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Southwest Journal | Minneapolis

Voices from the pandemic: Stories of coronavirus in Minneapolis
Days after social distance measures began to reshape life in Minneapolis, I led the paper’s staff in launching this community reporting project. Throughout the pandemic, we have been recording the personal stories of 18 local residents whose daily lives are in a state of flux — a schoolteacher, an infection preventionist at a senior home, a religious leader, a retired couple, a county commissioner, medical professionals, business owners, laid-off workers and more. We have interviewed some participants more than a dozen times, and a number of them have taken to answering correspondence from readers.

Training aims to make Minneapolis cops more compassionate (2019 MNSPJ Page One Award, enterprise reporting)
A look at a mindfulness program for Minneapolis Police Department officers led by a counselor and energy healer who lectured at the same alternative spiritual community as Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a Linden Hills woman who was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer.

Crack it. Buy it. Tear it down. (2019-20 Minnesota Newspaper Association award, hard news story)
Neighbors mobilized to try to save what was once a 25-unit affordable apartment from demolition. I dug up a lawsuit proving that the owner planning to bulldoze the building had played a role in damaging it.

Ship’s wheel taken from Bde Maka Ska naval memorial in 1975 surfaces at Minnetonka High School along with missing 600-pound bell
Collaborated with history columnist Karen E. Cooper on this sprawling investigation. Discovered the whereabouts of a 6-foot ship’s wheel from the Navy battleship USS Minnesota, which police had reported stolen 45 years prior — a high-water mark of my journalistic career.

Whittier nonprofit gives immigrants a platform to tell their stories (2019-20 Minnesota Newspaper Association award, social issues story, 1st place)
Profiled the nonprofit’s founder, Tea Rozman Clark, as she visited her daughter’s elementary school and told a classroom of fourth-graders her story of volunteering in Slovenian refugee camps after the Ten-Day War and later immigrating to the United States.

Home in the woods: Eliza Wheeler’s family saga (2018-19 Minnesota Newspaper Association award, arts and entertainment story, 1st place; 2019 MNSPJ Page One Award, arts and entertainment coverage, 1st place)
Visited the author/illustrator Eliza Wheeler in her Lowry Hill East apartment and learned how she adapted her family’s fascinating Depression-era history into the material for her latest children’s book.

Kayne Davis, 13, helps curate Mia photography show (2019-20 Minnesota Newspaper Association award, arts and entertainment story, 1st place)
The Minneapolis Institute of Art let 11 middle and high school students co-curate an exhibition exploring photographic images of children throughout the 20th century. I focused the story on just one of those students: 13-year-old Kayne Davis, who had never before stepped foot in the museum.

Kingfield pastor rallies evangelicals to vote against Trump
Explained the mission of a local pastor-turned-political-evangelist as he returned to his Southwest Minneapolis congregation aboard a bright orange tour bus previously used by Guns N’ Roses and “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Capitol Report and Minnesota Lawyer | Minneapolis

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”?

I published a regular column on Minnesota’s political and legal history.

Minnesota’s ‘Wild Woman’ charged with impersonating a man in 1858 (2017 MNSPJ Page One Award, feature writing)
Joseph Lobdell, a self-reliant, quick-witted, sharpshooting 19th century frontiersman, was a transgender pioneer who married a woman and lived with her for nearly two decades. Poor and persecuted, he was convicted of insanity in a sham trial and left to live out his years in an asylum.

The moral arc of Indian agent Lawrence Taliaferro
U.S. Indian agent Lawrence Taliaferro, a bureaucrat who played a crucial role in the seizure of Native American land in the Upper Mississippi Valley in the 1830s, came to deplore the “rascality and frauds permitted by the treaty making power generally.”

Ignatius Donnelly: Paranoid progressive in the Gilded Age
Perhaps the strangest politician of the 19th century, Ignatius Donnelly founded a city on the bank of the Mississippi, ignited the modern Atlantis craze and believed civilization was on the verge of apocalypse. Donnelly also happened to be one of the greatest progressive voices of the Gilded Age.

Eugenie Anderson ‘held her own in smoke-filled rooms’
A calmly capable political operative, Eugenie Anderson orchestrated Hubert Humphrey’s successful campaign for Senate and was later appointed the United States’ first female ambassador.

A ‘psychopath’ goes to Washington
An amoral self-promoter elected to office in a time of economic anxiety and political mistrust, U.S. Rep. Francis Shoemaker bragged about the size of his crowds, rarely slept in the same bed as his wife, questioned the impartiality of judges who ruled against him, labeled opponents with demeaning nicknames and was criticized by a member of his own party for “spilling fabrications instead of facts.” 

The changing (male) face of politics
Decided which Minnesota lawmakers had the best beards, mustaches and other facial hair.

Historical Atlas of the State of Minnsota 1874

CBS Minnesota | Minneapolis

Eviction & toxic spray: How MnDOT cleans bridges of homeless people
Broke this story about how MnDOT evicts homeless people from encampments and sprays toxic chemicals that some people end up breathing.

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 illustrate this story’s unexpected findings.

‘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.

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.