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By Andrea Papagianis and Brian Park
Ringing in a new year for local business, the San Juan Chamber of Commerce installed its new leadership board and president Thursday evening at El Adobe de Capistrano and highlighted outstanding members of the community.
Carolyn Franks, owner of Zoomars Petting Zoo, was named the chamber’s new board president.
San Diego Gas & Electric was recognized as the Business of the Year, for being a good neighbor to the city of San Juan Capistrano.
For their involvement in the local fold, Steve Behmerwohld and Kathy Hooper were named man and woman of the year, respectively. Both are longtime members of the city’s Parks, Recreation and Senior Services Commission.
Behmerwohld, known throughout town for playing Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny at holiday events, was recently inducted into the city’s Wall of Recognition. He is also a volunteer for several local organizations, including the Open Space Foundation and the city’s Associated Senior Action Program.
Hopper, a second-time recipient, is the first repeat winner of the honor for her work in the town’s time-honored traditions, the Fiesta de las Golondrinas and Swallows Day Parade.
Ambassador to the chamber and various national and local cancer associations, Ted Roberts, was named Ambassador of the Year.