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Texas Bar Association presents annual Gavel Awards

Texas Gavel Award winners were honored at the Freedom of Information Foundation annual conference in Austin. Shown following the presentations are (from left) State Bar of Texas President Joe K. Longley, Jason Wheeler of WFAA-TV, Eleanor Dearman of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Anita Hassan, formerly of the Houston Chronicle, Jessica Savage and Veronica Flores of KRIS-TV, and Rudy England, chair of the State Bar of Texas Public Affairs Committee.

State Bar of Texas President Joe K. Longley and SBOT Public Affairs Committee Chair Rudy England welcomed journalists from around the state as winners of Texas Gavel Awards, presented at the John Henry Faulk Award Luncheon during the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas annual conference.
The State Bar of Texas Public Affairs Committee presents the Texas Gavel Awards for journalism that deepens public understanding of the legal system.
The 2018 award winners are: 
Print, Major Metro 

Spirit of FOI awards recognize open government reporting

AUSTIN - Two Texas news organizations have won the Spirit of FOI Award for reports exposing the secrecy behind Austin’s city manager selection process and the peculiar lack of information following the resignation of the Bryan Independent School District superintendent. 
The Nancy Monson Spirit of FOI Award, presented by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, highlights journalism that upholds First Amendment principles and promotes or uses open government laws such as the Texas Public Information Act.

Joel White

AUSTIN – First Amendment attorney Joel White, a former president of the Freedom Information Foundation of Texas and longtime champion of open government, died July 21 in Cartagena, Colombia, after becoming ill while on a trip. 

Evelyn Carleton Singer

Veteran elementary school teacher Evelyn Carleton Singer, 82, of Austin, died Aug. 28 after a long battle with cancer.
She was the wife of longtime University of Texas journalism professor Griff Singer.
In a career that spanned more than three decades, she had an impact on the lives of thousands of young people, their parents and colleagues. Most of her work was in the Austin Independent School District at Walnut Creek and Highland Park elementary schools. She began her teaching career in Blanco and also taught in Lone Star and Buffalo in East Texas.

Ed Todd

Ed Todd
MIDLAND – Retired Midland Reporter-Telegram writer James Edwin “Ed” Todd, 80, died Aug. 30 at his home in Midland. 
Todd attended Midwestern University in Wichita Falls and earned a master’s degree from East Texas State College in Commerce. He served in the U.S. Army in the mid-late 1950s, stationed in France as a radio technician. 

FOIFT to honor First Amendment attorney Laura Prather with James Madison Award

AUSTIN – First Amendment attorney Laura Lee Prather, a champion of free speech and government transparency, is the recipient of the 2018 James Madison Award presented by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.
The award honors those who demonstrate outstanding commitment to upholding the principles of the First Amendment and open government. 
Prather will receive the award Sept. 21 at the John Henry Faulk Awards Luncheon during the foundation’s Bernard and Audre Rapoport State Conference in Austin.

Elgin Courier welcomes new publisher

Cindye Ginsel

Cindye Ginsel, a veteran in marketing and publication design, is the new publisher of the Elgin Courier.
The appointment was announced by Granite Publications Sales Director Jim Beaver, who had been serving as interim publisher. 

Lew Allen Vail

Lew Allen Vail
ONALASKA – Polk County Enterprise writer Lew Allen Vail, 80, of Onalaska died Aug. 5.
Following a 30-year career as a comptroller with Vivarium Baylor College of Medicine and Intersect. Inc. in Houston, he took disability retirement in 1994 and began a public service career in Onalaska, where he served on many boards and civic groups, including Lions Club, the Chamber of Commerce, library board, volunteer fire department, school board, the county appraisal district and city government, as both an elected council member and as mayor.