Awards were handed out in three categories: Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year and Teacher of the Year.
Teacher of the Year, Stacie Maslen, was recognized for her unwavering commitment to education and her students. The eighth-grade Excelsior Middle School teacher thanked the community and her district for the honor.
“I feel blessed every day,” said Maslen. “I have had many of your children and will have many more of yours in the future; I love what I do. Thank you for honoring me.”
A familiar face in the community and especially at Discovery Bay Elementary School, Denise Dimock was honored as Citizen of the Year, in part for her organization of the school’s popular Booville Halloween event, her work on the school’s Web site and her ongoing work and organization in planning for the Friends of the Delta Public Library.
Chris and Erica Cookson, owners of the Boardwalk Grill, took home honors as Business of the Year not only for their popular cuisine but for their ongoing generosity of time and resources to myriad community events.
The evening also offered an opportunity for guests to hear updates on the town from local and county officials who – notwithstanding the economy – remain upbeat and positive.
“With all the bad we have seen this year, we will continue to move the chamber forward,” said 2010 Chamber President Greg Spivak. “This is the year we get back on track.”
Other speakers echoed the sentiment, as did General Manager Virgil Koehne, who briefed the audience on the State of the Town, including the recent hiring of a new landscape manager and eventual plans to upgrade the town’s water system.
“We have endured a lot (this year) but I have got to tell you, Discovery Bay is moving strongly along,” said Koehne.
Supervisor Mary Piepho, in her State of the County address, emphasized the importance of local leaders and the community staying strong through what is likely to be another difficult year for the county.
“We have many unpleasant issues facing us ahead,” said Piepho. “But the good news is that we are not spending more than we are taking in in revenues, and that’s new to Contra Costa County. Personally I see this as a time of optimism … If we all lift a little bit more, the load gets lighter.”
And speaking of lighter, Crime Prevention Specialist Tony Fontenot waxed literally poetic during his State of the Sheriff presentation. The rhymed “Ode to Crime Prevention” offering, highlighted the virtues of the neighborhood watch program, crime prevention and community involvement. His recitation was received with some of the loudest applause of the evening: “The old year is gone, the new one is here, let’s all work together to eliminate fear. Protecting your family, your vehicle, yourself and your home, let’s not give the crooks a chance to wreak havoc and roam.”
Byron School Superintendent Eric Prater followed, offering his assessment on the State of Education by borrowing a theme from Charles Dickens.
“These really are the best of times and the worst of times,” said Prater. “These are the worst of times because our revenue is down, but these are also the best of times because we still continue to put on our boots, tighten our belts and do what we need to do for our children. With hard times comes character, and we will thrive. We will continue to develop and improve, and at the end of the day, I think we’re all doing a pretty good job.”
Mike Guzzardo, publicity chairman for the Save the San Francisco Bay and Delta Foundation, spoke about the controversial 2-Gates plan, which has recently been put on hold thanks in large part to the community’s outcry.
“The fight is not over,” said Guzzardo. “It may be dead (2-Gates); it may not be dead. There are a lot of things are happening right now. But the battle for the Delta is not done. Let’s keep it going.”