China Hill, a longtime contributor to Austin Weekly News, is now an award-winning columnist for us.

At the annual awards show of the Illinois Press Association last week, China earned third place in the competitive category of Original Column. Her win is one among 55 individual awards for Wednesday Journal Inc., the Oak Park-based independent newspaper company that owns Austin Weekly News and five other local community weeklies.

In this year’s overall contest, two of Austin Weekly’s sister papers won best-in-state: Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest ranked as best big weekly in the state and Forest Park Review ranked as best little weekly in the state. In 2006, Austin Weekly News took second place in General Excellence at the IPA awards. Columnist Arlene Jones also won a third-place award in the Original Column category. AWN will continue to aim for that top stop.