The Nueces County Record Star received two South Texas Press Association Better Newspaper Contest awards at the organization's annual convention held Thursday through Friday in Fredericksburg.

The newspaper received a first place award in Headline Writing for Division 2, which includes weekly papers with a circulation of 3,001 or greater. In addition, reporter Tim Olmeda took third place in news writing.

In comments given with the awards, judges said Olmeda's stories "show a high level of detail and a well-rounded list of sources. They also make complex issues easily understandable by the reader, even those with no background information to fall back on."

This year's contest was judged by the Florida Press Association.

Also at the STPA convention, sister paper The Freer Press took home two awards. Freer Press News Editor Sue Fleming took second place in the Feature Photo category in Division 1, which includes weekly newspapers with a circulation of 3,000 or fewer. Christopher Maher, who also serves as managing editor for the Nueces County Record Star, took honorable mention for The Freer Press for news writing for a story about a donkey being tazered by police in San Diego.

Also over the weekend, sister paper The Alice Echo-News Journal received two Texas Associated Press Managing Editor's awards at the organization's annual convention in Austin.

Former sports editor and now managing editor Pete Garcia took first place for sports column writing. Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Christopher Maher and Nicole D. Perez earned a second place award in the Team Effort category for a series of stories and columns detailing alleged voter fraud in Jim Wells County during the March 2008 primary.

The newspaper competes in the 9,999 and under circulation category and is one of the smallest daily newspapers competing at TxAPME. More than 2,700 entries were submitted for this year's contest from newspapers across the state.