Author Archives: Michelle

Lester, thank you for being

Lester Davis isn’t shy about telling the story of his 20-year addiction to crack cocaine, nor is he reluctant to give thanks to the people who helped him find love and redemption and a deeper, truer sense of connection with … Continue reading

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I Made That!

Cookie’s doghouse is now famously enshrined within the awesome goodness that is radio show “Destination DIY”, produced by Julie Sabatier in Portland, Ore., along with the stories of a stay-at-home dad/home brewer, a woman who knitted a farm, and the … Continue reading

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You Should Be Dancing

This little slideshow is like a happy pill. Whenever I’m feeling hopeless or out of sorts — and that’s too often than I want to admit, in these difficult times — I watch this. My friend and Journal colleague Jennifer … Continue reading

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In the Doghouse

One thing really does lead to another. Last fall, John Steinberger was sitting in his back yard, idly thinking about his neighbor, Lisa. She’d just put her house on the market, and she’d just gotten a new dog. He didn’t … Continue reading

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Story of My Life

I love working with photographer Christine Rucker for lots of reasons. First, she has a way of putting people at ease with her gentle, unassuming style and easy laugh. They get it right away that she sees them. I believe she … Continue reading

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A River of the People

About a year ago, writer Phoebe Zerwick and photojournalist Christine Rucker set out on an audacious project to tell the story of the Yadkin River. The river is right now the focus of an intense fight between Alcoa and the … Continue reading

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Remember This Name

Once in a while I get lucky. Not too long ago, my old colleague Chris English called and asked me for help. He’s the photo editor for university publications at UNC Greensboro, and he’d just come back from a photo … Continue reading

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The Murders at Grassy Creek

When three people were murdered on a Grayson County, Va., Christmas tree farm, suspicion soon focused on Freddie Hammer, a man who earned his living chopping firewood and doing odd jobs in neighboring Ashe County, N.C. In 2008, reporter Monte … Continue reading

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A Warmer, Happier Place

A couple of years ago, a group of students at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina, joined forces with a Buncombe County program to weatherize the homes of low-income homeowners as a way to save money — and energy. The … Continue reading

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The Need to Read

  About four years ago, I was among a group of radio producers who worked on a documentary project that focused on two main questions: What is poverty? And how has poverty changed since the 1960s, when it was a subject … Continue reading

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Confronting the Achievement Gap

Mount Tabor High School, in Winston-Salem, N.C., tried to close the ‘achievement gap’ by pushing more students into rigorous course work. The approach fixed some problems, but created others — more non-white students were taking advanced placement or honors courses … Continue reading

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Jousting with the Dictionary

The story of spelling whiz Josiah Wright, a home-schooler from Fleetwood, N.C., in Ashe County, was one of my very early video pieces, and despite its vast imperfections it is still one of my favorites. Josiah represented Northwest N.C. at … Continue reading

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Alzheimer’s Disease Changes a Beloved Husband

Living with Alzheimer’s disease has changed everything for George Griswold, but nothing more than his marriage to his wife, Nan. Laura Giovanelli wrote a compelling portrait of the Griswolds in the Sunday, Aug. 16 edition of the Winston-Salem Journal. See photographs … Continue reading

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Suicide on Campus

Two long months have passed and the door to the room where Paul Wilfong lived at the N.C. School of the Arts remains locked, the shades closed. On Thanksgiving night, Wilfong, 22, a fourth-year student in modern dance, turned down … Continue reading

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A Strict Protocol

With a blue-chip pedigree, Dr. William Frederick McGuirt Jr. used to be a respected member of the faculty at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Now, he is scheduled to go before the N.C. Medical Board on charges that … Continue reading

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