Annual Awards 2011

January 20, 2012


It is once again that time of the year, when’s CEO and Editor sings the praises of some of  his favorite Rockland people. The Annual Awards are presented to those great Rocklandites who have performed amazing feats in one form or another to the delight of and its readers. The criteria for the awards are part political, part social consensus and part good old-fashioned sucking up. The award recipients have not been notified, interviewed, or asked for consent to receive this prestigious, Shoetown honor. Past recipients include Pam Murphy, Al Barr, Delightful Debbie O’Brien, Steve Somers, The Road Runners, Andy Mojo Holdcroft, Brenda and Eddie of the Banner and a whole host of other good characters.

The 2011 Man of the Year  goes to Lance “Nearlyfreelance” Cummins.

Lance is a newcomer to Rockland and has made a huge splash in only one year in town.  First and foremost, the Kansas transient rebuilt the website. Lance donated the time and effort it took to give the site a new look and feel that will allow for all kinds of future expansion. Lance also donated his time and talent to build a brand new Town of Rockland Website. The official Town of Rockland  site is sleeker, faster, and more modern than anything the town has had before. Lance has worked hand-in-hand with the town officials to make a world-class website for the townspeople at absolutely no charge. Lance has recently set up new digs in the ET Wright building housing his company, Nectarfy. Nectarfy is  a multimedia marketing and website design company with a vast staff all named Lance. In addition to helping thousands of Rocklandites connect to the town via the internet, Cummins has founded The Restoration Church of Rockland. Restoration Church is a neighborhood group of families and individuals who meet once a week for food and fellowship. The group donates time and treasure back into the community below the radar screen.  Meetings have been held in places from Players Sports Bar to Hartsuff Park and the Ewell Trail.  Lance and Jenny Cummins, with their three children, have been a great addition to Rockland.

Lance Cummins –   He’s Not in Kansas Anymore. Entertainer of the Year goes to Rockland Favorite Son, Mark Shom.

Mark ShomShom  played Rockvegas no less than five dozen times in 2011. Mark has built a huge following for his DJ/Karaoke/Singer/Comedian/Master of Ceremonies act at the Banner Irish Pub on Thursday nights. He attracts some of the best amateur singers in the area to his one-man shows. He even brought LasVegas Rod Stewart impersonator,  John Anthony, to the Banner Irish Pub one Thursday evening.  John Anthony, along with Mark,  performed a world-class set of Rod Stewart songs that still has the Snug buzzing.  In addition, Shom and the Tomato Jonez band played the night before Thanksgiving at the Banner, as well as  a dozen other shows from Gametime to RockVegas Bar and Grill to Players Sports Bar all year long.  And those are just his Rockland shows!

Mark Shom – Keeping the “life” in Rockland nightlife.


Al Mcphee photo Business Owner of the Year goes to Dan Biggins. Dan Biggins, owner-operator of the Magoun-Biggins Funeral Home, stepped up huge in 2011. Dan has been giving comfort and dignity to thousands of grieving Rocklandites at hundreds of services throughout the year. Dan, or his dad, are available 24/7,  365 days a year for the Rockland people in need of services.  Dan has also sponsored dozens of charitable events in town all year long. Dan joined the Rockland Lions Club in 2011, sponsored by Lion Pat Foley. Dan, along with his father, Bob, and the rest of the family, made the Rockland Friends Christmas Stroll even more special in 2011.  Biggins’  “The North Pole”,  located at the Biggins’  family residence and business mansion, added a beautiful touch of history, charm and tradition to the Annual Stroll.  Biggins is following in his father’s footsteps by providing a great service to the town and setting an example as an active citizen for the townspeople and his family.

Dan Biggins -  There when you need him most. Public Servant of the Year goes to Allan “Ooga” Chiocca.

Chiocca had an outstanding 2011 here in Rockvegas.  New schools; the pedestrian-friendly Rockland Center renovation; the new solar array;  the rail trail; the Ewell Trail; the huge strides at Tri- Town, including the new east-west parkway known as Z’s ByPass, all had some of Chiocca’s fingerprints on them.  Allan blessed the bikes at the Rockland Lions Annual Bike Run and made appearances at most every major event in Rockland for 2011.  Chiocca has been a friend to the Lions Club, the Rockland Eagles, the Knights of Columbus and others, stepping up with personal donations and professional co-operation every time he is asked.  Chiocca has stood out and about, shoulder to shoulder with the townspeople to discuss heated town matters anytime they arise. Chiocca has taken the jeers with the cheers and continues to produce great results for the town.  Allan also gave the Banner Irish Pub a ton of free publicity late in the year and even brought a smile to the face of a very angry, defeated former associate who needed a lift in spirit at Christmas time in the form of a headline.

Love him or hate him,  Allan Chiocca continues to be one of the most influential and task-oriented public servants in Rockvegas. Honorary Mention goes out to first-time Selectman,  Ed Kimball. Kimball has been instrumental in all the board’s successes. He has been a keen public watchdog and a brilliant expert with contracts, contractors and all matters involving the town coffers. Kimball has proven himself as an excellent selectman and a fair and honest broker for Rockland.