Boydston takes Most Controversial title, Valencia Softballgets another kudo.
The 11th annual Newsmakers Awards were held Friday night andMayor Bob Kellar came out a winner as Newsmaker of the Year.
The event, a fundraiser for the Randy Wicks First AmendmentScholarship Program, honors names in the news in a variety ofcategories. Over the last decade, the program has granted 48scholarships to graduating high school students and helped 8students at College of the Canyons.
The singular organization award was given to the SCV DisasterCoalition, which was honored as Organization of the Year. TheCoalition, formed in 2006 to help victims of Hurricanes Katrina andRita and most recently, raised more than $100,000 to help victimsof the October 2007 wildfires. Other nominees included the AmericanCancer Society, Circle Of Hope, LETMESAIL and the SCV HistoricalSociety.
Taking home the “Behind the Scenes” award was MicheleMann, a Valencia attorney with Smart Growth SCV, a grass-rootsgroup organized to oppose the expansion of office buildings on thecampus of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. Other nominees wereDr. Gene Dorio, Barry Gump, David Gauny and Arte Thompson.
Named for “Community Service” was Jeanna Crawford, whowas honored for her work chairing several fundraising events thatbenefited local charities, including Carousel Ranch, the SCV Boysand Girls Club, the Betty Ferguson Foundation and HMNMH. Othernominees included KHTS station owners Carl and Jeri Goldman,Colleen Schaffer, Tim Davis and Heather Warrick.
Sports took the spotlight several times during the evening, withthe Sports Team award going to Valencia Softball, which ended itsseason ranked number 1 in the nation. After its phenomenal seasonof wins, the Valencia High girls were named the state andcountry’s team of the year and Coaches Donna Lee and CarrieMitchell were recognized as the top coaching staff in the nation.Fellow nominees were Saugus Cross Country, Saugus Football, HartFootball and Hart Softball.
Credit for much of Valencia Softball’s success can go to starpitcher Jordan Taylor, who took home honors for Sports Individual(female). During the season, Taylor had 24 shutouts, 31 completegames and 406 strikeouts. She was named California Player of theYear by CalHiSports.com, Foothill Player of the Year and All-SantaClarita Valley Player of the Year. Other nominees included AlysiaJohnson, Jordan Danny, Katie Dunn and Annie Kellogg.
The Sports Individual (male) title went to Hart High graduate JamesShields, who led the 1999 Hart baseball team to a CIF championship,is now a starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays considered themost valuable pitcher in the American League. Other nomineesincluded Harry Welch, Jerry Owens, Delane Howell and MattMoore.
The Most Cooperative with the Local Press award went to DanMasnada, general manager of the Castaic Lake Water Agency, who goesout of his way to make himself available to reporters and patientlyexplains complicated water issues. Other nominees were SharonDawson, Robin Clough, Sam Padilla and Cameron Smyth.
City Councilman TimBen Boydston, appointed to fill Smyth’sseat when he was elected to the state Assembly, was named MostControversial, a kudo for his straightforward approach to issuesand queries that sometimes made city staff uncomfortable. Othermuckrackers nominated were David Gauny, Scott Wilk, Roger Seaverand the Hart School District.
Newsmaker of the Year Kellar earned his honors because of years ofdedication to the city and its issues. An eight-year veteran of theCity Council, the former LAPD officer had been active in areacharities and isn’t afraid to fight dirty for something hebelieves in (the CEMEX mine was noted among his favoritecontroversies). He was nominated with a variety of other leaders,including Marsha McLean, Tony Zinnanti, TimBen Boydston and DavidGauny.