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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of February 27 - March 5, 2002


Community spirit thrives in valley

Chamber announces annual award winners

Express Staff Writer

The community spirit here manifests itself in a wide variety of people who dedicate themselves to helping others in all kinds of ways.

But there are a few who stand out.

Barge Levy, Youth Advocate of the Year

Barge Levy is one. He launched the Silver Creek Alternative School nine years ago to help "redirect children who do not flourish in the traditional school system."

Levy adapted a prison literacy program to teach local "at risk" high school students how to read. Dozens, who might otherwise have dropped out, have graduated from the Alternative School since 1993.

Levy, four other valley residents and a local business will be recognized for their community spirit March 8 during the Annual Community Awards dinner at the River Run Lodge.

Carolyn Nystrom, Citizen of the Year

Levy was named Youth Advocate of the Year, and the other honors go to Carolyn Nystrom for Citizen of the Year, Joe Jesinger Di Francesco for Youth Citizen of the Year, Kathy Wygle for Arts Advocate of the Year, Les Reid M.D., for Chamber Volunteer of the Year, and Webb Landscape Inc. for Business of the Year.

The Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber of Commerce organizes the $35-a-head event to recognize individuals, organizations and businesses that make significant contributions to the community.

This year, the chamber’s board of directors reviewed 40 nominations from the public.

Dr. Les Reid, Chamber Volunteer of the Year

A retired doctor of internal medicine, Reid enjoys his duties a chamber volunteer. He has spent Friday afternoons for the last three years answering tourists’ questions in the visitor center in downtown Ketchum.


"Life has been very good to me. I think part of it is pay-back time."

It’s fun, too, he said.

Reid, and his wife Estelle Reid, are aficionados of the Sun Valley lifestyle. They are living encyclopedias of the area’s skiing, hiking and biking trails and of every place for drinking wine and eating good food.

Kathy Wygle, Arts Advocate of the Year

"Everybody comes in to the visitors’ center with a different question," he said. One man, for example, asked for directions to the "Blue Radish."

There is a "Wild Radish" and a "Blue Room" restaurant in Ketchum, so "I told him, ‘You’ve got your choice.’"

Nystrom, who is the executive director of the Wood River Hospice, won Citizen of the Year for dedicating herself to the comfort and care of terminally ill patients and their families.

Joe Jesinger Di Francesco, Youth Citizen of the Year

Jesinger Di Francesco won Youth Citizen of the Year for contributing over 400 hours of community service in the last two-and-a-half years. Di Francesco helped bring the Utah Shakespearean Festival to the Wood River Middle School.

Wygle, who founded the Laughing Stock Theater Company in 1977, won Arts Advocate of the Year for her continuing support of the arts.

Webb Landscape Inc., Business of the Year.

The chamber also selected Webb Landscape Inc. for Business of the Year. Webb has contributed to the economic health of the community through investments and charitable giving, the chamber stated.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.