Karl Willis is led from court after his aggravated murder conviction. This Diane Hires photo won a first place in the Ohio Associated Press competition.
The Blade won three first-place awards and seven other honors in the annual statewide newspaper contest by the Associated Press Society of Ohio for 2000.
The first-place selections, announced yesterday, were: In the Community Service category, “Grading Our Schools,” a four-day series beginning Oct. 22 that reported a school-by-school analysis of education, teaching, and test scores in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. The stories were principally reported by staff writers Tom Troy, Kelly Lecker, and Mike Wilkinson, with contributions from other staff writers, photographers, and graphic artists. In Business Reporting, staff writer Gary T. Pakulski's coverage of Owens Corning's financial problems, including the company's federal Bankruptcy Court filing for protection from creditors, stemming largely from asbestos-related liability claims. In General News Photo, photographer Diane Hires, for a Jan. 8 picture of Karl Willis being led out of a Lucas County Common Pleas courtroom while shouting, “I didn't do it!” after a jury found him guilty of aggravated murder in connection with the 1998 shooting death of 13-year-old Maurice Purifie.
The Blade's other honors went to: Staff writer Michael D. Sallah, who placed second in the Best News Writer competition. Mr. Sallah and staff writer Julie McKinnon, who placed second in the Business Reporting competition with a March 12 report on investment-fraud allegations against a native-Toledo businessman from Florida. ports columnist John Harris, who placed second for Best Sports Column. Staff photographer Lisa Dutton, who placed second in Spot News Photo for a picture of two young sisters walking their dog along a flooded East Toledo street during heavy rain July 29. Miss Lecker and staff writer Joe Mahr, who placed third in Breaking News coverage for their reporting on the Lonz Winery floor collapse on July 1. Miss Hires, who received a Spot News Photo honorable mention for a picture of a man charged with domestic violence who engaged police in a standoff by standing in the Ottawa River while claiming to hold a gun under the water's surface. Staff photographer Jeremy Wadsworth, who received a Sports Photo honorable mention for coverage of the Bowling Green-Toledo college football game.
The Blade competes with Ohio daily papers with circulation of more than 75,000.