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Impressions Media newspapers won 24 Keystone Press Awards this year for news, feature and sports stories, photos and columns, special projects and design in 2011.

The Times Leader took home three first-place awards, while weekly newspapers Go Lackawanna in Scranton captured nine awards, The Sunday Dispatch in Pittston and The Abington Journal in Clarks Summit each won four and The Dallas Post earned three. The Abington Journal also was named the Sweepstakes winner for its division.

‚??We‚??re proud to see all the news organizations of Impressions Media be recognized in the 2012 Keystone Press Awards. Our news organizations won a total of 24 awards including another sweepstakes award for The Abington Journal. That‚??s a three-peat for the Journal, the third year in a row that publication won the most award points in the division,‚?Ě said Executive Editor Joe Butkiewicz.

Butkiewicz said Times Leader staff ‚??should take pride in winning first-place awards for the biggest stories of the year, winning two top awards for our outstanding news coverage of the flooding of last September. And sports staffer Derek Levarse won a first place award for his coverage of the Joe Paterno/Penn State football events,‚?Ě he said.

Times Leader staff won first place in the Spot News category for ‚??Edge of Disaster‚?Ě ‚?? a story with multiple sidebars published on Sept. 9 about the evacuation and emergency preparations occurring throughout the Wyoming Valley in anticipation of severe flooding.

Newspaper staff continued coverage the following day from a remote newsroom set up at a local hotel on high ground as the Susquehanna River crested at a record 42.66 feet and the powerful, muddy waters poured over its banks in several communities, inundating hundreds of homes and businesses and leaving behind a swath of destruction.

The community had not seen such large-scale devastation since the flooding that followed Hurricane Agnes in 1972.

For coverage of the Flood of 2011 and its aftermath, beginning with the Sept. 10 story ‚??MOVE OVER, AGNES,‚?Ě The Times Leader won a first-place award in the Ongoing News Coverage category.

Levarse won first place in the Sports Event Coverage category for his reporting on the Nittany Lions returning to the field after the ouster of iconic head football coach Joe Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.

The Times Leader competed in Division II, which includes daily and Sunday newspapers with a circulation between 40,000 and 74,999.

In Division V, for non-daily newspapers with circulations over 10,000, Go Lackawanna staff captured first- and second-place awards for Front Page Design. The staff also won first-place for Ongoing News Coverage for a series of stories on a memorial to honor Dunmore native Carol Ann Drazba, the first American military woman killed in Vietnam.

In the News Feature Story category, Go Lackawanna correspondent Stephanie Longo won first place for her story package on Drazba.

Go Lackawanna staff writer Rich Howells won second place in Feature Writing and an honorable mention for Feature Beat Reporting. And Go Lackawanna sports writer Tom Robinson won second-place for Sports/Outdoor Column and an honorable mention for Sports Beat Reporting.

Photographer Bill Tarutis won a first-place Sports Photo award for a photo in Go Lackawanna. Tarutis also won first-place for a Photo Story in The Sunday Dispatch, first-place for Feature Photo in The Dallas Post and an honorable mention for Sports Photo in The Dallas Post, which competed in Division VII for non-dailies with circulation under 5,000.

Dallas Post staff writer Sarah Hite captured first-place in the general news category for her story on holiday homes lighting up the Back Mountain.

In Division VI, for non-dailies with a circulation of 5,000 to 9,999, The Sunday Dispatch‚??s Rick Notari took first-place in the Sports Story category and Jack Smiles captured second-place awards in the Sports Story and News Beat Reporting categories.

Also in Division VII, The Abington Journal staff won first place for Graphic/Photo Illustration.

Kristie Grier Ceruti, Joan Mead Matsui, Kelly Leighton, Liz Baumeister and Joe Croft won first place for their Abington Journal special project on the Borough of Clarks Summit Centennial.

Also at the Journal, Don McGlyn took first place for in both the Feature Beat Reporting and News Beat Reporting categories; and Adriane Heine won second-place for her columns.

Times Shamrock‚??s three daily newspapers in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties won a total of 20 Keystone Press Awards.

‚??We‚??re proud to see all the news organizations of Impressions Media be recognized in the 2012 Keystone Press Awards.‚?Ě

Times Leader Executive Editor

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