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A distinguished local judge, an assemblywoman from Buffalo, a noted local lawyer active statewide in efforts to improve the profession. A local businessman aiding the unemployed and two women aiding minority students.
Five people will be honored during the Minority Bar Association of Western New York's 30th annual awards dinner and scholarship celebration, which starts at 5 p.m. Thursday. in Rich Renaissance Niagara.
The association's President's Award will be presented to Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo, for her efforts in the area of minority- and women-owned business enterprises. People-Stokes also is being honored for contributions to the community as a legislator, mentor and adviser.
The Legal Service Award will be presented to Sheldon Smith, a partner at Nixon Peabody LLP, who served as president of the Minority Bar in 2010 and as a board member of the association's foundation.
The Business Person of the Year Award will be presented to Orlando Perez of SkyView Learning Group, which trains and develops individuals who are currently unemployed or on social services.
The Education Award will be presented to Marcia O'Neil White, executive director of Buffalo Prep, where she has led efforts to prepare bright and motivated economically disadvantaged minority students for success in private and independent high schools and colleges.
The Trailblazer Award will be presented to Erie County Family Court Judge Kevin M. Carter, an active member of the association who has demonstrated a significant commitment to the children and families in the minority community.
The Community Service Award will be presented to Francine Nichols, co-director, program coordinator and grant writer for the 2012 University at Buffalo Explore Law Program and the association's DiscoverLaw.org Undergraduate Summer Scholars Program.
The John L. Hargrave Scholarship Award will be presented to Paul T. Iya, currently a UB law student, for his support for the association and its mission.
The Marie Nesbitt Promise Prize Award will be presented to Vanessa Glushefski, a second-year UB law student from Queens who graduated with honors from Baruch College in New York City with a degree in accounting. For ticket or sponsorship information for the event, call 852-3540 or email lbouguard@watsonbennett.com.

email: mgryta@buffnews.com