Portfolio

  • A Runner’s Best Friend (Running Times)
    When I started running five years ago, I would arrange my schedule around my sister’s so that we could run together. She had been running much longer, and, frankly, I depended on her motivating companionship—even if it meant waking early on a Saturday, or waiting for her to get home from work. It only took […]
  • True Blue Berries (Minnesota Monthly)
    In Burnett County, Wisconsin, divulging the location of a wild blueberry patch ranks right up with mapping the directions to someone’s fishing hole: it’s a no-no. For the sake of good-hearted amateur pickers, we’re willing to break a few rules. Armed with directions to some secret spots, you can make a fruitful trip across the […]
  • WH-at (605)
    Wh-at Mrs. Bolshevik ordered the eight second graders of Holler, South Dakota, to write “goat” in cursive. And Mary, a girl who never felt brave, suddenly did. Instead of connecting the “o” and “a” with a straight bar, as demonstrated, she was about to connect the “o” and “a” with a curving loop. She had […]
  • Campfire Cooking and Tin Plates (GRIT)
    We shuffle around the fire, trying to escape the stream of black that undulates out of the pit. I dip the stainless steel cup into the pot of snow my husband has melted and lift it to my lips. I smell the smokiness a split second before I taste it; it has worked its way […]
  • Sale for Movers and World-Record Walker (Burnett County Sentinel)
    (Newspaper feature) County woman’s daughter hopes to be first woman to walk around the world. The mom’s moving sale will raise money for her daughter’s cause–breast cancer research. NEAR VOYAGER VILLAGE–Rosemary Rawson’s daughter has been moving around the world for the past 22 months. It’s fitting, then, that the moving sale Rosemary and her husband, […]
  • People Debate for Peat’s Sake (Burnett County Sentinel)
    With new, cleaner equipment, Peat Technologies can produce peat products at Siren site until Aug. 1. But it must make plans to move out and deal with neighbors’ dust complaints. SIREN–The people came out of their dust-covered homes, entered their dust-covered cars and drove past the dust-covered snow on their lawns Tuesday to confront the […]
  • McCallum Calls on Siren (Burnett County Sentinel)
    Officials seek disaster aid for place where three died and a mess remains. SIREN—Gov. Scott McCallum told a small crowd in Siren Tuesday that Burnett County’s storm showed him destruction he never experienced during 14 years as lieutenant governor. “I haven’t seen such a broad swath of hits on state ground,” he said about the […]
  • The Best Dancers Are Home Grown (Burnett County Sentinel)
    Two years in a row, the St. Croix Native American dance team took first place at Eskimo-Indian Olympics. FAIRBANKS, AK–This year can be considered reassurance for the “group from Wisconsin.” That’s what people called the St. Croix Chippewa dance team at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics in Fairbanks July 18 through July 21. The team won […]
  • Red Cross Shelter Becomes Home for Homeless (Burnett County Sentinel)
    •‘We got no place to stay, no place to stay.’ — Lawanda McMonagle of Siren SIREN—Lawanda McMonagle and her husband used to live behind the Pour House. Now they live in the poor house. Their rented house, behind the bar which is on State Road 35 in downtown Siren, blew over in the Monday night […]
  • Destroyed: ‘Our Brand New Town’ (Burnett County Sentinel)
    Tornadic winds beat down Siren’s new tourist industry. Homes of the locals, who lived there before the business boom, were ripped away, too. SIREN—In the last couple of years, Siren has boomed with a new strip mall, a theatre, a Dairy Queen, realty offices, a meat market and a hockey arena. In less than five […]
  • What Ojibwe Kids Have (Burnett County Sentinel)
    HERTEL–Momma Wolf has traveled throughout the U.S. spreading the word about Native American gangs. She knows that gangs are becoming more mobile as members leave reservations, move to cities and then bring the gang back to the reservations. When those gangs become forceful, drug use rises, suicide rates rise, and violence cannot be controlled. Momma […]
  • Alternative School for Those Who Might Fail (Burnett County Sentinel)
    SIREN–A board that assembled to kick-off the first all-county alternative school has made a verbal agreement to rent a building on Siren’s Highway 35 main drag this fall. The building across the street from Firstar Bank used to house New Beginnings. A teacher, two aides and a part-time work coordinator have yet to be hired, […]
  • Dad Says, If You Want Something … Make It (Burnett County Sentinel)
    WEBSTER–As they grew up, their father’s words stuck in the heads of twin sisters Betty and Barb Steeg: “If you want something bad enough, you can make it,” Lloyd Steeg of Webster would say. And if you made it to the Central Burnett County Fair art exhibit before the storms slammed in and unroofed the building, […]
  • One Man’s Treasure (Burnett County Sentinel)
    O’Donnell hauled his junk art to Smithsonian Institute. FREDERIC–Ten years ago, Dennis O’Donnell had a few things lying around his yard. He had a drinking cup from the barn where he’s been milking cows for years and years. He had spikes off a drag, and there were those soybean extruder parts he’d been meaning to […]
  • Does Phil Wreck Your Fun? (Burnett County Sentinel)
    WEBSTER–It’s been 20 years since the Ekdall Church Fire in West Marshland Township that charred over 4,000 acres of forest. Today, determined trees stand 20 feet tall. It’s as if the fire could be wiped from the county’s collective memory, save for reminiscences at the coffee table. But the fire is clear as a flame […]
  • Fighting the Fast (Burnett County Sentinel)
    Cheesemakers Dave and Mary Falk have been inducted in the international Slow Food Movement. With the movement’s help, the Falks hope to fight big cheese’s aim of making them extinct. TRADE LAKE–In 1607, Italian Francesco Angelita studied what humans can learn from snails. “Being fast makes a man inconsiderate and foolish,” he concluded. Today, many […]
  • EPA Cleans Up ‘Penta Hill’ (Burnett County Sentinel)
    The U.S. EPA will spend the next 12 to 15 years cleaning pentachlorophenol from the site. SIREN–Back before the U.S. government knew what damage PCP (pentachlorophenol) could do, it allowed wood pole companies such as Penta Wood near Siren to set its coated poles on the bare ground. The damage of 40 years of such […]
  • A Fresh Dose of Dolly
    Because an issue of BUST never gets outdated … For two reasons, you need to read the June/July Dolly Parton cover story: 1. BUST (at least editor Debbie Stoller) openly wrestles with the Parton choice. For obvious reasons. Writer Lisa Butterworth (and, I would argue, Parton fan) allows naysayers some fodder early on, “How many feminist icons […]
  • What Would Laura Do?
    My sister-in-law poked fun at my most recent t-shirt idea, “What Would Laura Do?” (As in Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House fame.) “Um … Jodi, I’m pretty sure girls these days have moved on to some other things.” But dust off your old LHOTPs and take your girl on your favorite childhood wagon ride for these […]