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The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce, celebrating its 20th year, announced winners of its Chamber Day of Champions Awards to a sellout crowd at Arizona Grand Resort.
Guest speakers included Pam Gaber of Gabriel’s Angels, state Sen. John McComish, Councilman Sal DiCiccio and Chamber President/CEO Anne Gill. Peter Menor of Dignity Health Care, the 2013 chairman of the chamber board of directors, passed the gavel to 2014 board of directors Chairman Kent Johnson of the Ahwatukee Foothills News.
The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1994 by Ahwatukee business people. It has grown into a resource for the Ahwatukee business community. More than 450 members strong, the chamber offers opportunities for business owners to get connected.
Each year, the chamber honors businesses and individuals for outstanding leadership, service, entrepreneurial spirit and contribution to the community. Award winners for 2013:
>> Business of the Year: Dignity Health Ahwatukee Urgent Care — The facility treated more than 24,000 patients while providing more than $850,000 in free care to those who could not afford care. Dignity Health was a sponsor of the Red, White and Boom community fireworks show, Palo Verde Award Gala, Chamber Masters Golf Tournament, Chamber Day of Champions and has a seat on the chamber’s board of directors.
>> New Business of the Year: C2 Tactical Shooting Range — Since opening in March 2013, it has nearly $3 million in sales and created 50 jobs. It has provided firearm and safety classes to more than 1,300 students. It was a major sponsor of Red, White and Boom and has donated facilities and gift certificates to the chamber for special events.
>> Non-profit of the Year: Connecting to Serve — Formed in 2007, it has the passion and ability to identify and prioritize community issues and take leadership roles in the community. Involvement with the Chamber of Commerce and partnerships with pastors in the community were influential in its development of the Ahwatukee Community Network. It led to creation of a foster-care advocacy team, Kyrene Encore Program in a school, a financial-literacy education series, a food-bank consolidation, community-gardens program, an emergency-shelter program, and a job-search program.
>> Volunteer of the Year: Nick Knight —Owner of Nick’s Computer Guys, he is active in special events, including the golf tournament, Palo Verde Award Gala and Red, White and Boom. He assisted the chamber with its IT needs, which saved it more than $2,500.
>> Educational Mentor of the Year: Melissa France of Summit School of Ahwatukee — A math and life-skills and social-studies teacher, as well as adviser to the student council, which she started 10 years ago, she works to increase leadership roles for students. She has built solid relationships with leaders and companies in the community and has led the school’s Thanksgiving Basket Drive for 10 years.
>> Ambassador of the Year: Ernst McComish — He attained the most points by attending chamber events, mentoring new members and being a dedicated advocate.
>> Lifetime Achievement Award: state Sen. John McComish — He was president of the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce 1996-2006, instrumental in development of the chamber and Ahwatukee business community. He was on the Phoenix Planning Commission and has been chairman of the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee. McComish served three terms in the Arizona House of Representatives, where he was elected majority whip (2007, 2008) and majority leader (2009, 2010). He was elected majority leader in the Senate (2013, 2014).
>> Spirit of Ahwatukee: Tim Hovik, San Tan Ford: He is on the chamber board of directors, active in the Chamber Masters Charity Golf Tournament, a sponsor of Red, White and Boom and a sponsor of the Chamber Day of Champions. He provides vehicles each year for the Easter Parade. He donated $100 for every vehicle sold in July — $30,000.
Information: 480-753-7676, www.ahwatukeechamber.com.Learn More
By Allison Hurtado, Ahwatukee Foothills News
Legislative District 18 legislators made a commitment to Kyrene parents and teachers that they would fight for all the funding they could for education this year during a “Meet Your Legislators Night” at the Kyrene School District.
Parents had 40 minutes to ask Bob Robson, Jeff Dial and John McComish questions. While topics like dyslexia were brought up, most of the questions focused on funding.
The three LD 18 representatives didn’t make any promises Thursday night, other than promising to fight for all the funding they could.
“I can’t predict at the end of the day where the funding will end up,” McComish said. “I speak for myself and I think I can speak for Bob and Jeff when I say we’re going to fight for the maximum amount of money we can get for education. The reality is right now there’s a difference in revenue projections from what the governor projected and what the Legislature projects. We’ve got to reconcile that.”
Education has seen many cuts in the past few years. The rumor going into this legislative session is that schools won’t see additional cuts, but it’s unknown if any of the previous cuts will be restored.
Dial, Robson and McComish are all sponsoring a bill that would allow Kyrene to use bond funding, which is a bill that was held and died last year. They also fought for $40 million to go toward third-grade reading last year and said they expect to see more funding this year go to the Common Core Standards.
“My sense of the Legislature is the only question will be how much funding for the Common Core, but there will definitely be additional funding for Common Core,” McComish said. “We may have a disagreement over whether it’s $50 million or $60 million or whatever, but I think the good news is there will be significant monies designated to help implement the Common Core.”
Still, the legislators warned it’s always a balancing act and parents shouldn’t always believe what they read in the paper. While the state has money in reserves now they have to look three years out when they complete the budget and make sure the spending doesn’t multiply out of control.
Dial, Robson and McComish put out their own newsletter about the budget. To get on the list, email email@example.com and ask to receive the budget notice.