Hedstrom earns first-place honor for food story writing in newspaper contest

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The Piscataquis Observer’s Stuart Hedstrom picked up top honors in the food story/feature writing category among the state’s smaller weekly publications from the Maine Press Association in the 2019 MPA Better Newspaper Contest on October 19 during the organization’s annual awards banquet at the South Portland DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.

Hedstrom’s first-place award in the weekly one division is for his January story on the Spruce Mill Farm & Kitchen in Dover-Foxcroft baking 100 baguettes for Gov. Janet Mills’ Inauguration Celebration. The establishment represented Piscataquis County as small businesses from each of Maine’s 16 counties were invited to provide food or beverages for the event.

Observer file photo/Stuart Hedstrom
INAUGURATION CELEBRATION BAGUETTES — Spruce Mill Farm & Kitchen owner Natasha Colbry, left, and Iris Oskarsdottir-Vail prepare sourdough bread several days after baking 100 baguettes for Gov. Janet Mills’ Inauguration Celebration in January at the Augusta Civic Center. The story by the Piscataquis Observer’s Stuart Hedstrom earned first-place honors for food story/feature writing in the weekly one category of the Maine Press Association’s 2019 MPA Better Newspaper Contest.

Hedstrom earned five other individual honors, four second-place awards and one for third place. The second-place honors are for political story when U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine toured the Pleasant River Bridge in Milo during early April 2018, outdoors story for a preview of a group of Penquis Valley High School visiting Costa Rica during their April vacation earlier this year, sports photo featuring a close play at the plate during an April 2018 softball game with Dexter Regional High School hosting Penquis and sports headline for “New weight room gets PCHS students equipped” for a story in November.

The third-place award is for sports news story on a public meeting held in January on the Piscataquis County Ice Arena.

Observer file photo/Stuart Hedstrom
OUT AT THE PLATE — Penquis’ Camryn Rolfe tags Dexter’s Caitlyn Hardy at the plate on a throw from Katelyn Bolstridge for the third out of the bottom of the second during a 2018 contest between the regional rivals. The photo by the Piscataquis Observer’s Stuart Hedstrom earned second-place honors for sports photo in the weekly one division of the Maine Press Association’s 2019 MPA Better Newspaper Contest.

Matthew Gagnon, whose columns regularly appear on The Piscataquis Observer opinion page as well as in the Bangor Daily News, earned first-place recognition for the Opinion columnist in the daily category.

The Bangor Daily News’ Ernie Clark, who is a resident of Dover-Foxcroft and Foxcroft Academy graduate, received a pair of honors in the daily newspaper division. Clark earned first place in the game story category for his piece on the 2019 Class B boys basketball championship. Clark also was awarded second-place honors in the sports news story on how 8-man football could preserve the sport at some Maine high schools

Journalists, editors and advertising representatives from other out of state publications judged contest entries from weekly and daily newspapers throughout the state. A complete list of 2019 award winners will be posted on the MPA’s website at

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