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Chamber member Rose Lenzner, right, was named NRCC&VB 'Member of the Year'. At left is her husband Ken.

Lenzner, Schnitzler honored by Chamber; 3 businesses lauded

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Some 200 New Richmond Chamber members and guests gathered Wednesday evening over dinner at Suzanna's Restaurant to reflect on the year past, raise some money and celebrate achievements by several members and citizens.

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Rose Lenzner, formerly associated with Boardman Meadows Independent Living, was named "Member of the Year" for her tireless dedication as a Chamber volunteer and outgoing New Richmond Mayor Dave Schnitzler was honored as "Citizen of the Year" for unselfish service of 14 years, said pressenter and 2010 Chamber president Joe Kerlin.

Praising Schnitzler's "optimistic demeanor" and great listening skills, Kerlin said "everyone likes him even if they don't agree with him." He added that Schnitzler has "no hidden agenda" but keeps an open mind, always working to arrive at decisions on the basis of "what's best for the community".

Schnitzler was gracious and humble upon receiving the award.

"I'm just in awe and kinda choked up. I couldn't ask for a better community to be mayor of for 14 years," he said. "I could write a good book -- if I could write!"

Russ Korpela, Chamber Executive Director, expressed his regret that Rose Lenzner -- a seven-year resident of New Richmond -- is relocating to Hutchinson, Minn., for a new position, but he thanked she and husband Ken for all they'd done while part of the New Richmond community.

Outgoing president Kathy Jacobsen took the microphone for presentation of the Chamber's three business and member awards.

Jeff Larson of Larson's Appliance received the "Ma & Pa Business of the Year" award in recognition of 54 years of longevity at the same Main Street location.

Named "Small Business of the Year" was "The Centre", New Richmond's non-profit community center which has seen its membership nearly double in the past year. Manager Darian Blattner accepted the plaque on behalf of the organization.

Family Fresh Market of New Richmond was named recipient of the "Large Business of the Year". "Family Fresh has made a huge commitment to New Richmond and its 140 employees (through its) $6 million rennovation, creating a full-service grocery as modern as any in the area," said Jacobsen in presenting the honor.

Member Bridget Kelley, co-owner of Massage by Michelle & Bridget, was also recognized Wednesday evening as "Ambassador of the Year" for the New Richmond Chamber of Commerce & Visitor's Bureau.

Outgoing directors Anne Schmiege, Carrie Paulson and Tammy Robinette were thanked for their service as Chamber board members and a new slate of officers was approved on a unanimous ballot affirmed by a voice vote of those present.

New Chamber leadership includes: Joe Kerlin, president; Mike Giese, vice-president; Terry Kucera, treasurer; and Darian Blattner, member-at-large.

The most popular portion of the program appeared to be the "Ambassador's Decadent Desserts Auction" -- a fast-moving sale of 10 sumptious cakes, contributed by local businesses -- with proceeds going to help offset Chamber operating expenses and 5 percent, being gifted to Five Loaves Food Shelf. The top-selling dessert, "Menagerie De Chocolate", donated by Family Fresh Market, was purchased for $1,200 by a quickly assembled group of nine businesses.

Remaining treats were sold to other groups who paid anywhere from $1,200 to $75. The total sale netted about $7,000 meaning a contribution of about $350 for the food shelf.

Chamber member Mike Montello presided over the sale.

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