During her State of the City address on Jan. 20, City Manager Virginia Barney introduced the city's effort to initiate an ongoing dialogue on community issues.

During her State of the City address on Jan. 20, City Manager Virginia Barney introduced the city's effort to initiate an ongoing dialogue on community issues.

The city and the library have applied for a grant through the International City Managers Association to fund the conversation series.

"Through a combination of large public gatherings, small café chats, blogging and more, we plan to engage residents and workers in our community in meaningful, positive conversations," Barney said. "We want them to help define Upper Arlington and what they want it to become, hopefully finding along the way that their passions and responsibilities are connected, and inspiring them to play an active role in its success."

In keeping with the theme of this year's State of the City Community Fair, "Café UA," presenter Phil Cass described the Art of Hosting. Cass, executive director of the Columbus Medical Association and Foundation, explained the strategy of promoting dialogue in group settings.

"Art of Hosting activities stem from a place of respect," Barney said, "finding ways to break down communication barriers and allowing for a sense of involvement, connectedness and mutual understanding."

If the grant is approved, the city and library will receive between $20,000 and $60,000 to begin the conversations series this year.

The State of the City also included the presentation of the annual Community Awards. Northwest Kiwanis received the Community Enrichment Award.

In its 80-year history, Northwest Kiwanis has given more than $400,000 in scholarships to area students and supported numerous other community projects.

Most recently, Northwest Kiwanis donated funds to support Project Lifesaver, a new venture of the UA Commission on Aging and Upper Arlington Police Division to help caregivers quickly locate family members with Alzheimer's or dementia.

The Commission on Aging received the Community Safety Award.

Among its many programs and services, the commission operates Kind Call, a free check-in program that consists of a daily computerized phone call to ensure the safety of older adults.

Col. Joseph Vogel received the Super Senior Award. Vogel served as the chairman of the Veterans Division One entry in the Upper Arlington Civic Association's Fourth of July Parade for the past 20 years.

He volunteers with several community organizations and is co-founder of the Military Veterans Educational Foundation.

The students of Team Delta Max received the Youth Award. Since 2006, Team Delta Max students at Upper Arlington High School have worked to curb underage drinking and drug use.

Whole Foods at the Shops on Lane Avenue won the Business of the Year award. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike last September, Whole Foods gave away hundreds of free bags of ice to help residents preserve perishable items.

Four city employees were recognized with Distinguished Service Awards:

• Heather Galli, community relations officer for the Police Division.

• Nasser Abdollahi, systems engineer for the Information Technology Department.

• Rick Calhoun, acting streets superintendent,

• Ginny Houghton, recreation superintendent for the Parks and Recreation Department.

cbournea@thisweeknews.com