Last Updated on October 1, 2015 by Alex Brown-Hinds

I celebrated Mother’s Day a day early when my baby, my weekly Rants & Raves, was honored as the best newspaper column in California for publications of comparable circulation at a ceremony on Saturday. Of the four best entries acknowledged in that category, we won three on topics ranging from local politics in San Bernardino & Moreno Valley to immigration protests in Murrieta to the Holocaust school assignment debacle in Rialto.

The California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Better Newspaper Awards, held at its annual press summit, honors the most outstanding journalistic achievements published by California newspapers. The organization represents over 700 daily, weekly, monthly, and campus newspapers currently circulating in the state of California and its members truly believe that local newspapers in small towns and big cities throughout the state play a vital role in educating citizens, monitoring government, and documenting life within their communities.

The award for the best column was just one of many we received on Saturday. Our creative director Chris Allen was honored for creating the best graphic illustration of all weekly newspapers for a feature story we published on local law enforcement’s use of body cameras. He also received a second place award for best artistic photo for a feature on President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. And Lee Ragin, Jr., our editor, led a team of staff writers and photographers that produced a feature story on jobs in the Inland Empire that won second place for best business news.

We were blue ribbon finalists in several other categories: Carlos Puma’s photo essay on Riverside’s Dia de los Muertos was singled out as one of the best, our front page was acknowledged in the tabloid category, and our story on Riverside’s Dr. Lula Mae Clemons entitled “This is 96″ was recognized for writing.

If I sound a little like a proud mom, incessantly prattling on about her talented children, I apologize. But I am proud of the work that the VOICE family produces weekly to educate, inspire, and engage our community. And we thank you for contributing to our success by encouraging us with your comments & feedback, providing us with important information on issues that the entire community should understand, and supporting the vital work we do each week as advertisers, subscribers, and distribution partners.

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