Three staff members at the Issaquah & Sammamish Reporter have won six awards – four of them first place – in the recent Washington Newspaper Publishers Association contest.
Linda Ball, who covers Issaquah, won a first place for the Best Health or Medical Story and a second place for the Best Education Story and a second place for the Best General Feature Story.
Issaquah & Sammamish Editor Craig Groshart won first place for the Best Editorial.
Former staff member Kevin Endejan, who covered Sammamish, won a first place for the Best Environmental Story and a first place for the Best Business Feature Story.
First Place – Best Health or Medical Story
In a Jan. 4, 2013 story, “Going Green | Issaquah’s GreenLink Collective. A professional face for medical cannabis,” Ball told of how a man, suffering from severe problems with his esophagus, found relief from medical marijuana and started a collective garden that grows medical cannabis to help others with health issues. The judges’ comments said: Very informative and well-written piece in a category full of articles about fund raisers for cancer victims.
Second Place – Best Education Story
In a March 1, 2013 story, “A Place of Hope,” Ball reported on how Echo Glen Children’s Center helps teach and supports young students, many who arrive with substance abuse issues, have been sexually abused (and in turn have become offenders themselves) or have committed very serious crimes. The judges’s comments said: A tough story told through the senses.
Second Place – Best General Feature Story
In a Feb. 1, 2013 story, “When White Bluffs Disappeared.,” Ball talked to two former residents of the White Bluffs area near Richland, Wash, whose homes were condemned by the federal government to make way for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The judges’ comments said: Strong writing and a fascinating topic about White Bluffs. I particularly liked the front page treatment with a refer to the full story inside.
First Place – Best Editorial
In an Aug. 16, 2012 editorial, “Keep state parks for everyone,” Groshart criticized the state Legislature for a “stupid” attempt to make state parks self-sustaining, which would make them inaccessible to many residents. The judges’ comments said: Issaquah & Sammamish Editor Craig Groshart minced no words in describing legislature’s designs on charging additional fees (beyond taxes) to use state parks. “Stupid” did it.Every editorial should be so edgy.
First Place – Best Environmental Story
In a Nov. 30, 2012 story, “A Strong Return | Lake Sammamish kokanee continue to make record runs up local creeks,” former staff writer Endejan told of the surprising return of kokanee salmon to Ebright Creek, a feeder to Lake Sammamish. While no one knows for sure why the surge in salmon, the story told of the efforts of Sammamish resident Wally Pereyra to fully fund removal of a 70-year-old cement culvert – at a cost to him of $175,000 – and replace it with a new structure that allows the fish to comfortably swim upstream. The judges’ comments said: The lead really invites the reader into the story. Well paced and reported.
First Place – Best Business Feature Story
In an Oct. 12, 2012 story, “Sockin’ it to ’em | Strideline apparel business booming for Issaquah High graduates,” Endejan told of how two life-long friends thought of forming their own business while in high school and saw it actually happen while college students. The judges’ comments said: A well-written tale of high school dream turned into business reality. Story includes struggles and success, background, detail and passion.