It was a strong year for photography for Sturek Media, Inc., newspapers the Dakota County Star and The Pender Times at the Nebraska Press Association's 2018 Better Newspaper Contests held April 21 in Lincoln.

Bringing home the Sports Photo of the Year Award, one of the top three photo awards in the state, was “Brawl for All 2” which was taken by Chad Watkins and featured in the Dakota County Star. This category is judged against over 170 newspapers in all classes in Nebraska.

Publisher Jason Sturek took home first place awards in two classes for the Sports Action Photo category. He received first place in Class B for “Catcher Dives for Tag” which was featured in The Pender Times and first place in Class C for “Leaping to Victory” which was featured in the Dakota County Star.

Watkins also took first place for Class C Photo Page “2017 Sports Photos Year in Review.” The page was designed by Denise Philpotts and was featured in the Dakota County Star.

Jackson correspondent Laura Sullivan received a first place award in Class C News Photography for her photo “Boys Watch it Burn” which was featured in the Dakota County Star.

Star editor Michelle Kuester received a first place award for Class C News Writing for her story “County divided: Immigration enforcement program draws strong opinions” which was featured in the Dakota County Star.

Sturek also received third place in Class B In-Depth Writing for his story “Plea Deal Gives Galvan-Hernandez Chance to Leave Prison in His Lifetime” which was featured in The Pender Times.