Catching up on the news

As we near the middle of August, it seems like a good time to get caught up on some things that have been happening around out area.

People who work in newspapers generally shy away from self -promotion, but staff members of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times have a lot to be proud of this year, having won several awards in Ohio and West Virginia.

In May, our Linda Harris earned a second-place honor in the best business writer category, while the newspaper staff earned second place in the best special section category in its division when the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors handed out their awards for works in 2012 during their annual meeting Columbus.

The special section was put together to welcome Gov. John Kasich to Steubenville when he came to town to deliver his state of the state address. It featured an in-depth look at the success achieved by the staff and pupils at Wells Academy. The academy, which is housed in the Steubenville High School building, had been recognized as being the top public school in Ohio, which is the reason Kasich choose to speak there.

And then last night, The Weirton Daily Times collected 11 awards in its division as the West Virginia Press Association’s annual convention came to an end at Oglebay Park in Wheeling.

Grabbing first-place honors were Dave Gossett in the best written news story category; Summer Wallace-Minger, in the columnist category; Sports Editor Mike Mathison in best sports news writing; sports writer Fred Younce in best photography-sports; and our staff for the 2012 football edition in best sports section.

Third-place honors went to Harris in best business and labor coverage; Wallace-Minger for best single editorial; Janice Kiaski for best lifestyles feature writing; and our section that honored the 2012 Community Stars.

The advertising department took two third-place awards, one for its work on the 2012 Pride and Progress edition and one for best agency ad, which was designed by LexMedia.

It’s always important to have your work recognized by your peers, and that’s what makes the honors we’ve won in the past few months special. And, while all of our award recipients are modest about having been recognized, all are to be commended for their efforts, as is every member of our staff, each of whom works hard every day with a simple goal in mind: To make sure that the news of the day makes its way to our readers, whether in our printed editions, through the Internet or on our mobile application.

The next congressional elections are more than a year away, which means the interest in the seat held by U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, is starting to heat up.

One Democrat who has decided to not throw his hat into the ring this time is Lou Gentile of Steubenville, who has represented our area in the Ohio Senate since 2011.

While Gentile’s decision not to run for Congress in this cycle might be a little disappointing to some of his supporters, it’s good news for his constituents. He has represented our region well, working to make sure that Eastern Ohio is not forgotten in Columbus.

And that’s a big job – his 30th state Senate district covers Jefferson, Belmont, Carroll, Harrison, Meigs, Monroe, Noble, and Washington counties, as well as portions of Athens and Vinton counties.

He’s been labeled as a rising star by state Democratic Party Chair Chris Redfern and served as co-host of the annual Ohio Democratic Party dinner held in June, and at the age of 33, it would seem he has a long future of public service ahead of him.

There will no doubt be more tough career decisions to be made later, but for now, know that our area is well represented by Gentile.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.