The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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May 10, 2014

N&E staff takes top AP awards

ENID, Okla. — Enid News & Eagle employees received several awards Saturday night at The Associated Press/ Oklahoma News Executives awards banquet at the Mayo Hotel in Tulsa.

Staff writer Dale Denwalt received two first-place awards, one second and one third for his reporting, and won the writing sweepstakes award.

Photographer Bonnie Vculek received four first-place awards and one third. She also won the sweepstakes award for photography. It’s the second year in a row she has won the award, and the third in a row for the News & Eagle.

Sports writer Ryan Costello won first in sports features.

“Our reporters and photographers strive to do their best every day,” said News & Eagle Publisher Jeff Funk. “The honors we received span a variety of areas — news writing, commentary, photography, sports, public service — and that’s a healthy diversity of good work.”

The News & Eagle competes in Division B, which is for newspapers with circulations of 7,000 to 17,999.

Denwalt’s investigative reporting entry placed first and covered problems at Northern Oklahoma Development Authority and questionable charges on the agency’s credit card. His public service entry placed first and detailed the controversy surrounding the city of Enid’s plans for a new fire station on the west side of town. The city originally planned to put the station at the site of Lions Park, but changed locations after protests by residents in the neighborhood surrounding the park.

Denwalt also placed second in business spot reporting and third in business reporting.

Vculek placed first in web photo, sports photo, feature photo and photo package. She also placed third in feature photo.

Costello’s winning sports features entry chronicled the near-fatal vehicle accident suffered by Hennessey High School student and football player Car Aguirre on April 10, 2013, and his recovery in time to walk across the stage at his graduation ceremony May 17, 2013.

News & Eagle staffers also received six other awards. Executive Editor Rob Collins placed second in editorial writing, and the News & Eagle placed third in general excellence.

Chief photographer Billy Hefton placed second in web photo, third in general news photo, second in photo package and third in photo package.

“Ultimately, our readers judge us, but it’s great to receive this recognition for good journalism from the respected Associated Press news organization,” Funk said.

Associate Editor Kevin Hassler completed his second year-long term as AP/ONE president. He has been on the board for several years and will assume the role of immediate past president.

“These awards are a reflection of the important work our staff does every day,” Hassler said. “We are proud of the work we do, and honors like these are the icing on the cake.”

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