Voice of OC won two of the three awards for investigative stories given Wednesday by the Orange County Press Club.

VOC’s news blog, “Who Says You Can’t Fight City Hall,” also was recognized.

All competing articles were published in 2010.

Tracy Wood’s investigation into questionable expense reports filed by Orange County Water District board member Denis Bilodeau won first place. Wood and Adam Elmahrek found that over a period of years, Bilodeau, who is also an Orange city councilman, charged the water district nearly $3,500 for meetings he either didn’t attend or didn’t occur, according to official water district records.

Wood won the second-place award for her story on the Orange County District Attorney’s DNA program. Her story showed that under the program — known as “spit and acquit” — the DA collects DNA samples from tens of thousands of people charged with misdemeanor offences even though the samples can’t be used in state and federal law enforcement databases.

The “Who Says You Can’t Fight City Hall” blog, which focuses on First Amendment and government access issues, won second place in the news blog category.

We are honored to receive these awards and ask you to please donate to Voice of OC so we can keep up our good and important work.

— DAVID WASHBURN

Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

BREAKING TEXT ALERTS

Subscribe today to receive Voice of OC’s breaking news text messages (free beyond your standard messaging rates).

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.