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May 2015 • Online Edition

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Jane Craft Good Neighbor Nod Honors Pearl Street Leader/Victim Advocate Joe Cannata | Print |  E-mail

by Bob Biondi

The Jane Craft Washington Park Good Neighbor Award has been presented annually since 1996, when Craft, the longtime director of Senior Services for the Washington Street Community Center, was the inaugural recipient.

Honored that year as a civic activist and community leader, Craft continues to be honored each year as the award is presented to an individual whose efforts best exemplify Jane’s commitment to improving the well-being of the community.

Since Craft’s honor 13 years ago, the award has recognized Joe Morgan (former owner of Morgan Liquors), State Representative Wayne Knox, Washington Park Profile publisher Paul Kashmann, State Senator Dottie Wham, Denver City Councilman Doug Linkhart, businessman Ron Schumacher, educator J. Joe Craft, State Representative Andrew Romanoff, City Councilwoman Kathleen MacKenzie, and longtime neighborhood activists Jim and Charlotte Winzenburg, and Gertie Grant.

The 2009 Jane Craft Washington Park Good Neighbor Award will be presented to victim rights advocate Joe Cannata, in a special tribute ceremony to be held on Thur., June 4, 5:30-7:30p.m., at the Washington Street Community Center, 809 S. Washington St.

Cannata and his wife, Kaye, were the owners of Belaire Cleaners, 1581 S. Pearl St. for 31 years, before selling the business in 2007. Since that time the Cannatas have devoted 100 percent of their time to Voices of Victims, the non-profit organization they founded that offers post-sentencing support and advocacy to victims of violent crime and their families.

Joe Cannata has been working on victim issues since 1987, when his daughter Lynn was murdered by her then-boyfriend. Cannata has been instrumental in having a trio of victim rights laws passed, including “Lynn’s Law” – named for his daughter – which requires violent offenders to serve 75 percent of their sentence before being eligible for parole.

During his years as a South Pearl Street business owner, Cannata was very involved in a variety of merchant association activities, from the once-yearly South Pearl Street Fair, to shepherding completion of sweeping streetscape improvements in the 1980s and 90s.

Tickets to the June 4 tribute event cost $25 per person. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. All proceeds benefit the programs of the Washington Street Community Center. For information, call 303-733-4643 or visit www.wscc-denver.org.

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