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October 20, 2020

Jump to: Minnesota Lawyer || WCCO || Washingtonian Magazine || || Mac Weekly

Capitol Report and Minnesota Lawyer | Twin Cities

‘Politics of the Past’ history column
Sorted through the Minnesota Historical Society’s archives and researched the state’s political history.

LobdellFTMinnesota’s ‘Wild Woman’ charged with impersonating a man in 1858 (MNSPJ Page One Award)

The moral arc of Indian agent Lawrence Taliaferro

Ignatius Donnelly: Paranoid progressive in the Gilded Age

Eugenie Anderson ‘held her own in smoke-filled rooms’

Francis Shoemaker FT Image

A ‘psychopath’ goes to Washington

When Minnesota tried to stop the presses

Minnesota’s first congresswoman burdened by husband’s spite

Partisan rancor marked Minnesota’s entry into Union

Minnesota’s struggle for black suffrage
Anti-Semitic red-baiting swayed ’38 governor’s race

‘Convention hustlers’ drew GOP to Minneapolis in 1892

Safety commission suspended civil liberties, persecuted immigrants

The razor-thin election of 1962

Historical Atlas of the State of Minnsota 1874The changing (male) face of politics

Seizing the day — and Senate chamber

Suffragists fought uphill battle in Minnesota

Putting politicians on the map

Before the soundbite, there was the bean feed

Other stories

The Legislature’s ‘minor league’: internships often lead to careers
What do interns think of their legislators? And what do legislators think of their interns? A look at life on the lowest rung of lawmaking.

Mining PolyMet comments: How agencies decide the facts in environmental review
Explaining the controversy behind a dry, technical and repetitious 3,576-page document. Was the response to comments on PolyMet’s environmental review part of “a neutral evaluation” or “puffery”?

On the Bookshelf: Rybak tells his story, ‘for better or worse’ 
Asking former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak what his autobiography has to say about his political career and future ambitions.

CBS Minnesota | Twin Cities

Eviction & Toxic Spray: How MnDOT Cleans Bridges Of The Homeless
Broke this story about how MnDOT evicts the homeless from encampments and sprays toxic chemicals that some people end up breathing.

Why Don’t More Minnesota Teens Use IUDs?
Examining recent developments in long-acting birth control methods, their increased acceptance by the medical community and barriers to access for Minnesota teens.

‘Antiquated’ Lurking, Loitering Laws Have Long History In Twin Cities
With Minneapolis’s lurking laws receiving criticism for encouraging racial profiling, I took a look at the history of loitering and lurking laws in the Twin Cities suburbs.

Illicit Massage Parlors See New Form Of Crackdown
Analyzing the effectivity of law enforcement’s response to illegal sex parlors. Surveyed police, county prosecutors, a city licensing official, a massage association president and the outreach director for a non-profit that fights sex trafficking.

Does The ‘Move Over’ Law Make Roads Safer?
Combed through 20 years of fatality data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and created two charts to help illustrate this controversial story.

‘Scanner Nut’: A Patient Listener Waits For Breaking News
This story about a ubiquitous but laconic police scanner tipster was click-bait for Twin Cities journalists.

Why Are There Computer Chips In Tim Shank’s Hands?
Investigating the motivation of a biohacker. This story was featured on WCCO’s evening news program and The John Williams Show.

Man On Wheel: The Topsy-Turvy Story Of A State Fair Legend
Profile of an acrobatic entertainer who learned to ride the 10-foot-tall cable reel he found in his backyard.

How Much Manure Is There At The Minnesota State Fair?
Scoop on poop.

Fewer Cold-Related Deaths This Winter, But Homeless Still Feel Freeze
Crunched the numbers on Minnesota residents who died from cold exposure. Created a chart to elaborate on trends I found.

MDH: Lack of Paid Sick Leave Leads To Spread Of Disease
Short piece on a health department white paper commissioned by the state legislature.

U.S. Internet Debuting Faster Wireless Network In Minneapolis
Broke this story after seeing an ad for beta testers.

