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Josh Bootsma’s property tax article wins APEX Award of Excellence

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (September 1, 2021) – “Lansing businesses weigh options as property taxes spike,” researched and written by Managing Editor Josh Bootsma, is one of five winners in the News Writing category of the thirty-third annual APEX Awards for Publication Excellence.


The APEX 2021 awards were announced online in July, and plaques and certificates were mailed at that time to the award winners. The Lansing Journal’s has not yet arrived, but our award was confirmed by APEX in August.

Bootsma’s article was published in print and online last December and was shared widely among Lansing’s business community. The online article has been viewed over 4,000 times. Bootsma wrote a follow-up piece in April, after Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi began investigating the spike in assessments and the resulting outcry from business owners: “Cook County Assessor responds to Lansing businesses’ property assessment concerns.” That piece has been viewed nearly 2,000 times.

In good company

A total of 1,172 entries were submitted to this year’s APEX Awards, with 248 of those in the Writing category. The other four News Writing Awards of Excellence were given to:

  • Matt Kamlet of Logical Innovations Inc., for his article, “NASA Marks Continued Progress on X-59”
  • Danielle Brown and James Berklan of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, for their article, “Point-of-care testing to the rescue”
  • Michela Cimberle of Ocular Surgery News, for her article, “Increased digital screen time during COVID-19 may accelerate myopia epidemic”
  • Maureen Kennedy, Lucy Wang Halpern, and Corinne McSpedon of Wolters Kluwer, for their article, “AJN Reports: The Politicization of COVID-19”

Continuing the important work

“Writing this article about the complicated world of assessments and taxes quickly made me a humble student of the complex system that exists in Cook County,” said Bootsma. He also expressed awareness that the learning is ongoing, and the issue of untenable taxes persists. “Second installment tax bills have recently come out, and some people are just as disappointed as they were when our article was first written,” he said.

Bootsma plans to continue reporting on property taxes in Lansing, for residents as well as business owners. “In a community like ours, one that’s in Cook County but right on the Indiana border, these types of stories are especially important — and never finished. Tax coverage isn’t exciting to read about, but taxes are an important reality for everyone in Lansing, homeowners and business owners alike.”

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Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.


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