Chamber of Commerce names Linda Thomas Citizen of the Year

Bea Shepard, Claudia Kelsey receive Lifetime Achievement Awards

Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Juneau Chamber of Commerce named Linda Thomas Citizen of the Year during Saturday night's Under the Alaskan Sea celebration at Centennial Hall - an evening that included an address from Gov. Sarah Palin.

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Thomas is general manager of Alaska Brewing Company, a past Chamber president, chairperson of the Affordable Housing Commission, and she sits on many boards and committees throughout the community.

The chamber also presented Bea Shepard and Claudia Kelsey Lifetime Achievement Awards for the pair's years of service to the community, and their combined efforts to build community assets.

Kelsey addressed the chamber, saying people have asked why she and Shepard came to Alaska. They also are asked why they stayed. They stayed because Alaska is full of incredible people, she said.

"Thank you all for being incredible Alaskans," Kelsey said.

Shortly before the lifetime achievement presentation, Palin addressed the large gathering of local business owners and operators.

Noting a big year for tourism in Juneau, she said the chamber played a critical role throughout the state and in Juneau.

"This administration and the chamber are on common ground," she said.

Palin spoke on future energy development and the Juneau access road, saying her administration wanted to hear the chamber's thoughts on sensible development. Palin reminded the room to share their stance collectively and individually with the Legislature. They hold the purse strings, she said.

"It's critical to know that the residents affected want this development," she said.

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