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Local business and community service was the focus of the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner and meeting on Saturday evening. Dozens of community members gathered in the Mueller Center to reflect on a good year for Hot Springs business, and to look forward to future economic development.  

Chamber executive director Olivia Mears, encouraged people to view the chamber as a community resource and to continue to support both new and old local businesses, "we have to be responsible for our own community, it starts with us." 

Annual initiatives such as Hometown Holiday Helpers (Ho-Ho-Ho) and Small Business Saturday were recognized as successful ways to encourage residents to spend money with Hot Springs businesses. 

Upcoming chamber events we discussed at the dinner, including the job fair this week. This spring, certain chamber businesses will be participating in a community wide treasure hunt. The event will promote interaction between community members and local businesses.  

The chamber is also planning on making changes to Hot Springs' Fourth of July celebration. They plan on setting up a festival in the afternoon to keep people in Hot Springs between the duck races in the morning and fireworks in the evening. 

A motorcycle event is also in the works to attract travelers during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The chamber is trying to get it established prior to the eightieth anniversary of the rally in 2020 which is projected to bright an exceptionally large number of people to the Black Hills. 

Several awards were given out Saturday evening recognizing both individuals and businesses for their exceptional impact on the Hot Springs community. 

Teacher of the Year-Jamie Erskin of Hot Springs Elementary. Other nominees included Amanda Scott of the middle school and Michael Militor of the High School. 

Community Pride-Hot Springs Rotary Club

Retail Business of the Year- Beans Pet Supply. Nominees: Fall River Fiver and WillieJax Pawn and Consignment  

Service Business of the Year- Hot Springs Theater. Nominees: American Legion Post 71, Fall River County Herald, Mammoth Signs and State Home Care Services Inc. 

Hospitality Business of the Year- Morning Sunshine Cafe. Nominees: Dales Family Restaurant and the 1891 Steakhouse and Bistro. 

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Employer of the Year- Evan's Plunge 

Excellence in Digital Media- Heartsong Quilts  

Director's Award- Petra Wilson for her work with the Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival. 

Joyce Farrell Youth Volunteer of the Year- Aspen Stover. Nominees: Jordy Carey, Robert Cunningham, Maggie Jamieson, Zetta Kuhl, Shiann Moir and Purity Weisz. 

Citizen of the Year- Theresa Gossel. Nominee: Barbra Walter

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