‘You Can Fly’: An Urban Explorer Climbs An Abandoned Minneapolis Mill
Following a teenage daredevil up an abandoned mill.

Washingtonian Magazine | Washington, D.C.

Nature Camps for Kids
A look at Washington area nature camps and an exploration of research into the psychological and social benefits of spending time outdoors. A stroke of luck brought me a talkative ten-year-old with the can’t-make-it-up surname of Camper.

Georgetown Real Estate and Friendship Heights Real Estate
A post-recession examination of the real estate market in two of Washington’s most sought-after neighborhoods. | Twin Cities

Note: A summer 2013 redesign of the Patch website disfigured much of its archives, leaving photos, videos and captions missing and erasing words and phrases from most stories. I was unable to preserve pristine copies of all the articles linked to below.


Cancer Rates in Fridley 10 Percent Above State Average
Original story I wrote in March 2012 about the “Fridley Cancer Cluster” Facebook group. This story, detailing Fridley citizens’ questions about their town’s elevated cancer rates and its four high-priority Superfund sites, drew the attention of environmental crusader Erin Brockovich.

In the following months, I wrote dozens of stories about the possible “cancer cluster,” profiling the founder of the Facebook group and interviewing Brockovich’s environmental investigator, cancer and pollution experts, and multiple public officials. An interactive map I created to help citizens plot cancer cases received more than 700 entries and more than 34,000 views.

In May 2012, I broke the news that Brockovich would be hosting a town hall meeting in Fridley. I covered Brockovich’s visit with both live, streaming video and a day-after story. After the meeting, I conducted live video interviews with health officials and politicians.

My work on this story attracted the attention of Bring Me the News, City Pages and the Star Tribune.

‘Feeling Around With My Feet’: First Responders’ Account of an Underwater Rescue
First responders’ account of finding five children trapped in a car underwater. I was on the scene hours after the crash and continually updated my main story with death reports, new details about the incident and reporting about safety conditions.

Woman Found Dead in SLP Loved Her Family But Made ‘Poor Choices in Men’
A look at the life of a murder victim whose boyfriend was accused of killing her and then recruiting  his sister and  daughter to help dispose of her body. I also wrote a story about the family’s first appearance in court.

Bakdash Testifies: ‘Matt Said “Hit Him” and I Figured I Would Scare Him’
Coverage of the murder trial of a 29-year-old who fatally struck a pedestrian with his car after a parking lot dispute. I wrote two additional stories on the trial about the testimony of the victim’s mother and the case’s closing arguments.

‘Someone is Going to Get Killed,’ Said Fort Snelling Construction Worker Night Before Death
Broke this story after filing an information disclosure request form.

‘Oh My God, This is It,’ Thought Roseville Quizno’s Manager Facing Sawed-Off Shotgun
Tick-tock on a sub shop attempted robbery.

Prostitution Crackdown in Roseville Has One Adult Escort Thinking Twice
After writing a piece on a police department’s prostitution crackdown, I made some calls to hear the other side of the story.

‘This is a Hijack’: Roseville Home Invasion Victim Speaks Out
An interview with a home invasion robbery victim.

Humane Society Kills Woodbury Cat Against Dead Owner’s Wishes
Sparked debate about animals and estates.

Mendota Residents Fight to Keep Post Office Open
Residents were marvelously passionate about keeping their post office open.

Perhaps the best quote I’ve ever scribbled down: “I would like it open for as long as possible, which means for the rest of our lives and 50, 60 generations down the road. I want it open forever. As long as someone’s in that valley with a heartbeat, I want that post office open.”

‘Crazy John,’ Child Sex Offender Seen at Fridley Pumpkin-Carving, Set for Release
Leveraged social media and reader tips to report this crime story.

BlueSky ‘Confident’ Facing Dept. of Education Hearing
Story about an online high school’s stand against the Department of Education.

Harsdorf Outspends, Outraises Moore in July
A look at campaign finance reports for one of the Wisconsin Senate recall elections.

A Look at Mendota Heights’ Grassroots Activists for Obama
A political campaign through the lens of a liberal suburb.

