Thank you to all the runners, cyclists and volunteers who made Duathlon 2017 another great race! Event shirts were provided by Wild Bill Wagner, who also co-chairs this event. Chick-Fil-A Macedonia and Panera Bread provided after-race refreshments for racers and volunteers as well. Goodie bags were donated by South Pointe Hospital.

Thank you also to our sponsors: South Pointe Hospital, Ferfolia Funeral Home, Northfield HealthMarkets and Damsel in Defense. Before- and after-race music was provided by Scott Zura, Mindigital. Race results can be found at Active.com. We, as a community of businesses, have hosted this race since 1996. Thank you all for your support.

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Congratulations to our 2017 NHCOC Award winners. For setting an example for other entrepreneurs and a role model for up-and-coming business leaders, we award our Small Business of the Year 2017 to the Allstate Monroe Agency, Kristen Monroe, Agent.

Kristen's vision of creating a legacy of individualized protection for her clients is always uppermost in her mind, but she never misses an occasion to better the lives of those around her. Having three children of her own, Kristen is very sensitive to the needs of children around her. She has rallied her agency to donate their time and dollars to the following: March of Dimes, Change Bandit for the Akron Children's Hospital, Selfless Elf 5k sponsored by the Akron Canton Food Bank, Toys for Tots and Before Baby Maternity Fair at Akron General Hospital.

The Monroe Agency doesn't settle for just a monetary donation, but spends hours volunteering at the Medina & Summit County Battered Women's Shelter. Kristen stepped up to chair the Chamber Scholarship Program this year and has taken a leadership role in the new Young Professional Group, as well as a position on the NHCOC Board of Directors. Locally, Kristen's team doesn't stop at selling and servicing insurance policies, but works to enhance the community they work in.

From their involvement in the Nordonia Hills Safety Town and Local National Night Out (Police & Community partnership event) to organizing a Home Buyer & Seller Seminar at the library and raising money for the Nordonia Hills Athletic Boosters, Kristen's team is making sure they leave a legacy of caring for their community.

The Chamber Star award is the award that I personally select. This is the person who has made a noticeable difference in the running of the Nordonia Hills Chamber. The 2017 Star is our current president, Maria Dubnicka, of ComForCare Home Care. She is receiving this award, not just because she's president, but because she has taken her position to heart. Every president is an ex officio member of each committee, but Maria takes this responsibility seriously. When there is a job to be done, she does it from calling for renewals to soliciting food donations, Maria gets the task done and on time.

Maria has a vision for our Board of Directors, and she has worked tirelessly to get the board tightened up and even more supportive of the Chamber. It's never easy to rein in 10 strong-minded business people behind one cause, but Maria has done this with unflagging dedication and never-ending determination. Even after putting her family and business first, Maria has become a first-rate Chamber cheerleader.

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NHCOC members are invited to take advantage of the cost-savings benefits of Chamber membership. One of these benefits is the Chamber Energy Program. Community Energy Advisors is a Public Utilities Commission of Ohio certified energy management firm that educates and empowers organizations of all sizes to maximize the economics of their energy assets. Through the Chamber Energy Program, CEA provides Chamber members with education, savings, and protection on both regulated and deregulated energy expenses. With a credible partner looking out for your bottom-line, members enjoy peace of mind and budget-ability when it comes to your utility costs.

° Education - The regulated and deregulated energy markets are increasingly complex. To aid you in remaining proactive, making informed decisions, and budgeting your utility expenses, we provide timely and relevant information.

° Protection - To help protect you from scams, fraudulent activity, and unexpected costs, we provide informative emails, blog posts, and seminars.

° Savings - Paying more than you should for electricity and natural gas can add up to thousands of lost dollars that you could be investing back into your business. We ensure you are paying the most competitive market rates.

If you are looking for information to help you cut out the noise, protect your company, and take control of your energy budget, visit our Energy Resource Center at: ceateam.com/energy-edu.