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TOPEKA--Two Kansas court officials Thursday were recognized by the American Bar Assn. Thursday when they were presented prestigious awards as part of the ABA's annual meeting, in San Francisco.

Receiving the national awards were District Magistrate Judge Mary B. Thrower, Minneapolis, and Denise Kilwein, Director of Judicial Education, at the Office of Judicial Administration in Topeka.

Judge Thrower received the Franklin N. Flaschner Award, which is given to a judge who "embodies the high ideals, personal character, and competence in performing judicial duties that were exemplified by the late Chief Justice Franklin N. Flaschner of Massachusetts." She was nominated by Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss of the Kansas Supreme Court for her significant contributions on local and state levels for improving the quality of justice in courts with special and limited jurisdiction. Judge Thrower's many contributions include serving on the Judicial Needs Assessment Committee for the only weighted caseload study performed in the 152-year history of Kansas.

Ms. Kilwein received the Judicial Education Award in recognition of her excellence as Director of Judicial Education for the Kansas Judicial Branch. Court of Appeals Judge Karen Arnold-Burger wrote in nominating her for the award that "although most states have entire staffs dedicated to judicial education, Denise has done it all. At the same time, she has developed a relationship with the National Judicial College and the ABA that have resulted in the judges of Kansas receiving the best training available. As budget cuts loomed, she also was able to establish in-house training programs and train-the-trainer programs."

Chief Justice Nuss said he is particularly proud of Judge Thrower and Ms. Kilwein. "The ABA's Judicial Division of Specialized Court Judges is presenting only four national awards this year. And Kansans won half of them. I believe this is a first for our state. Judge Thrower and Ms. Kilwein are among the best of the many fine judges and judicial staff who every day proudly serve the citizens of Kansas despite difficult circumstances." Chief Justice Nuss said.

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