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PBS Reno Announces 2021 Spotlight Award Finalists

RENO, NV (Aug. 5, 2021) – PBS Reno is proud to announce the finalists for its 2021 Spotlight Awards. Everyone in the community is encouraged to participate by casting their votes online and share the voting process via social media, and watch who takes home an award in September.

The finalists for Extraordinary Community Group are Community Health Alliance, Step 1, and Trauma Intervention Programs (TIP) of Northern Nevada.

The finalists for Extraordinary Local Business are Mari Chuy’s Mexican Kitchen, Thrive Wellness of Reno, and United Federal Credit Union.

The finalists for Extraordinary Educator are Milton Hyams, Social Studies Department Leader at Incline Village High School; Rebecca “RJ” Larrieu, School Director and Teacher at Newton Learning Center; and Kimberly Smerkers-Bass, CLS Teacher at Roy Gomm Elementary School.

The finalists for Extraordinary Individual are Diaz Dixon, Eddy House CEO; Jane Dunn, Reno Posse Founder and Leader; and Kurt Hoge, President of Reno Typographers, Inc.

The finalists for Extraordinary Youth are Jonah Howell, JUSTin Hope Foundation volunteer; and Emmalee Sutton, the 2021-2022 Children’s Miracle Network Champion Child at Renown Children’s Hospital.

Visit PBS Reno’s website to learn more about each finalist and to cast your votes! Votes can be submitted weekly and voting concludes on Wednesday, August 18, 2021.

The winners will be revealed live on-air during the Spotlight Awards and Auction on Saturday, September 18, 2021, on PBS Reno channel 5.1, Spectrum 785, or the station’s live stream online. The exciting program will feature in-depth stories about each finalist, allowing viewers to learn about the impactful and inspiring work being done throughout northern Nevada.

PBS Reno will also honor Sandy Raffealli as this year’s Extraordinary Philanthropist.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue highlighting the incredible people and organizations who make our region such an exceptional place with the Spotlight Awards again this year,” said Brynne Kenney, PBS Reno Vice President of Administration. “So many people have used the difficulty of the last year to do great things for others in our community and we want to celebrate that.”

The community is also invited to participate in the Spotlight Awards and Auction’s exciting on-air auction of items, packages, and experiences. All proceeds will benefit PBS Reno’s educational outreach in classrooms across the region, and will also help fund local productions.

“This is a great opportunity to provide recognition or publicity for a community group, person, or business near and dear to your heart,” said Peter Stanton, PBS Reno Vice President of Development. “At PBS Reno, we’re dedicated to telling local stories, and we’re proud to be able to use our platform to tell the stories of local people, groups, and businesses making a difference in our community.”

About PBS Reno

As of November 2020, PBS Reno is watched by more than 124,000 people and more than 85,000 households weekly in northern and central Nevada and northeastern California, with viewership on multicast channels Reno Create and PBS KIDS Reno. PBS Reno channels are also available on cable, satellite services, and via livestream on YouTube TV. PBS Reno provides PBS national programming and award-winning, locally-produced content. provides engaging interactive content, including the video portal at watch.PBSReno.orgthat streams all locally-produced content and most PBS national content. PBS Reno serves students, teachers, parents and caregivers through immersive educational services including Ready To Learn Workshops that bring classroom lessons to life. Through the support of local corporations and foundations, as well as individual members, PBS Reno has been delivering public television and educational services to the communities it serves since 1983.

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Phone: 775.600.0555
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Address: 1670 N. Virginia St. • Reno NV 89503