Archive for the ‘awards’ Category

Local Chocolatier Captures International Awards

July 22, 2014 Leave a comment
Bronze Medal Chocolate Award

Bronze Top Chocolate Bar Award.
Image provided by Chocolate for the Spirit and used with written permission.

Press Release
Chocolate for the Spirit

Hosted by the International Chocolate Salon, the annual Top Chocolate Bar award competition honored Chocolate for the Spirit’s Mayan Spice Bar with two bronze medals, one in the “Most Unique” category, and another for “Best Ingredient Combinations.” Indianapolis-based Chocolate for the Spirit artisan chocolate company is owned and managed by certified artisan chocolatier Julie Bolejack.

The International Chocolate Salon holds a number of product-specific competitions in four venues around the world, annually naming the best toffees, caramels, truffles, chocolate beverages, and more. The Salon’s 15-judge panel of chocolatiers, food writers and bloggers and chefs, included experts from the Huffington Post, Candy Industry Magazine, Chocolate Covered, Gastrolust,, Viva Cocolat, and Serious Eats for this competition selecting the Best Chocolate Bar.

Chocolate for the Spirit’s Beauty Bark, bonbons and truffles were recognized in 2010 by Indiana Artisan, the statewide organization that identifies and promotes Indiana’s highest-quality foods and art. As an Indiana Artisan, Bolejack regularly submits additional work for review, and her Mayan Spice Bar also is part of the Indiana Artisan brand.

As Chocolate for the Spirit’s founder/owner and its certified artisan chocolatier, Bolejack develops all recipes and sources the chocolate and ingredients for her work. All Chocolate for the Spirit gourmet chocolates are her personal creations, and she has received numerous honors: named among the Top 5 at the New York Chocolate Show; participation in Salon du Chocolat Paris, the world’s most prestigious chocolate event; showcased at the MTV Movie Awards, Kentucky Derby celebrity events, Rolling Stone magazine’s Super Bowl bash, and ESPN’s National College Championship football party, to name a few.

Chocolate for the Spirit’s awards from the International Chocolate Salon reinforce the high quality of foods produced in Indiana today. Since Indiana Artisan was launched in 2008 by Lt. Governor Becky Skillman, jury panels have reviewed applications from nearly 1,800 art and food artisans. Because the brand defines the best work coming from the State, the review is rigorous and fewer than 20 percent of applicants are named Indiana Artisans.

Chocolate for the Spirit retails from two locations: the Indianapolis City Market, in downtown Indy at 222 East Market Street, and in Carmel at 301 East Carmel Drive, Suite A700. For more information, visit, or call 317-518-8842.

3rd Annual Great American Songbook Hall of Fame Induction

June 20, 2014 Leave a comment
Carmel Palladium

Carmel Palladium. staff photo, (c) 2011, all rights reserved.

By John Hughey
The Center for the Performing Arts

An “American Idol,” a Broadway star and a Canadian virtuoso have joined the entertainment lineup for the Encore Gala Weekend presented by Krieg DeVault. The June 20-21, 2014 benefit for the Center for the Performing Arts also serves as the setting for the 3rd annual Great American Songbook Hall of Fame induction. Nat King Cole, Linda Ronstadt, Shirley Jones, and Johnny Mathis represent the 2014 class of the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame.

The Saturday, June 21 evening of the gala weekend is led by Michael Feinstein as he inducts a new round of honorees into the Songbook Hall of Fame. The concert performance will honor the musical contributions of Nat King Cole, Linda Ronstadt, Shirley Jones and Johnny Mathis. Feinstein, the Center’s artistic director, will be joined by “American Idol” vocalist Jessica Sanchez, Broadway star Laura Osnes, singer-songwriter-pianist Peter Cincotti, and Canadian vocalist Denzal Sinclaire will pay tribute to the honorees. Julia Goodwin, the 2013 winner of the Great American Songbook High School Vocal Competition also will perform. Natalie Cole will accept the Hall of Fame award on her father’s behalf. Together, Feinstein, the artists, and an orchestra will showcase the inductees’ musical contributions to the Great American Songbook.

