Deadline is approaching for newspaper award nominations

Before taking off on that summer vacation, why not nominate someone deserving of the 2017 Access Press Charlie Smith Award? […]

Generic Article graphic with Access Press logo

Before taking off on that summer vacation, why not nominate someone deserving of the 2017 Access Press Charlie Smith Award? The deadline of 5 p.m. Tuesday, August 15 is rapidly approaching, and the newspaper’s board of director and staff are waiting for more nominations to arrive.

This year’s award will be presented Friday, November 3 at the newspaper’s annual banquet in Bloomington. Please savethe date. The event has moved to DoubleTree by Hilton, 7800 Normandale Blvd. This will be the second year for the banquet to be held at DoubleTree.

The award winner is chosen by the newspaper’s board. The winner and finalists will be featured in the September issue of Access Press. More information on the award can be found here.

The banquet is always a great time, so why not nominate someone to be this year’s guest of honor? The award winner’s family, friends and colleagues are always encouraged to attend, to enjoy the dinner, speeches, music, raffle and silent auction.

Nominators can email [email protected] for a form or call 651-644-2133 for assistance. If assistance or accommodations are needed to submit an award nomination, Access Press staff is glad to provide help. Call during
regular business hours. If the voice mail is on, leave a message for a callback.

The Charlie Smith Award is named in honor of the late Charlie Smith Jr., founding editor of Access Press. He was a well-known Minnesota disability rights advocate. In the pre-Internet days, Smith founded the paper as a way to provide information and organize the community around key issues.

He was well-known for his tenacious spirit, yet he was also someone who quietly reached out to and helped people with disabilities. He also loved children and often interacted with children with disabilities.

Many of the award recipients cite the importance of receiving the award and its stature in Minnesota’s disability community. The Charlie Smith Award is unique because it doesn’t single out a particular type of disability as criteria for nomination. Nor do nominees have to be members of a particular group or organization to be eligible for nominations.

Any individual or group in Minnesota playing a role in Minnesota’s disability community is eligible for nomination. That is a very broad spectrum of people, so the net for nominees can be cast widely.

A nominee can be a self-advocate, a group or organization, or someone who provides service. Some years many nominations are received. Before submitting a nominee, think about what makes that person or persons unique to the disability community.

Provide as much information as possible about a nominee. That information is used by the newspaper board to evaluate the nominees. Links to newspaper, magazine or online articles or television news stories are always welcome. The more information, the easier it is to make a decision.

Please send a high-resolution digital photo or an actual photo of the nominee. Otherwise, be prepared to tell the editors where a high-resolution photo can be obtained. Pictures will be returned on request.

Past nominees can be nominated again, but please follow the rules for repeat nominations. A person or organization can be nominated for two consecutive years. But he or she has to wait one year before being nominated again. If there is a repeat nomination, a new person or group must make the nomination the second year. People cannot nominate themselves.

Completed nominations, with photos can be sent via email to [email protected], via fax to (651) 644-2136, or mail to Access Press, c/o Charlie Smith Award Committee, 161 St. Anthony Avenue #910; St. Paul, MN 55103. The winner is the guest of honor at the annual award banquet.

Sponsors are still being sought, as are donations for the raffle and silent auction. The raffle and silent auction can be a great place to showcase a business and its services, or to make a truly unique donation.

Artists and crafters are especially welcomed as donors. Photos, original art, sports and theater tickets, handmade crafts, jewelry, dinner and drink gift certificates and much, much more are highlights. But donations need to be made soon. Sponsorship and donation information is also on the newspaper’s website.

Email or call Business Manager Dawn Frederick at 651-644-2133 or [email protected] for further details.

2016 – Cliff Poetz, Institute on Community Integration
2015 – Jessalyn Akerman-Frank, Minnesota Commission for Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing
2014 – Christine Marble & Wendy Devore, CareerVentures
2013 – Cal Appleby, Augsburg College
2012 – Charles “Chuck” Van Heuveln, St. Paul School District
2011 – Jeff Bangsberg, Minnesota Department of Health
2010 – Steve Kuntz, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)
2009 – Anne Henry, Minnesota Disability Law Center
2008 – Pete Feigal, Co-Founder of Tilting at Windmills
2007 – Jim and Claudia Carlisle, People Enhancing People
2006 – John Smith, University of Minnesota
2005 – Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD)
2004 – Rick Cardenas, Co-Director of Advocating Change Together (ACT)
2003 – Margot Imdieke Cross, Minnesota State Council on Disability




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