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New class of Pioneers and Civic Leaders tapped by merchants group

Cheers.

Each year, the Merchants of Third Avenue (MTA) salutes those who have gone above and beyond for the community, and this year is no different. The merchants group has pegged 11 local businesspeople, leaders and advocates as its 2016 Pioneers and Civic Leaders, and one to accept a new, special award in memory of the late, great Larry Morrish.

“What distinguishes Third Avenue is people come and they stay,” said Merchants Secretary Chuck Otey during a Monday, September 12 meeting at the Greenhouse Cafe, 7717 Third Avenue. “We have businesses around 40 years, 35 years, 25 years. We honor people giving continuous service [to the avenue] and we also honor people around Bay Ridge who give extraordinary service.”

The group, to be recognized and awarded at the 23rd Annual Pioneer Cocktail Reception (to be held this year on Monday, December 5 at the Bay Ridge Manor in conjunction with the Merchants’ annual holiday party), includes five Pioneers and six Civic Honorees, all with their own ties to the Ridge.

This year’s Pioneers are Susan Chen, owner of Angel City Beauty Salon; attorney Joe Elhilow; financial advisor Patrick Gilbride of Edward Jones; Pete Lexis, owner of Elia’s Restaurant; and Anthony Rinaldi, owner of the Pearl Room.

This year’s Civic Honorees are Essa Balady (Balady Brothers, Fifth Avenue Board of Directors); Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann; Ted General (a columnist for this paper with involvement in the Society of Old Brooklynites, the Bay Ridge Historical Society and the Ragamuffin Parade Committee); Helen Klein (editor of this paper); Joanne Seminara (partner at Grimaldi & Yeung LLP, Democratic district leader, and member and former chair of CB 10); and Sandy Vallas (owner of Vallas Realty and CB 10 member).

The inaugural Larry Morrish Community Service Award will be given to Ridgeite John Quaglione, deputy chief of staff and press secretary for State Senator Marty Golden.

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