Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce announces 2008 award winners

January 04, 2008
Legends of the Airport luncheon and award presentation scheduled for Feb '08 at CP Aviation
Santa Paula News

Bill Grant

The Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the award recipients for its 2008 Annual Awards. This year the Chamber will have a luncheon to present the awards and will provide a recap of the past years business, in addition to discussing upcoming news and committee work. The Citizen of the year award will be presented to Bill Grant. “Bill received a number of nominations for this award," says Connie Tushla, chair of the Board of Directors, "and we thought Brett Chandler’s letter of support was very helpful." Brett, who is the president and general manager of Associates Insectary, stated in his letter, "I have been working with Bill Grant at Associates Insectary for almost twenty years and have witnessed his tireless work on various civic projects. Because of his enthusiasm for these events, Bill has always been known at work as 'Mr Santa Paula'. Bill Grant is overdue for recognition of his long-term efforts to make Santa Paula a better place to live."John Blanchard, president of the Santa Paula Chamber, says, “The Chamber is most happy to present the Business of the Year award to Familia Diaz. Familia Diaz has been a fixture in Santa Paula since its inception in 1936. Originally a cantina, Familia Diaz Restaurant, located at the entrance to Santa Paula on Tenth Street and Harvard, recently celebrated its 70th anniversary and provides delicious authentic Mexican specialties. This great restaurant has also won the State BBQ competition, which helps bring positive recognition to Santa Paula.”The Chambers award for Building Improvement or Beautification Project is given to an entity that makes a positive impact on stimulating Santa Paula’s local economy. Judy Ohaco, a Chamber Board member says, “Several years ago, Tom and Rosanna Jennett, out of towners from Malibu, were day-tripping and stopped in Santa Paula. They fell in love with our town and purchased the historic Glen Tavern Hotel. The hotel had fallen on hard times, and over the past few years they have restored this landmark to its former glory. The hotel provides much needed rooms for guests spending time and dollars in our community. The Jennetts' good work has contributed greatly to Santa Paula’s tourism asset portfolio," says Ohaco, "and several people believed they deserved this award. This has been a great investment in our town."This year, the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce is pleased give a special Civic Beautification award to the Granite Ball Fountain at Railroad Plaza Park. In 2005, Roy Wilson Jr. presented his vision for improving a vacant lot along the railroad corridor east of 10th Street. His dedication to implementing his plan resulted in a much improved Railroad Plaza Park and the addition of a 6,000-pound polished granite ball fountain, which rotates with a gentle push.
The Santa Paula Rotary contributed to this scenic entryway for Fillmore and Western railroad visitors to Santa Paula, as did many Santa Paulans. “A blighted part of Santa Paula has been transformed into a place of beauty and peace,” says Debbie Johnson of the Santa Paula Times, and one of the nominators for this award."We’re really looking forward to our awards luncheon," noted Tushla. "It’s going to be held at CP Aviation at the Santa Paula airport. This is a great local business and our airport is a gem. The theme for the event is 'Legends of the Airport,' and we’re planning something fun and positive. We’re selling tickets now, so please call to reserve your space."The Santa Paula Chamber’s Mission is in business for business. More information about Legends of the Airport and other Chamber activities can be found by either calling 525-5561 or e-mailing or visiting the chamber’s web-site at

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