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Optic staff wins 12 awards in press association contest

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Optic Staff and Wire

SANTA ANA PUEBLO — The Las Vegas Optic won 12 awards this past Saturday during the 104th annual New Mexico Press Association convention.

The 2011-12 NMPA APME Better Newspaper Contest awards were handed out at the Santa Ana Pueblo resort.

The Optic’s Maria Sanchez walked away with six awards. She won both first and second place awards for web advertising and house advertising. She also took home second place awards for classified advertising and color advertising.

The Optic’s Mercy López won first place in feature writing and second place in general news photo for a story and photo on the fifth anniversary of the DWI crash that killed five members of a Las Vegas family.

López and Martín Salazar also won a first place award for news writing for their story on the trip west Las Vegas board members took to Las Vegas, Nev., for a conference. Salazar also took home a first-place award in the series or continuing coverage category for his coverage of the scuffle between the Mora sheriff and one of his deputies.

The Optic’s Dave Kavanaugh garnered a first place award in sports writing for his story on the Wagon Mound boys’ basketball team winning a state championship.

Tom McDonald, the Optic’s editor and publisher, won a first-place award for his editorial on the West Las Vegas School Board policy prohibiting audio or video recordings of its individual educational program meetings.

The Optic competed in the Weekly Class II division for newspapers with circulations between 4,000 and 9,999. The New Mexico Press Association and the New Mexico Associated Press Managing Editors continue to sponsor a merged contest between the two groups.

The contest received more than 1,550 entries, the highest turnout in contest history. Judging was done by the Kentucky Press Association.