By Henry Fitzgerald
    The Coastal Star took home 17 individual awards in the Florida Press Association’s 2015 Better Weekly Newspaper Contest. The monthly newspaper, based in Ocean Ridge, competed in Division A: Over 15,000 circulation.
    The awards were announced on Sept. 16 during the FPA/FSNE Annual Convention at The Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota.
    The Coastal Star’s haul includes five first-place awards, including one for General Excellence; five second-place awards, which includes one for Serious Column; and seven third-place awards, which includes one for First Amendment Defense.
    The contest judges gave the newspaper high marks in all phases, saying: “This paper is stunning. The depth of coverage is remarkable. Each edition features strong enterprise coverage backed by pages and pages of community news. The photography is sharp, the design is consistent and the writing is clear and straightforward. A fantastic paper from Page 1 to Page 92.”
    Here is a list of the first-place winners:
First Place, General Excellence
    • Entry: February, October, November; Credit: Staff
First Place, Best Obituary
    • Entry: Robert and Evelyn Kraft; Credit: Emily J. Minor
First Place, Editorial Award
    • Entry: Contracted phone services skirt public records law; Credit: Mary Kate Leming
First Place, In-Depth Reporting (Non-investigative)
    • Entry: When the monster came over the bridge; Credits: Randy Schultz, Mary Kate Leming
First place, Local Government Reporting
    • Entry: Check the law before heading off-course in golf cart; Credit: Rich Pollack
    Second-place awards went to Thom Smith, in the Serious Column category; Tim Pallesen, in the Community History category; Rich Pollack, in the Outdoor and Recreation category; Ron Hayes, for Sports Feature Story; and Dan Moffett, for State and Local Reporting.
    Third-place awards went to Tao Woolfe, for Sports Feature Story; Scott Simmons, Jerry Lower, Bruce Borich, Mary Kate Leming and Tim Stepien, for Front Page Makeup; Lucy Lazarony, for Education reporting; Ron Hayes, for Feature Story: Profile; Mary Kate Leming and Dan Moffett, for First Amendment Defense; Bruce Borich, for Informational Graphic; and Ron Hayes, for Community History.

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