Certificates of achievement, which were sent to the Irrigator last week, noted that the local newspaper placed among the top 10 percent of its peers in the following categories: Best Website, Local Breaking News, Local Government and General Excellence.
Irrigator reporter Nick Rappley earned the Local Government honors for an April 12 story, “Mayors group meets out of spotlight, spends thousands in taxpayer funds.” The article described how a group consisting of Stanislaus County’s mayors had spent nearly $6,900 in public funds on restaurants and gifts and had privately discussed matters that critics described as public policy. Mayor Luis Molina later reimbursed the City of Patterson for expenses on gifts and drinks during one of the group's meetings.
Irrigator Editor Jonathan Partridge and former photographer Lisa James received certificates for Local Breaking News for a report titled “Former hospital property undergoes asbestos cleanup,” published March 9, 2012. The story and accompanying photos detailed how vandals had strewn asbestos-laden materials from inside of the former Del Puerto Hospital building onto surrounding property. An area resident said the items had been lying on the ground for nearly three months, causing a potential health hazard.
Contest entries were judged in January, and certificates of achievement were sent out early last week. The top award winners will be honored at an April 27 luncheon in Universal City.