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Decatur Daily garners 12 awards in state Associated Press contest

By Scott Morris
smorris@decaturdaily.com · 340-2431

The Decatur Daily won five first-place awards in the 2006 Alabama Associated Press Managing Editors contest.

Overall, the newspaper received 12 awards for writing, photography and headlines. Judges were from AP member newspapers in Iowa.

The first-place winners were Staff Writer Sheryl Marsh, Photographer Gary Cosby Jr., Sports Editor Mark Edwards and Assistant Sports Editor Michael Wetzel.

Marsh won two of the first-place awards for reporting on a loophole in state law that lets sheriffs in Alabama pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars from their jail food programs.

Marsh topped the Freedom of Information category for her efforts to find out how much Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett made from keeping money left over from feeding local jail inmates.

When she began investigating this issue, the sheriff refused numerous times to release records showing his income from the food program. Marsh then bypassed the Sheriff’s Department and obtained the information from a state audit report.

The documents showed that in a 24-month period, the sheriff kept $104,000 for himself. This was in addition to his $58,000 annual salary at that time.

Marsh also won first-place in the Non-deadline Reporting category for her stories on the sheriff’s pay.

Marsh also shared an honorable mention award with two other reporters in the Best Community Service category for stories on Lucky the abused dog.

Cosby won first place in the Sports Action Photo category for a picture of soccer players from Hartselle and Brewer high schools who had a head-on collision on the field.

Cosby also won an honorable mention award in the Humorous Moments Photo category.

Edwards won first place in the Sports Column Writing category. His entry included columns on Alabama football and a major softball tournament in Decatur.

‘Missin’ Tiffin’

Wetzel took first place in the Headlines category. His entries included “Missin’ Tiffin: Kicker has rough night as Tide falls in two overtimes.”

The Associated Press will honor the winners May 5 at a convention in Orange Beach.

Decatur Daily winners

Members of The Decatur Daily staff who won awards in the 2006 Alabama Associated Press Managing Editors contest were:

Staff Writer Sheryl Marsh, first place, Freedom of Information; first place, Non-deadline reporting.

Staff Photographer Gary Cosby Jr., first place, Sports Action Photo; honorable mention, Humorous Moments Photo.

Sports Editor Mark Edwards, first place, Sports Column.

Assistant Sports Editor Michael Wetzel, first place, Headlines.

Staff Writers Paul Huggins, Sheryl Marsh, Seth Burkett; honorable mention, Best Community Service for stories on Lucky the abused dog.

Staff Writer Holly Hollman, honorable mention, Deadline Reporting for stories on a police shooting during a drug raid.

Sports Writer Kyle Veazey, second place, Sports Deadline Reporting for a story on the death of Alabama football booster Logan Young; second place, Sports Non-deadline Reporting for a story on Austin High School’s journey through the regional basketball tournament.

Staff Photographer John Godbey, second place, Spot News Photo; honorable mention, Portrait/Personality.

The Associated Press

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