By Stephen Moore

The Coastal Star won eight awards at the 2018-19 Florida Press Association’s competition for weekly newspapers. The awards ceremony was held in St. Petersburg on July 12. The Coastal Star competed in the largest category against newspapers with circulations of more than 13,000.
“Contests are a way for us to showcase the professionalism of our writers, editors and photographers,” said Executive Editor Mary Kate Leming. “We are proud their work placed so well within a category that includes the largest and best weekly newspapers in the state.”
The monthly took home four first places, two second places and two third places.
Feature writer Ron Hayes won two first places and a third place. Hayes won in the feature story/profile category with a story about Alberta Schultz, the 1953 Miss Boca Raton who was celebrating 50 years as a local travel agent. He also won in the community history classification with a story about the Wise Elder Circle at the Delray Beach Historical Society.
Rich Pollack was a first-place winner in local government reporting for stories about the town of Highland Beach’s having to shell out $225,000 in severance pay to three town managers in three years.
The fourth first place went to James Arena in the reader-generated photo category for his overhead photo of dozens of surfers on surfboards surrounding Ryan Heavyside at a memorial service for his father, Ron, who died during the 50th anniversary year of his Nomad Surf Shop. Hayes took third place in the best obituary class for his obit on Heavyside.
Second-place winners were Gretel Sarmiento in the arts, entertainment and review reporting category for her story about sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and Sallie James in health, medical and science reporting for her story about a local gym providing boxing workouts for people with Parkinson’s disease. Janis Fontaine’s story on St. Lucy Catholic Church’s celebrating 50 years was a third-place winner in the faith and family reporting category.

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