Articles and editorials that outlined a shady land deal between an ambulance district and its board president earned The Landmark a first place award in Missouri’s Better Newspaper Contest.
The Landmark won first place in the category of Best News or Feature Series for its work. The articles submitted in The Landmark’s news series entry were written by Ivan Foley, editor.
Winners were announced Saturday at the annual Missouri Press Association Convention held in Kansas City. The awards handed out Saturday were for work published in the year 2012.
The Missouri contest was judged by members of the Wisconsin Press Association.
The Landmark’s coverage of the Northland Regional Ambulance District board of directors’ decision to purchase property along I-29 at Camden Point from Kevin Rawlings, who at the time served as the NRAD board president, led to criminal charges eventually being filed against Rawlings.
In a news release issued after charges were filed, Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd and then-Sheriff Richard Anderson both cited The Landmark’s stories as their incentive to begin an investigation that led to the charges.
Rawlings eventually entered a guilty plea. He was sentenced to 15 days of jail “shock time,” one year of probation, and was ordered to pay $125,000 in restitution to the taxpayer-funded ambulance district after the court ruled the price the district paid to Rawlings for the land was at an extremely inflated value.
The Landmark was honored with a total of four awards in the Better Newspaper Contest. In addition to the first place honor for Best News Series, The Landmark also won for:
BEST EDITORIAL PAGES: Honorable Mention. Pages featuring columns by Ivan Foley, Chris Kamler, Brian Kubicki, James Thomas and Chris Stigall.
Judges comments: “These editorials reflect a surprisingly wide range of viewpoints, plenty of local content and lots of personality.”
BEST FRONT PAGE: Honorable mention. Pages featuring stories by Valerie Verkamp and Ivan Foley with design by Cindy Rinehart.
Judge’s comments included: “Good layouts and use of photos.”
BEST EDITORIAL CARTOON: Honorable Mention. Cartoon by Matthew Silber.
Judge’s comments: “Almost an old-time illustration that conveys a subtle message.”