And the winners are ...
On the evening of Saturday, April 28, civic spirit and community pride were on full display at the 2012 Azalea Awards, sponsored by the Takoma Voice and Takoma Foundation. Each winner was a reflection of the amazing work of all the nominiees, whose accomplishments also serve as reminders of all the energy, passion, commitment and caring that make our community such a great place to live, work and visit. For a complete list of nominees ... and everyone whose time, talent and treasure contributed to this year's award, click here. And now, the envelopes, please ...
Takoma Spirit (Tie)
Marika Partridge and Larry Ravitz -- The inseparable team of Marika and Larry has a generous and supportive spirit that personifies the best of Takoma -- creative, collaborative, home-based and neighborly. From music to mosaic, they enliven our community with a constant stream of visitors and projects. They have transformed the Grassy Nook Stage at the Folk Festival into a venue for promising young performers, and their latest project is our own local radio station.
Lorig Charkoudian -- Lorig is a mover and shaker who, with the warmest energy, brings people together and pushes for an inclusive, collaborative agenda on such projects as the Takoma Park Junction Task Force, the TPSS Food Coop, and her new effort for a Takoma Park community kitchen. She is also a regular with Rolling Terrace Girl Scouts, the 5K Safe Roadways Challenge, and the South of Sligo Citizens Association.
Joyce Seamens -- Joyce is a powerhouse of generosity, hidden behind a quiet and humble demeanor. Well known throughout our neediest communities, she works every single day to make sure they are not forgotten. She delivers food, how-to advice and much love, and she receives much love in return.
Jose Dominguez -- As director of Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, Jose has expanded the number of outreach programs, bringing arts to people of all ages and abilities. He mentors new interns, sponsors events like the Takoma Fun Run, participates in Old Takoma and coaches for Takoma Soccer and for TPSS Baseball. Jose is a combination of laid-back and patient but also motivated and engaged.
Caitlin and Meaghan Murphy, Capital City Cheesecake -- When it comes to fresh baked goodies, hearty sandwiches, and famous mini-cheesecakes, Caitlin and Meaghan's cozy café/bakery is on a higher plane of expertise, delivering taste beyond the norm. Generous spirits, they are helping others get started as bakers, letting them use Cheesecake ovens and then selling their baked goods -- and the Murphy sisters also support local musicians by hosting an open mic night.
Andrew Partan -- Andrew is a veteran of Takoma Soccer, coaching at both ends of the youth spectrum: 2nd-grade and high school. He is also the league's techno wizard and can be found lining the fields every Friday.
Lesley Romanoff -- For more than 10 years, Lesley has brought dedication, energy, creativity and love to children as director of Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School (TPCNS), affectionately known as The Purple School. She has led the way in transforming a humble bungalow into a magical place for young children while turning parents into collaborative volunteer leaders.
Marty Ittner -- A longtime Friends of Sligo Creek steward, Marty uses her daily walk with her dog to keep an eye on problems with the creek. More than once she has discovered contaminations, such as a diesel fuel spill last year. Her quick action stopped the spill within an hour.
Lew McAllister -- Lew has created a crucial in-school mentoring program to meet the needs of troubled students at Takoma Park Middle. Twice a week, over lunch hour, he gathers 30 boys and girls who have been identified as having failing grades or behavioral challenges. With candid, reality-based talk, he engages them in a group discussion aimed at getting them back on track.
Megan Scribner -- From PTA president at Piney Branch Elementary to PTA stalwart at Montgomery Blair, Megan has worked tirelessly for programs to benefit all students. For the past five years she has organized Blair's "after prom" party to offer a safe place for more than 700 juniors and seniors each May.
Roger Schlegel -- Surpassing all reasonable expectations in his role with the Takoma Junction Task Force, Roger conceptualized and summarized a 16-month project. He put it on paper, making sense of myriad facts and opinions, for a primetime presentation to the Council. No one could have done more, and yet Roger also served as president of his neighborhood association in Pinecrest and was a major contributor to the "budget game" that involved residents in City financial planning.
for Extraordinary Service to Takoma Park
Eric Bond, Publisher, Takoma Voice. Eric was recognized with a special award for his decade of unstinting service to our community ... as a networker, an information source, a concerned citizen, a respected gadfly ... and an all around "voice" for our community.