Please find below examples of my work at various newspapers. Each page includes a link to the original PDF of the newspaper, so you may see how it originally appeared.
Chattanooga Times Free Press
I currently work at the Chattanooga Times-Free Press, where I have been since March 2016. After working as a writer in Hawaii, it has been good to stretch my editing muscles again.
Each night I am responsible for proofreading the A, B, and C sections of the paper, including local news, national and international wire copy. I plan the paper’s coverage of national and international news and assign story budgets for each of the copy desk’s page designers. I keep track of breaking news and make changes as needed to the front page and inside pages.
I write headlines and cutlines, compile briefs packages, write breaking news stories for web and print, and keep the website updated. I oversee the work of multiple reporters, photographers and page designers.
All seeing, all mowing
This phenomenally weird photograph by Chattanooga Times Free Press staff photographer Doug Strickland was one of the most visually arresting and off-kilter things I’d seen in the paper, and I knew it needed an equally off-kilter headline.
I worked at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald from December 2009 to March 2016.
While there, I served as the science and education beat reporter, and also covering general assignments on a day-to-day basis.
Hawaii Island provided a remarkable location from which to cover a wide variety of stories, from a lava flow that threatened a significant portion of the island to the world-class research and exploration being done using the telescopes atop Mauna Kea.
Gabbard blasts Ige on dengue response
Gov. David Ige didn’t budge Friday afternoon after U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) called for him to declare a state of emergency in response to Hawaii Island’s ongoing dengue fever outbreak.
‘We have to maintain our vigilance’
It’s been almost a month since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weighed in on the public health response to the Big Island’s dengue fever outbreak, and officials say that as a result they have instituted a number of changes to the way they are combating the mosquito-borne virus.
‘I never saw the shark’
On Tuesday morning, Paul O’Leary was making good time on one of his regular swims at Kehena Beach when he suddenly felt like he had caught his right foot on something under the water.
It wasn’t until the 54-year-old got out of the water that he learned he had become another statistic in an unusually grisly year for shark attacks in Hawaii.
First Home Falls
The destruction of her grandparents’ house Monday brought the reality of the June 27 lava flow home for Kanoe Pelfrey.
“When you see pictures and video of it, it just really hits you,” said Pelfrey, 20, who spoke to the Tribune-Herald from Oregon, where she attends college.
Lending a hand
The roof of a home on Kaheka Road in Kapoho collapsed because of pounding surf as water rushed onto land during the landfall of Hurricane Iselle in August. Representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration will be in Pahoa through Nov. 6 assisting homeowners, renters, nonprofit organizations and businesses that received damage as a result of the storm to apply for low-interest loans.
Man vs. Pele
As the June 27 lava flow continues its advance on populated areas in lower Puna, one question consistently pops up during community discussions on the subject: Is there anything we can do to stop or redirect nature’s fury?
It’s a question that must be approached from a wide variety of angles, experts say, and Civil Defense officials maintain that after taking all factors into account, diversion is not included in their response plan for the current threat.
Tracking the flow
The ordinarily quiet streets of Kaohe Homesteads south of Pahoa bustled with activity Tuesday.
Neighbors visited with each other to share the latest news, and residents from nearby communities were busy driving through to see what they could see — scoping out the area public safety officials say could be the first in line if an unpredictable lava flow 2 miles away continues on its path.
Storm may be albizias’ downfall
Big Island forestry and invasive species experts have been warning for years that albizia trees are a major threat to residents’ safety and property.
Now, after seeing the devastation wrought by falling trees in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle, they say they have irrefutable proof.
It is one of the greatest injustices the U.S. government has ever visited upon its own people, across the country and right here on Hawaii Island.
Innocent Americans were imprisoned, families were torn apart and much of the lassting damage — to individuals and their relatives, businesses and reputations has never been fully repaired.
