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The Hanford Sentinel’s Parker Bowman received a 2019 George F. Gruner Award for a feature story on a Kettleman City native who finds peace in the pool.

The Sentinel’s Noe Garcia and Enterprise-Recorder’s Laura Brown and Jeremiah Martinez – won honorable mentions. The awards for work produced in 2018, were announced Wednesday night at a reception at the Fresno Art Museum.

The prizes honor George F. Gruner, whose 46-year career included 33 years at The Bee, retiring in 1988 as executive editor.

The competition recognizes meritorious public service, best column, best news story, best sports feature story, best feature, best news/feature photo and best sports photo. It’s open to San Joaquin Valley newspapers and prizes are awarded in three categories – large daily newspapers, small daily newspapers and weekly newspapers.

The winners and honorable mentions in the other categories:

PUBLIC SERVICE – Winners: Garth Stapley, Modesto Bee; Vikaas Shanker, Merced Sun-Star; Paul Myers, Foothills Sun-Gazette. Honorable mention: Sam Morgen, Bakersfield Californian; Sheyanne Romero, Visalia Times-Delta; Greg Little, Nicole W. Little, Matt Johnson, Laura Phillips and John Mabon, Mariposa Gazette.

BEST COLUMN – Winners: Marek Warszawski, The Fresno Bee; Mike Dunbar, Merced Sun-Star; and John Spevak, Los Banos Enterprise. Honorable mention: Robert Price, Bakersfield Californian; James Ward, Visalia Times-Delta; Greg Little, Mariposa Gazette.

BEST SPORTS PHOTO – Winners: Andy Alfaro, Modesto Bee; Andrew Kuhn, Merced Sun-Star; Johnson. Honorable mention: Kohlruss; Ron Holman, Visalia Times-Delta; Gene Lieb, Los Banos Enterprise.

BEST NEWS STORY – Winners: Price; Rob Parsons, Merced Sun-Star; Myers and Reggie Ellis, Foothills Sun-Gazette. Honorable mention: Amaro; staff, Visalia Times-Delta; Greg Little, Mariposa Gazette.

BEST FEATURE STORY – Winners: Morgen; Parker Bowman, Hanford Sentinel; Greg Little, Mariposa Gazette. Honorable mention: George; Ward; Laura Brown, Enterprise Recorder.

BEST SPORTS FEATURE STORY – Winners: Trevor Horn, Bakersfield Californian; Vongni Yang, Visalia Times-Delta; Shawn Jansen, Los Banos Enterprise. Honorable mention: James Burns, Modesto Bee; Noe Garcia, Hanford Sentinel; Johnson and Jeremiah Martinez, Enterprise Recorder.

BEST NEWS/FEATURE PHOTO – Winners: Joan Barnett Lee, Modesto Bee; Andrew Kuhn, Merced Sun-Star; Lieb. Honorable mention: Walker; Ron Holman, Visalia Times-Delta; Little.

The Gruner awards are sponsored by The Fresno Bee and the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism at Fresno State. The judging is done by a group of professional journalists outside the Valley.

The Gruner awards are funded by the Central Valley Foundation and the Central Valley Community Foundation. Each public service category winner receives $200.

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