Award winner

Longhorns being loaded into a cattle car during Chisholm Trail Days at Old Abilene Town was among the award winning photos by the Reflector-Chronicle in the Kansas Press Association’s annual Awards of Excellence competition.

Fourteen awards were presented to the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle and its writers in the Kansas Press Association’s annual Awards of Excellence competition, including five first place awards.

The newspaper won a First Place Award in the overall News and Writing Excellence category.

Each of the four members of the staff will be receiving awards at the Kansas Press Association conference next month.

First place

Kathy Hageman won two first place awards.

Her story on Mark Woolverton, a 1975 Abilene High School graduate who grew up living in the Dickinson County Jail when his father Wayne Woolverton was sheriff, won first place in the Feature Story category.

Her story on the special sales tax question to repair roads and bridges won first place in the Government/Political Story category.

Hageman received first place awards in 2016 for an education story and news story, a first in 2017 for an education story and first in 2018 for a government/political story.

She is a graduate of Abilene High School and Emporia State University. After teaching high school English for two years, she transitioned into the world of journalism. Since then she has been a reporter or editor at eight Kansas newspapers.

For a time she returned to her education roots, serving as the public information officer for Winfield Public Schools where she was also the district’s substitute teacher coordinator. She returned to Abilene in 2000 and has worked for the Reflector-Chronicle on and off over the past 20 years, returning most recently in 2014.


Editor Tim Horan finished as runner-up in the Photographer of the Year category. He finished third a year ago in the division that includes all Kansas newspapers, not just those with a circulation the same as the Reflector-Chronicle.

Pictures taken by Horan and Ron Preston received a first place award in the Photo Package category.

The category was based on overall theme, design and photo quality consisting of three or more photos packaged together in a layout.

The packages included photographs from the Chapman St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Antique Fest and the Holm Automotive Car Show, Symphony at Sunset, Chisholm Trail Days and the Demolition Derby.

Horan picked up a second place award in the Health Story category and third place awards in News Story, Education Story and Headline Writing categories.

Horan is a graduate of Abilene High School and Kansas State University. He worked at three newspapers before joining the Reflector-Chronicle staff in 1980. He was managing editor of the Greyhound Review coming back to the RC in 2010. He worked four years at the Salina Journal before returning to the Abilene newspaper on Christmas Day 2017.

Making a difference

Jean Bowers received a first place award in the Religion Story category on her article on the Emmanuel Church members helping a farm family recover from spring flooding.

Bowers received a second place award in the Series category for her stories on Hospice of Dickinson County.

Bowers, who lives in Lindsborg, received her Masters Degree from the University of Kansas. She was a deputy assistant managing editor of design with the Hutchinson News from 1998 to 2004. She was a copy editor for the Salina Journal for 16 years.

Bowers left the Reflector-Chronicle at the end of 2019.

News and writing

The entire staff contributed to the first place award in the News and Writing Excellence category. The staff was runner-up in the category last year.

The category is an overall evaluation of the newspaper’s news and writing ability. Complete issues from three different months of the year are submitted for consideration.

The newspaper staff also contributed to a second place award in Design and Layout Excellence. This also is an overall evaluation of the newspaper. Again, entire issues were submitted from different months of the year.

Preston received a third place award for his column on Abilene’s need for baseball and softball diamonds titled, “Will they come if you built it?”

Preston was the 2018-2019 Oscar Stauffer Award winner and Kansas Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Sportswriter of the year in 2017 for his excellence in sports coverage for the Reflector-Chronicle

Preston was born and raised in Dodge City, graduated from Dodge City High School, St. Mary of the Plains College and Kansas State University with degrees in Education and English.

He taught school for 10 years in Dodge City, went to work for Duckwall-Alco Stores in 1981 as store manager and moved to Abilene in 1989 as a buyer in the ALCO offices.

He spent 32 years with the company, the last 10 in Human Resources/Operations.

His minor was in journalism and he worked at the Dodge City Daily Globe. He has written sports stories for the Hutchinson News, the Wichita Eagle and the Kansas City Star as a stringer reporter.

He joined the Reflector-Chronicle staff in January 2012.

With the exception of the Photographer of the Year Award, the Reflector-Chronicle competed in Division I, daily newspaper with a circulation of 3,800 or less.

Contact Tim Horan at

Contact Tim Horan at

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