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Miss Heritage program takes a year's break

New Richmond's royal court will take a one-year hiatus.

In a joint statement released Monday, the volunteer Miss Heritage Committee said there was not enough interest among potential candidates to provide a quality program this year. The committee members include Dori Marty, Tami Larson, Andrea Kier, Sandy Kloetzke and Cheryl Emerson.

Only a small number of young women signed up for the Miss Heritage race by the May deadline. The committee had set a minimum of six candidates and a maximum of 12 as parameters for the Miss Heritage program.

Even though additional potential candidates surfaced weeks after the deadline, the committee members eventually decided it would be better to take a year off than to rush and offer a lesser program.

"A decision was made that starting in the middle of July would compromise the quality of the program," the committee statement read. "Our goals of nurturing future leaders, building self esteem, mentoring young girls and teaching them the importance of giving back to the community would be in jeopardy by shortening the program."

The committee members admitted that some of the interested candidates and their families were disappointed by the decision to cancel the royalty program for the year, but it was the right decision.

"The committee takes responsibility to direct and take the necessary actions to ensure the program's quality and success," the statement said. "Our responsibility is not only to the candidates and their families; it is to the Heritage Center, community and business sponsors."

Committee members said the royal court would return in 2009 if enough people show interest.

"Next year, when the required number of candidates sign up by the deadline, the committee and Heritage Center will continue their dedication to making this program a success," they wrote. "We ask parents, teachers and counselors to support and encourage the young women interested in becoming a candidate in 2009."

The New Richmond royal court was resurrected in 2005 after the community ended its Miss New Richmond program several years prior.

A group of former royal court members and interested residents volunteered to organize a new queen's competition and align it with Heritage Days in September.

Over the past few years, the Miss Heritage courts have included Huong Nguyen, Courtney Nyberg, Chelsey Kobs (2005); Andrea Scheder, Shasta Feltman, Natalie Bonte (2006); and Maria Soderquist, Courtney Kvam, Megan Elkin (2007).

"These young women define what representatives of New Richmond should be,"

the committee statement said. "They are leaders in their communities and schools, they know the importance of community service and their academics are outstanding."

Even as news of the Miss Heritage cancellation for 2008 spread, the community current royal court continues to stay busy. They have kept a heavy parade schedule through the summer and have made several appearances in the community.

Questions, concerns and suggestions can be directed to any committee member. Names and numbers may be obtained through the Heritage Center at 246-3276.