This week we're unveiling the winners of our fourth annual "Best of Tehachapi" reader's survey.
This year we expanded categories and as in past years, learned some lessons.
We had greater participation than ever before -- and at the same time left some people out because our ballot required a vote in every category and some people just don't have an opinion or feel knowledgeable enough to choose among nominees in an area where they had no experience.
Our suggestion was to ask friends who deserved their vote in a particular category and some people did that while others withheld participating.
Of course, the bottom line is that "Best of Tehachapi" is a popularity contest. Although we use a system that discourages stuffing the ballot box, we imagine that some folks worked hard to get the recognition and got their employees, customers, friends and family to vote for them. While others just let things happen however they might.
What I like best about "Best of Tehachapi" is that it let us share with our readers -- in print and online -- the amazing number of businesses providing products and services in Tehachapi. All of those nominated through our online system were published in the paper a few weeks ago. And this week we bring you the finalists and winners -- Tehachapi's "favorites" and the "best" in each category.
I hope you'll take the time to read through the special 8-page pull-out section in this week's paper (or online at BestofTehachapi.com) to get acquainted with those honored.
And if your favorites weren't among those nominated, please watch the paper and our website around July of next year so you can be sure to add them to the list and give them a chance to be recognized in 2014.
Among the lessons we learned is that the names of our categories can create some difficulties. For instance, Moe Cramer, who is a licensed Physical Therapy Assistant at Stone Mountain Physical Therapy, was nominated in the category, "Best Physical Therapist." We learned that there is a difference between Physical Therapist and a Physical Therapy Assistant, even though those people receiving the treatment may not know it.
Cramer was nominated but did not remain in the contest once we learned that he did not meet the criteria. But plenty of people liked his care!
Next year we'll call the category "Best Physical Therapy Professional" to be more inclusive of the levels of care in that profession.
You'll notice that the "Little Caesar's Sign Holder Guy" won "Best Local Celebrity" and not for the first time. We've decided to spread the spotlight around a little more, so in 2014 we will eliminate any nominees who have previously been honored in the Best Local Celebrity" category from the voting.
And if you have other suggestions about our categories or procedures that will improve the "Best of Tehachapi" program and make it more fun and meaningful for everyone, please let me know.
Congratulations to everyone who was nominated, finalists and winners. And to those who nominated and voted, making our fourth year for "Best of Tehachapi" the best ever!
CLAUDIA ELLIOTT is editor of the Tehachapi News. Send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 823-6360.