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Top newspapers, editor and reporter honored during IPA awards ceremony


Winners of awards in the 2021 Best of the Press editorial contest pose for a photo Aug. 12 at the end of this year's annual convention at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Springfield. (Photo by Sarah Rogers for Illinois Press Association)


SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ top newspapers were honored today at the Illinois Press Association’s virtual convention. Nearly 100 daily and nondaily newspapers competed in 40 editorial categories.

The Alabama Press Association judged the more than 1,725 editorial entries for work done in 2021.

The Chicago Sun-Times won the Stuart R. Paddock Memorial Sweepstakes Trophy for large dailies.

The Sweepstakes Trophies are awarded to newspapers earning the most points in five different circulation divisions. Points are awarded for first place through honorable mention in most contest categories, including general excellence, photography, news writing, opinion writing, design, community service and editorial page.

Runner-up for the Paddock Trophy was the The News-Gazette of Champaign. In third place was the Daily Herald Group in Arlington Heights.

In the small daily newspaper category, The Pantagraph of Bloomington took top honors. It was awarded the Patrick Coburn Award of Excellence Trophy. The Daily Chronicle of DeKalb claimed second place, and The Telegraph of Alton placed third.

In the large, nondaily newspaper category, The Hinsdalean of Hinsdale claimed the Will Loomis Memorial Trophy. The Journal-News of Hillsboro received second place. The Republic-Times of Waterloo received third place.

The Mabel S. Shaw Memorial Trophy is awarded to a medium-sized nondaily newspaper. The winner this year was The Woodstock Independent. Second place went to the Cass County Star-Gazette of Beardstown. And in third place was Downers Grove Suburban Life.

The Ford County Chronicle in Paxton claimed ownership of the David B. Kramer Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the best small, nondaily newspaper in Illinois. The Oakland Independent received second place. And the third-place award was won by the Panhandle Press in Raymond.

The Illinois Press Association also named a statewide Editor of the Year and Reporter of the Year for a third consecutive convention. The Editor of the Year is Misty Knisley, formerly editor of The Daily Journal in Kankakee. The Reporter of the Year is Brenda Schory of the Kane County Chronicle.

Click here to view the 2022 Best of the Press edition.


(From left) Will Brumleve, Dan Brumleve and Andrew Rosten pose with the David B. Kramer Memorial Trophy won by the Ford County Chronicle in the Division A editorial contest sweepstakes Aug. 12. (Photo by Sarah Rogers for Illinois Press Association)



(From left) Ken Farver, Cheryl Wormley and Larry Lough of The Woodstock Independent pose with the Mabel S. Shaw Memorial Trophy after their newspaper won the Division B sweepstakes in the IPA editorial content on Aug. 12. (Photo by Sarah Rogers for Illinois Press Association)



Misty Knisley, former editor of the Daily Journal in Kankakee, receives her Editor of the Year Award from Illinois Press Foundation Executive Director Jeff Rogers during the IPA/IPF convention Aug. 12 in Springfield. (Photo by Taylor Leddin-McMaster of the Daily Journal)

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Press Releases


Contact: Sara Davis
Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County
(815) 759-9002 ext. 102



Habitat ReStores in Woodstock & McHenry
kick off Winter 2022 Donation Drive

McHENRY COUNTY — McHenry County residents can support the store that helps build homes by donating to the Habitat McHenry County ReStores Winter Donation Drive, happening now through Dec. 31!
With free and convenient pickup service, McHenry County residents can easily donate new and gently used household items, appliances, building materials, furniture, lighting fixtures, cabinets, and more!
The Habitat ReStores in Woodstock and McHenry carry gently used donations along with an excellent selection of new and like new furniture, tools, home décor, and more! Habitat ReStores are open to the general public for shopping and donation drop-offs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Every purchase at a Habitat ReStore generates funds to help build, rehabilitate or repair Habitat for Humanity homes in McHenry County. Individuals and families applying to the Home Ownership program must complete a brief application, earn between 30% and 80% of the area median income based on their family size, and perform sweat equity to be considered for a home. 
“Every item donated to our ReStores helps to improve the lives of families in need of safe, affordable housing,” said Sara Davis, operations director for Habitat McHenry County, “This year alone, proceeds from our Habitat ReStores have helped us build and repair homes for more than 15 families in McHenry County.”
The Habitat ReStores rely heavily on the generosity of community donors, and all donations made through the 2022 Winter Donation Drive are tax deductible. For information about how to schedule a donation drop-off or pickup, email donations@habitatmchenry.org or call: 815-331-8153 ext. 302.
Habitat for Humanity ReStores – Woodstock, IL and McHenry, IL
Open to the public, Habitat ReStores are thrift home improvement stores and donation centers that sell building materials, appliances, furniture, and home decor at deep discounts to the communities they serve. In fiscal year 2021 alone, Habitat ReStores nationwide raised more than $76 million to help support Habitat's affordable housing mission while also diverting reusable material from landfills. All proceeds generated between both HFHMC ReStores are used to help build or improve homes in McHenry County. To shop, donate or volunteer, visit us online at www.habitatmchenry.org.



Contact: Brandon Bergersen
Valley Orchard
(815) 332-9696



Valley Orchard celebrates 45 years in the community with 'Fall 45 Fest' on October 8


CHERRY VALLEY – Valley Orchard in Cherry Valley, Illinois, is one of the oldest orchards in the community and has been a destination for cherry picking, apple picking, and apple cider donuts for 45 years in northern Illinois. Every spring, summer, and fall it has been a spot for outdoor entertainment, farm market shopping, and cider slushes. On October 8, the orchard is commemorating all the roles it has played for the community throughout its 45 years in business with a daylong anniversary celebration called “The Fall 45 Fest”. 

The event will be celebrating with the community by offering a variety of fun activities from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, October 8. This will include attractions for guests of all ages including pumpkin carving and scarecrow building contests, children’s activities, an antique tractor show, yard games, multiple food trucks, and one free apple cider donut for every visitor. For the full schedule of events visit the Valley Orchard Facebook event. 

"I love growing apples, I have for 45 years," said Valley Orchard owner and operator Raoul Bergersen.

Bergersen went on to say how grew up with a love for farming.

"I had a friend that one day said, 'Hey, are you interested in doing an apple orchard?' I said, 'Sure, why not' and had absolutely no idea how to do it," Bergersen said when asked how it all started. "In retrospect, that was really foolish knowing what I know now," Bergersen said with a laugh. "But it was really fun."

Bergersen purchased the land in the Village of Cherry Valley in 1977. In the first year, he planted 1,800 apple trees which now have more than 5,000 trees on the 35-acre property.
With an array of apples, including their own handcrafted Johnalicious, berries, pumpkins, corn, and an abundance of rhubarb; visitors can find everything they need.

"You become friends with your customers," Bergersen said, “and we want to celebrate 45 years with them. I'm going to keep this up for as long as I possibly can, and hopefully my sons will continue something that I started 45 years ago."

Join Valley Orchard for 45 years of fun on October 8 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 



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