Commerce Department Hobbled by State Government Shutdown
Deconstructing the long-term consequences the state shutdown will have on Minnesota’s commerce department.

Shutdown: Reactions from the Capitol Steps
Interviews with protesters at the Minnesota capitol as the state prepared to shut down.

Legislators Field Questions on Potential State Government Shutdown at ‘Town Hall’ Meeting
Reported from the Minnesota House Chamber on the eve of the government shutdown.


Life on the Mississippi: The Winter Houseboaters of Hidden Harbor Marina
First-person account of a barroom meeting with a group of rugged houseboaters who spend the winter on the Mississippi. Written under the influence of Joseph Mitchell.

In First Book, Edina Teacher Pens Poems of Startling, Lovely, Morbid Beauty
Crawling inside the head of a high school teacher turned poet.

Sex Therapy Clinic Opens at 50th and France
Business profile of a sex therapy practice. It was a good excuse to ask a professional, journalistic question about the sex lives of Edina residents.

France Avenue’s Wooden Bear: A Story of Loss, Community and Costumery
Exploration of the moving personal story behind a neighborhood landmark.

Is Fridley Company the Future of Transit or ‘Moribund’?
Exploring the financial and political history of a futuristic company.

Spirits and Phantom Voices: An Investigation of the Paranormal at Banfill-Locke
Feature about a paranormal investigator with an interesting backstory. I also assembled a video from cell phone footage and wrote a couple short follow-ups.

Fridley’s Letterboxing Hobbyists Solve Clues to Find Stamps
Fun story about a micro-culture of scavenger hunters. Re-reported by the Star Tribune.

Exotic Beer for the Masses: ‘Pour Decisions’ Preps for Roseville Open
Business profile of a Roseville brewery. I also covered the rocky saga of the brewery’s attempt to acquire an affordable liquor license.

For Roseville’s Teacher of the Year Semifinalist, Creativity is Paramount
Eyes-on-the-wall story about an elementary school art teacher.

New Novel’s Plot: A Serial Killer, Zeus and the Inver Grove Heights Police Department
Story about a woman who has used her retirement to write romance and mystery novels.

Henry Sibley Math Team Leads Conference
A look at the personalities behind a talented high school math team.

Columbia Heights iLander Pays Student Journalists
Profile of a thriving high school news program.

Fridley YouTube Star Mippey5 ‘Will Wrap for $’
Spent the afternoon with the budding Internet celebrity responsible for “Minnesota Gurls.”

Innovative Sibley Physics Teacher’s Video Used in TED Initiative
Q&A with innovative high school teacher. Republished in the Minnesota Science Teachers Association’s quarterly newsletter.

Stillwater Suns, Grills and Bonds During Nature Valley Grand Prix 
Atmospheric story about how a big bike race affects a small town.

Minnetonka’s Pampered Pooches Appear at Adogo Grand Opening
Light piece about the opening of a pet hotel.

Terry Ventura Draws Crowd to Wishes & More Fundraiser
Following the wife of former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura to a fundraising event.

The Mac Weekly | St. Paul, Minn.

History class’ admission questioned on racial grounds
Investigative piece confirming that a campus history course did not accept white students. The story led to a change in the class’ enrollment policy and won first place for investigative reporting in a Minnesota Newspaper Association competition.

A road trip through the mind of David Foster Wallace
Book review of David Lipsky’s “Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself.”

Former Governor Vilsack talks energy with The Mac Weekly
Interview with Tom Vilsack a few weeks before he was picked for Agriculture Secretary.

During power outage, Sheen glitters in the dark
Coverage of Sheen’s visit to Macalester’s campus during run-up to 2008 election. Includes interview with Sheen about a political advertisement he filmed and his belief that Building 7 of the World Trade Center was purposefully demolished.

Feet on the floor, hands in the air: A rollicking trip to the Republican convention
Post-convention impressionistic feature about the political spectacle. I wrote threeadditionalstories on the convention for The Mac Weekly and for Creative Loafing, an alternative magazine based in Atlanta.

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