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Free Lance-Star wins VPA grand sweepstakes award

RICHMOND—The Free Lance–Star won the grand sweepstakes award for overall excellence in news and advertising at a Virginia Press Association ceremony Saturday evening in the state capital. 

The Free Lance–Star was one of six newspapers in its category for dailies with circulation between 20,000 and 69,999. The paper earned 134 points out of a possible 321 to win the first grand-prize sweepstakes.

The newspaper also won sweepstakes awards in separate competitions for news and advertising only. It won 47 awards in news and 20 awards in advertising.


In the news competition, first-place awards went to:

Clay Jones for cartoons

Reza Marvashti and Karen Wonsik for photo illustration

Andi Russell for page design

Russell, Catherine Davis, Dave Ellis and Steve Watkins for combination picture and story

Alex Russell for online video

Edie Gross for column writing

Jonas Beals for critical writing and feature story writing

Steve Watkins for feature series

Amy Flowers Umble for feature writing portfolio

Robyn Sidersky for government writing

Kristin Davis for personal service writing

Steve DeShazo for sports column writing

Taft Coghill Jr. for sports writing portfolio

Staff for general makeup, multimedia sports report and general news writing

Second-place awards went to:

Robert A. Martin for feature photo

Marvashti for photo illustration

Peter Cihelka for pictorial photo and sports news photo

Griffin Moores for picture story

Gail Choochan and Beals for Weekender sections

Alex Russell, Rusty Dennen and Allen Schmidt for multimedia news report

Alex Russell for online video

Cathy Dyson, Dennen, Sidersky and Umble for feature series

Pamela Gould for government writing

Katie Thisdell for health, science and environmental writing and personal service writing

Zac Boyer for sports writing portfolio

Third-place awards went to:

Cihelka for personality photo

Cihelka and Matt Williams for photo illustration

Moores for picture story

Katherine Shapleigh for headline writing

Wonsik for page design

Andi Russell, Dyson and Moores for combination picture and story

Alex Russell, Gould and Cihelka for multimedia news report

Marvashti, Martin and Elijah Nouvelage for online slideshow

Alex Russell for online video

Rob Hedelt for critical writing

Lindley Estes for education writing

Dennen for feature writing portfolio and health, science and environmental writing

Dennen and Dyson for general news writing

Bill Freehling, Gould, Boyer, Sidersky and Chelyen Davis for in-depth reporting

Ken Perrotte for sports column writing

Staff for feature series


In the advertising competition, first-place awards went to:

Jane Henshaw and Donna Woolfolk for food and drug, black and white, Faith Christian Fellowship

Henshaw and Kris Rechin for automotive, Radley Chevrolet

Henshaw and Staci Hibner–Noakes for recruitment, Rappahannock Area Community Services Board

Stacy Rounds, Hilary Ucciardi and Ashley Stephansky for self-promotion, digital launch campaign

Jim Solomon and Woolfolk, entertainment and lifestyles, black and white, Perfecting Outreach Missions

Melanie Solomon and Michealle Hovey for entertainment and lifestyles, color, Travel Leaders

David Volz and Lindsey Sharpe, inserts, wraps or notes, multiple real estate

Second-place awards went to:

Rounds, Ucciardi and Stephansky for self-promotion, Itty Bitty Scavenger Hunt

Jim Solomon and Amy VanHook, home and garden, color, Kitchens for You

Jim Solomon and Beth Loveless for real estate, Spring Arbor of Fredericksburg

Melanie Solomon and VanHook for fashion and personal care, color, Sona MedSpa

Staff for slick publications, Guide to Living

Katie Yancey for food and drug, color, Brock’s Riverside Grill

Third-place awards went to:

Henshaw and Rechin for automotive, Purvis Ford

Henshaw and Rebecca Haynes for online advertising, Fredericksburg Baptist Church

Henshaw and Sheila Giscard, entertainment and lifestyles, color, St. Francis Church

Rounds, Ucciardi and Stephansky for self-promotion, color, iPad Mini Giveaway

Jim Solomon and Sharpe, real estate, Salem Run Apartment Homes

Melanie Solomon and Brittany Harler, fashion and personal care, color, Jewel Box

Staff for special sections, Horse Scene