Why not mix a little business with pleasure, or even passion,

by spending A Romantic Night In Normandy?

This year’s Topanga Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner will have a decidedly delightful French Provincial theme, and what better way to fete honors on local businesses and citizens who justly deserve to be acknowledged? The always enjoyable, festive and prestigious annual dinner will take place on Saturday, February 18 at 7 p.m. Although you may have attended the event in the past, this year promises to be utterly unique and fabulously fun—I myself plan to attend—in that it is being held at a new location, the classic and charming Mountain Mermaid. Now of course location is important, but it is really the worthy honorees for 2005 that are the main attraction. This year’s respected recipients are Topanga Lumber and Hardware as Business of The Year, The Nature of Wildworks as Home-based Business of The Year and Karla Morrison as Citizen of The Year.

Topanga Lumber and Hardware, located at 506 South Topanga Canyon Boulevard, has been serving the community since 1945. Owned by Denis Contis since 1966, and expertly managed by Ernie Demontreux and Willie Chaides, it is always busy with customers purchasing high-quality hardware, lumber and supplies. Since construction and repairs are such a major part of life in the Canyon, Topanga Lumber has continuously served an ongoing need to so many who live here, always offering pleasant and efficient service.

The Nature Of Wildworks is a unique and valued non-profit wildlife care and education center in Topanga, founded by Mollie Hogan in 1995. Wildworks offers outreach programs featuring live native and exotic birds, mammals, and reptiles. The program serves youth groups, public events and schools. The center’s admirable goal has been to provide interactive wildlife education to enhance understanding of nature and the environment while also ensuring lifetime quality care to non- releasable wild animals.

Karla Morrison has been on the job faithfully serving our community as a volunteer for years. It is hard to attend a Topanga event without finding her somehow involved. She began at Topanga Elementary School, where her daughter Kayla was in attendance, working in the classroom and helping with fundraisers. She created the principal’s annual Pass The Parmesan dinner, helps with the school plays and was elected to serve on the school’s Leadership Committee. Karla can be found welcoming and serving the seniors at the Community House as well as volunteering at Topanga Days. She is Hospitality Chair of the Historical Society and on the board of the Theatricum Botanicum and T-CEP. Her care for our Topanga community is evident in her many activities and ongoing involvements, as she so willingly serves both young and old.

Come celebrate, toast and roast, these recipients and the great spirit of our Topanga community at the Awards Dinner, Saturday, February 18 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Mermaid. Wine and champagne will flow and splendid hors d’oeuvres, catered by Mimosa, will continuously be passed. A DJ will provide the music, speeches will be made and there will be special appearances by local politicians including our own Assemblyperson Fran Pavley. Parking and shuttle service will be centered at the Community House, 1440 North Topanga Canyon Boulevard. The atmosphere promises to be romantic so bring a date—or husband or wife. Tickets are $35 each and can be purchased at The Man Store, Topanga Homegrown and the Howell-Green Gallery in The Pine Tree Circle, or at the Mimosa Cafe.