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Community Awards honor local businesspeople, activists

On Friday night, the Seward Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual Community Awards Banquet at the Seward Military Resort, bringing together different community members to recognize those who have positively impacted Seward.

This year’s awards were a bit different, molding to fit the community needs — like with the addition of the Civic Engagement Award.

The new category recognized Lynda Paquette for her work with the Seward Civic Engagement group and her drive to involve the community in the going-ons of Seward.

“I am moved beyond words,” Paquette said. “I’m happy that my efforts have made a difference and that people are appreciative of them and that they are worthy.”

Other awards included the Business Site Improvement award, which was given to The Highliner Restaurant. The restaurant, open year-round, was renovated by the Zimmerman’s after sitting vacant for over a decade.

Business person of the year was divided into two distinct categories this year— the Industry Person of the Year and Small Business Advocates.

Laura Schneider of Exit Marine and 60 Degrees Adventure Charter took home the Industry Person of the Year award.

“(We) moved here for a job and an opportunity, but we stayed for the community,” Schneider said of her and her husband, Kenneth Cardwell.

Stephanie Millane, of Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking and Able Millane Web Services, and Cliff Kruf and Linda Chichester of Brown & Hawkins were awarded the Small Business Advocate Award.

Seward Person of the Year award went to Marianna Keil, who has “served the public tirelessly” with over a decade on both City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Award winners were nominated by fellow community members.