County Nets Six Regional Emmys

The County of San Diego won Emmy Awards in six categories at the National Television Arts & Sciences Pacific Southwest Chapter Emmy Awards held June 26 at the Hard Rock Hotel downtown San Diego.

Employees of and two other County employees won Emmy awards for two “Oxy Abuse Kills” public service announcements written for the 2009 launch of the new multi-agency task force focused on prescription drug abuse awareness.

Erica Holloway, communications director for San Diego County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, Aaron Byzak, Supervisor Slater-Price’s former health policy advisor, and former producer Joe Solazzo received an award in the Public Service Announcement category for both “Oxy Abuse Kills” spots. producer James Kecskes took home an Emmy award for Editor Short Form for “Oxy Abuse Kills – Flashes.” Solazzo also received an Emmy award in the Director for Individual Short Form category for this spot. The PSA shows a teenage girl reaching for a bottle of OxyContin in a medicine cabinet and flashing to a future of drug abuse causing her to recoil from the bottle and close the cabinet door.

Holloway and Byzak also won Emmy awards in the Writer Short Form categories for the PSA “Oxy Abuse Kills – Loaded.” In this PSA, a teenage boy is depicted taking a bottle of prescription painkiller OxyContin out of a medicine cabinet while making plans with a friend. As the teenager closes the medicine cabinet, the pill bottle appears to turn into a gun.

In the Education category, Producer Suzanne Bartole, won an Emmy award for “Water Babies,” a story on the teaching babies and small children how to swim. The story features swimming instructors, toddlers and their parents discussing the benefits of the program and water safety at the Murray Callan Swim School in Pacific Beach.

The County Office of Emergency Services (OES) won an Emmy Award in the Children  Program or Special category for its “Tsunamis: Know What to Do!” The 3-D computer animated short features a teacher crab instructing his students on how to recognize the signs of a tsunami and what they should do in that event. OES staff Susan Asturias, Ron Lane, Herman Reddick and former staffer Paul Olsen were all Emmy award recipients. David Kalwick and Chris Neuhahn from Absolute Zero animation company were also honored with an Emmy award, as was Rowanne Karapogosian for vocals on the project.

The annual Emmy Awards presentation is an incentive for television professionals to strive for excellence and focus attention on outstanding cultural, educational, technological, entertainment, news and informational achievement. The Pacific Southwest Region includes the California counties of San Diego, Bakersfield, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, and San Luis Obispo, and Las Vegas, Nevada.