Free Press nabs 13 awards

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Free Press nabs 13 awards The Four Corners Free Press captured 13 awards – five firsts, four seconds and four thirds – in the 2012 Society of Professional Journalists “Top of the Rockies” competition, which includes media in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico. Results were announced April 14. The awards were for work done in 2011.

In its category of newspapers under 10,000 circulation, the Free Press swept the awards in environmental general reporting and environmental feature-writing. Sonja Horoshko took first in the general-reporting category for “Living with uranium’s legacy” (June 2011), about the lingering impacts of uranium-mining on the Navajo reservation. She was followed by editor Gail Binkly with “Up a creek” (a two-part series about RS 2477 roads in August and September) at second place and Binkly at third place for “Changing direction.”

Anne Minard took first in environmental feature writing for “Beetle-mania” (May), an article about tamarisk beetles. Binkly was second in that category for “Return of the natives?” (July), about efforts to aid native fish in the Dolores River. Minard nabbed third with “Here comes the sun, or maybe not” (April) about obstacles to renewable energy.

Jim Mimiaga took first place in legal-affairs reporting with “When jurisdictions collide” (January) about the difficulties of enforcing state medical marijuana laws on tribal lands and federal jurisdictions such as national forests.

Binkly placed first in educational reporting with “Schools get their day in court” (October) about the Lobato school-funding trial.

Horoshko took first in business features with her depiction of the historic Ismay Trading Post, “A landmark in time” (November). She also took second in arts and entertainment features for “Bringing the outdoors to canvas” (January) about artist Keith Hutcheson.

Binkly and David Grant Long took third in general news reporting with an April article about the decision by the town of Bluff, Utah, not to develop a sewer system.

Katharhynn Heidelberg took second place for personal columns, and Binkly placed third in editorial-writing, both for a series of entries.

Some of the other newspapers competing in the same category were the Cortez Journal, Southern Ute Drum, South Platte Sentinel, New Mexico Business Weekly, Evergreen Newspapers and Law Week Colorado.

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From May 2012.