Awards for Excellence Winners
Hometown News based in Fort Pierce, the Osceola News Gazette in Kissimmee, and the Florida Pennysaver / LaPalma out of West Palm Beach were the top award winners in the annual Community Papers of Florida (CPF) Awards for Excellence contest featured at the recent CPF conference in Orlando.

Hometown News went home with 35 honors, with the Osceola News Gazette right behind with 31 awards and Florida Pennysaver with 27 awards. Osceola and the Florida Pennysaver led in the first place category, with each winning 10 first place honors.

Forum Publishing Group based in Deerfield Beach was next with 25 awards. Close behind were TheFlyer.com in Tampa, Tower Publications in Gainesville, and The Pennysavers (Daytona, Flagler, New Smyrna, Putnam and West Volusia), who each had 21 awards.

The Breeze Newspapers in Cape Coral took home 15 awards. Mid-Florida Sun Publications out of Mount Dora earned 12 awards, and Journal Community Publishing Group out of Ponte Vedra Beach won 11. Farmer & Rancher out of Ruskin and Tampa Bay Newspapers were tied with 10 awards each.

The Best of Show award went to Ponte Vedra Recorder's "First Coast Bridal Preview" designed by Steve Becker. The award goes to the entry with the highest points earned in the contest.

Judge's Choice awards were presented to the Florida Pennysaver, Tampa Bay Newspapers, TheFlyer.com and the Osceola News-Gazette.

In a new twist this year, the judges chose to recognize two outstanding entries that didn't fit in any of the current categories with a Judge's Choice "Ah-Hah!" award. Both interactive Web editorial entries were submitted by Forum Publishing Group's Teen Link publication.

Winners in the contest were awarded cash prizes for their work. The top money winners were: Hank McAfee of Tower Publications ($410), Barbara Ketchum of Osceola News-Gazette ($370), Tony Thomasson of TheFlyer.com ($310), Maria Evans of the Florida Pennysaver ($230), Rita Zeblin of Hometown News ($200), Yolanda Cole of Flashes Shopping Guide ($170), Mary Lloyd of Osceola News-Gazette ($170), Christine Swanson of Florida Pennysaver ($160), and Steve Becker & April Snyder of Journal Community Publishing Group, who each won $150. A total of $5,940 in prize money was given to the talented artists, writers and photographers in this year's contest.

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