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Buffalo News staff photographer Sharon Cantillon's portrait of the founder of LaserTron earned her top statewide honors in this year's New York State Associated Press Association journalism contest, leading a slate of 13 award winners from the newspaper.

Ms. Cantillon's first-place finish in the portraits category for major newspapers was followed by three second-place honors, a third-place award and five honorable mentions in competition that pitted The News against papers in the New York City area, Rochester and Syracuse.

Winners were honored Wednesday at the annual banquet of the state AP Association, held at the new Albany International Airport.

Local news reporters Dan Herbeck and Mike Beebe shared second place in the business and finance category for a series on bankruptcy entitled "Going Broke."

Vic Carucci earned second-place honors in the sports writing category for "The Toughest Season," a profile of Jim and Jill Kelly and their son Hunter that appeared in The News' First Sunday magazine.

News photographer Bill Wippert took second place in the portrait category with a study of an inner city father and son, and editorial writer Larry Paul finished third in the editorials category with an analysis of a proposed statewide vote for a constitutional convention.

Reporters Lou Michel and Mike Vogel earned honorable mention in the key "spot news reporting" category for coverage of Oklahoma City bombing suspect Timothy J. McVeigh in prison, and editorial writer Rod Watson earned honorable mention in the columns category for a piece entitled "Another Fun Run."

Stories on the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills in this community earned honorable mention for reporters Gene Warner and David Robinson in the business and finance category, and editorial writer George Gates won honorable mention for an editorial titled "After Chautauqua."

News photographer Mike Groll narrowly missed completing a Buffalo sweep of the portraits category, earning honorable mention for his study of a retiring dancer.

Among smaller newspapers, Jamestown Post Journal staffers took a second place in sports writing and spot news photography and third place in continuing coverage. Olean Times Herald staffers took third in columns and earned honorable mentions in spot news reporting and sports writing.

Batavia Daily News staffers took second place in columns, third place in sports reporting, and honorable mention in feature writing. The Niagara Gazette also earned an honorable mention in the features category.

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