People and Places – April 2013

There she is – Winona woman wins title Winona resident Crissa Knott is the new Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota. She was […]

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There she is – Winona woman wins title

Winona resident Crissa Knott is the new Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota. She was awarded the crown March 9 during the Third Annual Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota pageant in Bloomington.

Knott said she is now a believer in the adage that the third time is truly the charm. She competed for the title in 2011 and 2012.

“I just hope I make this organization proud,” Knott said after she was crowned. “I can’t wait to get started!”

The 23-year-old has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. She plans to graduate this year from Winona State University, with a B.A. in psychology. Knott has already been accepted to the counselors’ education graduate program at Winona State.

After Knott completes her graduate studies, she wants to be a professional counselor in a community setting.

As Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota, Knott’s platform is “Encouraging disabled people to go to college.”

“My platform has many different aspects to it, so I want to try and highlight all of them,” she said. After winning the title, Knott indicated that she is most excited about heading to St. Paul to “make some changes.”

Helping people with disabilities find ways to attend college is a key focus for Knott during her reign. She notes that obstacles to higher education can include “not being able to pay a personal care attendant (PCA) to attend classes with you to provide assistance with writing, typing and other tasks.”

Knott will appear and speak at numerous community events during her 2013-2014 reign. In July she will represent Minnesota at the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant in Texas.

Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota is nonprofit organization and is affiliated with the Ms. Wheelchair America program. Its mission is to provide an opportunity of achievement for women who happen to be wheelchair users, and to successfully educate and advocate for Minnesotans living with disabilities.



Robins, Cougars win state hockey titles

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) has crowned its 2012-2013 adapted floor hockey champions. The Robins of Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound-Westonka won a third straight PI Division title, while the North Suburban was a first-time state champion in CI Division. The tournament was hosted by Bloomington Jefferson High School.

In the PI Division, for players with physical disabilities, the Robins capped a perfect season with the 5-0 win over the Dakota United Hawks. It was also the champion’s sixth shutout this season. Robins goalie Charlie Wittmer finished the game with 29 saves, holding off a strong Dakota United offense.The teams were scoreless for the first nine minutes of the game before Robins junior Tyler Sarff scored back-to-back goals within 10 seconds. He finished the game with three goals. Junior Joe Dubisar tallied the other two. The team finished 16-0.

The Robins got to the title game by defeating Rochester 8-4 in the opening round, then topping Brainerd-Pillager by a score of 6-2 in the semi-finals. Dakota United topped Wayzata/Minnetonka and Anoka Hennepin, in overtime, to get to the title game.

Anoka-Hennepin defeated Brainerd/Pillager, 8-6, for third place. Wayzata/Minnetonka beat South Suburban, 10-5, for fifth place. In the consolation round, Wayzata/Minnetonka downed South Suburban 10-5, for the title.

St. Paul Highland Park also played in the tournament. In the CI Division, for athletes with cognitive disabilities, the North Suburban Cougars had to mount a comeback to win 7-6 over the Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville Blazing Cats. The Cougars rallied in the third period from two goals down. Eighth grader Anthony Bengston scored five points, including two critical late-game goals. Cody Jacobson and Tyler Engel also scored for the Cougars. Steve Friday, Brendan Wong and Michale Burns also scored for the Blazing Cats.

North Suburban defeated Winona, 14-3, and Dakota United, 7-5, to get to the finals. Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville defeated Mounds View/Irondale/Roseville and New Prague/Tri-City United/LeSeuer-Henderson.

The Anoka-Hennepin Mustangs, coming into the tournament as the three-time defending champion, lost in the first round to Dakota United.

Dakota United topped New Prague/Tri-City United/ LeSueur-Henderson, 12-6, for third place. Mounds View/Irondale/Roseville won fifth place by defeating Winona, 9-3. Mounds View/Irondale/Roseville topped Winona for the consolation title, 13-2. Maple Grove also played in the tournament.


Attorneys honored for service

Every year the Hennepin County Bar Association recognizes three attorneys who have made a significant contribution through pro bono service. The Pro Bono Publico awards are presented to lawyers in recognition of the time, knowledge, and devotion given in service to the community. The 2013 recipients were honored March 7 at the 33rd annual Bar Benefit in Minneapolis.

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual for career-long volunteer work on behalf of the community and the two Excellence Awards recognize current or recent excellence in service by individuals–one from the private sector and one from the public sector.

Anne Schryver Quincy of Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance is the recipient of this year’s Pro Bono Publico Award for public sector service. Quincy, who has been at Mid-Minnesota Legal since 1984, works with many clients who are homeless and live with physical and cognitive disabilities. In addition to providing representation for her clients at disability hearings, Quincy has helped many clients secure safe shelter, obtain appropriate identification documents, and receive health care benefits.

“Anne Quincy is an exceptional lawyer who combines wisdom, compassion, and legal expertise with fierce advocacy on behalf of the very poor and vulnerable,” said Greg Marita, deputy director of Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance. “She is a model for our staff as well as the broader legal community.”

Other attorneys honored are Fred Ojile, recipient of The Distinguished Service Award for work with the Volunteer Lawyers Network, and Steven Kaplan recipient of the Pro Bono Publico Award for his work to over an 11 year period to exonerate a Louisiana death row inmate.



Tamarack device is finalist

Tamarack’s FlexForm Seating System is a finalist for the 2013 da Vinci Awards, which are presented by the Michigan Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The awards program will be April 11 in Dearborn. The program will feature finalists across five rehabilitation categories.

Tamarack sought votes for its seating system on YouTube. Voting ended April 7.

The new patented product design relied extensively on feedback from approximately 100 wheelchair users and seating experts across the world. Being a finalist for this national award signifies the value and market potential for the patented seating system and adjuster technology as seating experts look for more efficient and effective ways to optimize pressure, shear, and microclimate for wheelchair users.



Rise announces new board chair

Courtesy of Rise, Inc.

Julie Weaver, a marketing consultant from Anoka, will serve as chair of the Rise Board of Directors this year. She has served on the board since 1997 in several executive positions.

Also elected as officers are Vice Chair Steve Well and Treasurer Tom Kettleson, both of Shorewood. Gene Merriam of Coon Rapids, the immediate past president, will serve as board secretary.

Jon Grunewald of Elk River and Manfred Tatzmann of Brooklyn Park joined the board in January. Other board members are Larry Pietrzak of Brooklyn Park, Mary Zins of Golden Valley and Dixie Mengelkoch of Blaine.

Since 1971, Rise has helped people work in the community, earn competitive wages, live safely and comfortably, and make a productive contribution to society. Rise has 20 office locations throughout the Twin Cities, Central Minnesota, and East Central Minnesota, and works with hundreds of area landlords, businesses and employers to carry out its mission.

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