Baseball on the Brain

Readers are gearing up for the Astros' 2010 season.

Press staff writer Chris Vogel was nominated twice in the local circulation weeklies division, for "For Their Own Good," a story about juvenile criminals held in isolation for up to 23 hours per day, ostensibly for their own protection, and for "A Quiet Hell," his investigation into how lax enforcement by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has led to the continued release of airborne toxins along the Houston Ship Channel.

Paul Knight, another Press staff writer, was named an IRE finalist for writing the first article to raise questions about unintended acceleration in the Toyota Prius.

In the same contest, KHOU-TV (Channel 11) won an IRE medal, the top award, for its investigative one-hour special "Under Fire: Discrimination and Corruption in the Texas National Guard."

Vogel was also named a finalist in the Public Service category of the regional (West of the Mississippi) Maggie Awards for "A Quiet Hell." The Maggies are sponsored by the Western Publishing Association.

The Press itself is a finalist in the ­Maggies contest for best newspaper, and its Hair Balls blog (houstonpress.com) is a finalist in the Best Web or Digital category. Winners of the Maggies will be announced in early May.

The Press's food blog, Eating...Our Words, headed up by Robb Walsh, our former staff food writer, was named a finalist in the blog category of this year's Bert Greene Awards For Food Journalism. Winners will be announced on April 22.

And Walsh is a finalist in another national contest, in the Multimedia Food Feature category of the prestigious James Beard Awards, for his feature "Not So Clear Cut" and the accompanying online coverage which appeared on the Eating...Our Words blog. Winners will be announced on May 2.

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