KPA awards

The Sentinel-Echo was awarded second place General Excellence for its class Friday at the Kentucky Press Association's annual awards banquet in Louisville. From left to right, Publisher Willie Sawyers, staff writer Carol Mills, news editor Allison Altizer, sports editor Denis House, features editor Sue Minton, associate editor Derek Micah Armstrong, staff writer Tara Kaprowy and sports writer Peter W. Zubaty.

Making a respectable mark at the Kentucky Press Association’s annual awards banquet Friday, The Sentinel-Echo’s staff took home 16 honors Friday night.

The paper was also awarded second place General Excellence for its class.

“It's always rewarding to be recognized by our peers in the industry,” Publisher Willie Sawyers said. “The competition was very tough and we just missed winning the overall excellence award by a few points. I want to congratulate the staff for their hard work and commitment to producing compelling content for our readers.”

Staff writer Tara Kaprowy led the newsroom with three first places and sports writer Peter W. Zubaty and Publisher Willie Sawyers each earned one first place.

“I think the awards we received are definitely indicative of the type of work The Sentinel-Echo is turning out for its community,” noted news editor Allison Altizer. “I’m so proud of the staff — they absolutely earned distinction.”

Entries were judged by members of the Illinois Press Association.


The newspaper captured five first-place finishes in categories ranging from best investigative series to best photo essay.


Entries were judged by members of the Illinois Press Association.


The newspaper captured five first-place finishes in categories ranging from best investigative series to best photo essay.

Kaprowy was the evening’s big winner, securing five awards overall, including three top honors for best ongoing story, best investigative series and best business story.

Kaprowy submitted 11 stories as part of her chronicle of the fall of former Laurel County Schools Superintendent James Francis, winning her best ongoing story nod.

“A bid that was turned down snowballed into a nasty story with lawsuits, allegations and finally resignation of a superintendent. Kaprowy did a super job with this one!” judges wrote.

Judges said her Aug. 23, 2006 piece entitled “Back to the future; London seeks to recapture magic of a thriving downtown,” “really served the readers and businesses well.” The story was named best business.

Kaprowy also wowed judges with her in-depth look into the Laurel County school system’s fight against childhood obesity. The pieces were published on Nov. 4, 2005, Nov. 25, 2005 and Dec. 12, 2005.

“Childhood obesity series tells us why kids are getting so heavy and what schools are doing about it. Very informative,” judges noted.

Kaprowy also grabbed third-place honors for best feature (March 1, 2006, “Confessions of a meth addict; One local woman tells of her struggle to free herself from addiction”) and best column (Nov. 11, 2005, “Riding with boyfriend is an experience,” April 14, 2006 “UC discriminating against gay student,” and Sept. 15, 2006 “Hamster finds heaven.”)

Zubaty took home first- and second-place nods in the best sports picture category. Judges were particularly impressed with his July 14, 2006 photo of All-Star Tanner Bell, who hung his head in tears after giving up the game-winning hit in extra innings to Wayne County. Members of the opposing team can be seen celebrating in the background. The 9- and 10-year-old London athletes were making a bid in the Minor League state tourney.

“Really nice emotion for a ‘heartbreaker’,” judges said.

Zubaty’s shot of North Laurel High baseball player Ryan Howell sliding into home plate, narrowly avoiding South catcher Matt Kuhl’s tag, published on April 26, 2006, impressed the judges.

“We like that it was shot wide. Peak action,” they wrote.

Sawyers won a first-place plaque for best picture essay with his June 14, 2006 package entitled “Ring of Fire; blaze erupts at church wedding.” The story and photos illustrated the fire that ravaged First Presbyterian’s sanctuary during the summer wedding of Ricky and Julie Shepherd.

“Nice impromptu photo package on memorable wedding,” judges said.

The package also won a second-place award for best headline.

Staff writer Carol Mills’s third place wins for best business or agribusiness page earned her the title “queen of the veggies” from the judges. Mills’ award-winning pieces “The spears of spring; Tasty veggies take years to harvest,” and “Passing down Heirlooms; How many tomatoes weigh more than two pounds?” published on May 3, 2006 and Aug. 16, 2006, respectively.

Associate editor Derek Micah Armstrong’s front-page design caught the judges’ eyes as well.

They noted his third-place entry had “good use of white space” and was “airy” and “fresh.”

Sports editor Denis House too won a third-place award for best sports story. The piece, entitled “Ready to turn pro; After dominating Toughman circuit, Warren Browning ready to take a stab at the Sweet Science,” published on Feb. 1, 2006.

“The lead drew me right into the story and the rest of the story kept me wanting more,” one judge wrote.

Former staff writer Carl Keith Greene won third place for best spot news coverage, for his piece “Missing; Mascot stolen from restaurant,” which published Feb. 20, 2006. Judges said the story was witty and well written.

Altizer was awarded third place for best general news for her story, “Laurel Countians die in crash; Newlyweds married for less than 12 hours.” The piece detailed the wedding of London natives Jonathan and Scarlett Hooker, who were tragically killed in the Aug. 27 crash of Comair Flight 5191 in Lexington.

Judges called the story “heart-rendering.”

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