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Democrat third in ‘General Excellence’; West honored for commitment to community

The Corydon Democrat placed third this year in General Excellence based on points the newspaper earned for awards in the annual state newspaper contest, and the newspaper’s former editor was honored with an award recognizing a veteran Indiana newspaper person who is community minded.
Employees of The Corydon Democrat, both current and past, brought home 14 awards Saturday in addition to the award Randy West received from the Hoosier State Press Association Foundation Newsroom Seminar and Better Newspaper Contest Awards Luncheon. The event, now in its 40th year, was held at the Indianapolis Convention Center.
More than 500 awards were distributed in 33 categories in six divisions based on circulation. Division 1 is for nondailies with circulations of less than 3,001, while Division 2, which is The Corydon Democrat’s category, is for nondailies with circulations of more than 3,000. (Divisions 3 to 6 are for dailies, with Division 6 being the largest.)
The Charlie Biggs Commitment to Community Award is named for the former publisher of The Hope Star-Journal and past president of the HSPA Board of Directors. Biggs, who also served on the HSPA Newsroom Seminar Committee, died in 2003.
‘Charlie Biggs was a neat guy,’ said West, who knew the former publisher through the pair’s involvement in the Indiana Democratic Editorial Association. ‘He was a small-town guy who was committed to his community for a long time, and he was willing to fight for it.’
West, who was invited to Saturday’s luncheon under false pretenses, was surprised to be the recipient of the Biggs’ award. West served as editor of The Corydon Democrat from 1970 to December 2005.
‘It would’ve been nice to have Bob and Frank there,’ West said of the two O’Bannon brothers who are deceased and were active in the IDEA.
Alan Stewart, sports editor of The Corydon Democrat, garnered the most awards of the staff, bringing home six. Those awards earned points towards the General Excellence award. They were:
Best Sports Section ‘ second.
Best Sports News or Feature Coverage ‘ first for coverage of the World Series of Poker tournament held at Caesars Indiana.
Best Sports Feature Photo ‘ first and third. The first-place photo was from the ‘To Tell and Back’ bike ride featuring Layne Morlen pedaling a ‘big wheel’ ahead of more than 30 cyclists, while the third-place photo showed Lanesville volleyball players jumping up from the bench after winning the Henryville Sectional.
Best Sports Action Photo ‘ second for a pole vaulter silhouetted in a sunset.
Best Multiple Picture Group ‘ second for the South Central Lady Rebels’ trip to semi-state.
Other awards, which counted towards the newspaper’s General Excellence award, were:
Community Service ‘ first, Beverly Herndon and Denny Kirkham for their ‘Defenders of Freedom’ special section in November 2005 as a tribute to veterans and active military personnel.
Best Spot News Photo ‘ second, Charles Ewry for a semi-tractor trailer on its side on Interstate 64.
Best General News Photo ‘ second, Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor for construction of a storage tank by Ramsey Water Co. near Lanesville.
Best In-Depth Feature or Feature Package ‘ second, Lee Cable for Wilson’s General Store.
Best Business/Economic News ‘ second, Jackie Carpenter for ‘Lucas Oil strikes big,’ detailing the company’s naming rights of the Indianapolis Colts’ stadium under construction in Indianapolis.
Best Editorial Writing ‘ second, Ewry.
Best Ongoing News Coverage ‘ third, staff for stories relating to Hurricane Katrina.
This year’s Blue Ribbon award for nondailies went to the Mount Vernon Democrat, which was also last year’s recipient. The South Bend Tribune received the Blue Ribbon for dailies.