Better Newspaper Contest

2013 Award Winners

Hoosier State Press Association - The Indiana Publisher - Better Newspaper Contest

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Page 31 of 67

Division 3 Best General Commentary/Category 4 First place Matt Getts The Star (Auburn) Comments: Column on inmate had the most "meat" in a category that was generally lacking in the way of "commentary." The tribute to late community leader was touching without being too overdone on sentimentality. Second place Jack Ronald The Commercial Review (Portland) Comments: Nice conversational style of writing. Really enjoyed reminiscence about father. Just was hoping for at least one example of serious commentary on a local issue. Third place Back in the Saddle Dave Schutlz The News-Banner (Bluffton) Comments: Schultz deals with more serious issues – uninformed voters, gun violence, Watergate – than others in this category. Just wish he had applied that same focus to local issues. Best Editorial Writer/Category 5 First place Jack Ronald The Commercial Review (Portland) Comments: None given Second place Dave Kurtz The Star (Auburn) Comments: None given Third place Joseph Slacian Wabash Plain Dealer Comments: None given Best Business/Economic News Coverage/ Category 6 First place Cruel summer Aubrey Woods, Dan Davis & Jessica Squires The Tribune (Seymour) Comments: An important story for the heartbeat of the region. The story is well-written with good statistics, quotes, and firsthand accounts from farmers who may be affected the most. Second place Price is right Zach Spicer The Tribune (Seymour) Comments: An uplifting story showing something good in troubling economic times. The charts and photos complete the story nicely. Third place Pain at the pump Kaley Parrish & Rick Holtz The Times (Noblesville) Comments: Great opening and a well-written story. The reporter does a fine job and an important story not only the Times readers, but the nation as well. General category comments: There were a lot of well-written stories in this category. In a difficult national economy, the stories captured both good and bad projects, situations and ideas. Page 32 A prisoner twice over By Matt Getts The Star (Auburn) Imagine being truly terrified of the thing you want most. Timothy "Scott" Hopkins' hands move as if reflexively over the three books, constantly stacking, then straightening them. Then straightening them some more. They are his talisman. His hope. A Bible. His 12-step book. His book of daily meditations. Three different sizes of books. The largest on the bottom. The smallest on top. Inside of them, the words that can break his bondage. Sometimes, it's not just the bars that keep a man prisoner. Make no mistake. Hopkins, 33, is the villain in this little societal morality play. It's a role he has mastered. The Butler man first was charged in DeKalb County on May 6, 1999, with invasion of privacy, a Class B misdemeanor. He was 18 years old. Since that time, he has been charged with a dozen more crimes, mostly misdemeanors. He has a couple of battery charges on his record. On Aug. 13, 2002, he was hit with a Class A felony charge of dealing a scheduled drug within 1,000 feet of a school. He was looking at a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison. He ended up pleading guilty to a Class B felony charge and was sentenced to six years in the Indiana Department of Correction on Feb. 18, 2004. With goodtime credit, he was released early. On June 6, 2008, he was sentenced to another two years on a drug-dealing charge. He was released in early 2011. And he found himself again in hot water that he had drawn himself. He had a couple of charges for driving while suspended in 2011. Then in 2012, he was charged with five different offenses, including violating a protective order (three times) and possession of methamphetamine. So here he sits in the DeKalb County Jail, armed with his books, waiting For complete story, see Click on "Contests." Leadership needed on pool By Jack Ronald The Commercial Review (Portland) That's the challenge, and it's a big one. A new municipal pool is Leadership doesn't throw estimated to cost something up its hands when confronted like $2 million to $2.5 with a challenge. million. That's not the sort of money you raise with bake It gets to work, struggles sales and charity auctions. to find creative solutions, keeps its eye on the goal, and Even the most optimistic stays persistent until the job estimate of private fundis done. raising would top out about $500,000. It should be clear to everyone by now that the The bulk of the money days of the current Portland is obviously going to have Pool are numbered. to come from public funds, local tax dollars. It's more than 50 years old. It leaks more than a Mayor Randy Geesaman million gallons of water insists that the city isn't in a a year. And ongoing position to take on another maintenance costs keep bond issue, and he may be mounting. right. Clearly, the time is coming But it's also true that there soon for a replacement. are ways around the limit Cruel summer By Aubrey Woods, Dan Davis & Jessica Squires The Tribune (Seymour) Weather throws many curve balls at farmers each year, but nothing like what they've seen this growing season. "This will be a summer to remember," Harold Hoevener said, referring to record-setting high temperatures and a nearly two-month drought now forecast to last into November. For July, 3.78 inches of rain had fallen in Seymour, National Weather Service observer Ruth Everhart said. That's a little more than the month's average of 3.47 inches. June, however, saw just 1.18 inches of rain, compared to 4.32 in an average year. Hoevener lives on State Road 250 in eastern Jackson County and farms with his son, Greg Hoevener. His son, who lives and farms south of Crothersville near Austin, said it hasn't been a good year for the Hoeveners or many other local farmers. "I think we've lost about half of our crops," Greg Hoevener said. His father said crops planted in bottom lands are doing pretty well, but those on the hilly ground are lost. As of July 25, 80 Indiana counties had been designated on 2 percent of assessed valuation when it comes to bond issues. Given the pool's estimated remaining lifespan of less than 10 years, it should also be possible to begin setting aside capital improvement funds in the city budget so that a "savings account" is accumulated. Those funds and private donations could reduce the size of any eventual bond issue. We don't pretend to know the solution, but we know that the challenge is real. And leadership from city government – the mayor, the park board, and the city council – is what's needed. For complete story, see Click on "Contests." by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a natural disaster area or were contiguous to the disaster area. Jackson County is a contiguous county, which means area farmers may qualify for help with crop losses resulting from the drought. Some recent rains have helped late-planted corn as well as the soybeans, Harold Hoevener said. "The soybeans could be all right if we keep getting some rain," he said. Jerry Wischmeier, who farms in the Tampico area, agreed. For complete story, see Click on "Contests."

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