I wrote about how Amazon's second headquarters could affect its hometown, plus some other stories for Seattle Met:
I wrote a story for 5280 about Jim White, a climate scientist worried about what's happening to something he considers God's creation—the planet: A couple of years ago, the pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, which White and his wife attend on Sunday mornings, asked the climate scientist to talk to some high schoolers on a youth retreat about water issues and how they impact people around the globe. White spoke about dwindling freshwater supplies, particularly in regions where the world’s most vulnerable citizens live. Congregants of the Boulder church often consider how they can help the poor, White says, and increasingly he discusses the injustice of inequality when he gives presentations about climate change. The way his faith and work overlap feels natural, if not inevitable. “I think it’s actually pretty hard to study the planet, and to study the solar system, and to study how all this stuff works and not loop back to a higher power,” he says. “How it all functions is pretty damned amazing. I have no trouble blending religion and science, and I’m pretty sure that a lot of people don’t.”
Stephanie Deal wanted her mom to bail her out of jail but Jule Crowell thought her daughter, who was addicted to heroin, was safer there. Three days later, she was dead. I talked to Jule and other families recently for my story for Seattle Met magazine about the deaths of pre-trial detainees in Washington state. Read it here.
I reported some of this story for The Atlantic while cradling one of Avery McRae's pet rabbits. She loves animals, especially horses, but calls "equines" her favorite so that she doesn't leave donkeys out.
"The forever war over the office thermostat has a new beachhead: the 'Comfort Suite' at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, where researchers are chasing detente between the half of the office that wants the air conditioning on maximum and the other half shivering in their cubicles, huddled under sweaters, pointing their toes toward wan little electric heaters."
More from my Wired story here.
Testimony started today in Rashad Owens' capital murder trial in Austin, more than a year after he was accused of driving through a crowd of pedestrians during the South by Southwest Music Festival in March 2014. The deadly crash left four people dead and more than 20 injured. Austin American-Statesman photographer Jay Janner was at a nearby venue and started taking pictures 19 seconds after the car hurtled down the street. Earlier this year, several American-Statesman reporters and I tracked down 12 of the people who appeared in those shots and agreed to share how what happened affected them. Their stories, portraits and video interviews can be found here.
My grandmother, who died four years ago, would have turned 80 on Wednesday. She had dementia, like the mother of this woman interviewed by This American Life. The radio story, which aired last Sunday, wonderfully captures both the humor and heartache that accompany diseases like Alzheimer's. In the story, the woman and her husband use improv techniques to navigate her mother's memory loss. But unlike that matriarch, my grandmother never stopped recognizing her family. When she first saw her brother after he flew to Washington to see her days before her death, she told him that he looked "completely different."
"And that is not a good thing," she said.
It's early in my fellowship yet — the Center for Environmental Journalism only today made our awards official, at least online — but I can already tell the year is going to be over too soon. You can read about the projects that I and other fellows are pursuing here. It's a talented group of journalists that I'm so glad to be a part of.
An editor called me the night before Labor Day four years ago to ask if I could work the next morning. Tens of thousands of acres were burning in Bastrop County, killing two, leaving many, many more homeless and seeking refuge in RV parks, and destroying hundreds of the pine trees that grew in the area. It was the biggest breaking news story I had covered to date, and the first time a reader thanked me and some other colleagues by name in a letter to the editor. More than a year later, volunteers planted Loblolly pine seedlings, though the trees aren't expected to reach their full height for another 20 years. You can find most of the Austin American-Statesman's wildfire coverage here. It feels all too familiar as so much of the West has burned this summer.