Free Press wins seven awards from KPA

The Hillsboro Free Press received seven ?Awards of Excellence? at the Kansas Press Association convention in Topeka April 15.

The Free Press took the top two awards in the ?Feature Writing? category. Don Ratzlaff received first place for a Veteran?s Day feature about Ronald Schultz?s life and death in South Vietnam nearly 30 years ago.

Ellynne Wiebe received the next-highest award for her story about Kevin Franzen, a 12-year-old Goessel boy who gained freedom from seizures following a rare operation to remove part of his brain.

For the second year in a row, Joe Kleinsasser won the top prize for sports column writing for his piece about sportsmanship and the expectations of fans.

Brian Huxman won third place in the same category for his column about repealing the 30-point continuous clock rule in high school basketball.

The Free Press sports coverage was feted in two other categories. Ratzlaff received third place in sports writing for his coverage of Hillsboro?s near state championship in March 1999.

Overall, the Free Press sports section was rated third best in their division by the judges.

Finally, Natalee Roth?s series on volunteers in Hillsboro received a third-place recognition in the ?In-depth Writing? category.

The Free Press competes in the ?Division III Weekly? category, composed of the largest-circulation weekly newspapers in the state.

?Our staff did well and we?re pleased with the recognition,? said Joel Klaassen, Free Press publisher. ?Division III doesn?t have as many newspapers as some of the other divisions. But we?re up against newspapers with much larger budgets and staffs.?

The winner of the Division III ?Sweepstakes Award? based on total awards went to Sun Publications in Johnson County.

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