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Oconto police chief, Appleton residents among "Opee" award winners

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council has announced its eighth annual "Opee" awards.

They recognize those who've enhanced openness in government over the last year, and expose those who've hurt the cause. The awards come in advance of next week's "Sunshine Week." It promotes the importance of government openness to a free society.

Oconto Police Chief Dan Ault gets the Political Openness Award for going against a trend to withhold things like drivers' names from traffic accident reports.

Becky Kostopolus and Marilyn Bartelt won the Citizen Openness Award for digging up information on how the Appleton School District dealt with teachers who made inappropriate comments about her son.

Ellen Gabler and Allen James Vestal of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel won the Media Openness Award for finding delays in a genetic test for newborns. David Wahlberg of the Wisconsin State Journal won the Open Records Scoop of the Year for exposing the state's lax treatment in disciplining doctors who harm or kill patients.

Property owner David Salkin was named the Whistleblower of the Year, for giving information about the ATF's botched storefront weapons' operation in Milwaukee. And State Senate Republican Glenn Grothman of West Bend won the No Friend of Openness Award for sponsoring bills to purge information from the state's online court records, and stop making campaigns disclose the employers of their major donors.

The awards will be presented at a banquet next month.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)