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Peace efforts honored with inaugural awards

Five Rogue Valley residents, including an Ashland High School student and a retired judge, are recipients of the first-ever Imagine Awards for Community Peacemaking.

Mediation Works of Medford presented retired Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Ross Davis with a lifetime achievement award. The agency also named Ashland High School senior Meagan Lescher as the young peacemaker of the year.

Other honorees include Ashland rabbi David Zaslow, Takelma elder Agnes Baker Pilgrim and Hanby Middle School teacher Kim Elmer.

The five were selected from about 30 nominations submitted by community members, said Anne Batzer, a Mediation Works Board member.

We hope this is the start of a new community tradition, Batzer said.

Davis was chosen to recognize his work during more than 30 years as an elected official. Davis retired last spring.

Batzer, who nominated Davis, said she was impressed by his compassion from the bench.

I've been in lots of courtrooms with lots of different judges, said Batzer, who works with children in foster care. My experience in Judge Davis' courtroom was that even if a parent's rights were terminated, they felt heard and listened to and were able to leave the courtroom with some kind of dignity.

Meagan Lescher was nominated by a high school counselor for her persistence in establishing a peer mediation program at Ashland High School.

Zaslow was nominated for his efforts to bring Muslims and Jews together in a spiritual community.

Pilgrim was chosen for her work with American Indian students at Southern Oregon University and for her efforts to bridge gaps between cultures.

Kim Elmer was chosen for her work to establish a peer mediation program and class at Hanby Middle School. Students there resolve conflicts among themselves, and also offer mediation for students at nearby Patrick Elementary School.

Award winners were selected by a six-member panel of community members and Mediation Works board members.

The award recipients will be honored at a fund-raising celebration March 9 at the Rogue Valley County Club. Grady Singletary, publisher of the , and Patsy Smullin, owner of California-Oregon Broadcasting Co., are honorary hosts for the event.

For more information, contact Mediation Works at 770-2468.

Reach reporter JoNel Aleccia at 776-4465, or e-mail