‘Making it official’
If the old adage “Practice makes perfect” holds true, then the union of the first same-sex couple to tie the knot Monday in Hilo is likely to be perfect indeed. The intimate wedding ceremony they observed in front of the State Office Building on Aupuni Street around 9:45 a.m. was a small one, but being the couple’s third time around, they didn’t feel the need to make a big affair out of it, said Linda “Souza” Kamalamalama de Souza.
Fledgling oyster industry comes out of its shell
Hawaii Island is poised to become a major player in the U.S. oyster industry, as growers on the mainland wrestle with the effects of climate change.
Around 2007, oyster hatcheries along the West Coast were significantly impacted by a disturbing trend.
On a geologic scale, the last three decades have been barely a blip on the radar against a backdrop of millions of years of earth- shattering, world-building events.
But in terms of the science of volcanology, the last three decades have supplied a veritable treasure trove of opportunities to further mankind’s understanding of the forces that help shape our planet.
State: Zip line installer at fault
The state has accused the builder of an East Hawaii zip line platform that collapsed last year, killing a construction worker, of serious violations of workplace safety laws.
The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations also alleges that the builder did not take the Hamakua Coast’s unique soil characteristics into account, and raised questions about whether the builders of other structures in the region could have made the same mistake.
Engineering report finds fault with zip line plans
The zip line tower collapse that claimed the life of construction worker Ted Callaway on Sept. 21 was “immediate and catastrophic,” according to a report by an independent engineering firm. And, it appears it may have been preventable.
The Oct. 10 report prepared by Hawaii Engineering Group Inc. was provided to the Tribune-Herald on Monday through an open records request. It was one of many documents included in the now-closed Hawaii Police Department investigation into the fatal accident.
Zip line tower failed initial inspection
An East Hawaii zip line tower failed to pass an initial county inspection prior to its collapse in September, killing one worker and seriously injuring another.
The platform was one of 14 newly constructed elevated platforms on 565 acres at 27-5159 Puia Road that were assessed by county building inspector Mark Jacobsen, according to reports obtained through an open records request to the county’s Public Works’ Building Division.
Zip line accident proves fatal
One man was killed and a second was fighting for his life after a 30-foot zip line tower in Paukaa collapsed Wednesday.
Police did not give the names of the victims Wednesday afternoon, saying that family members had not yet been notified. They identified the man who was killed as a 36-year-old resident of Maui. The injured man, who was in critical condition at Hilo Medical Center, is a 35-year-old from Ohio.
Veterans Affairs workers are exposed to radiation
Workers in the Hilo veterans outpatient clinic may have been exposed to radiation over the last six years due to insufficient shielding of a radiation therapy machine located in the downstairs oncology clinic.
The machine, a linear accelerator, is contained in a specially built concrete and lead vault on the ground floor of the Hawaii Pacific Oncology Center on Waianuenue Avenue. Doctors use it to treat cancer patients with a concentrated, high-energy beam of X-rays that destroys cancerous tissue.
Data indicates Japan’s tsunami debris will hit Big Island
Computer modeling by researchers at the University of Hawaii projects that debris from Japan’s tsunami will reach the Big Island in three to five years.
The 9.0-magnitude earthquake March 11 triggered a massive wall of water that surged over coastal towns near Sendai, Japan. Homes, vehicles and even people were washed out to sea.
From Paris, with love
Seven years ago, Mark Damaso gave his new girlfriend a stool he made for her in eighth-grade woodshop.
It was the first of many gifts he would hand-fashion for Farida Padamada. But none of them displayed quite the depth of feeling as his latest token of affection.
Nor the height.
I started work at the Rockdale Citizen newspaper as a city editor brought in to head up the new expansion of the paper into Newton County, Georgia. The Newton Citizen was going up against another daily, The Covington News, which had built strong reader loyalty over many years.
It was a highly competitive environment, making for a great place to hone my writing, editing and management skills.
After five years there, I briefly left to work at the Island Packet in Hilton Head, S.C., but after five months, the publisher contacted me and offered me the managing editor role over both the Rockdale and Newton Citizen newspapers. I jumped at the chance to manage both newsrooms.
