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McGinnis, Sno-White, Perez Take Top City Honors
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Former councilmember, perennial volunteer and devoted arts supporter Ric McGinnis was named 2010 Citizen of the Year, Riverbank High student Monica Perez was recognized as Youth of the Year and the Sno-White Drive In owned by Daryl Daniel won the Business of the Year prize at the Riverbank Community Awards Banquet on Saturday.

"Third time's a charm," said McGinnis as the 2009 award winner Carla Strong read out his name with the introduction: "Everybody knows Ric." Nominated three times, McGinnis lost the prize to Joe Galindo in 2006 and to Esther Rosario in 2008.

McGinnis has served four years on the city council, is a leader of Rio Arts that stages local dramatic performances including Shakespeare in the Park and is a photography, sound and lighting expert that volunteers his skills and equipment to many community events.

Briefly taking the podium, he praised all the other volunteers in the city and thanked his wife for letting him spend so much time on activities that interest him.

Of the two other nominees, longtime Public Works employee and youth baseball and softball coach Daren Martin was acknowledged by the crowd. But the third nominee, Dotty Nygard, a recently elected councilmember, the Riverbank Community Gardens organizer and a nurse, was unable to be present due to her work and was represented by her friend Scott McRitchie.

Perez, receiving her honor, was enjoying taking it all in.

"I was very surprised. It was exciting," said Perez of being chosen from a field of seven nominees for the Youth of the Year award. "I could see my dad in the background cheering away. I've lived here all my life. So it was special."

An outstanding student at Riverbank High with a grade point average of 4.0, Perez was chosen as a busy community volunteer, member of her church and a talented Ballet Folklorico dancer.

Her community work has included bell ringing for the Salvation Army, distributing toys for the Riverbank Cares holiday program, cleaning up after Beyond Earth Day, walking in the Relay for Life event "and doing everything from picking up trash at the Cheese and Wine Expo to helping four-year-olds tie their dance shoes."

Other youths nominated for the title were Katie Ayers, Miguel Cebreros, Miriam Hernandez, Tessa Holmer, Tempest Robertson and Diana Ruiz.

With his restaurant recognized by the Chamber of Commerce as Business of the Year, Sno-White Drive In owner Daryl Daniel proved as ebullient as always, brandishing plaques in both hands and congratulating everybody.

"I want to thank all my employees, both past and present, and my father Ron who started all the drive-ins," he said in accepting the award at the podium.

Owning restaurants in both Riverbank and Oakdale for many years, Daniel and his partner Bobbie Spinner were recognized as a constant sponsor of downtown events, who make a habit of supporting other businesses and handing out gift certificates and donations for community activities.

"Remember those piping hot, fresh corn dogs he brought for the volunteers at the toy giveaway," Strong remarked.

Other nominees for the Business of the Year were Best Buy, O'Brien's Market and Starbucks (on Patterson Road).

The well attended event at the Riverbank Community Center included music by Otter Bob Productions, presentation of the colors by cadets of the Riverbank High School Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, pledge of allegiance led by Strong, invocation by the Rev. Charles Neal and catering by Arnie Hof.

Sponsors and volunteers were E. and J. Gallo Winery, Riverbank Rotary Club, Riverbank Chamber of Commerce, Kohl's Department Store, City of Riverbank and the Man of the Year/Citizen of the Committee.

Guests included Supervisor Bill O'Brien and guests from the offices of Assembly Member Kristin Olsen, Senator Tom Berryhill and Congressman Jeff Denham.