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AFOW donates $50,000 in memory of Jeff Harbers

Teen lounge in new library will be dedicated to organization's co-founder and first president

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The Teen Lounge in the new Whistler Library will be dedicated as a memorial to Jeff Harbers, the co-founder and first president of American Friends of Whistler, following the announcement of a $50,000 grant by the AFOW to the library.

Harbers, a Whistler property owner and part-time resident since the early 1990s, was killed in a plane crash in June of 2006.

Jeff was active in a variety of community initiatives in Whistler. As the father of two children and an avid reader himself, Jeff was keenly aware of the impact of public libraries on the quality of life in a community.

Jeff’s wife Renee recently joined the board of the AFOW and expressed her family’s pride in having her husband memorialized in association with youth at the library.

The AFOW has a history of contributions to the library, with additional grants totalling $10,000 to the children’s collection in the last two years.

“The AFOW has a strong commitment to supporting youth in Whistler, and the library is a cornerstone of the community," said Rod Rohda, AFOW President. “We see the new library building as an important symbol of Whistler's commitment to the intellectual development and interests of its residents and visitors. We are proud to be included as a significant donor.”

Lauren Stara, library director, calls the Teen Lounge a much-needed amenity. "It can be a real challenge to provide services for young people between the ages of about 11 to 16. They often feel undervalued, and having a space that they call their own can go a long way toward helping these kids feel they belong in the library. The lounge was planned with the assistance of a teen advisory board, and will have furnishings they asked for and library materials they want."

The $50,000 AFOW grant will be made over five years, starting in 2007. The American Friends of Whistler join several other community organizations in making gifts in support of the new library building, slated for opening in January.

The AFOW is a non-profit organization founded in 2002, which has, to date, granted over $300,000 to Whistler community organizations.

WCC seeks business nominees

The Whistler Chamber of Commerce is inviting the public to submit nominations for the Business Person of the Year-award.

The award will be given to a chamber member who has owned or managed a business in Whistler successfully for at least five years. They are profitable in their business ventures and always seek to lead through vision, service excellence and innovation. They actively contribute to the business community.

Last year, the committee identified a transparent selection process with clear selection criteria. The committee encourages nominators to provide an in-depth overview of the nominee. For more information and to download a nomination form, go to www.whistlerchamber.com

This year’s winner will be announced at the chamber’s luncheon and AGM on Dec. 12.

Also on the agenda, VANOC construction general managers will update the membership on the progress of the Whistler Nordic venue, the Whistler Sliding Centre and Whistler Creekside. The luncheon will be hosted by the Four Seasons Hotel, 11:45-1:30 p.m. To register, call 604-932-5922 ext 24.

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