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 endearing affection between former Florida Atlantic University head football coach Howard Schnellenberger and his wife, Beverlee.
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 the homeless. 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; and
- The Coastal Star staff, for general excellence.
Third place awards went to:
- Larry Keller for faith and family reporting;
- Tara Mitton Catao for arts, entertainment and review reporting;
- Rich Pollack and Jane Smith for local government reporting; and
- The Coastal Star staff for overall graphic design and for website excellence.