BOSTON -- The Sun and its staff will receive 12 awards for excellence at the New England Newspaper and Press Association annual dinner on Feb. 25.

Judges from across the country pored over more than 3,000 entries in the 2016 New England Better Newspaper Contest, the region's largest writing, photography and multimedia contest. The Sun is in the highly competitive Class 2, of newspapers with a circulation of 30,000 or more. Final placing for each award will be announced at the banquet, to be held at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf.

The Sun took home 12 awards in the 2011 contest, and has won at least 10 each year since.

The Sun's winners are:

* Business/Economic Reporting, Grant Welker for "Big bucks but limited returns," a series on the city of Lowell's use of tax-increment financing to attract business.

* Editorial Commentary Page, editor/designer Michael Kilduff for his Focus section cover on Nov. 15, 2015.

* Education Reporting, former reporter Amelia Pak-Harvey, for her coverage of the suspension of Lowell High School students following a racial texting incident.

* Front Page, Kilduff, for his Page One design on Sept. 13, 2015.

* Government Reporting, Reporter Todd Feathers for "Property seizures give police windfall," a Nov. 8, 2015 story about asset-forfeiture laws.

* Health Reporting, Feathers for "Critics: State doctor rank system is misleading," a June 26, 2016 story about a $7 million, state-run doctor ranking system may be unintentionally misleading patients about their doctor's quality.


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* Human Interest Feature Story, Reporter Rick Sobey for "Six years later, the call came," a Dec. 29, 2015 story about a Texas teenager who received a kidney from a Billerica resident who died in a car crash, and finally met the woman's family.

* Local Personality Profile, Sobey for "Campaign kid hits the big stage," a Jan. 31, 2016 profile of Michaeleen Earle Crowell, a Lowell native who serves as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' chief of staff.

* Obituaries, Welker for "Colleagues remember the Iron Man of Lowell politics" a Sept. 29, 2015 story on the life of former Lowell Mayor and City Councilor Richard Howe.

* Racial or Ethnic Issue Coverage, Welker for a series of stories about Cambodia Lt. Gen. Hun Manet's controversial visit to meet with Lowell's Cambodian community.

* Social Issues Feature Story, reporter Alana Melanson for "In the cold, life or death," a Feb. 14, 2016 story on Lowell's efforts to reach out to homeless people in cold weather.

* Sports Feature Story, reporter Matt Langone for "The call on their play? Safe!", a July 10, 2016 feature on a Shirley's All-Star Sporting Goods, which has developed a treatment for head injuries involving cold therapy.