The Gazette never needs an excuse to celebrate southern Colorado, but we're taking extra time on this #719Day — July 19, 2019.

As part of the community for nearly 150 years, we'll spend the day showcasing the news and events — and highs and lows — experienced by those living in the Pikes Peak region and southern Colorado during the past 12 months.

The news cycle is unrelenting, which is why it's so important to take some time to reflect on our shared experiences over the past year. 

In the past year, The Gazette won awards in both national and state contests for its journalism, including features, coverage, columns, and sports coverage. All of the stories listed below tell the story of the 719.

In April, the Gazette won 46 awards in state contests for journalism, including first-place honors for best website, news, features, and sports writing. 

The awards included 27 from The Colorado Press Association (CPA) and 19 from the Colorado Associated Press Editors and Reporters. 

The Gazette’s sister publication, Colorado Politics, won 15 individuals awards in the CPA contest, including first prize for breaking news, serious and humorous columns, best feature page design and multimedia advertising. 

First-place wins for the CPA contest range from the best breaking news/deadline reporting story on the huge hailstorm that injured 14 people, to best health feature story called Unrecovered: The crisis in mental health care. 

The first-place wins for the AP contest includes best feature story on Joshua’s journey battling cancer, best environmental story on the historic Spring Creek fire, and more. 

The Associated Press Sports Editors honored Gazette sports in four categories in their national contest. Staff honored in these awards include columnist Woody Paige, videographer Hannah Tran and high school sports editor Lindsey Smith. For the fourth year in a row, special section previewing the Denver Broncos season was also recognized in this competition.

Recently, the Gazette staff earned six awards in a national contest for The Society for Features Journalism 2019 Excellence-In-Features Awards. Winners in the event include video storytelling for a look inside the ArtoCade festival in Trinidad and a general feature on Joshua’s journey. 

Award-winning stories: 

- Joshua’s Journey: Gazette chronicles a year in a young boy’s battle with cancer (by Stephanie Earls)

- They've escaped war, genocide and religious persecution. Now these refugees call El Paso County home (by Jakob Rodgers

- Tim Watkins’ last ride: Unresolved murder of Palmer Lake mountain biking icon leaves community deeply unsettled (by Jakob Rodgers, Lance Benzel)

- Colorado Springs chili roasters working their magic scorching Pueblo green chiles to perfection (by Teresa Farney

- In wake of historic Spring Creek fire, heartbreak and hope (by Seth Boster)

Award-winning Sports Coverage:

- Patience and goals set as Colorado Springs teen propel Henry Cejudo to UFC belt in stunning fashion (by Brent Briggeman

David Ramsey: Faith brought Haitian soccer brothers to Colorado Springs 

Award-winning Series: 

- Domestic violence in El Paso County: Records show we're among worst in Colorado | Part 1 of 4 by Kaitlin Durbin

This 4 part series of stories details domestic violence in El Paso County, where police get an average of 35 to 40 domestic violence calls a day, this amounts to 5 percent of their calls for service. There’s a lot uncovered in this series on the reasons why, and the local agencies that assist victims of domestic violence. 

Award-winning Videos:

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