BENNINGTON -- The Bennington Banner has won a total of nine writing and photography awards in the annual New England Associated Press News Executives Association contest.
Photographer Peter Crabtree won three awards, a first place in the general news category for a photo of a National Guard member about to deploy to a war zone, titled, "Not Ready to Let Go," a second place in the feature photo category about falconry, titled "In Flight," and a first place in the portrait category for a shot of maple syrup maker standing amid sap steam, titled "Sweet Steam."
Sports Editor Adam White also won three awards: a first place in the deadline sports coverage category for an article, "Pigskin pyrotechnics," about a high school football game, a second place for a sports feature about an avalanche survivor returning to the same mountain, and a second place for a sports column for his The White Room column on winter sports.
County Editor and Religion Editor Mark Rondeau won a first place in the enterprise reporting category for a series on religion in Vermont.
Reporter Neal Goswami won a first place in the continuing coverage category for articles about the death of longtime emergency responder Dale Long in an accident and the community's response.
Columnist Telly Halkias won a second place for a local column, for columns his From the Stacks column.
Editor Jim Therrien said the number of awards shows that Banner staff members are willing to strive for excellence despite the many difficulties the newspaper business has faced over the past several years, especially during the recession.
"Although the Banner's circulation is one of the smallest for daily papers in the AP contest, the staff followed up a great showing in 2009 with an equal number of awards in 2010," Therrien said. "That says a lot about the people who work here, and have worked here over the years, and I appreciate their efforts."
The 7,000-circulation Banner competes in Division III in the NEAPNEA contest, for newspapers of up to 16,000 circulation. The awards will be presented at the annual NEAPNEA dinner and conference Sept. 10 at the Radisson Hotel in Chelmsford, Mass.