NEWCOMERSTOWN -- It was a night to shine in Newcomerstown as the 88th annual Newcomerstown Chamber of Commerce Banquet highlighted the businesses, individuals and organizations that have supported this community.

"It's our time to shine in 2009," Chamber President Jim Friel said.

A total of 17 awards were presented last Wednesday at the awards banquet at the David Barber Civic Center, Newcomerstown.

The awards included:

* Chief Netawatwes Award -- Eureka-Orme Hardware for expanding their business on River Street, Crowtown Pizza for opening their business in Newcomerstown, Hampton Inn for their community support, and Curves for purchasing and renovating a building in the village.

* Community Improvement Award -- Medi-Wise Pharmacy for moving their entire operation to Newcomerstown and having a stand for children to have a snack on their first day of school.

* Newcomer Awards -- Heaven Scent Floral, Baskets in the Bulrushes, Alternative Ink Tattoo Shop, and Projekt 73 Tattoo Shop.

* Organization of the Year -- Newcomerstown Rotary Club for all of their community involvement.

* Educator of the Year -- Pat Cadle, now principal at West School, for always keeping the children of the Newcomerstown community in mind.

* Helping Hands Award -- Bonnie Johnson and Janie Wilson for their help on the Newcomerstown Christmas Parade.

* Hometown Hero Award -- Nola Mallett for her help in the Newcomerstown Historical Society and Charlene Kehl for bringing joy and happiness to children for the Polar Express Christmas train ride.

* Lifetime Achievement Award -- Clark "Skip" Smith for developing and maintaining businesses in the Newcomerstown area, as well as giving back to the community.

* Veteran of the Year - Kelly Ault Memorial Patriotism Award -- Dennis G. "Denny" Belle for always being willing to serve and help with projects to better the Newcomerstown community.

* 2008-2009 Chamber Member of the Year Award -- Becki Allen for always being willing to help.

The banquet also featured guest speaker Greg DiDonato from the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA). He discussed how OMEGA can help small communities like Newcomerstown in grant writing, obtaining loans, etc.

"We're here to work with our communities," DiDonato said. "We want to know what's going on and assist the communities because we're in this all together."

Baker's IGA catered the meal for the banquet as well as the prepared the appetizers and served sampings of Raven's Glenn Winery wines.

The Newcomerstown Chamber of Commerce officers include, Jim Friel, president; Marlene Ross, first vice president; Carolyn Woodring, second vice president; Susan Norman, secretary; and Gary Chaney, treasurer.