The Capitola-Soquel Chamber of Commerce held its annual Community Awards Celebration during a luncheon April 12 at the Aptos Seacliff Inn, presenting awards honoring locals whose contribution to their community stood out in 2012.
This year’s recipients are: Ed Newman, Man of the Year; Lisa Grossman-Murphy, Woman of the Year; Bill Maruna, Volunteer of the Year; and Paradise Beache Grille, Business of the Year. The Chamber also presented a commendation of Lifetime Community Service to the Capitola Police Department, honoring the contributions they offer the community daily and the memories of those lost in the line of duty everywhere.
Man of the Year
Ed Newman has lived in the Capitola-Soquel area since 1973 when he opened a law office as the first tenant in the newly restored Hihn Building in the center of Capitola Village. He later relocated to his own office building next to the Southern Pacific Railroad trestle. Ed has donated many years to the Capitola community including his involvement in the ongoing efforts to address parking issues.
Newman was appointed to the first Capitola Mobile Home Rent Review Board and has continued work as a rent adjustment hearing officer for the County of Santa Cruz. He served on the Capitola Planning Commission for eight years and is currently chair of the Capitola General Plan Advisory Commission.
In addition to running a Capitola law practice, Ed has built commercial buildings in Capitola, and developed homes within the City and surrounding area. He rehabilitated the Bayview Hotel in the 1990’s, led the restoration of the Pasatiempo golf course to its original design, and most recently has taken on the historic Leonard Building in Santa Cruz.
Ed continues to demonstrate his expertise and thoughtful planning in the betterment of the community.
Woman of the Year
Lisa Murphy is a true local, growing up in Rio del Mar, attending local schools and graduating from Aptos High School. She went on to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, graduated from Sonoma State with a BA in Political Science and has a Masters of Public Administration from Golden Gate University.
She and her husband Dave have three sons. Lisa has spent the past 11 years working for the City of Capitola, currently as the Administrative Services Director. Through her employment with the City of Capitola, she has found an opportunity to help people throughout the community. She wears many hats in managing the Human Resources division, Art & Cultural and Museum departments, as well as the Garbage & Recycling programs.
Her diligence has served the community vastly including establishing a commercial composting program diverting tons of waste from local landfill, and overseeing the 41st Avenue public art project, the City’s largest public art undertaking to date. She was instrumental in selling the majority of coaches in the Pacific Cove Mobile Home Park, saving the City thousands of dollars in demolition costs. She has helped neighbors resolve conflict, cable television issues, and helped residents with memorial plaques. She serves the City with professional grace and makes a positive difference in the community.
In her spare time, you can find her playing soccer, and watching her kids at the little league fields. She is currently the Vice President of the Aptos Little League and has served on their board of directors for eight years. She also serves on the Mid-County Pony Baseball League as secretary. Devout Giants fans, she and her family enjoy just about every outdoor activity!
Volunteer of the Year
Formerly a resident of Mendocino County and a variety of other Northern California locations, Bill currently resides in Live Oak. He is a semi-retired high school teacher, residential care worker, chainsaw artist, and avid concert enthusiast
The father of two wonderful children, Danielle and Eric, Bill strives to make the world a better place for his children and friends by volunteering in all of the communities where he has resided. In addition to caring for his mother Betty for the past nine years, he has volunteered for the A.V. Fire Department, American Red Cross and State Parks.
Bill shows his support locally by volunteering at countless Capitola-Soquel Chamber events including the Capitola Art & Wine Festival, Business Showcase, Easter Egg Hunt, and Halloween Parade, as well as many community events including the Capitola Begonia Festival, Santa Cruz County Blues Festival and Scottish Games.
He is currently the coordinator for the Capitola VIPS (Volunteer in Police Service), which involves working traffic control for special events in Capitola, serving as a messenger and organizing volunteer staffing.
As a volunteer for the VIPS, Bill has been involved in flood clean-up, transportation for New Year’s Eve Safe Ride Home, tsunami warning and other Village closures, as well as volunteering at the Capitola Rod & Custom Classic Car Show and Capitola Public Safety Foundation Golf Tournament.
Bill continues to support the American Red Cross, CERT and is taking classes to become a ham radio operator. Bill donates his woodcarvings to many non-profit fundraisers.
Business of the Year
Paradise Beach Grille
In January of 1998, Gary and Leslie Wetsel purchased the former Edgewater building at 215 Esplanade. After months of extensive renovations, they opened Paradise Beach Grille. Five years later, Robert and Carol Coe joined the Paradise Beach Grille family as partners. From day one, they have not wavered from their original concept of providing quality service and food in a fun environment for their customers and employees. Paradise has become a popular meeting place for local patrons as well as a favorite restaurant for tourists. They have been voted Best Restaurant in Santa Cruz County for five years and in Capitola for six years running.
Paradise maximizes the beautiful beach location on Monterey Bay with an outdoor patio, views of the historic Capitola Venetian condominiums and the ocean. They were voted the “18th Most Romantic Restaurant in the World” by gogobot.com.
Gary has served Capitola as chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee for Parking and Traffic, president and treasurer of the Village and Wharf Business Improvement Association, served on the Capitola Business Development Committee, City of Capitola Finance Advisory Committee, Capitola General Plan Committee and City of Capitola Traffic and Parking Commission.
Leslie has been a great partner and mother to their two children and three grandchildren, and is currently the managing partner of Paradise Beach Grille. Their son Scott has joined them as Beverage Manager.
Paradise Beach Grille is a local gem, a wonderful restaurant offering quality food and service in a romantic atmosphere. The owners and staff have done a remarkable job creating a great restaurant that contributes to the Capitola community by supporting local non-profits and serving on committees that improve the quality of life in Capitola.
Lifetime Community Service Award
Capitola Police Department
The recent loss of two Santa Cruz Police Officers reminds us of the gratitude we feel for our outstanding Capitola Police Department. Placing their lives on the line, they serve and protect the citizens of Capitola every day. We appreciate their diligence, and commend them for their unwavering dedication and bravery.