The Nueces County Record Star won three awards at Friday's 2008 South Texas Press Association Better Newspaper Contest held in Corpus Christi.

News editor Tim Olmeda won first place in Division 2 for serious column writing. Contest judge Russ McDermott of the Texarkana Gazette wrote that Olmeda took on two "touchy issues."

The submitted columns were about selling beer at the opening of the Nueces County Junior Livestock Show that was published Oct. 4 and another column about the rights of sex offender parents with children attending Calallen schools that was published Dec. 20.

"The writer shows his case and takes a stand," McDermott said. "Good job."

Managing editor Jeff Tucker won second place in Division 2 feature writing for a special section feature about 2007 Nueces County Record Star essay contest winner Cassidy Heflin that was published Jan. 11, 2007.

"You really tell us about this girl," wrote judge Louie Graves of the Nashville Leader. "A lot of work (raising lambs) for just 15 minutes in the ring."

Olmeda and Tucker also received an honorable mention in Division 2 news coverage for two stories.

Olmeda's March 22, 2007 story reported that about 1,400 Nueces Electric Cooperative customers had to be re-billed after a meter reader was fired after punching in faulty meter readings from his home.

"The Nueces Electric Cooperative story is interesting," wrote judge Christy Busby of the Texarkana Gazette. "A meter reader punching it in from home-how frightening."

The other news coverage entry was the Sept. 6 Record Star which detailed an online story the newspaper broke a week earlier about a large outlet mall coming to the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds.

"On the fairgrounds, that's always big news when retail comes and you did a good job," Busby wrote.

The newspaper's general manager said he was pleased with the awards.

"It is very nice to be recognized by your peers," said general manager John Bowers. "The Record Star is one of the finest newspapers in South Texas in my opinion and I am very proud of the staff we have here."