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Three local legends to be inducted into Carlsbad Hall of Fame

By Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway

Several years ago our good friend, musician and minister Bill Brooks suggested that Carlsbad develop a hall of fame. Brooks said that such a project would be a great way to bring a community together- both its current and former residents. A hall of fame exhibit was later set up at the Carlsbad Museum, and Bill’s suggestion has been outstanding. We know that people who grew up in Carlsbad who are visiting, love to check it out. It is great history, especially for the young people currently growing up in Carlsbad.

We’re going to have a final hall of fame induction, at least during my time as mayor, on Dec. 29 at the museum. John and Julia Heaton will be inducted together at 1 p.m. and Janell Whitlock will be inducted at 2 p.m. Refreshments will be served after the two ceremonies.

These outstanding Carlsbad residents probably don’t need explanations as to why they have been placed in the hall of fame. Julia Heaton was one of Carlsbad’s outstanding teachers for many years, and she was also highly involved in making sure that teachers in Carlsbad were paid fairly. She had an impact on the education system at a state level. She is also a strong supporter of the arts and played a critical role in the development of the Halagueno Arts Park.

Her husband, John, was a highly influential state legislator for many years. John played a critical role in the successful opening of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and remains a strong advocate of WIPP and of the nuclear industry. John remains an incredible help to the City of Carlsbad after his time as a state representative came to an end. He assisted with the successful remediation of the brine well, with the effort for college independence, and with lodger’s tax reform, among many other projects. John, a retired pharmacist, approached issues from every possible angle, and he found a way to succeed.

Janell Whitlock served as the Chamber of Commerce’s retirement coordinator when she passed away in 2021. In that role, Janell led the state’s first successful effort to have Carlsbad designated as an age-friendly community, but Janell played so many more roles than that throughout her career. She was a municipal judge, a city councilor and a county commissioner, among many other roles. Janell was always kind, ethical and fair, and she made those around her better people as well.

We hope you will join us for these hall of fame inductions on the afternoon of Dec. 29. The ceremony will be broadcast over the City’s Facebook page if you are unable to make it.