Testimony begins in shooting death trial
Jurors heard Tuesday a recording of the anguished voice of 52-year-old Denise Michelle Francis as she made a desperate call to 911, moments before she died from multiple gunshots, during the first day of testimony in the murder trial of her husband, Thomas Marlin Francis, 61.
Denise Francis, known as Shelley, identified herself and gave her address to the dispatcher, saying that she had been shot and saying, “Please help me.” Then she said, “He’s kicking me.” Shortly thereafter, the line went silent.
A day at the race
New Zealander Glen Alan Chadwick, right, of team Navigators Insurance speeds by the Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle on Saturday afternoon during the Tour de Georgia Stage 6 sprint leg. Chadwick and two other leaders reached the sprint a full six minutes ahead of the rest of the pack. Stage 6 of North America’s highest rated cycling race continued into Newton and then Rockdale counties before concluding in Stone Mountain.
A Leap in Time
For a brief moment Sunday afternoon, it was 1978 all over again, as stuntman Corey Eubanks sailed 133 feet across the front of Seney Hall at Oxford College in a “General Lee” 1969 Dodge Charger. The jump was a re-enactment of the origi- nal jump featured in the opening credits of the “The Dukes of Hazzard” television show.
Heartland Arts Festival
Festival attendees crowd around an apple pie vendor on the Square in Covington on Sunday, the final day of the 17th annual Southern Heartland Arts Festival. Temperatures were mild, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky as people convened to enjoy some tasty treats, music and shopping. About 75 vendors manned booths around the Square selling their wares.
CONYERS — An early morning explosion at BioLab Inc., a Conyers chemical manufacturer, produced a thick gray plume of toxic smoke half a mile wide running parallel to I-20 into Newton County Tuesday, shutting down the interstate and forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate.
Fire leaves residents scrambling
The chemical fire at BioLab caused frustration and concern for many residents Tuesday morning. At Sigman and Irwin Bridge roads, traffic flowed as best could be expected with the road going into Conyers closed, giving people only one option — get out.
The scene at the two gas stations at the intersection was of onlookers watching the chlorine gas cloud floating east, commuters frustrated at being unable to get to Interstate 20 and concerned residents on cell phones trying to get their family members out.
Fire shuts down Interstate 20
COVINGTON — According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT), the massive toxic fire at a BioLab plant in Conyers created a “traffic nightmare” that prompted local officials to ask for people to simply stay at home.
EPD tests area air, water for chlorine
CONYERS — Water. It was the key component in controlling the BioLab fire that firefighters never doubted. DeKalb County Fire Department Public Information Officer Eric Jackson said it best.
“We’re in a totally defensive position, and we’re putting mass quantities of water on the fire,” said Jackson at a morning press conference. “It’s basically BTU (British thermal units) versus GPM (gallons per minute).”
Conyers tackles blaze with help from FEMA, GDOT, EPA
CONYERS — Olde Town Conyers was turned into a ghost town Tuesday when a toxic gas cloud caused by an industrial fire floated over the city.
The smoke plume from the fire at BioLab on Rockdale Industrial Boulevard, which contained a variety of chlorine-based chemicals, drifted east, primarily on the north side of Interstate 20, and ultimately led to authorities ordering an evacuation of a 1-mile radius around the fire.
Businesses forced to close in wake of emergency, expect to reopen today
CONYERS — Many local businesses throughout Conyers and Rockdale County were shut down and all outdoor activities in the Newton County School System (NCSS) were canceled in the wake of the fire which occurred at the BioLab Inc. facility off Rockdale Industrial Blvd. in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.
Area medical staffs join forces to treat chemical exposure
CONYERS — Medical staff throughout the east-metro Atlanta area joined forces Tuesday to respond to one of the largest environmental disasters there in more than a decade.
With the mandate of meeting the health needs of the community, area hospitals worked with public health officials, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), the Red Cross and law enforcement, among other groups to treat the thousands of residents exposed to toxic chemicals that were released in a fire at Conyers’ BioLab warehouse.