By Larry Barszewski
The Coastal Star received five first-place awards and 14 overall in the Florida Press Association 2022 Weekly Newspaper Contest for non-daily newspapers.
The articles receiving first-place recognition covered a variety of topics, from inspections of aging condos, to newly found photos of a ship that wrecked off Manalapan’s coast more than a century ago, to a Valentine’s look at the love letters and the enduring affection between former Florida Atlantic University head football coach Howard Schnellenberger and his wife, Beverlee.
“These awards recognize the excellence our experienced reporters and editors bring to the local community,” said Executive Editor Mary Kate Leming. “Their contributions shine a light on the people, places, governments and activities in our coastal cities and towns, giving readers a sense of place and inclusion in our unique coastal area.”
The association presented the awards at a ceremony Aug. 5 in Ponte Vedra Beach near Jacksonville.
Though it comes out monthly, The Coastal Star competed against weekly newspapers in a division for papers with circulations over 15,000.
The paper’s top awards went to:
• The staff, led by reporter Joel Engelhardt, for in-depth reporting, non-investigative, with its look — following the Surfside condo collapse — at the number of aging condos in coastal South Palm Beach County.
• Ron Hayes, with two first-place awards. The first, in the feature story, non-profile category, was for his story about the Delray Beach Public Library providing free laundromat services to homeless people. His second came in the community history category, for a story about one historian’s efforts that uncovered photos of the Lofthus, which ran aground off Manalapan in 1898.
• Brian Biggane, in the sports feature story category, for his poignant telling of the Schnellenbergers’ decades-long love story.
• Janis Fontaine, in faith and family reporting, for a pair of pandemic-related stories: one on how the musical director at St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church in Boynton Beach was able to rediscover his creative passion during the pandemic lockdown; the other on how Jehovah’s Witnesses responded after they had to put their communal gatherings and door-to-door visits on hold because of COVID.
Second-place awards went to:
• Rich Pollack for general news story;
• Larry Keller for education feature story;
• Gretel Sarmiento for arts, entertainment and review reporting;
• The Coastal Star staff, for general excellence.
Third-place awards went to:
• Keller for faith and family reporting;
• Tara Mitton Catao for arts, entertainment and review reporting;
• Pollack and Jane Smith for local government reporting;
• The Coastal Star staff for overall graphic design and for website excellence.