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Ogdensburg Chamber honors those making a community difference

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OGDENSBURG — The Greater Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce took time Friday to shine a spotlight on people who quietly make a big difference in the community.

The Chamber, at its annual dinner at the Gran-View Restaurant, honored Journal and Advance-News Sports Editor David Shea with its Citizen of the Year Award; the law firm of Carlisle, Carrothers and Clough PC with its Community Service Award; and Sean and Jill O’Brien, owners of Salon 1020 and Ogdensburg Dance Center, 1020 Ford St., with its Business Improvement Award.

Mr. Shea was honored for his commitment to youth sports and his positive spin on sports coverage.

“I met Dave when I was 12 years old,” said Stephen C. LaRose, Ogdensburg, who made the award presentation. “He has taught me so much — how to clean up The Journal office so Chuck wouldn’t yell at him, how to sleep in a lawn chair next to the Associated Press machine, how to dry your sneakers in an oven and then wonder at 5 o’clock in the morning why the house was full of smoke, and how to treat everyone as you’d want to be treated.”

Mr. Shea got his start in sports journalism in 1972 after graduating St. Lawrence University, Canton, in 1971.

“He could have covered sports for any newspaper in the country, but his heart lies with local sports,” Mr. LaRose said.

Mr. Shea downplayed his contributions.

“I work with a lot of coaches and players who epitomize citizenship and sportsmanship,” he said. “If you are honoring me tonight, you are honoring a great tradition of citizenship.”

Carlisle, Carrothers and Clough law firm was honored for its generous financial support of community groups and endeavors.

“This law firm through the years has been very generous to the community,” said Charles W. Kelly, longtime friend of law firm partner and founder Preston C. Carlisle, in presenting the award. “I know where to go when I have a good cause that needs help.”

Mr. Carlisle, who started his private practice in 1961, said he has been fortunate to have been so successful. He said he started his practice in a one-room office in the former 1860s home of Preston King, for whom he was named.

“I had Preston King’s desk and his bookcase, but I had no business. When you graduate law school, you don’t know how to practice law,” he said.

With his wife, Joan, working as his secretary, the couple served summonses on weekends to make ends meet. He also worked as an assistant St. Lawrence County district attorney in the 1960s while operating his practice. By adding competent staff over the years, including business manager Linda St. Joseph and attorneys Alice Carrothers, Molly Clough and Mindy McDermott, he finally had a successful practice.

“We all of a sudden became dynamic because we had people willing to work hard enough, 50, or 60, or 70 hours a week, to get the job done,” he said.

Sean and Jill O’Brien also spent years building their successful businesses at 1020 Ford St.

“Ever since Jill and I met in high school, it was quite obvious to me that Jill took her hair and her dancing seriously,” Mr. O’Brien said. “We knew that with Jill’s talent, we would be successful.”

The pair were honored for their contributions in improving the appearance of Ford Street by renovating and landscaping their property.

In addition to their honorees, Chamber President Lori Smithers said members had another reason to celebrate.

“Over the last year, we sponsored more than 15 events which brought in over 16,000 people and resulted in about $3 million in local spending,” she said.

The Chamber’s successful events this year included the North Country Beer, Wine and Food Festival, the first-ever Ogtoberfest, the annual Car-B-Que barbecue and classic car show, and the GreenMarket farmers market, she said.

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