OTR Chamber's Star Awards mixing it up March 16

The Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual Star Awards March 16 at The Transept. The event features a change in venue, timing and format, shifting from a presentation-packed luncheon to a shorter program with more networking time.
“We have had a really successful luncheon in a room packed with 400 people, where the program goes to the last second and then everyone has to race back to their offices,” Chamber President Emilie Johnson says. “This year, we tried to embrace a format that would allow this group of people who are committed and passionate about the neighborhood to have more time to enjoy each other’s company.”
The brief program for the 2016 Star Awards will feature keynote speaker Harvey Lewis, a marathon runner and educator.
“He is an amazing individual,” Johnson says. “Harvey is an educator at the School for Creative and Performing Arts and has been in the neighborhood a number of years. He’s also an athlete with a really compelling and inspirational story.”
Lewis won the Bad Water ultramarthaton, a 135-mile race in California’s Death Valley. He teaches social studies and economics at SCPA, running to and from work every day.
The program is scheduled for 4-6:30 p.m. Following Lewis’ talk, Star Awards will be presented to these 2016 winners:
Mortar, Chairperson’s Award
Woodward Theater, Norma Petersen Arts and Culture Award
Chatfield College, Property Development of the Year
Sundry + Vice, New Business of the Year
The Transept, Business of the Year
Red Door Project, Individual Contribution of the Year
OTR Community Housing, Nonprofit of the Year
Cydney Rabe, Off the Vine and Core Movement Studio, Entrepreneur of the Year
Taft’s Ale House, Restaurant of the Year
Future Leaders OTR, Community Impact of the Year
The Star Awards Review Committee chooses winners for the Chairperson’s Award and the Norma Petersen Arts and Culture Award, while the remainder of the awards are selected by the committee based on nominations from the community.
“What’s really cool about this process is that anyone can submit a nomination for the Star Awards,” Johnson says. “This year we had the most nominations we’ve ever received. These nominations celebrate Over-the-Rhine and all the great things that are happening here. We’re glad to have such a diverse pool of recipients who are uniquely contributing to OTR.”
The Chamber is also gearing up for the 10-year anniversary of the OTR 5k on May 21, with runner registration open now. Organizers are looking for volunteers to help with the race and the Summer Celebration in Washington Park immediately after.
“The 5k highlights the neighborhood and all that’s happening here,” Johnson says. “City Flea will kick off its season with us again. Art on Vine is also back on board, bringing their festival to the bandstand area. And the OTR 5k is still one of the few races that’s stroller- and dog-friendly.”

Read more articles by Julie Carpenter.

Julie Carpenter is a jack-of-all-trades with a background in cultural heritage tourism, museums and nonprofit organizations. She's a bit obsessed with the built environment and irregularly shares her musings on architecture, urban planning and city life on Facebook and Twitter (@StrawStickBrick).
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