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The California News Publishers Association has recognized the Napa Valley Register in 29 categories in its 2018 Better Newspapers contest.

Honors announced late Saturday included a second-place showing for General Excellence in its circulation category. The Register won first-place awards in four categories: In-Depth Reporting, Land Use Reporting, Columns, and Inside Page Layout and Design.

The awards recognize reporting done during the 2018 calendar year. First- and second-place honors were announced Saturday at a CNPA gala in Long Beach.

Judges named the Register the second-place award winner for General Excellence based on the issues published Feb. 4 and 5, 2018.

Reporter Barry Eberling received first-place honors for In-Depth Reporting for the story “20 years of flood control: The remaking of the heart of Napa,” a look at the effects of the Napa River flood control project that paved the way for downtown growth and development. “Excellent reporting, but the writing puts this entry over the top. Clearly the class of the competition,” judges wrote.

Another story by Eberling, “Will Napa’s 50-year-old agricultural preserve continue to protect the Napa Valley?”, won top honors in the Land-Use Reporting category.

Two columns by Register reporter Jennifer Huffman received first-place recognition – “Our houzz” on a daughter’s preparation to leave for college, and “Dad would have loved this,” recounting her father’s funeral.

“In these two columns, writer Jennifer Huffman takes her readers through primal experiences, the growth of a daughter and the death of a father,” judges wrote of Huffman’s back-to-back columns published in July and August. “She does so with poignancy, humanity and where appropriate, humor. She clearly reflects the human condition.”

The final first-place showing, for Inside Page Layout and Design, was given to Kelly Doren and Sasha Paulsen for the Register’s Food section.

Judges also recognized the Register’s work covering several emergencies during 2018. In the Breaking News category, the newspaper received second place for its coverage of the Pathway Home shooting in Yountville in March 2018, third place for the death of Napa native Alaina Housley in the Thousand Oaks attack in November, and fourth place for covering a fatal officer-involved shooting by a Napa Police officer in December.

Other second-place honors went to Eberling in the Coverage of Local Government category for his story on Bremer Family Winery’s land-use dispute with Napa County and to former Register reporter Maria Sestito in the Profile Story category for her article on an Australian woman who discovered a previously unknown sister in Napa.

Meanwhile, Napa Valley Publishing’s two weekly papers won a combined five first-place awards from the CNPA.

The St. Helena Star received four of the prizes, with reporter Jesse Duarte recognized for best business story for his coverage of the closure of Montelli Construction; best profile for covering a St. Helena resident who walked from Selma to Montgomery in honor of the 1960s Alabama civil rights march; and best feature for his story on a group of St. Helena women who have walked together daily for 31 years.

Star editor David Stoneberg received first place in the Editorial Comment category for “Election results are worth the wait.”

The Weekly Calistogan took first place in Agricultural Reporting for former editor Anne Ward Ernst’s story on Calistoga’s volcanic past and its influence on grapegrowing.

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City of Napa/Town of Yountville Reporter

Howard Yune covers the city of Napa and the town of Yountville. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.