The Public Information Office for Howard County government earned seven awards in a nationwide competition sponsored by the National Association of County Information Officers.
The competition recognized staff members for raising public awareness in their county government's purpose, function, programs and by providing internal support to departments through marketing and public information.
"It's recognition by our peers that we are doing a good job," said Kenneth Mays, administrator for the public information office. "I'm happy we won the awards, because my staff works very hard and they deserve to get the recognition."
Seven awards were earned for design, photography, cable television productions and publications. A special event to familiarize the public with government services called "Discover County Government" earned the second-highest rating -- Superior -- in the Special Projects Division.
The Cable 15 staff received recognition for three productions, including a Superior rating for the "Howard Weekly" magazine format show anchored by Serena Mann. The highest rating is Best in Class.
Other winners were a photography award for art director Victoria Hastings and her black-and-white photo of 7-year-old Lindsay Brown of Columbia, who was wearing a firefighter's boots and helmet. Members of the graphics section won an award for their "Factfinder" information sheets, and "The Daily Grind" won in the newsletter category.
Although the public information office has won NACIO awards before, this is the most they've won in one year, said Mr. Mays. "There's still a lot of information the public does not know about the government, and we're working on that. Our goal is to put a different face on county government -- not just of the elected officials, so that people will see different facets of their government."