Answers after show canceled

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (08.30.2016)

Online version | Print version

Styx cancelation print version

Shortly before Styx — one of the biggest rock bands to visit Lafayette — was set to play Lafayette Theater, I learned that the show was on the road to being canceled. After confirming that and obtaining the initial release from the band’s PR liaison, I followed up to answer readers’ questions and find out what happened.

My PR contact set me up with the band’s manager, and the story that resulted was widely read.

Mural not graffiti, police say

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (11.20.2015)

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JC- (w) Spot mural

Spot mural print PDF

This story started to blow up on Facebook after a police officer handed The Spot Tavern a citation for graffiti. Only the art in question — a hot dog bun with male genitalia — was actually a mural commissioned by The Spot. And the business was pretty unhappy about what had happened.

So what did occur?

Finding out took plenty of phone calls by my colleague and me on the day this broke.

Well-known Lafayette resident Ila Solomon started an online petition to have the mural taken down because it was offensive. Solomon previously had pleaded guilty to failing to report a dead body — her husband had lay dead on the floor in their house for more than nine months, according to a forensic entomologist.

But when I wrote the follow-up the next day — the story linked here — the police chief told me Solomon hadn’t filed the complaint. The officer knew it wasn’t graffiti but thought the citation was the best way to handle the complaint. The city ended up determining the mural wasn’t graffiti and withdrew the citation.

The real story, then, wasn’t about Solomon. It was about how a community and the police handled privately commissioned art that was publicly visible and could be found offensive to some.

As it all ended up, The Spot’s owner had a picture of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence pasted over the offending male genitalia. And the controversy died down after that.

Election Day 2016 coverage

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (11.09.2016)

My duties on Election Day 2016 were to make the rounds at the polls and then report on the mood and anything else interesting. Along with contributing to vignettes and writing a story on first-time voters at Jefferson High School, I made sure to have a strong social media presence. Here’s a sampling of my Twitter feed during the day.

 

New life in an old spot

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (04.09.2015)

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JC- (w) Town&Gown

Town & Gown print PDF

While I often write features shortly after restaurants open, this one was a little different. The newly opened Town & Gown Bistro had plenty working against it — a difficult-to-access location, a previous fire, poor parking and the reputation of being a spot where businesses fail.

But veteran chef Matt O’Neill, who once worked alongside Wolfgang Puck, saw nothing but potential for the space.

To give the story context, I dug through the Tippecanoe County assessor’s records to find out about the building and talked to previous business owners about what hadn’t worked before. With this backdrop, I unfolded O’Neill’s vision for Town & Gown’s future.

Superintendent up for new job

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (04.27.2015)

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JC- (w) WL Killion

Superintendent print version

One of my editors received a Google alert that the West Lafayette Community School Corp. superintendent was a finalist for another job in South Carolina.

That was on a Sunday, and, as it happened, I was assigned breaking news for the day. And our competition had no idea this had broken.

I was able to reach the president for the school corporation’s board of trustees — but that was about it. So I pulled together what information I could verify online and find in our archives. Our executive editor also asked that I include numbers to compare the sizes of the two districts, so I ferreted out those from state education departments.

Concert location questioned

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (07.07.2015)

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JC- (w) July4

July 4 concert location PDF

The annual Stars and Stripes Concert on July 4 is an enormous draw for Greater Lafayette and the surrounding area. For years, it has bounced between two places, dodging construction in both.

After 2015’s event, my editor asked me to take a look at the two areas and figure out how they stacked up against one another. What emerged was a constructive dialogue between stakeholders that weighed the costs of the event — one location costs double what the other does — along with comfort and acoustics.

Guns N’ Roses reunites

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (12.31.2015)

Online version | Print version

JC- (w) GunsNRoses

Guns N’ Roses print version

When Guns N’ Roses lead singer Axl Rose — one of Lafayette’s own — mended his rift with Slash, the Internet went nuts. So I decided to put something together that outlined the reported situation and tour dates. Our readers rewarded the Journal & Courier with plenty of clicks and shares.

The story also offered the opportunity for one of our producers to publish a photo gallery from our archives.

Film critiques Wal-Mart

Columbia Missourian  (11.14.2005)
Online PDF: “In a Wal-Mart town, critical film draws crowd”
Wal-Mart has a complex, controversial history in Columbia, Mo. Not only have family members of the owners resided in the city and sent children through the University of Missouri, but Columbia is one of the most Wal-Mart-saturated cities in the U.S. Writing this story about Robert Greenwald’s film—which took a critical inside look at the corporation—required that I maintain a neutral tone. I had to carefully examine and balance the interests of those invested in the story, including the corporation, protesters, college students, parents, etc. My article met with the editors’ approval and was considered an effective portrayal of the premiere.