The Shawnee News-Star and members of its newsroom won awards in the Oklahoma Press Association's Better Newspaper Contest.

In overall newspaper categories, the News-Star placed first in the photography division with a collection of six photos, including one of Shawnee firefighters rescuing a cat during a house fire, a veteran visiting the wall at Woodland Veterans Park and a local girl visiting Santa Claus, as well at the Dale Lady Pirates celebrating a state championship.

Judges said, “Lets the photos doing the talking — great storytelling.”

In Sales Promotions, the News-Star took first place for its “Firefighters of the Year” program, a fall event and special section that recognizes a Firefighter of the Year and a Volunteer Firefighter of the Year.

Judges said, “A really great way to honor all those who risk their lives daily. Good job.”

In the individual awards competitions, Sports Editor Adam Ewing won first place in Sports Photography for a photo on the Dale Lady Pirates celebrating a state championship win. Judges said, “Great showing of emotions, especially with the coach in the dog pile.”

Reporter Vicky O. Misa took third place in the Feature Story competition with “Shenanigans in Shawnee: Famous ape spotted at local historic sites.”

Judges said, “This could have been just an ordinary article about a class reunion, but the writer really went above and beyond to tell a good story. I was intrigued from the beginning and writer works the humor into the story as well. You don't have to be part of this graduating class or from this town to be interested in the story, which is what, I think, makes it great.”

Managing Editor Kim Morava took third place in the News Story category for “Faith, family and forgiveness: Sentence reduced for driver in deadly crash.”

The story looked at a family's forgiveness of the driver responsible for their son's death in a crash near Asher.

Judges said, “I chose this story for the emotions conveyed and its message of hope, which connected to deeper issues impacting communities everywhere.”

Ewing also won a third place award in Sports Story for “Stargell uses competitive drive to build a legacy,” a story about an Earlsboro basketball player.

Judges said, “An interesting peek into the pressures of being a young athlete with a famous family member...”

Former Publisher Kent Bush also won second places honors in News Photograph for “Firefighters rescue resident, pets in fire.”

Judges said, “The photo is lovely and frightening at the same time.”

Bush also was recognized by OPA with the Quarter Century Award for his 25 years of service in journalism.