The Times of North Little Rock received a total of 13 awards from the Arkansas Press Association last Saturday at its annual awards luncheon.

The paper received five first places awards for writing and design, while also receiving second place in overall General Excellence in its circulation category.

The contest was judged by the Oklahoma Press Association and The Times competed against 15 other papers across the state and a total of 440 entries.

First place awards went to veteran sports writer Donna Lampkin Stephens for her feature on Maumelle golfer Ryan Spurlock. This is the second consecutive first place award for Stephens, who was also honored in the same category last year.

In the judges’ comments, the piece was called, “an excellent story about a very strong young man.”

Stephens also received an honorable mention in the same category, and was awarded a second place for best beat reporter for a series of articles on Olympian Lexi Weeks.

Writer Dale Ellis also received a first place for in-depth series reporting on articles dubbed the “Broadway Bridge Fiasco.”

In the judges’ comments it was called a “VERY interesting topic that is well covered.”

His photo of the bridge’s implosion also received a second place in news photography. Ellis shared an honorable mention for news story with regional editor Jeremy Peppas for a package of stories on Pearl Harbor and its anniversary last year.

Contributing photographer Jaison Sterling received a total of three awards for his pictures. Two second places and one third place.

In single sports action, Sterling was honored for a photo of North Little Rock running back Alex Day, while another second placed was for photo essay/picture page that ran in the Cabot Star-Herald. The third place award was for a photo of fireworks lighting up the Little Rock skyline.

In addition to the honorable mention in news story, Peppas received three first places for front pages, sports pages and graphic design portfolio. He also received a third place for headline writing.

This is the fifth consecutive year the sports page has been honored.

In the judges’ comments, the front pages were called, “the best of the bunch,” while the sports pages were lauded for “nice use of bold pictures.”

The front pages have since been redesigned.