Sunday, July 01, 2007

Weekly newspaper editors' group gives awards for editorial writing and public service

Twelve editors of weekly newspapers won awards for editorial writing last night from the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors, and one got the Golden Quill Award for best editorial of 2006. She is Lori Evans, editor and publisher of the Homer News in Alaska, a Morris Communications paper.

Evans' Sept. 14 editorial called for an end to unlimited property-tax exemptions for homeowners 65 and over on the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage, where second homes and retirement homes are becoming popular -- so much so among senior citizens that their total property exemptions last year totaled $404 million, almost double the 2001 figure of $210 million. "Given the borough's changing demographics -- more seniors, fewer young families -- the exemption is just not fair," Evans wrote. The Borough Assembly didn't follow Evans' advice, but this fall voters will decide whether to put a $300,000 cap on each exemption.

Other "Golden Dozen" award winners at the ISWNE annual conference in Rapid City, S.D., were Steve Dills of the Sylvan Lake News in Alberta; Gary Sosniecki of The Vandalia Leader in Missouri; Luke Klink of The Star News in Medford, Wis.; Betta Ferrendelli of The Observer in Rio Rancho, N.M.; Dick Crocford of the Big Horn County News in Montana; Bill Schanen of the Ozaukee Press in Port Washington, Wis.; Charles Gay of the Shelton-Mason County Journal in Washington; John Wylie II of the Oologah Lake Leader in Oklahoma; Mike Buffington of the Jackson Herald in Jefferson, Ga.; Tim Waltner of the Freeman Courier in South Dakota; and Mo Mehlsak of The Forecaster in Falmouth, Maine.

The Eugene Cervi Award for public service in community journalism went to Guy and Marcia Wood, publishers of the Sangre de Christo Chronicle in Angelfire, N.M., from 1984 to 2006. "They constantly battled village government to keep meetings and records open," the presentation said. The award recognizes consistently aggressive reporting and interpretation of local government, and reverence for language, for which the award's namesake is known. Cervi, of the Rocky Mountain Journal in Denver, died in 1970.

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