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Mediation Workspresents awards

Winners of Mediation Works' 2006 Imagine Awards for Community Peacemaking will be honored at a Medford ceremony today.

Named as Honored Peacemakers this year are Tom Cole, executive director of Medford's Kids Unlimited; Fred Perloff, a volunteer mediator for more than a decade; and Connie Salda?a, a disabled and senior services worker and volunteer with the local Multicultural Association. Amber Shannon is this year's Young Peacemaker, and community volunteer Elizabeth Udall of Gold Hill will be recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Honored individuals actively and constructively advance peaceful conflict resolution in Jackson County. Mediation Works, a nonprofit dispute-resolution center in Medford, has presented the awards annually since March 2003.

Special guest speaker for the event is Barry Kraft, known to local audiences as an actor and dramaturg at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Jeff Golden, host of The Jefferson Exchange on Jefferson Public Radio and a former Jackson County commissioner, will serve as master of ceremonies.

Tickets for the event, which begins at noon with brunch at 12:30 p.m., cost &

36;40 per person. Proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships benefit the services of Mediation Works. Entertainment will feature singer Beth Baker, guitarist Ed Dunsavage, storyteller Lindagail Campbell and accompanist Brent Olstad.

Mediation Works began a countywide search in October for Imagine Award nominations. A panel reviewed the nominations and recommended honorees to the nonprofit's board.

— Mediation Works is funded by grants, contracts and donations. Its mission is to help resolve conflicts peacefully and to teach conflict resolution skills and provide mediation services. For more information, visit on the Web.

Honored with past Imagine Awards include retired Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Ross Davis (2003), Peace House founder Marjorie Kellogg (2004) and community volunteers Ross and Marge Knotts (2005). Other winners have included Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Orf (2005), Takelma elder Agnes Baker-Pilgrim (2003) and Medford Councilman John Statler (2004).

Pete Seda, a Muslim formerly of Ashland who advocated peace among religious faiths, was named for an award at the 2004 Imagine Awards ceremony but it was never conferred pending the outcome of a federal investigation. Seda left the country prior to a federal investigation into allegations that he laundered money for Islamic rebels in Chechnya through an Islamic charity he managed in Ashland. Seda, who denies the charges, is now believed to be in Iran.