The Press Democrat won 14 awards, including the top overall prizes for online excellence and coverage of breaking news, in the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club's annual journalism contest. Press Democrat staff won a total of seven first-place awards.

The contest, whose winners were announced Saturday in Foster City, recognized work done in 2013 by Bay Area print and online journalists, photographers, radio and TV staffers and public relations professionals. The Press Democrat competed against other daily newspapers and online media outlets of all sizes.

The redesigned, which made its debut in July, captured general excellence in the broadband division a month after winning the same award from the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

"Our digital platforms are a key part of our mission to provide North Bay readers with exceptional journalism," said Press Democrat Digital Director Greg Retsinas. "I'm proud of the teamwork and commitment that our newsroom shows each day to ensure that our website continues to be the most updated and reliable source of local news."

The print newspaper took second in the general excellence category.

Staff Writers Martin Espinoza, Julie Johnson, Kevin McCallum, Mary Callahan, Brett Wilkison, Derek Moore, Randi Rossmann and The Press Democrat newsroom as a whole won first place for coverage of the shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy last October.

Staff Photographer Kent Porter won first place for a feature photo taken inside Occidental's St. Philip the Apostle Church. Another photo by Porter of a Cal Fire tanker making a drop while fighting a fire along Todd Road won first place in the spot news category. Porter also won third place in the sports action photo category.

Lowell Cohn took first place in the columnist category.

Staff Writer Phil Barber won first place in the sports game story category for his coverage of the 49ers' win in the NFC championship game.

Sean Scully, now managing editor at the Napa Valley Register, won first place for business or technology article with a profile of Lagunitas Brewing Co. founder Tony Magee.

Editorial Director Paul Gullixson won second place for an editorial about the city of Santa Rosa's legal settlement with the Homebuilders Association of Northern California and third place in the columnist category.

Copy editor David Bomar won second place in the headline category and third place for page design.

Staff Writer Cathy Bussewitz, Senior Editor Ted Appel and News Researcher Janet Balicki took third place in the series category for "Power Growers," which examined who owns vineyard land in Sonoma County.

Pot around Sonoma County

Three Sonoma County cannabis dispensaries will be open for adult-use sales on Jan. 1, 2018:

11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
785 Gravenstein Hwy. S., Sebastopol

SPARC/Peace in Medicine
10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
6771 Sebastopol Ave. #100, Sebastopol

Mercy Wellness of Cotati
9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
7950 Redwood Drive #8, Cotati

Pot around Sonoma County

Sebastopol: Adult-use and medical cannabis sales take place at the city’s two dispensaries. Manufacturing and other aspects of the business will be considered in 2018. Indoor cultivation for personal use is allowed.

Cotati: Allows adult-use and medical cannabis sales at its sole dispensary.

Santa Rosa: Medical marijuana businesses are allowed in the city. Santa Rosa will allow sales of adult-use cannabis on Jan. 19. Indoor cultivation for personal use is allowed.

Cloverdale: Up to two cannabis dispensaries are allowed in the city, although there are none currently. Manufacturing, distribution and cultivation business permit applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Petaluma: Allows cannabis delivery services and some cannabis manufacturing but has not allowed any dispensaries inside city limits.

Windsor: Dispensaries and other types of cannabis businesses as well as outdoor cultivation is banned in Windsor. Residents must get a town permit for personal-use cultivation, which is only allowed to occur indoors.

Sonoma city: Cannabis cultivation, indoor and outdoor, is banned but the rule will be reconsidered December 2018. Delivery businesses with headquarters outside the city must acquire a city permit to conduct deliveries in the city. Some personal cultivation is allowed but residents must comply with a variety of city requirements like security systems.

Sonoma County: Rules are in places for medical marijuana businesses and supervisors will consider rules for adult use in 2018.

Rohnert Park: Does not all manufacturing, distributing or selling marijuana within city limits.

Healdsburg: Prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries.


Find more in-depth cannabis news, culture and politics at, authoritative marijuana coverage from the PD.