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5 Blade staff writers win Crystal awards

Five Blade staff writers received top honors from the Toledo Professional Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications during the 2001 Crystal Awards dinner at SeaGate Centre.

Business writer Gary T. Pakulski and The Blade business staff received a Crystal Award - the group's top prize - in the single news story category for coverage Oct. 6, 2000, of Owens Corning's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in response to tens of thousands of asbestos liability claims.

Kelly Lecker received the Crystal Award in the single feature story category for “Building Memories,” a story May 28 - Memorial Day - that told the stories of the adult children of soldiers who died in the Vietnam War.

Ms. Lecker and staff writers Tom Troy and Mike Wilkinson shared a Crystal Award in the news series category for “Grading our Schools,” a four-day series in October, 2000, that reported a school-by-school analysis of education, teaching, and test scores in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

In the news series category, Ms. Lecker received a merit award for “Zero Tolerance,” a series in April that examined the repercussions of school policies that suspend or expel students as a way to fight violence.

Jenni Laidman, Blade science writer, received a Crystal Award in the feature series category for “Orphans of the Slaughter,” a three-day series in December, 2000, documenting the toll of the growing commerce in gorillas, chimpanzees, and other species in Central Africa - known as the “bushmeat trade” - and telling about the people struggling to save baby gorillas orphaned by the trade.

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