For the second straight year the Forest Park Review was named Illinois’ best small circulation weekly by the Illinois Press Association.

The distinction was announced Friday during an annual award ceremony held by the IPA in Springfield.

In handing out the General Excellence award, judges wrote, in part, the Review has “a strong design, (is) easy to read and well-written. The Review gives readers a good variety of information. It’s not a typical small circulation weekly. … The Review gives an overall strong presentation.”

In addition to being named the best small circulation weekly, the Review also took first place in several other categories. Ongoing coverage of issues in the Proviso Township high school district earned the paper first place honors in government beat reporting. Former editor Seth Stern was recognized with a first place award in investigative reporting for his coverage of District 209’s spending on a public relations firm. Bill Dwyer was honored with a first place award for his monthly opinion column. And the Review, which underwent a thorough redesign last year, was honored with a first place plaque for its overall design.

The Review also received an honorable mention for its editorial page.

“We are very proud of The Forest Park Review and the staff members who work so hard to make it a strong community newspaper,” Review publisher Dan Haley said. “I agree with the judges who said, ‘it’s not a typical small circulation weekly.’ That’s by design. I believe the Review is ambitious and fair in its efforts to cover Forest Park every week. And I know our readers value that. This isn’t some booster sheet. It’s the hometown newspaper.”

In the same contest, the Review’s sister papers also did well. Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest was honored with first place in General Excellence among large circulation weeklies. And the Austin Weekly News came in second in General Excellence for mid-sized weeklies.