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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
November 3, 2006

Community leaders honored amid candles and greenery


Columbus--Tarot readings, henna tattoos and candelabra-bearing belly dancers entranced celebrants at the annual Stonewall Columbus awards banquet.

Surrounded by the lush greens of the Franklin Park Conservatory, over 250 people gathered on October 21 in the Garden Pavilion for �A Night Out.�

David Arocho of Countrywide Home Loans won the surprise live auction, netting a pair of tickets to the November 18 Ohio State University-University of Michigan football game, while WCMH Channel 4�s Colleen Marshall emceed an awards ceremony that saw the best and brightest of central Ohio honored for their efforts in six categories.

The Volunteer Service Award went to Suzie Simpson, who coordinated entertainment at the Stonewall Columbus Pride Holiday last June, as well as having produced at various points both Dancing in the Streets and Rocking in the Streets. Simpson also created the Girlz Rhythm and Rock Camp.

The Columbus Dispatch took the Stonewall Columbus Media Award for a front page article about a young man�s first Pride festival and a series that followed a lesbian couple battling cancer.

Assistant features copy desk chief Andy Sterling and TV writer Molly Willow accepted the award for the paper.

Rob Berger, former board president, took home the Leadership Award, honoring his role in finding the current Stonewall Center building as well as his involvement with the Ohio Historical Society and the Pride 2006 History Panel discussions, which he produced and recorded.

Statewide rights organization Equality Ohio was given the Community Service Award for their incisive efforts on behalf of LGBT people across Ohio, including their get-out-the-vote efforts and last May�s Lobby Day, which brought queer issues into the Statehouse.

The Rhonda R. Rivera Human Rights Award, named for the professor emeritus of law at Ohio State University, went to Bruce Dooley and Paul Cianelli. Cianelli passed away on June 9, but the couple was devoted to Stonewall Columbus, while Dooley chaired A Night Out for several years and Cianelli served on the Downtown Development Commission, Friends of Goodale Park, the Victorian Village Commission and other civic bodies.

The President�s Award was given by Dr. James B. Ford to Richard Gallagher, who the organization described as a �silent philanthropist who never seeks recognition for his efforts.�

�Rick has continually stepped up every time that Stonewall needed leadership and dollars,� said interim center director Karla Rothan.

Rothan was pleased with the event, which she began planning when she took the post of interim center director in July.

Scheduling was difficult, with many prime dates already booked, and the October 21 date put them on the same night as other shindigs in central Ohio.

�I probably would have had a lot more people there if we didn�t have to compete with other events,� she said, although she described A Night Out as having �very good attendance.�


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