HAMMOND | The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority has honored five people and three businesses for making Northwest Indiana more attractive to visitors.
Speros Batistatos, president and CEO of the tourism agency, presented the 2012 Hospitality Awards on Wednesday at the annual holiday reception at the Indiana Welcome Center. About 300 members of the tourism and hospitality industry attended.
Microtel Inn and Suites of Michigan City was honored as Hotel of the Year, Towle Theater of Hammond was awarded for staging "A Fabulous 50s Swank 60s Christmas" and The Times Investigative Editor Marc Chase was awarded the Attraction of the Year award for his and others' work in establishing the South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail.
Also honored were Joe Michalik, of Crown Point, as Volunteer of the Year; state Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, as elected official of the year; and Bistro 157 in Valparaiso as restaurant of the year.
Outgoing state Rep. Chet Dobis, D-Merrillville, received the agency's Lifetime Service Award for 42 years of achievements in the General Assembly.
The agency also unveiled a new award, named in Dobis' honor as the Chester F. Dobis Award for Public Service in Hospitality. John Livengood, president of the Indiana Hotel Lodging Association, received the award for his 30 years of dedication to the association.