(Updated Monday, May 7, 11:57 p.m.)

The Hesperia Star won three awards at the 2006 Southern California Excellence in Journalism Awards, including the top prize in editorial writing.

In an all-circulation category, Hesperia Star Editor Peter Day won first place for Best Editorial/Opinion Piece for "Censorship is wrong answer," at the awards given by the Inland Southern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at the Riverside Marriott Saturday night.

Staff writer Beau Yarbrough won two second place awards, for Best Law Enforcement/Legal Affairs Story and Best Governmental/Political Story in the under 50,000 circulation category for "The addicts next door" and "The CCA Audit: One year later."

"Beau presents a balanced story about a complex issue," one anonymous SPJ judge wrote of "The addicts next door." "You get an idea of the homeowners' frustration over being neighbors with group homes occupied by addicts. At the same time, the operators of the group home are able to present their side and you get insight into how they are trying to help."

Other High Desert papers, including the Daily Press, El Mojave and Desert Dispatch also took home awards.