First place: Ken Buday, Havelock News

Read online: DOT too stubborn on Slocum interchange plans, Public records should be public, Havelock draws its line in the sand at library

This editorial writer forcefully reminds government leaders that they are doing the people’s work. The editorials go right at public officials, with phrases such as “government is supposed to be responsive to the people” and records “belong to the residents.” It’s clear by the entries that this newspaper is a watchdog for the people.

Second place: Neal White, Waxahachie Daily Light

“Throughout the year the Daily Light published several stories and editorials regarding the dumping of sewage sludge being dumped on Ellis County farmland from Dallas-Fort Worth wastewater treatment plants. Though the process is permitted under current state law, in our editorials, we called for a moratorium on the process due to the potential dangers being posed to area residents — as several of the fields were adjacent to heavily-populated subdivisions. In November, primarily as a result to public pressure sparked by the newspaper’s coverage, the Trinity River Authority (responsible for permitted the practice of disposing of sewage sludge) announced all sludge would be disposed of in landfills instead of being applied to open fields in Ellis County.”

This entry demonstrated how to pound on an issue once it’s deemed important to the editorial board. In the course of a few months, the editorial writer pointed out problems with disposing sewage sludge on farmland and made reasonable suggestions. Then, when action was taken, the writer followed up to praise the decision.

Third place: Neal Simon, Evening Tribune

Read online: The shows must go on (without me), Not for all the soybeans in Iowa

Follow Neal on Twitter @HornellTribNeal

This columnist offers personality to what sometimes can be dry editorial pages for newspapers, writing clever pieces on a variety of topics. There are surprises that make the reader chuckle. “As I look at it now, the Debt Clock is at $17,509,727,698,178, but now it has changed, darn it.”