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The original item was published from 1/14/2022 9:51:52 AM to 2/6/2022 12:00:00 AM.

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City of Idaho Falls News

Posted on: January 14, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Mayor’s Choice Awards Presented at Idaho Falls State of the City Address

Photo of awards

(Idaho Falls, ID) – Mayor Rebecca Casper presented the 2022 Idaho Falls State of the City Address last night and presented Mayor’s Choice Awards to nine individuals and organizations as part of the evening’s program.

The Mayor’s Choice Awards were created as a way to recognize outstanding residents, businesses, organizations, efforts or community figures for contributions to the city, noteworthy accomplishment, or other achievement.  The awards are presented once a year, at the discretion of the Mayor, generally during or around the time of the annual State of the City address.

Nine awards were presented this year.  Recipients included:

  • Claudia Pine, Happyville Farm – Humanitarian Service Award
  • Ariel Jackson, Community Food Basket – Humanitarian Service Award
  • Dave Manson, Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen - Humanitarian Service Award
  • Chad Murdoch, Knowsy Neighbors – Outstanding Community Commitment
  • Jessica Cardon, Knowsy Neighbors – Outstanding Community Commitment
  • East Idaho News, Secret Santa – Community Spirit Award
  • Jeff Newgard, Bank of Idaho – Outstanding Philanthropic Commitment
  • American Legion Post 56, sponsors of the Idaho Falls Bandits – Field of Dreams Award
  • Chris Pelkola Lee, simpLEE Home – Community Enrichment Award

“There are so many wonderful, caring businesses and people in this community that we wanted to find a way to recognize some of them for their remarkable contributions,” said Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper.  “With all of the uncertainty and hard times that continue with the pandemic, we just wanted to add a little more light by sharing some of the great and selfless acts of service, fun achievements and ways people have banded together to help during the pandemic.  We are grateful to this year’s recipients and look forward to recognizing others in the future.”

Pine, Jackson and Manson were all recognized for their efforts to fight food insecurity and hunger in the Idaho Falls community through their work with the Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen, the Community Food Bank and Happyville Farm.  

 Murdock and Cardon were recognized for their efforts to inform and educate the community about local businesses, goods, services, activities and events around town through their fun and engaging video series “The Knowsy Neighbors” which they film and stream free of charge.

The staff of East Idaho News was also tapped for recognition this year for their tireless efforts to help bring holiday cheer and critical resources to people throughout east Idaho as part of their annual Secret Santa program.  Started in 2015, Secret Santa has become one of the area’s most heart-warming traditions as the EIN staff and their anonymous financial benefactor have distributed approximately $3 million dollars in furniture, vehicles, gift cards and other gifts to those in need at the holidays.  

"Our entire staff is honored to help 'Secret Santa' bless people in our community and appreciate being recognized by Mayor Casper," said Nate Eaton, News Director for East Idaho News.

Jeff Newgard of the Bank of Idaho was recognized for his philanthropic work in the community and his service on numerous local boards, commission and charities including the city’s War Bonnet Roundup board as well as the newly established Greater Idaho Falls Police Foundation.

Chris Pelkola Lee of simpLEE Home was presented with the Community Enrichment Award for her efforts to help build and enhance the community.  Lee is the 2022 national Women’s Council of Realtors President-Elect and has served on the ad hoc committee which studied and recommended the creation of Idaho Falls’ first police station as well as the IdaHome Committee to help the city plan for and create policy for diverse and sustainable housing.

The final recipient was the American Legion Post 56 for their support and sponsorship of American Legion baseball and the Idaho Falls Bandits baseball team.  The Bandits won back-to-back American Legion World Series Championships, and the American Legion was recognized for their support and sponsorship of the team that made that accomplishment possible.  

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Media note:  For more information or to arrange an interview with city staff, please contact Bud Cranor at 208-612-8306 or at

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