Nominate a deserving Charlie Smith Award recipient

Margot Imdieke Cross

Nominations for the 2012 Charlie Smith Award are being taken by Access Press, Minnesota’s disability community newspaper. The newspaper’s Board of Directors announced that the nomination period is underway. Nominations close Aug. 10.

The award is given to an individual or group, in recognition of outstanding service to Minnesota’s disability community. The nominee and finalists are honored in the September issue of Access Press. The winner is feted at the annual award banquet, which is Friday, Nov. 2 at the Minneapolis Airport Marriot 2020 E. American Blvd., Bloomington. That event includes a delicious meal, a silent auction and raffle, speeches and social time. The Marriott is fully accessible. Interpretation is offered for guests.

The nomination form is on the Access Press website, at www.testing.accesspress.org  and can be downloaded in .pdf and .docx formats. Anyone who needs accommodations to fill out the form, or needs the form in another format, can call the newspaper office at 651-644-2133.

Nominees can be from anywhere in Minnesota. Past nominees can be nominated again. Nominations and questions about the nominations can be sent via email to CSAnominations@testing.accesspress.org, via fax to (651) 644-2136, or mail to Access Press, c/o Charlie Award Committee, 161 St. Anthony Avenue #910; St. Paul, MN 55103. If possible, send the newspaper office either a jpeg photo or an actual picture of the nominee, or be prepared to tell the editors where a picture can be obtained. Pictures and bios of nominees will be published in the September issue of the newspaper and displayed at the banquet.

“Some community award winners are decided by a committee with no outside input,” said Access Press Board Chair Brigid Alseth, “The legacy of the Charlie Smith Award, however, is that members of the disability community nominate and recognize ‘our own’. Continue the grassroots efforts embodied by Charlie Smith and nominate those whom you know to be outstanding and whose stories need to be told. After all, isn’t that a form of activism too?”

The Charlie Smith Award is named in honor of the late Charlie Smith, founding editor of Access Press. He was a well-known Minnesota disability rights advocate. With the support of his family, Smith founded the newspaper in 1990. He died in 2001.

The first award ceremony was held in 2003. It began in St. Paul and has grown over the years, moving to Bloomington three years ago.

Previous winners of the Charlie Award:

2011–Jeff Bangsberg, Consultant, Legislative Activist
2010–Steve Kuntz, Minnesota DEED
2009–Anne Henry, of the 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 MN
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

Access Press Business Manager Dawn Frederick is seeking banquet sponsors, as well as donations for the silent auction and raffle. Banquet sponsorships range in cost from $200 to $400. Prizes for the silent auction include new merchandise, gift certificates, theater and sports tickets, and other items. Some of the favorite prizes in recent years have been ice cream shop gift certificates, jewelry jars, hand-crafted items, toys and medical supply store gift certificates. Please contact Dawn at 651-644-2133 or dawn@testing.accesspress.org  if you would like to donate or have questions about donations.

Reservations can now be made for the Nov. 2 banquet, which starts at 5:30 p.m. with the dinner and ceremony at 7 p.m. Cost is $45 per person if you register early, $50 per person at the door or $325 for an eight-person table. The table rate represents a savings of $35. Registration can be made online, at www.testing.accesspress.org. Look for the Charlie Awards tab at the top left corner of the home page.

Checks with the name and number of guests can be mailed to Access Press, Attn: Dawn, 161 St. Anthony Ave Ste 910, St. Paul, MN 55103. Please make checks payable to Access Press and note banquet in the notation line. Credit card transactions can be made over the phone by calling the office.