Chamber hands out 2015 Diamond Awards

December 4, 2015

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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In Mayor Steve Buri’s mind, the Newcastle City Council made one of its best decisions ever in 2013.

That was the year the council voted to bump Newcastle Detective Christy Marsalisi from part time to full time.

By Greg Farrar The 2015 Newcastle Chamber of Commerce Diamond Award winners.

By Greg Farrar
The 2015 Newcastle Chamber of Commerce Diamond Award winners.

Marsalisi started as the city’s full-time detective in 2014. She is the primary reason Newcastle has seen a reduction in property crimes, Buri said. That’s why she received a 2015 Newcastle Chamber of Commerce Diamond Award.

“She really had an interest in being a detective and solving crimes and that’s what she’s done very effectively throughout Newcastle,” Buri said.

The chamber rolled out the red carpet for the community’s top contributors at the 2015 Diamond Awards ceremony Nov. 19.

Marsalisi won the Mayor’s Award, given to a person who consistently volunteers his or her time and resources to make a positive difference in the Newcastle community.

Overall, it was a big night for Newcastle staff members. In addition to Marsalisi’s win, Wendy Kirchner, the city’s community activities liaison, picked up the Customer Service Award.

Kirchner won the prize given to a greater Newcastle area individual, organization or public employee that demonstrates an uncommon commitment and enthusiasm that enriches the community and its residents.

She is responsible for facilitating the city’s slate of community events, including Newcastle Days and Concerts in the Park.

Additionally, Mayor Steve Buri won the Community Leadership Award, given to an individual who demonstrates uncommon initiative, caring and leadership in the community.

Buri has served the city of Newcastle since 2007 as a councilman, deputy mayor and mayor. He will leave the City Council at the end of December, after he decided not to run for re-election.

Longtime Olympus resident Sue Stronk won the Dennis Yarnell Inspiration Award. Stronk was recognized for working to make her neighborhood a better place.

In addition to expanding the Olympus blockwatch, she also organizes community events, such as the garage sale, and goes out of her way to help neighbors. This past season, Stronk dusted off her sewing machine and made Seahawks flags for all of the neighbors.

B & E Meats and Seafood won the Business Award. Owner Jeff Green and his staff joined the community in 2013. Green is always quick to support local events and organizations.

Hazelwood Elementary School teachers Laura Olszewski and Linda Wakeman won the Education Award for their care and attention in teaching, mentoring and inspiring special needs students.

Finally, Hazen student Aunica Budgeon and Liberty student James Ricks won the Youth Award. Both teenagers are active members of the community and serve on the Newcastle Youth Community Engagement Board.

The Newcastle Diamond Awards is an annual ceremony that recognizes community members who do good things in the greater Newcastle area. The recipient of a Diamond Award is chosen based on his or her contribution to the community.

Winners and nominees demonstrate dedication, integrity and caring with a passion for doing what needs to be done.

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