By Ron Hayes

    The Coastal Star has been honored with 10 awards for writing, photography and design, including six first-place winners, in the Florida Press Club’s 65th annual Excellence in Journalism competition.
    Writer Sallie James took a top honor for her coverage of the “Homeless in Boca Raton.”
    First-place recognition for feature page design went to Scott Simmons for a trio of entries.
    Photographer Tim Stepien won a first for his photos of an “Underwater Swimmer.”
    In the health writing category, Lona O’Connor won first place for “Cancer survivor climbs mountain.”
    Sports columnist Willie Howard won a first-place award for his coverage of “Delray’s Sailing Beach” and “The West Palm Boat Show,” and Ron Hayes for a trio of light features.
    Among second-place prize winners were Nick Madigan, in the Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth Reporting, for his article “Xanax addiction and death.”
    For environmental news writing, Howard also took a second-place award for “Changing tides: A look at the impact of climate change.”
    Dan Moffett earned second place in the public safety category for “Fire district proposed along the coast.”
    Cheryl Blackerby earned a third-place award for her stories “Shrinking habitat for foxes” and “Temperatures control sea turtle hatchling sex.”
    The paper was honored for stories published between June 1, 2015, and May 31, 2016, in the category of non-daily newspapers.
    The winners were announced Nov. 5 during a dinner at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in St. Augustine.
    Founded in 1951 as the Florida Women’s Press Club to promote the advancement of women in journalism, the club was renamed the Florida Press Club as so-called “women’s pages” were eliminated and female journalists moved into more prominent positions.

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