Source: Sherman Publications

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Vote on-line for Oxford Community Awards

by CJ Carnacchio

October 10, 2012

Jack Curtis and Maggie the Fire Dog were both nominated for ‘Public Servant of the Year.’ Looks like it will be a friendly competition — so long as Curtis doesn’t run out of treats.
Voting has begun for the Oxford Community Awards.

Everyone is invited to visit the website and with just a few clicks of a mouse select who will be honored in six categories.

Voting runs through Wednesday, Oct. 24 and the winners will be announced at the awards ceremony scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Oxford High School Fine Arts Center.

The Oxford Community Awards is designed to honor members of the community, public servants, investors, volunteers and nonprofit organizations whose efforts contribute to the growth and development of Oxford.

Nominated for the Diamond Award are Anna Taylor, Michelle Overton and Rick Laidler. The award recognizes an individual who contributes their time, energy, talents and resources to the betterment of the community.

Taylor, who owns Pink & Charlie in downtown Oxford, serves on the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) board and has spearheaded the Complete Streets/Streetscape project, which is designed to make the downtown much more pedestrian-friendly and economically prosperous. She's also one of the founders of the popular Girlfriends Walk events, which benefit both local charities and merchants.

Overton, who owns OCS Design, is the website developer and designer for all of Oxford's government entities as well as the Chamber of Commerce and numerous local businesses and nonprofit groups such as the Pink Ribbon Trailblazers, Tour de Shane and the Northeast Oakland Historical Museum.

Laider, who serves as chairman of the Oxford Township Parks and Recreation Commission, has helped create numerous recreational opportunities for residents including the Kids Kingdom playground and KLR Splash Pad, both of which are located in Seymour Lake Township Park.

Nominees for Advocate of the Year are C.J. Carnacchio, Chuck Schneider and Maria Martin. This award will go to the individual who raises awareness, educates and informs the community about a cause or initiative for the enhancement of Oxford.

Carnacchio, who's the editor of The Oxford Leader, has been actively involved in covering the community for 13 years.

"He has poked, probed and photographed the people and politicians of this community as no one has ever done before," according to the awards website. "Sometimes we love his articles, sometimes we hate them, but we never find them uninteresting. His peers in his industry have noted his achievements through the many awards he has won for his photographs and use of the written word."

Schneider, a longtime property owner in the village, is "an advocate of improvements and enhancements" to everything from the local historical museum and planning commission to the village council and DDA board.

"He expresses his constructive suggestions in a very detailed fashion, always seeking to improve our community," according to his nomination write-up.

Martin, who works for the DDA as an administrative assistant, coordinates many downtown happenings from the crucial planning stages to detailed post-event evaluations. She also donates her time to help with the Girlfriends Walk, the school district's anti-bullying campaign, Clear Lake Elementary's PTO and the Blue Turf fund-raising campaign. She even volunteers in her daughter's classroom.

Nominees for the Philanthropist of the Year award are Jack McMahon, the Blue Turf Committee and Ron Davis.

McMahon, owner of the Oxford McDonald's restaurant for many years, has selflessly donated a great deal of money to the schools, parks and recreation and numerous nonprofit groups. He even donated 2.62 acres of land to the fire department to help meet its future needs.

The Blue Turf Committee which consists of Ron Davis, Randy Reason, Bill Keenist, Dan D'Alessandro and Jim Reis personally backed the loan that made the synthetic blue turf on the OHS football field a reality.

"This selfless act . . . has improved the quality of life for Oxford . . . [T]he many events and tournaments that can be held on this field . . . will inevitably bring people to Oxford who will eat in the restaurants, shop in the shops and bottom-line spend money here. That helps Oxford's economy and everyone benefits," according to the nomination description.

Davis, who's served as director of the Oxford Township Parks and Recreation Department for 18 years, has developed numerous popular park assets including the Kids Kingdom playground and KLR Splash Pad, plus volleyball and basketball courts. "Oxford is a much better place to live because of the commitment and compassion of Davis."

Nominees for Public Servant of the Year include Maggie the Fire Dog, Jack Curtis and the Oxford Police Reserve force. This award recognizes a person or group holding a government position, either by election or appointment, who goes above and beyond in their service to the community.

Maggie helps teach Oxford kids valuable fire safety tips like "stop, drop and roll" and "stay low and crawl" when there's smoke in the room. "Maggie helps break the ice with children and helps deliver an extremely important message in a way that is fun and memorable," according to her nomination description.

Curtis serves on numerous township boards including the planning commission, Economic Development Subcommittee, safety path committee and gravel inspection committee. In November, it's anticipated he will be elected to the township board as a trustee. He helps promote Oxford through his involvement in Automation Alley and Oakland County's One Stop Ready Initiative.

From helping a business achieve site plan approval in a mere 90 days to getting 3 miles of safety path installed using more federal than local dollars to successfully lobbying for implementation of a tax abatement policy, Curtis "continues to improve Oxford for its residents and visitors."

Nominees for the Brick Award are Patterson Pharmacy, 'Wiches and The Oxford Tap. The award recognizes a new or existing business that contributes to the community through their entrepreneurial efforts.

Founded in 1964, Patterson Pharmacy has supported numerous sports teams, school groups, community events and nonprofit groups by offering both monetary contributions and free advertising space in the store. It's a "personable, family business" that "truly is Oxford's neighborhood pharmacy" and "can always be relied on."

Owned by Patrick Hingst, 'Wiches has contributed to the community since it opened just a few years ago. "Anyone who comes through their door" seeking a donation or help never leaves empty-handed. The eatery has contributed food to many DDA functions and events. Its marketing campaigns and contests have "helped boost the excitement" level in the downtown area.

The Oxford Tap has "always stepped up and participated in almost every community event or activity." The tavern's owners always do "what is right for Oxford, even if it does not benefit them directly." The owners, Mike Phipps and Lou Connely, have done everything from invest money to upgrade their establishment's facade to serving on committees.

"They are passionate about Oxford and are men of their word," according to the nomination description. "They are true role models (for) the Oxford business community."

Nominees for the Outstanding Community Service award are I'm Third Club, The Oxford Optimist Club and the Pink Ribbon Trailblazers. This award recognizes a nonprofit organization that goes above and beyond standards that exist within the community.

Sponsored by OHS teacher Joseph Amabile, I'm Third Club, touches the lives of students who would not normally participate in clubs due to poor grades, low socioeconomic status or other discouraging factors. The club performs numerous public service projects, including helping the homeless, and builds student self-esteem and personal growth both in and out of the classroom.

The Oxford Optimist Club is involved in a variety of community activities that "bring out the best in kids." Through fund-raising efforts, the club was able to send local children to summer camp and sponsor a girls softball team. The Optimists have also been involved in a number of events including the Seymour Celebration, Celebrate Oxford, the Jack-O-Lantern Jamboree and golf outings.

Founded by Pat Nolf, the Pink Ribbon Trailblazers has spent six years raising money to help provide free mammograms for uninsured and under-served women in Oakland County. To date, the group has raised well over $100,000 and no doubt saved countless women's lives through early detection of breast cancer.