I love it when my local reporting for The Observer here in Jefferson County, West Virginia links to larger national (or international) issues. That’s what happened when I dug deeply into animal cruelty charges against a local farmer last year. Danny Rohrer had been a cornerstone of our weekly farmers’ market for more than a decade, and our community was stunned when sensational headlines about … Continue reading Reporting locally, thinking globally
The Observer’s new editor and publisher Michael Chalmers revamped the magazine’s look this month, both online and in print. And I’m thrilled to be a part of it. I’ve been contributing to The Observer as a feature writer regularly for more than two years (and intermittently before that), focusing on land use, historic preservation and related issues in and around Jefferson County, West Virginia. Mike’s … Continue reading The Observer moves forward
That’s a question no one should have to ask. Particularly, as we Americans like to think, in our own country. But the Flint, Michigan water crises reminds us that, more than 30 years after passage of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, dirty drinking water is a reality for some Americans. As a (transplanted) West Virginian, I can’t help thinking about … Continue reading Is the water safe to drink?
Last summer, a colleague from long-ago called me out of the blue. Brooke Smith had been my intern 15 years ago when I was running the Washington, DC office of Marine Conservation Biology Institute (now Marine Conservation Institute). She was an exceptional intern and it was obvious to me that she would go far in a career straddling the worlds of environmental science and policy. … Continue reading A warm welcome
For the past few years, my husband John and I have traveled north from our home in West Virginia to central New York for Christmas. My father lives there, around the corner from my sister and her family. Or at least he used to live there; first with his wife, and then alone. Every year, John and I would drive over the rivers and through … Continue reading Co-home for the holidays
That tiny dot in the photo is me, hiking across the prairie of Wind Cave National Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota on vacation in September, channeling Laura Ingalls Wilder (whose books I devoured as a kid) and seeking out as much charismatic megafauna as I could. (Tatanka everywhere!) There’s something captivating about the American West; a longing that poet Emily Walters called … Continue reading West comes east
A nonfiction writer always faces a fundamental question when beginning a piece of work, namely: Do I insert myself in the narrative? If the piece is about oneself, then the answer is obvious. But most of us are writing about other topics, and inserting oneself often simply gets in the way. Still, there are times when a writer’s role in the story is impossible to … Continue reading It’s not about you. But…