Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Three to Salute

The women of Saline ruled this year, sweeping the Citizen of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award and George A. Anderson Vision Award during Wednesday night's vote by the Saline Salutes Selection Committee. I served on the committee with a number of people representing a cross section of the community and was told I would have to keep the announcement under wraps until everyone had been notified.

Well, they have been notified.

And the winners are ....

Margie Bovee, director of the Two Twelve Arts Center in Saline and a former journalist for The Saline Reporter, has been named Citizen of the Year. She is the second person from the newspaper to win the honor. Former editor Tom Kirvan was Citizen of the Year in 1998.

Leslee Niethammer, director of the Saline District Library, has been selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award. She also serves as secretary of the Coalition for a Quality Community, secretary of Pick Up the Pace Saline and chairwoman of the Saline Leadership Institute.

And Carla Scruggs, Saline Parks and Recreation director, has been selected winner of the George A. Anderson Vision Award. She was nominated by the Saline Parks and Recreation Commission.

These three women were among a total of eight nominees -- four men and four women -- for the three awards. Five were vying for Citizen of the Year, four for Lifetime Achievement and two for the vision award. One person was nominated for all three awards and another was nominated for two. In addition, the selection committee was invited to nominate candidates from the floor and last year's candidates were welcomed as nominees as well.

It was a tough decision because all of the nominees were very deserving in my mind. What made some stand out over others, I think, was the written nomination. For instance, seven people wrote detailed nominations for Margie. On the other hand, a candidate for one of the awards only received one nomination letter that consisted of a few sentences and appeared to be just a quick e-mail. Although I knew the candidate was more than deserving because I am aware of the individual's work in the community through my work at the newspaper, I am guessing not everyone on the committee was aware.

So, my suggestion to people interested in nominating candidates for Saline Salutes in the future is to be very detailed in your nomination. Play up the individual's contributions to the community, giving spirit, leadership abilities, energy, enthusiasm for the community and other attributes that make that person a worthy candidate of such a prestigious award.

These awards are a big deal and members of the committee should feel like they know intimately the nominees and all of their work in the community. This can be achieved through the written nomination process.

The Saline Reporter will be producing feature stories on the three winners. In the meantime, mark your calendar for 5:30 p.m. April 17 for the Saline Salutes program. It will be held at Saline High School. Like last year, we hope to produce video from the ceremony as well.

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