Back row from left, Rob Whitcomb, Kailan Mehta, Pastor Dan Niewoit, Alan Partington, Bruce Mercado and Tom Middleton. Second row, Chelsea O’Brien, Leanna Haun, Laura Niewoit, Peg Roth, Kathy Novak, Jennifer Herrmann and Amy Music. Front row, Olivia Thomas, Lauren Dombrowski, Bailey Schroeder, Hannah Music, Nadia Smith, Emily Herrmann and Julia Walker. Photo by Trevor Keiser

A crowd gathered at Clarkston Community Church at 7:30 a.m. to celebrate 31 years of Clarkston Community Awards and to honor this year’s recipients.

Each recipient or group chosen were given a nomination by a person in the community and ultimately chosen by the Awards Selection Committee and Community Awards Committee.

Owner of Picasso’s Grapevine Leanna Haun was named “Business Person of the Year,” which recognizes a local business who contributes to make this a better community to live and do business in.

Haun has produced over 30 episodes of her show on Independence Television, which has been seen nationwide, which is an excellent way for her to get her company’s name and paintings recognized across the country. Haun has also donated over 100 paintings to the Pontiac Schools, so they can display them around the school. All of her paintings are light and inviting, which will help give off positive feelings to all of the students.

Picasso’s Grapevine has opened up a door for artists in the community to share there are and collaboration on ideas.

Haun thanked “the wonderful community of Clarkson.”

“I’m a transplant. I’ve only been out here for five years or so now. I grew up in the Gross Pointe side of town and spent my life there. While I loved it, it was beautiful, nice and people were great. It wasn’t until I came here that I felt like I belonged,” she said. “It was just the warmth of everybody, the excitement of just local people. I can’t tell you how much I love just stepping outside the store and talking to people while they walk down the sidewalk. At night I’ll turn down the lights after we’ve cleaned everything up and I’ll just kind of sit there and watch people go by. It’s just fun to feel the wonderful love of everybody around you – it’s that love, passion and compassion that goes into any business.”

— By Trevor Keiser

Click here to see the entire story and photos at The Clarkston News.

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