North Quabbin Chamber Annual Awards


2018 Citizen of the Year

North Quabbin Inspiration

Joann Deacon

Business of the Year

Outstanding Municipal Recognition

Outstanding Municipal Recognition

Presidential Service Award

Chamber Service Award

Director of the Year

The Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust has been selected to receive the North Quabbin Chamber’s Citizen of the Year award for 2018. The organization was chosen from a field of nominations, all of whom represent the best of the region. Familiar in the region, their mission statement reads “Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust benefits the environment, the economy, and future generations by protecting significant land and encouraging land stewardship.” It’s the way they do that that helped earn them the award. In addition to creating collaborations between public and private entities to conserve land itself, great attention is paid and energy devoted to stewarding the conserved land, reconnecting the public with agriculture, assisting farmers, exploring the current and future needs of sustainable food systems and implementing programs that help achieve those goals for everyone. Mount Grace serves 23 towns in our greater North Quabbin region.

This North Quabbin Inspiration award has been given to Joann Deacon of Athol. Joanne is a former teacher from the Athol Royalston regional school district, twenty-four of them as a kindergarten teacher. She is very active in the local hiking community and has hiked over twenty-six of the highest summits in New England, having participated in a program focused on cancer survivors. When she hikes, she wears a sign that says, “Climbing Through Cancer” which often leads to conversations with strangers. “Mother Monadnock” as she lovingly refers to it, may be her favorite, having climbed it each month since New Years Day, 2005. She is often accompanied by her husband Al and friends on her journeys. Diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of her hiking excursions, she has fought and won over the disease, seeing the adventures as a celebration of life and good health and has inspired many people to do the same. She serves as a director on the board of the YMCA and works tirelessly to help aid the organization in realizing their goals to bring healthy activity to everyone. Joann and Al have three daughters, four grandchildren and reside in Athol.

The Dance Studio of Orange has been awarded the 2018 Business of the Year. A long standing business, The Dance Studio was taken over by Brenda Schatz in 1977 and is now owned and operated by her daughter, Ingrid Schatz and Ingrid’s husband, Bryan Long. Ingrid is a professional dancer, choreographer and arts educator committed to presenting powerful works of art that engage and transform performers and audience alike. She directs, teaches, supervises faculty and designs curriculum and the studio produces performances for 150 students and two performance companies in ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, tap, hip hop, and creative movement. Formerly in a small storefront on South Main street in downtown Orange, they purchased the historical Central Street School on North Main street, directly across from the town hall, in 2015. Since then, they have grown from one studio to three, increased their staff three-fold and student body to over 150. Future plans for the space include an arts collaborative featuring other performing arts disciplines. The Dance Studio is very active in the greater North Quabbin community and routinely brings performances to area events, organizations and businesses. In addition, they have created a scholarship foundation, designed to make instruction available to students with financial needs.

Outstanding Municipal Awards go to the Town of Orange for their cooperative and masterful handling of hosting the filming of the upcoming Hulu production of the television series Castle Rock, and the Town of Barre for their hard work, planning and execution of the redesign and upgrades to the central common district.
Castlerock (the first television series shot in Massachusetts in over twenty-five years) is due to release this summer. With dozens of shooting days involving hundreds of cast and crew, equipment, road closures and associated traffic concerns, all town departments came together to minimize community impact while being accommodating to an important cultural and economically important endeavor. Special recognition goes to Brenda Anderson, Orange Police Department dispatcher, who calmly operated as the hub of the effort, professionally and gracefully organizing the myriad needs of town departments, movie crew and the public.

Several years in the making, the Town of Barre completed its redesign and reconstruction of the roads and common areas of its central business district and town common area. Multiple road intersections, green spaces and attention to historic architecture and uses were all considered and integrated to form a beautiful revitalization of Barre’s historic town common. Spearheaded by the Common Oversight Committee, the Barre Common was transformed from what was a dilapidated intersection and common area to a beautiful centerpiece of the community.  The revived common has hosted various programs for residents and the region including car shows, community band concerts and the first annual Barry Scary Halloween. Many additional events are planned.

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