‘Midnight Walk of Fame' brings out the stars in Lindsay

By C.J. Barbre

The black and white and gold motif for the Midnight Walk of Fame-themed 94th Annual Lindsay Chamber of Commerce Meeting and Awards Banquet included stars hanging above a silhouette of skyscrapers on the stage of the Lindsay Memorial Building.

The more intimate and elegant round dining tables were covered in black tablecloths and gold napkins with crystal bowls of white blossoms and a white votive candle as centerpieces. An elegant start to a marvelous evening filled with community spirit excellence.

Man of the Year

Man of the Year, Starr Warson, was introduced by last year's &#8220old” Man of the Year (his joke) Hal Munter. By way of background, Warson, a Lindsay native, went through Lindsay Junior High then attended Tulare Union High School, College of the Sequoias, and UC Riverside. He got his MBA at the University of Texas, El Paso, and law degree from Western State Law. Warson served in Vietnam for which he earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. After working for the Federal Public Defender in El Paso and having his own business, Warson returned to Lindsay about 10 years ago.

He is on the board of the Lindsay Cultural Arts Council and is heavily involved with the Save the Fire Truck Committee that is overseeing the restoration of two 1914 American-La France fire engines, one of which used to serve in Lindsay. He is also a member of the Strathmore Improvement District.

&#8220In 2000, he approached Kiwanis about sponsoring a soccer tournament. Next weekend there will be over 30 teams in Lindsay,” Munter said, &#8220boys and girls, 8-14.” The soccer tournament has been a big success, not only for the children, but for local businesses.

In accepting his award, Warson said, &#8220Wow, nobody prepared me for this tonight.” Nobody included his wife of 26 years, Yonok, his sons, two daughters who came from Santa Barbara, and extended family in attendance.

&#8220I think of myself as a team player,” Warson said. &#8220I was told I would never do business in Lindsay as an attorney. Lindsay is, I believe, the little town that could.”

Woman of the Year

Last year's winner, Gloria Scott, described the 2005 Woman of the Year as &#8220overflowing with leadership qualities and near Flint, Mich. She graduated from Fresno State with a degree in speech pathology and a second degree in special education. After becoming a teacher at Lindsay High School, she continued taking courses to obtain her administrative degree.

Scott described Kliegl as one who &#8220rolls up her sleeves and goes to work too.” A few of these things include Phone Friends, a hotline for latchkey kids; the Teen Zone, a supervised drop-in teen center; and Healthy Kids-Healthy Lindsay, a non-profit advisory committee with oversight responsibilities for numerous programs for students and families in need of assistance and guidance.

As supervisor she was very instrumental in passing the last bond issue that leveraged $7 million for Lindsay schools. Kliegl has written grant proposals accruing more millions for the district.

She is currently president of the Lindsay Community Theater Board of Directors. She has been a member of Lindsay Kiwanis for nine years and served as president in 2004 during which she evolved the club's fund-raising methods from concessions to a very successful Casino Night event which profits benefit Lindsay youth.

Kliegl is a member of the Presbyterian Church where she sings in the choir, assists when needed in various ways and has served as an Elder in charge of Christian Education. She and husband, Jim, have raised four children.

&#8220It's a great honor,” Kliegl said upon accepting her award. &#8220There are a lot of people in this audience who have mentored me. The wonderful school board and Lindsay community and my friends here.” In addition to their trophies, the man and woman of the year received proclamations from the Tulare County Board of Supervisors and resolutions from State Senator Dean Flores.

In a loving tribute, Janet's son had sent her a gorgeous bouquet which was also presented at this time.

Other Awards

Outgoing chamber board president Mark Mann was pleased to present the President's trophy to Lindsay Garden's Family Council. &#8220I've learned more from this group about service and giving back, done with grace and putting a smile on someone's face,” Mann said.

Lindsay Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Dawyot presented the next two awards, one to Jean Hill for Volunteer of the Year.

&#8220There are three reasons I respect this woman. She is probably the most honest person you could meet. She will tell you exactly what's on her mind. But I don't think anyone has more love for the chamber.”

Upon accepting her award, Hill said, &#8220I like what I do and love the city of Lindsay. Everything is working in our favor.”

About the Ambassador of the Year, Yonok Warson, Dawyot said in the three and a half months she has been the chamber director, &#8220Every time I asked for something, she did it. She doesn't say no, or can't.

Yonok credited her fellow ambassadors. &#8220There are so many people who deserve this more than I do. I can see 10 here I personally want to thank. When I call them they never say no.”

Next, Supervisor Allen Ishida installed the new board.

New board president Dr. Bob Chiurazzi took the podium. He started his tenure by auctioning off the last two white painted rocks from the old L on Elephant Back. They fetched a handsome $60 and $55 respectively.

&#8220My goal is to enhance our quality of life and enhance new business,” Chiurazzi said in his state-of-the-chamber address. He promised they will initiate a new calendar that will include school events as well as city events and special sport events like the upcoming Kiwanis soccer tournament. It will include chamber events and mixers; plus special activities and entertainment at the farmers market.

&#8220With a master Calendar we will not have as many conflicts,” he observed.

Chiurazzi promoted the mentoring program at Lindsay High School. &#8220If we encourage teens to reach their passion and goals we have accomplished something. What can we do as business men and women. We all have life experience.” He said the business community should take the opportunity to guide teens with passion, to learn about an occupation, adding that Kirk Ingoldsby would &#8220love to train somebody how to be a florist”

Chiurazzi said the chamber is starting an electronic newsletter, which they can also fax to chamber members, and plan to have copies available at city hall and some businesses.

He promised a chamber mixer every two to three months, a time for businesses to meet and greet.

Chiurazzi noted that the entry to Lindsay &#8220looks great.” He said with a pro growth city council and chamber, maybe they could lure more employers downtown.

&#8220Years ago we formed the Downtown Improvement District. We're looking for a few people to bring in a major employer. He said they are considered Friday morning breakfast meetings at 6:30 or 7 a.m. to discuss options and possibilities. Anyone interested in participating should call the chamber at 562-4929.

On behalf of the Garden Club, Mona Wyatt presented the winner of the landscaping award in the business category to California Citrus Exchange on Hermosa Street. &#8220It's wonderful that it can be view on all four sides,” she said.

The residential winners were Tom and Lita Spurlock for their home in the 400 block of North Elmwood Avenue.

&#8220It's always gratifying to know that other people appreciate your efforts,” Tom said.

This year's Organization of the Year award went to the Orange Blossom Festival Committee. Chairman Bob Kisling accepted.

&#8220Thank you. The organization is on their way again this year,” Kisling said. &#8220You can be on the committee. We need new people all the time.”

The evening would continue with dancing to the music of DJ Rolas. Great job one and all.

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