The Palo Alto Weekly picked up nine first- or second-place awards last weekend from the California Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspaper Contest, tying one other newspaper in the large-non-daily category for the most awards.
The Weekly won first place for both its general local-news coverage and for coverage of a breaking local-news story: The fire that gutted the historic Walgreen's building in downtown Palo Alto.
It also picked up first- and second-place awards in the feature category. The first-place award was for a story by a Weekly intern, Rotem Ben-Shachar, about how Palo Alto High School robotics students designed devices to help a paralyzed local stroke victim deal with daily challenges, in "Helping Henry."
The second-place feature award went to Staff Writer Sue Dremann for a feature story on widespread disregard of the Palo Alto's dog-leash law, called "Dogs Unleashed."
Dremann also won a second-place award for a cover story outlining potential challenges with future water supplies, called "Palo Alto High and Dry?"
Sports Editor Keith Peters won a second-place award for sports coverage, continuing a long string of awards recognizing excellence of coverage of local sports.
Staff Photographer Marjan Sadoughi won a second-place award for a general-news photo, of a participant in the annual Stanford Powwow gathering of American Indians. The photo showed a man in full dance regalia looking back at the gathering haloed by dust backlit by the afternoon sun.
Former Chief Photographer Norbert von der Groeben also won a second-place award for a photo-essay, "24 hours in Palo Alto," showing images from around-the-clock activities in the community.
The Weekly staff also picked up a second-place award in the "Freedom of Information" category for its coverage of the suspension of former Assistant City Manager Emily Harrison, including investigative work that included a Public Records Act request for an investigator's report that concluded Harrison created a "climate of fear" for years among other administrators in City Hall.
The Weekly's sister papers on the Peninsula, The Almanac, covering communities in south San Mateo County, and the Mountain View Voice, also won CNPA awards this year.
The Almanac won three first-place awards for environmental reporting, editorial pages and lifestyle coverage. It also placed second for environmental reporting.
The Voice won second in the coveted General Excellence award category, and second-place awards for editorial comment and front-page design.
Nearly 200 newspapers participated in this year's competition, not including student papers.