LAS VEGAS — The Mineral County Independent-News made a strong showing in the annual Nevada Press Association competition, winning top awards for feature writing and multiple photo essay.

Independent-News owner Tim Dahlberg was also inducted into the NPA’s Hall of Fame in Saturday’s awards at the Palace Station in Las Vegas. Dahlberg got his start at MCIN’s sister paper, the Sparks Tribune in the mid 1970s, later returning to buy the paper on behalf of Battle Born Media.

“This is quite an honor for me, especially since Sparks is where I began my journalism career while attending the University of Nevada,’’ Dahlberg said. “I have a lot of great memories of my time working for the Tribune, and I’m proud to have the paper today as we work to make it even better.’’

Dahlberg joins co-owner Sherman Frederick in the Hall of Fame as well as former Independent-News owners Jack McCloskey and Ted, Tony and Frank (Gene) Hughes.

File photo
Heidi Bunch took home the Silver Star Award for the Independent-News Saturday night at the Nevada Press Association awards banquet.

The Independent-News took home several awards throughout the night, including first place honors for best feature writing by managing editor Heidi Bunch. Her story about the 44-year-old cold case of a missing Hawthorne boy garnered high praise from the contest judges.

Bunch also received the coveted Silver Star Award for overall outstanding performance.

“The Mineral County Independent-News would not thrive the way it does without the daily outstanding efforts of Heidi,” MCIN general manager Eric Dahlberg said. “This award is truly a reflection of the hard work and dedication she has had to this paper and the town of Hawthorne over the last couple of decades.”

“I am humbled to have won the Silver Star award,” Bunch said. “I truly believe in the power of a small town paper. Within the pages, year after year, is the history of our communities and their people. The world of journalism is trying and sometimes difficult at times, but I can truly say I am in this business because I love it. Thank you to Battle Born Media and Eric Dahlberg for allowing me to connect with the Independent-News readers each week.”

The Independent-News received first place honors for its 2017 Armed Forces Day photo spread by Dahlberg and Tanya Bunch, as well as a second place award for the 2017 AFD special section.

“Enjoyable review of the annual celebration. Incredible community ad support,” the judges said.

Other awards included second place honors by former contributor Sheri Samson for her article on the 9/11 tribute and hike, and a second place for best explanatory journalism by Heidi Bunch for her story about a Walker River court hearing. Thomas Mitchell also won first place for best editorial writing.

Independent-News owner Tim Dahlberg was honored for his work in Nevada journalism and for The Associated Press, where he is the lead national sports columnist.

He started his career at the Sparks Tribune and became a night police reporter at the Review-Journal in 1976. He was among the first on the scene of the 1980 MGM Grand fire that killed 87 people, writing the lead story and covering the aftermath as Nevada legislators were pushed to adopt tough new fire safety standards.

After joining the AP’s Las Vegas bureau, Dahlberg covered events like Wayne Newton’s libel suit against NBC and a Culinary Union strike that paralyzed the Strip. He later helped cover Muhammad Ali’s fight with Larry Holmes at Caesars Palace, launching a career covering the biggest sporting events in the world, including 14 Olympics, more than 100 major golf championships, hundreds of championship fights, 10 Super Bowls and six World Series.

His career came full circle when he teamed up with former RJ publisher Sherman Frederick to form Battle Born Media in 2011, which now owns six weekly newspapers in Nevada.