The Laker/Lutz News brings home five awards

Work published in The Laker and in the Lutz News brought home five awards from the Florida Press Association 2015 Better Weekly Newspaper Contest.

Eight-year-old Will Pena prepares his scissors to begin cutting paper hearts in his classroom at Academy at the Lakes. (Fred Bellet/Photos)

Eight-year-old Will Pena prepares his scissors to begin cutting paper hearts in his classroom at Academy at the Lakes.
(Fred Bellet/Photos)

The honors were presented on Sept. 16 during an awards luncheon at The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota.

The contest drew a total of 1,670 entries from 65 weekly newspapers across Florida. The work was judged by experienced editors and publishers from Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New York.

Photographs taken by Fred Bellet for The Laker received accolades in two categories.

Bellet was recognized for a photograph he captured for The Laker, of a young boy working on a Valentine at Academy at the Lakes in Land O’ Lakes. That image captured third place in the photo feature category for newspapers with circulations exceeding 15,000.

Bellet’s work also was acknowledged for photographs he captured of the Watoto Children’s Choir performing at Van Dyke Church in Lutz. He won third place for a photo series in one issue, competing against newspapers with circulations exceeding 15,000.

The beat of the drums brings out dancers during a segment of the Watoto Children’s Choir performance at the Van Dyke Church.

The beat of the drums brings out dancers during a segment of the Watoto Children’s Choir performance at the Van Dyke Church.

Staff writer Kathy Steele won second place in the community history writing category, for her story about Lutz Cemetery — an account that weaved together stories of people who are buried there, along with efforts to maintain the final resting place. Her award was for work published in the Lutz News, which competed with newspapers with circulations under 7,000.

B.C. Manion, editor of The Laker/Lutz News, received second place honors for a story about Rotarian Nick Hall’s mission to battle polio — chronicling his cross-country bicycle trek across America to heighten awareness about polio and raise money in the battle to eradicate it. Her entry was in the health, medical and science reporting category for newspapers with circulations under 7,000.

Manion also won third place in the faith and family reporting category for a story she did about Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Land O’ Lakes, which is accommodating its gluten-sensitive parishioners by giving them an option for gluten-free communion hosts.

That entry was in the faith and family category for newspapers with circulations exceeding 15,000.

Published September 21, 2016

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