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Up & Coming Weekly’s staff brought home four awards during the national Association of Free Community Papers Awards Contest during the annual conference in St. Petersburg, Fla., May 5-7.

“This is a really great honor for the Up & Coming Weekly family,” said Publisher Bill Bowman. “These annual awards have entries from hundreds of papers from all across the country. We put our product up against papers that are three and four times larger than we are with huge staffs, and we still left with awards. I think that says a lot about the quality of our product and our commitment to our community.”

The publication took a first place award in Best Original Writing for an article by Dave Wilson, one of its contributing writers. The article that won Wilson honors centered on closure of Dock’s last year. The article, “Docks: A Capitol Offense” was a two-part article that contained“What We Say in 2010” and “What We Said in 2005,” which was re-run of Wilson’s article written in 2005. The 2005 article predicted the failure of the facility and the financial problems that would be encountered by the city if it invested in the venture. Wilson’s words in 2005 rang true in 2010.

Bowman garnered third place honors in the Best Original Writing Opinion for an article titled “City’s Crime Spree: What you Don’t Know Can Hurt You.” Bowman is a frequent winner in the opinion category.

Designer Alicia Miller took a first place award for Best Banner Masthead for her design for the opening of the FireAntz Hockey season. The cover incorporated a hockey puck flying out of the “O” in Up & Coming Weekly. “Alicia is an extremely talented graphic artist,” said Janice Burton, the associate publisher of the publication. “Her covers are always striking and always tell the story. We are fortunate to have her on staff, and are thrilled that she garnered this honor — one of many she has won since she has been with us.

”The final award was a second place honor in the Best Agency Ad. The ad, which announced the opening of Panera Bread, scored a hit with local readers as well.

“I think it’s great that a national chain is garnering recognition for something that it did announcing their arrival in our community,” said Bowman.

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