Gallagher Beach exposé voted top story

Readers voted Dan Telvock’s story on potentially contaminated water at a proposed state beach as Investigative Post’s story of the year.

The story, which aired Oct. 3 on WGRZ and published in Artvoice and on InvestigativePost.org, garnered 37 percent of votes in an online poll.

Telvock reported that the beach, off Route 5 in South Buffalo, is adjacent to two Superfund sites and that an Erie County Health Department consultant had concluded that opening the beach for swimming was “probably impractical from a public health standpoint.”

State officials responded to the report by first refusing to commit to testing the water at the beach for possible contamination and then relenting with a pledge to conduct an extensive review.

Telvock, 39, has been covering the environment for Investigative Post since September 2012. His other notable coverage includes exposés about the city’s struggling recycling program and public health problems related to pollution caused by Peace Bridge traffic.

The Gallagher Beach stories received the widest distribution of any produced last year by Investigative Post. Gallagher Beach was also the topic of a story by Telvock and Jim Heaney that published in The Buffalo News and an interview Heaney conducted with WBFO.

“The stories demonstrated our growing influence and the potency of our distribution network; they reached a cumulative audience of some 450,000 viewers, readers and listeners,” Heaney said.

Two stories by Heaney were runners up, each receiving 11 percent of the votes cast. One story documented the falsehoods in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s claim that the U.S. of the Peace Bridge has been shortchanged when it comes to capital improvements; the other detailed Delaware North’s long history of receiving tax breaks.

Voting was conducted over the past week in a post by Heaney that highlighted Investigative Post’s work during 2013.