork finally has a voice: Sierra News Online!

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