LACONIA — The Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce honored a key, long-time volunteer at its annual meeting held at the Margate Resort Thursday by renaming the Ambassador of the Year Award in her honor.
The award will henceforth be known as the Blinn Ambassador of the Year award in honor of Elaine Blinn, who has served 15 years as chairman of the chamber's ambassador program, which reaches out to people in the community and familiarizes them with the chamber's programs.
''There were only six ambassadors when I started. Now there are 27,'' said Blinn, who along with her husband, Harry, has been running the Belknap Point Motel in Gilford for 20 years.
She's also been busy with the chamber as a volunteer writer and photographer for the Business After Hours program.
''One of the best things we ever did was to join the chamber right after we bought the motel. It really helped us get connected to the community and meet lots of nice people,'' said Blinn.
She presented this year's Ambassador of the Year award to Donna Harris from the Bank of New Hampshire as her last official act as chairman of the ambassador program.
During the business meeting the chamber elected a new slate of officers. Lindsay Cota-Robles of the Bank of New Hampshire will replace Warren Bailey as chairman and the new first vice-chairman will be Bob Strang of Mill Falls at the Lake. Second vice chairman will be Donna Keeley of PSNH-Eversource with Penny Raby of Malone, Dirubbo and Company serving as treasurer and John Giere of Wescott Law as secretary.
New board members include Caroline Rolfe of Franklin Savings Bank, Heidi Laramie of Baron's Major Brands, Kamal Gosine of AutoServ, Sue Gaudette of Gunstock Mountain Resort and Mike Vednaz of WaLa Marketing Group.
Golden Trowel awards for outstanding building renoations included:
— The Taylor Community for the Opechee Harbor project, which cost $550,000 and provides specialized residential care for seniors with memory loss and dementia;
—The A.W. Frost Agency of Franklin, which purchased and renovated the former Northway Bank office on Central Street in Franklin;
— Hermit Woods Winery in Meredith, which relocated its boutique winery from Sanbornton to Main Street in Meredith and worked with Meredith Village Savings Bank, the Belknap Economic Development Council and other community partners to renovate an existing building;
— Rowell's Sewer and Drain of Tilton, which renovated the former P.K. Zyla's Auction House on Rte. 140 in Northfield as the company's new home;
— Binnie Media of Concord, which invested over $300,000 to renovate what was once the Laconia Police Station and make it the new home of radio stations WLNH and WEMJ as well as the news bureau of the NH1 network;
— American Eyecare/Focus Vision & Therapy Center which relocated from the Belknap Mall to a 6,000 square foot space near the Winnisquam Bridge.
Golden Hammer awards for outstanding new construction went to:
— Granite Sate Credit Union which built a new 5,500-square-foot building on Rte. 140 in Tilton just south of Exit 20;
— CruCon Cruise Outlet in Moultonborough, which opened its new 30,000-square-foot world headquarters building in Moultonborough;
— Walmart in Gilford, which expanded its 60,000-square-foot building to a 130,000-square-foot retail space;
— Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook in Gilford, which completed a number of upgrades in 2014 and expanded its capacity to 9,600 for its concerts;
— Winnisquam Marine in Belmont, which opened a new 70 by 60 foot boat showroom which is climate controlled and environmentally conscious.
Environmental Awards were presented to:
— The City of Laconia in collaboration with the Weirs Beach Community Park. A 27-acre park was opened there last October which features walking trails, a rustic playground and a 120-seat outdoor amphitheater.
— LRGH Healthcare for its new laundry facility, now located in O'Shea Industrial Park in Laconia which uses state-of-the-art washing and drying machines and has saved over one million gallons of water.
APTION for pix slugged weirs park
Accepting the Environmental Award at the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce's annual awards luncheon and membership meeting at the Margate Resort Thursday are Don Richards of the Weirs Community Park Association and Kevin Dunleavy, manager of the Laconia Parks and Recreation Department. The award was presented by Karmen Gifford, left, executive director of the chamber, and Mark Primeau, right, president and CEO of the Bank of New Hampshire, presenting sponsor for the event. The city was honored for its completion in October of a 27-acre park adjacent to the Weirs Community Center. (Roger Amsden/ for The Laconia Daily Sun)
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