Journalist for more than 20 years in daily news on multiple beats, now freelance. Serves on SPJ Ethics Commission, president of St. Louis SPJ, freelance editor and photographer.
University to install machines in mens' rooms after anti-trans vandalism
But the Mensi Project bags became a target for vandalism once they started appearing in men’s rooms last year. Mensi bags were thrown in the trash or in urinals, defaced or otherwise damaged with the products destroyed. Anti-trans stickers were found on walls in the bathrooms and elsewhere on campus.
Illinois backs down on Vandalia prison layoffs after AFSCME turns up the heat
Union workers at Vandalia Correctional Center in Illinois will not be facing reduced capacity or layoffs in the near future, following protests from AFSCME and local officials.
AFSCME members had mobilized in recent weeks with petitions and appeals to elected officials after an announcement that the state was considering consolidation of populations within the prison that the union felt would lead to a reduction in employees and possibly closure of the prison in the fut...
Tyson Foods expands plant
The plant, originally owned by AdvancePierre, was acquired by that company’s merger with Tyson in 2017, and currently employs 293 people with an estimated economic impact of $10 million in wages. Starting pay at Tyson is at least $21 an hour, according to the company’s statement.
Teenager Aria Burnside is just beginning her dessert empire in Illinois
Aria Burnside’s fondness for chocolate chip cookies started with a hotel treat, and now she is about to launch her own commercial bakery – just after she’s become old enough to vote.
Ethics Toolbox: A tale of two funerals
Ethics is the balancing act every journalist must face on a daily basis, the bargain you make with yourself for how much of your soul you will give up in order to perform our vital public service. It is never a matter of absolutes, nearly always shades of gray, and always on deadline.
Elon Musk is a bad Person of the Year… but not for the reasons you think.
I’ve written this column before.
In fact, I think I’ve written it several times. The short version is posted on social media so often each December that I pretty much end up copy-pasting it over and over.
And here we are again, with an annual mass delusion persisting for at least 90 years: TIME’s Person of the Year is not an honor.
It was never an honor, never intended to be an honor, and if you haven’t figured that out from some of the choices over the decades, I really don’t know what to te...
Embracing the werewolf
How often are nonconformity and defiance of social norms dismissed as madness by those focused on maintaining the status quo?
Last month’s exploration of madness in fiction focused on The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which I read many years before. This time we’re focusing specifically on themes of madness and nonconformity.
I chose to explore Stephen King’s theory of Jekyll and Hyde as a werewolf story, which he detailed in Danse Macabre. King’s overview of the horror genre was n...
Illinois moves toward making ‘right-to-work’ illegal
Union leaders and members will unite on Thursday, July 21 in support of Illinois’ unique Workers Rights Amendment proposal, which would make so-called “right-to-work” virtually illegal in the state, unlike all others.
Both the state House and Senate have already voted to put the proposal on the Nov. 8 general election ballot. It would be an amendment to Article 1 of the state constitution saying...
A second life
Who would you be, if you could be anyone?
Recently, I attended a convention that took place entirely in the virtual reality world of Second Life due to the pandemic. It sucked me in, and I find as time goes on I’m spending more of my scant free time there as opposed to endlessly scrolling Facebook so I can begin and end each day angry.
*Reprinted in CodeX
San Antonio: The Riverwalk
The Esquire opened the night Prohibition ended and features "the longest bar in San Antonio," an original wooden bar with a great selection. Allegedly, John F. Kennedy dropped by the day before his assassination...
NPR Illinois clashes with university licensee over coverage of harassment on campus
Journalists at NPR Illinois are pushing back against a University of Illinois policy that they say is hampering their reporting on cases of sexual harassment at the university, which is also the station’s licensee.
The conflict arose after the Springfield station and ProPublica undertook an investigation of how the university has handled sexual assault cases. #metoo
The Cheshire Inn
I spend a lot of nights in hotel rooms - average is 25-30 a year. Most of them are mid-range chain hotels. Some are fancy high-rises overlooking downtown Atlanta while 60,000 of your closest friends line up for Dragoncon. Some of them are funky bed-and-breakfasts I find through AirBnB in rural areas where the hotels are inexplicably overpriced - I'm looking at you, Lawrence, Kansas... But the gold medal goes to the Cheshire Inn in St. Louis. After literally hundreds of hotel nights, I think I have found my favorite hotel.
Colleges Help High School Students with Autism Reach Higher Education
The transition from high school to college is challenging for any recent graduate, but students with autism have additional obstacles that colleges and universities are trying to help them overcome.
Approximately 50,000 youth with autism leave high school each year, and about one-third choose to go to college, according to a 2015 study by the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute.
But the special education services legally mandated for those students end at high school graduation, and only 58 percent ...
So last week was my anniversary. No, not that one. People often ask me how long I've been a writer. I reply that it's like asking how long I've had brown eyes. This much is true: I was writing tragic Smurf fanfic at the age of seven, ludicrously overwrought poetry in my teens, an awful science-fiction novella at seventeen and plays filled with angst through college...
The Beast vs. Brad Admire
Brad Admire is dead. I never met him.
Brad was 17 years old when he was injured playing high school sports. He had surgery on his shoulder, and the doctors gave him opiate-based pain pills during his recovery.
You probably know where this story is going.