The Austin Weekly News was honored April 30 by the Illinois Press Association with three awards and an honorable mention given to its contributing writers.

At the state awards ceremony in Springfield on Friday, Austin Weekly News, and its five sibling newspapers rounded up a total of 55 awards for excellence in news reporting, feature writing, design, photography and Web site storytelling.

Of the six papers in Wednesday Journal Inc.’s group of community weeklies, its flagship paper – Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest – collected the most honors with 25.

AWN received no first place awards this year but had a strong showing and received much praise from the judges: below includes where we placed and comments from the judges.

• Third place for Finisha O’Quinn for business reporting: “Every once in a while, people get back to the age-old practice of bartering. Thanks for pointing this up with this local story.”

• Third place award for La Risa Lynch for single-story news reporting: “A nice collection of real-people voices and expert sources. Well reported.”

• Honorable mention for Delores McCain for single-story news reporting: “Nice human-interest story about the plight of a disabled woman who is falling through the cracks.”

• Second place for Robert Felton for news reporting series: “Good use of quotes, sources; articles are well-written and thorough. I’m sure they were helpful in resolving the situation. There is no doubt in your stories that your sources are authentic.”

Among the awards for our sister papers was to Austin Weekly News editor Terry Dean, who also covers schools in Oak Park for parent-pub Wednesday Journal. He won first place in the Best School Board Coverage category.