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By The Staff

Great news and sports writing, outstanding design and a tough stance against a proposed countywide payroll tax earned The Anderson News a host of awards last Friday afternoon in Louisville.

The paper was judged against other weekly newspapers across the country owned by Landmark Community Newspapers Inc.

Sports Editor John Herndon won a pair of first place awards, including excellence in sports writing and best news/feature story series. He won a second place award for sports column writing.

Creative Director Mary Madden Garrison won first place for front-page design.

General Manager Ben Carlson's strong news articles and editorials earned the paper the company's prestigious community service award. Carlson also won a second place award for his feature writing.

"The competition for these awards is incredible and we are thrilled with any we receive," said Carlson. "To think that we were able to compete and win against some of the best weekly newspapers in America is a credit to our entire staff and something we're particularly proud of."

Landmark newspapers submit entries in a variety of categories each year, which are judged independently, this year by editorial staffers at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va.

Herndon's awards were generated from stories he wrote about the McCann brothers being the strongest brothers in Kentucky; a feature series about the 1997 Bearcat region champs; and column topics including the rivalry between Anderson and Shelby counties.

"The Landmark awards of excellence are among the most coveted in the industry because they are difficult to win and emphasize consistency in one's work," Herdon said. "Knowing Landmark's standard of excellence and seeing many examples of high-quality work by my peers in other communities makes these awards very meaningful. I am indebted to those on the Anderson County sports scene that have allowed me to tell their stories."

Garrison's award was generated from her outstanding work designing the paper's front page each week. One of her entries was an issue produced during last summer's drought.

"We produce our newspaper each week hoping to create something our readers will enjoy," Garrison said. "To me, winning an award like this reinforces the hope that we sometimes succeed."