By The Examiner staff

The Examiner took the top award among small to mid-size dailies in Missouri for its sports pages in the annual contest sponsored by the Missouri Press Foundation. That was one of 10 awards – four first-place, three second-place and three third-place – the newspaper won for editions that were published during 2012.

Judges commented on the sports section’s “great use of color ... logos and graphics... Also enjoyed the quote of the day and star of the day additions to each issue,” and they complimented Managing Editor Karl Zinke’s “nice layouts.”

Sports columns by Shawn Garrison and Bill Althaus took first and second place, respectively, for Best Sports Columnist. About Garrison, the judges said, “He displays maturity in his writing and likes all sports, not just ball sports...” And Althaus, “does a good job of bringing his readers with him on his adventures as a sports writer.”

Jeff Fox took first place as Best columnist - serious for his weekly “Headed for Trouble” columns.

An Examiner editorial, “Political shenanigans divide Eastern Jackson County,” took second place in the Best Editorial category. Judges said “Outrage is evident in this editorial about gerrymandered congressional districts.”

Joe Liccar’s political cartoon about the bankruptcy of the owners of the Hostess bakery brand took second place. The judge called it “humorous in a ‘rye’ kind of way.”

The Examiner’s coverage of the politics and problems that accompanied the opening of the new regional animal shelter took third place in coverage of government for reporters Jeff Fox and Adrianne DeWeese.

DeWeese’s feature series on “Big Switch,” an injured dog that found a new home, was awarded third place in the Best News or Feature Series category. And her feature about a former Independence paper boy finally receiving Harry Truman’s payment due took second place as “Best Story about History.” In third place in the same category was Jeff Martin’s feature about a former NASA rocket scientist.

The awards were presented Saturday during the Missouri Press Association Convention at the Marriott in downtown Kansas City.