As President of the Trumansburg Chamber, it is always such a pleasure to sit with the board and discuss who we would like to honor at our annual dinner in November. This past year we decided to present three awards; Alan Vogel as Person of the Year, the Trumansburg Rotary as Organization of the Year, and Little Venice as Business of the Year.
Vogel brought his young family to the Trumansburg area in 1984 and worked at TST BOCES for over 20 years, where he taught shop and vocational skills to special needs students. He has been a force in bringing the community together, particularly in his community build projects. There is no project that is too big or too small for Vogel, and he never waivers in the face of a project.
Some projects in the Trumansburg area that are enjoyed by residents and visitors alike are the buildings at the Trumansburg Farmers Market and the Children’s Village outside the laundry. Many of these buildings were constructed for use at the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival. In addition to these buildings, Vogel and his crew have constructed new bathrooms and showers at the Trumansburg Fairgrounds, and is also largely responsible for transforming the Ithaca Generator mobile tool trailer into the Leslie Puryear Community Stage, which is used for events all around Tompkins County in addition to serving as the Congo Square stage at GrassRoots.
Nana Monaco, past Chamber board President, and GrassRoots co-coordinator presented the award to Vogel and reflected on the importance of community builds. “When you’re a part of the community build you feel like a piece of this thing bigger than yourself, contributing to something people would use and enjoy for years to come.”
Vogel thanked the community and numerous volunteers that he has worked with for recognizing and assisting him. “Many of our neighbors have unique and gifted artistic talents as musicians, artists, etc. The remainder of us can offer lots of valuable skills by participating in lasting ‘hands-on’ improvements to our communities. Our combined skill sets are incredibly vast and enable us to do almost anything. Working together on these projects transcends many political, economic, and social differences which can improve relationships and strengthen communities. Another benefit is people of all ages and backgrounds work together, exchanging ideas and skills thereby encouraging future generations.”
The Trumansburg Rotary Club supports local programs that focus on youth, education, arts, and health programs. The international program focuses on health, development, and international understanding, and provides opportunities for the community to welcome exchange students from around the world as well as supporting local youth who wish to travel abroad.
In addition to the popular chicken barbeques that rotary holds throughout the year, it recently supported a large number of local initiatives. These include contributing to the Trumansburg Food Pantry and Christmas Bureau; organizing the Share the Warmth campaign; providing support and scholarships for the Trumansburg sports programs and an annual scholarship for TST BOCES; supporting the Route 96 adopt-a-highway program; and providing various grants including the high school and middle school Robotics Clubs, after prom party, and a hoop house and binoculars for nature study. The list goes on and on!
I have had the pleasure of partnering with the club during Trumansburg WinterFest to provide free soup to attendees, making the festival 100 percent free and accessible to all who want to participate. When I reached out to the group in 2017 for support with cooking and serving the soup, the answer was an easy “Yes, we will figure this out.” And they did once again in 2018.The Organization of the Year Award was received by club President Mike Jimenez who notes, “It is a great honor to be recognized by the Chamber as the Community Organization of the Year! Trumansburg Rotarians take great pride in serving our community, and are abundantly grateful to the Chamber for this recognition.”
The Business of the Year award was presented to Little Venice and accepted by new co-owners, Jessie Gardner and John Miexell.
The number of causes Little Venice supports is impressive. It has supported Dining for Dollars for the Trumansburg After School Program, Trumansburg After Prom Party, the Robotics Club, and Trumansburg Music Boosters. The business has held several events for Trumansburg Takes in Pediatric Cancer, Trumansburg/Ulysses Rural Youth Services, and the Empty Backpacks Program, and contributed to the Empty Bowls Fundraiser, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society , and Tompkins County 4-H, just to name a few.
Little Venice donates to various school class groups and graciously host fundraisers for the Trumansburg school district and for sports and youth functions in South Seneca. In addition, the restaurant frequently gives gift certificates for Chamber events and supports WinterFest through entertainment sponsorship, as well as enthusiastic participation in the Merry Merchants decorating contest.
In addition, Little Venice is a major contributor to the local economy. Keeping things fresh by making effective changes to the menu, adding a Sunday brunch buffet, featuring unique daily specials, and hosting nightly entertainment not only brings people from around the County to Trumansburg, but it has also increased revenue, solidifying its presence on Main Street for years to come.
Gardner notes, “John and I were very honored to receive the 2018 Business of the Year award from the Trumansburg Chamber. We love our community and strive to be an ever bigger part of it in the years to come.”
The 2019 annual dinner will once again be held at the Conservatory and will include a community-wide celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Trumansburg Chamber. Award nominations can be made any time of year, and community members are encouraged to participate! Nomination forms can be found on the Trumansburg Chamber website, trumansburgchamber.com.
Trumansburg Community ChorusThe Spring 2019 session of the Trumansburg Community Chorus will start on Monday, Jan. 28 with a registration/orientation night, led by the members of the steering committee. In addition to the orientation, music will be distributed and attendees will listen through recordings of the pieces (while following along in the music). There will also be some time for folks to get to know their fellow singers. Location confirmations are still being worked out, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, the online registration form is open. Please register at: goo.gl/forms/hnobXML7Ucl3x6Od2
Historic Trumansburg Area Post OfficesPlease mark your calendar for the Jan. 29 program at the Ulysses Historical Society at 7 p.m. to hear historian David Smith present his program titled “Post Offices of the Trumansburg Area.” This talk will touch on the many small local post offices, the years they operated, and stories behind some letters which were mailed from these post offices.
If Abner Treman wanted to mail a letter when he arrived in 1792, he would have had to travel a long way. In 1792, the county seat was in Montgomery County, and the nearest post office was in Canajoharie. Before then, Albany or perhaps the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania was the closest post office. Coffee, tea, and cookies will be served after the presentation. Everyone is welcome to join us for an interesting evening.
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