Conceived as an enduring testament to the Great American Songbook, the Hall of Fame honors performers and composers responsible for creating America’s soundtrack. Saturday evening will include the Katz, Sapper & Miller After Party. For the third year, the Encore Gala Weekend is presented by Krieg DeVault, with support from Katz, Sapper & Miller LLP, and First Merchants. The silent and live auction on Friday, June 20 will allow guests to bid on vacation packages, exotic trips, unique experiences and one-of-a-kind memorabilia from artists seen at the Palladium. All proceeds from the weekend will benefit the Center for the Performing Arts. Preview auction items and online bidding starts June 9 at the Center’s website.

Weekend highlights:

Friday, June 20: Indiana Roof Ballroom
The gala weekend kicks off with a red-carpet arrival, cocktail reception, and silent auction sponsored by First Merchants Bank, followed by dinner and dancing to a big band orchestra led by New York’s acclaimed Tom Postilio. Plus, a special performance by Michael Feinstein.

Saturday, June 21: The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts
Experience history in the making as artists Johnny Mathis, Linda Ronstadt, Nat King Cole, and Shirley Jones are inducted into the Songbook Hall of Fame. The evening’s host, Michael Feinstein, will be joined by special guests including Jessica Sanchez from “American Idol,” 2013 Great American Songbook High School Vocal Competition winner Julia Goodwin, and other guests as they honor this year’s inductees.

After the performance, the Palladium is transformed for the Katz, Sapper & Miller After Party with five themed clubs paired with food and drinks. Enjoy the Cool City Band in the Great American Songbook Lounge, learn salsa dancing in the Latin-inspired Caliente Club, dance to the music of the Souled Out Band in The Club Katz, sip bourbon and savor cigars in the Humidor Lounge, and end the night with a nightcap in the Sidecar Lounge. The evening will be packed with music, dancing, photo booths, and stilt walkers.

Saturday only tickets are $200. Purchase online at or the box office at 317-843-3800.

Songbook Hall of Fame honorees are selected by the following criteria:

Awarded posthumously to an artist who made a significant contribution to the Golden Age of American popular music, typically defined as the period from the early years of the 20th century through the 1960s. Inductees: Nat King Cole, 2014. Previous honorees: Frank Sinatra, 2013; Cole Porter, 2012.

Awarded to the artist, songwriter and/or performer, who continues to create the soundtrack of our lives by writing and/or performing music that will stand the test of time and become the pop standards of tomorrow. Inductee: Linda Ronstadt, 2014; Shirley Jones, 2014; Johnny Mathis, 2014. Previous honorees: Liza Minnelli, 2013; Rita Moreno, 2013; Barry Manilow, 2012.

The Center for the Performing Arts is located at 1 Center Green in Carmel, Indiana. For more information, visit, or call 317-843-3800.


The Great American Songbook Hall of Fame will elevate the Great American Songbook. The Great American Songbook Hall of Fame will induct new members annually. The Palladium concert hall in Carmel, Indiana serves as the official home of the Great American Songbook Foundation and the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame. The awards will be displayed in the Shiel Sexton Lobby on the gallery level of the Palladium concert hall. 

Kiwanis Club Awards Abe Lincoln Scholarships

February 17, 2014 Leave a comment
Kiwanis Abe Lincoln Awards

Kiwanis Abe Lincoln Award recipients (L to R): Holly, Jesus, Katerina and Jack.
Also pictured: Kiwanians Steve Fero (left) and Steve Willem, and Anne Ryder.
Photo provided by the Kiwanis Club and used with written permission.

Press Release
Downtown Kiwanis Club of Indianapolis

The Kiwanis (Downtown) Club of Indianapolis honored 25 area high school seniors who have overcome significant obstacles in their lives and presented $41,000 in scholarships to four candidates at its 39th annual Abe Lincoln Scholarship Awards banquet on Feb. 14, 2014, at the Sheraton City Centre.

The four scholarship recipients are:

  • First-place recipient – Holly Cox, Beech Grove High School
  • Second-place recipient – Katerina Myers, Heritage Christian High School
  • Third-place recipient – Jesus Kevin Morales, Indiana School for the Blind & Visually Impaired
  • Fourth-place recipient – Jack VanSchaik, Arsenal Technical High School

Circle of Valor awards were presented to the 25 candidates, each representing an area high school.  Candidates were nominated by their high schools for the scholarships because of their achievements in the face of daunting obstacles, from disease and disability to dire family environments.

