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Capturing 11 editorial awards, including three first-place honors, The Oconee Enterprise recently earned third place in General Excellence from the Georgia Press Association for its circulation division.

The awards were for stories written in 2019.

“I’m so proud of our staff for yet again doing so well in such a variety of categories and coming into General Excellence,” said The Enterprise Publisher Maridee Williams. “Everyone works so well together. It’s a real team effort.”

Editor Michael Prochaska won first and second place in business writing for a full-page spread on the Oconee Connector becoming a hub for health care companies and a historical narrative of the former Anaconda plant.

Sports Editor Jeremy Johnson won first and second place sports feature stories, including a piece on a student who saved his father’s life. He also won third place sports column for writing about how the women in his life are the real MVPs.

Prochaska also earned third place in editorial writing for taking a strong stance in support of the city of Watkinsville retaining its police force. He also won third place breaking news for coverage of the city’s deliberation over the future of the police department and historical research on the topic.

The Enterprise staff won second place editorial page for its editorials, polls and cartoons about the Watkinsville Police Department. Cartoonist Dr. Chuck Cunningham won first and second place editorial cartoon.

“Chuck Cunningham is without a doubt the greatest find The Oconee Enterprise has ever had,” said Williams, noting that Cunningham has being drawing cartoons for the paper since the early ’80s. “When I came here, I was so surprised to learn that Chuck had a day job of being an assistant principal. He has an incredible sense of the community. We are so blessed to have him.”

Now 136 years old, The Oconee Enterprise was founded by L. Shackelford in 1884. Long-time Publisher Vinnie Williams became editor in 1981 and purchased the newspaper in 1986 from an owner of the now defunct Athens Observer. Williams’ daughter, Maridee, became publisher in January of this year.

For more on this story, see the July 23 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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