Published Work

This is a small sampling of the news and feature stories I published between 2007 and 2009. As a staff writer or correspondent, I have written articles for The Sanford Herald, The Daily Record, The High Country Press, High Country Magazine and The Appalachian. My work has frequently been picked up by the Associated Press for circulation on the regional wire; several of my stories have been republished in the News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer. Click any of the clips on this page to read the corresponding story in its entirety. Feel free to email me with any feedback, requests for additional articles or questions.


Caring for God’s Children in the Caribbean

Published November 1, 2009

Following a long career of healing sports injuries and birth defects in the community of Sanford, Dr. Ted Beemer and his wife Susan decide to close up shop and head south — where they continue their work as medical missionaries for Cure International.

In the Dominican Republic’s capital city of Santo Domingo, the organization operates a 40-bed hospital that focuses on treating children with congenital birth defects such as clubfoot and cleft palate. In the United States, common conditions such as these are typically corrected in the first few days of a child’s life, practically removing all traces of the problem before the child is even aware of the deformity.

“The problem with health care in the Dominican Republic is people there, a lot of them can’t get care, so the problems you see have been neglected for years,” Beemer said.

Full Article

The Good, the Bad, and the Elderly

Published December 30, 2008

A new Medicare rating system aims to make startling problems at nursing homes plain to the public, but does the data tell the whole story?

Medicare officials said the online system should make it easier for people to compare the quality of nursing homes within each state, although the information used for the analysis has proven to be outdated and incomplete.

Full Article

Killer’s Confession Stuns Courtroom

Published November 13, 2008

The second story in a month-long series on a capital murder trial in North Carolina. District Attorney Dewey Hudson admitted the case was ‘as bad as bad gets.’

The second full day of Kenneth Mark Hartley’s capital murder trial was accentuated by the retelling of Mr. Hartley’s clinical description of how he killed his family in the early morning hours of June 18, 2004, a few miles from Dunn.

Full Article

Tradition Shines Through at Benson Mule Days

Published September 29, 2008

Benson Mule Days is one of the oldest and largest community festivals in North Carolina. In recent years crowds of 60,000 or more converged on the small town of 3,200. This story was circulated unabridged in papers across the state, including the Charlotte Observer and News & Observer.

Campers have gone home. Carnival rides and concessions stalls have been loaded up and pushed down the interstate. Thousands of horses and mules have started the long haul out of Benson. Later this week, even the heavily trafficked streets will be cleaned to conceal any reminders of the four-day party they hosted.

But for thousands of area residents who came to celebrate the harvest season, and tens of thousands of visitors who came to show off their mules, memories of the 2008 Benson Mule Days celebration will last a lifetime.

Full Article

The Business of Jail

Published September 2, 2008

Housing unwanted inmates is big business in Sampson County. Filling their ultra-modern jail with visiting criminals brought the county nearly $2 million in 2008.

Next month, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office will become the ninth law enforcement agency to start shuttling pre-trial inmates to Clinton, pouring money into Sampson County’s coffers for the privilege.

Full Article

Getting Ready for Macy’s

Published August 8, 2008

A group of local teens with a passion for music commit themselves, and their summer, to honing their skills for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This story was abbreviated and circulated on the state wire.

Marching back and forth over a steaming asphalt parking lot for hours on end in early August, as the temperature hovers near 95 degrees, may not sound like an ideal summer vacation to most teens. For nearly 200 West Johnston High School students, however, there is no place they would rather be.

Today marks the end of West Johnston’s two-week long band camp: an intense routine of physical and mental exercises aimed at getting the students ready for their performance in the 82nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

Full Article

Life on the Farm

Published June 27, 2008

A pair of farm-dwelling empty nesters and a group of urban Christian community workers partner up to give some kids a weekend to remember.

Rolling wheat fields dance gracefully with every fresh breath of a spring breeze. Lines of densely-packed corn stand tall like soldiers on parade. Nearby, majestic horses playfully gallop together, exploring the far edges of their fenced-in kingdom, as the setting sun splashes a myriad of purple and orange hues on their velvety backs.

For many Johnston County natives, a scene like this is nothing unusual. Many can simply look out the kitchen window (sweet tea in hand) and admire the signs of a vibrant community rich in agricultural heritage. Some may even take these things for granted, unable to imagine any lifestyle offering the same joy as that of the farmer.

For many children born and raised in our state’s growing cities, however, a landscape like this can seem as foreign as anywhere on Earth.

Full Article

Ensuring the Journey Continues

Published June, 2007

The National Park Service has been the victim of budget cuts and government cutbacks for years. In 2007, the lack of funding appropriations were obvious to anyone who took a tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway — trail-side fences were in shambles, rest areas were closed and popular educational programs were put on hiatus. The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation has stepped in to provide ‘a margin of excellence’ in areas that can be addressed, hopefully drawing more visitors, and more funds, to this southern gem.

Often described as “a string of pearls,” the Parkway draws more visitors than Yosemite, Yellow Stone and the Grand Canyon combined. However, with a budget of less than half that of the other parks, this national treasure is operating on a shoestring. Currently 63 of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s permanent staff positions are vacant because there’s no money to pay them, and the Parkway’s maintenance backlog exceeds $200 million.

Full Article

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