Better Newspaper Contest

2013 Award Winners

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

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Page 49 of 67

Division 5 Best General Commentary/Category 4 First place Rob Burgess Kokomo Tribune Comments: Thoughtful, well-reasoned responses to religious overreach gave this entry the edge. Good, clear writing. Second place Lisa Nellessen-Lara The Star Press (Muncie) Comments: Nice touch in making personal/family stories connect with broader themes. Third place Kevin Leininger Fort Wayne News-Sentinel Comments: Tells other people's stories in an empathetic and compelling way. Best Editorial Writer/Category 5 First place Merv Hendricks Tribune-Star (Terre Haute) Comments: Excellent writing. It is a pleasure to read clearly stated points of view. Quality is sustained across a variety of topics. Second place House of Burgess — Believe; it may be law soon By Rob Burgess Kokomo Tribune Earlier this month, a stupid and dangerous piece of legislation was introduced to and subsequently expelled from the North Carolina General Assembly. The bill was presented April 1 by primary sponsors Reps. Carl Ford, R-China Grove, and Harry Warren, R-Salisbury. If passed, the bill would have allowed lawmakers in the Tar Heel State to establish a state religion. Yes, you heard me right: a state religion. In America. I'll leave it to you to guess which faith would have become the approved one in the event this had passed. (No hints.) "[The Assembly] asserts that the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion," read the bill. "[The Assembly] does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit ... an establishment of religion." Non-believers obviously have reason to be concerned by this move. However, even if you are a person of faith, doesn't it cheapen it a bit if it's mandatory? And what if you happen to believe in a different deity than the law states? Are you then a spiritual outlaw? In the Bill of Rights, the very first Amendment laid down by the Founding Fathers reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of Jeff Ward The Star Press (Muncie) Comments: Editorials are validated by writer's exceptional sense of place. Writer's familiarity with, and appreciation of, local community enhances each editorial stance. By Merv Hendricks Tribune-Star (Terre Haute) "If you are of the mind that these North Carolina lawmakers have it right, allow me to introduce you to Lemon v. Kurtzman, the U.S. Supreme Court case that established the three-pronged test – called 'The Lemon Test' – for determining when a state has run afoul of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause: the law or state policy must have For complete story, see Click on "Contests." Electing schools chief provides balance Third place speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Pretty clear, right? So, as one might presume, this bill raised some serious, immediate legal issues. Leo Morris Fort Wayne News-Sentinel Comments: Editorials rise above "on the one hand, on the other hand" and leave reader with something to think about. Best Business/Economic News Coverage/ Category 6 First place What's next for Biotown USA? Hayleigh Colombo Journal & Courier (Lafayette) Comments: Very interesting read. Package was Well-done with good quotes and lots of work on every angle. Second place Winds of Change Baylee Pulliam The Herald Bulletin (Anderson) Comments: Another good example of how a national energy problem hits close to home. Good job. Third place Ownership of city's largest mall becomes $21.2 million question Randy McClain The Republic (Columbus) Comments: The Crossroads mall problem is one seen all over the U.S. Good job in explaining what's happened to it and how it affects the community. Page 50 After losing the state Superintendent of Public Instruction race to an insurgent Democrat in the Nov. 6 election, some Republicans in the Indiana Statehouse now want to change the rules to make the position appointive rather than elective. After all, had that regulation been in effect, Gov.-elect Mike Pence could have appointed the now-one-term-and-out Tony Bennett to four more years or could have found another Republican who met gubernatorial favor on school issues. Instead, voters spoke loudly – and clearly – that Bennett's style, if not his substance, was one of too much too soon with too little respect for the many good teachers who toil daily in our kindergarten through 12th-grade public school classrooms. In that election, the majority of voters (53 percent, a 150,000-vote margin) repudiated Bennett's four-year foot race to give schools letter grades (A-F) that many see as punitive and more reflective of socioeconomic effects than of the quality of teaching; to emasculate teacher unions and local school boards on contract issues; to use a dusty state law to take control of so-called failing schools and outsource those schools from local school board oversight to private companies; and to disburse state-funded vouchers to pay tuition for students in private schools. Among other things. That statement from voters makes the best argument we can think of for why the state superintendent position should remain elective, as it was designated in Indiana's 1851 Constitution, rather than appointive, as it was at times last century for governors of both parties. Few issues are more vital For complete story, see Click on "Contests." What's next for Biotown USA? these days in Reynolds, it's perhaps understandable. On this wintry afternoon Nearly eight years earlier, between lunch and dinner, Indiana's newly inaugurated the USA Family Restaurant governor, Mitch Daniels, is quiet except for a table in dropped by with another big the back where seven local plan – to make Reynolds residents sit, drinking coffee, energy independent, using trading good-natured insults corn, soybeans, manure and and discussing the day's other renewable sources. news. Reynolds would become known as BioTown USA, Topping the agenda – a Daniels predicted. Minnesota company's plans to invest up to $350 million Today, "BioTown" is as in an iron ore pellet plant in dependent on the energy Reynolds that will create 120 grid as ever. The iron ore jobs. pellet plant, when built, will make it even more so. Yet, Not bad for a tiny crossroads town boasting one although BioTown, as such, never materialized, inroads stoplight, one gas station, have been made in the use of 533 residents and 150,000 renewable energy. pigs. But if grand plans stir a little cautious déja vu On a windy stretch of land By Hayleigh Colombo Journal & Courier (Lafayette) just outside town, a farmer's privately owned anaerobic digester turns hog waste and other organic material into electricity– enough to supply most of the town's needs, although it's not sold directly to the town. As with any experiment, some things were learned even though BioTown didn't liveup to its name. And residents haven't forgotten the experience that placed the town in a national spotlight. "There's some good things that have happened here," says Cindy Campbell, a longtime Reynolds resident. For complete story, see Click on "Contests."

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