Steve Willem, chairman of the Abe Lincoln Scholarship Awards committee served as master of ceremonies of the awards program.  The following Kiwanians presented the four scholarship award recipients: Peter Bisbecos, Kathleen Lee, Wende Padek, and John Reddington.

Anne Ryder, television journalist and Emmy Award winner, served as guest interviewer.

Also participating were three former recipients of the Abe Lincoln Scholarship Awards:  Jaimie C. Robbins, 2013 Scholar and graduate of Southport High School,  Magdalena Josipovic, 2000 Scholar and graduate of Speedway High School, and Frank Epperson, 1985 Scholar and graduate of Perry Meridian High School.

“Our scholarships are not ‘need’ scholarships,” explained Steve Willem, chairman of the Abe  Lincoln Scholarship Awards committee.  “They are ’recognition’ scholarships.  We honored and recognized these 25 students who have proven, despite overwhelming personal difficulties, that they can and will succeed.”

The Abe Lincoln Scholarship program has three goals: (1) public recognition for each nominee and his/her accomplishments; (2) special recognition for four nominees in the form of significant scholarship funds; (3) delivery of the public message to other young people struggling with difficulties that there are people within the community who care, recognize and encourage them to work toward success.

For more information on the Downtown Kiwanis Club, see

Easley Winery Traminette Wins Best of Class in California

February 4, 2014 Leave a comment
Easley Winery

Easley Winery. staff photo, (c) 2011, all rights reserved.

By Priscilla Hataway
Easley Winery

Easley Winery Traminette

Easley Winery Traminette

Easley Winery is proud to announce that its locally-made Traminette wine has been awarded Best of Class at the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.  Easley winemaker Jeff Martin said, “I grew up working in Indiana vineyards, so bringing home this honor for grapes grown in Indiana makes this award even more meaningful.”

With over 5,500 wine entries, the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest competition of American wines in the world.  They have brought together the most distinguished judges in the country to compare wines in multiple price ranges and varieties to determine the best of the best in each category that appeal to all walks of life.  For full 2014 competition results, visit

Easley Traminette is no stranger to high honors.  It was awarded White Wine of the Year, Best of Class, and Double Gold at the 2013 Indy International Wine Competition and holds three other 2013 Gold medals from prestigious competitions across the country.  “We focus on creating exceptional wines and that effort has gained us national recognition”, says second-generation owner Mark Easley.

Easley Traminette boasts floral aromas and fresh citrus notes. This semi-dry style of Traminette is a delicious complement to Indiana pork tenderloin and it is recommended serving chilled. Traminette was adopted as Indiana’s signature wine in 2009 and continues to grow in popularity. Easley Traminette can be found at all Indiana Meijer locations, select Indiana Marsh stores and packaged liquor locations, as well as Easley Winery in downtown Indianapolis. For more information on this wine or to find retail locations in your area, visit

Easley Winery is located at 205 North College Avenue in Indianapolis. For more information, call 317-636-4516.

5th #Indiana Social Media Summit in Fort Wayne

December 28, 2013 Leave a comment
2013 Smackdown Award Winners

2013 Smackdown Award Winners with their hardware. staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

By Bob Burchfield, Editor, LLC

Amy Stark’s 5th annual #Indiana Social Media Summit was held on Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, at the Courtyard Marriott Grand Wayne Center Hotel in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana, hosted by Kevin Mullett and Amber Recker.

The annual Smackdown Awards were presented in seven categories. The top winners were Steven Shattuck, who received the award for Indiana’s Most Influential Dude, and Lori Taylor, who received the award for Indiana’s Most Influential Dame. Leah Beatty took home the Up and Comer award, making her the only two-time winner of an award at this event (she received Indiana’s Grooviest Peep award last year).

More than 60 attended in person, with countless others viewing statewide via a Google+ hangout.  It was an excellent event! Congratulations to all the winners!

Kevin Mullett and Amber Recker

Kevin Mullett and Amber Recker, co-hosts of the #Indiana Social Media Summit Smackdown Awards. staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

Social Media Summit

Many of Indiana’s best and brightest social media stars attended this event. staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.


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