The Stanwood Camano News was honored Friday with 18 awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association's annual Better Newspaper Contest, including winning first place in General Excellence.
The newspaper's top finish in General Excellence, a prestigious award within the industry that compares overall quality of newspapers of similar size across the state, is the third consecutive year landing in one of the top three spots.
Editor Evan Caldwell earned first place in the Photographer of the Year category, one of nine awards he collected. Reporter Peggy Wendel received second place in Feature Writer of the Year, one of her six awards.
Wendel's accolades include first-place finishes in the long news story and history feature story categories for coverage of a conservation deal to keep Kristoferson Farm on Camano Island from ever being developed and her profile of a Camano Island resident's help researching eruptions at Mount St. Helens.
Wendel also won second-place awards for a long feature story chronicling a dog that swam all the way around Camano, a lifestyle feature story about how birdwatching grew in popularity during the pandemic and a history feature story about local residents recalling the COVID pandemic's parallels to the polio pandemic.
Caldwell won first place awards in six other categories: Sports feature story about high school seniors who lost their seasons due to COVID, business news story about local shops coping with the impacts from COVID, news of the weird for a Camano family's discovery of a mammoth tooth during a beach walk, COVID-19 coverage for a look at senior center residents' thoughts as they began receiving among the first local vaccine doses, sports page design for the March 30 edition, and color feature photo of Warm Beach Senior Community resident Phyllis Busse greeting a horse through a window.
Caldwell also placed third in the color pictorial photo of a fisherman casting in waters off Camano Island amid thick red-orange smoke from wildfires in September 2020.
Caldwell and reporting intern Mazey Servin-Obert won second place in social issue reporting for an article about how more women than ever before are in positions of leadership in the Stanwood-Camano area.
Servin-Obert also won third place for her sports personality profile about a Camano Island teen who travels the country for soap box derby racing.
Contributing writer Kim Hildenbrand won third place for her long personality profile about John Poole, who regularly walked the streets of Stanwood visiting with residents.
The awards, for entries April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, were announced during the WNPA virtual convention on Oct. 8.