Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Last Stories (this summer anyway!)

My last stories were part of a sunday package, with at the Times means long term stories you work on about a particular subject.

For my sunday package, me and the other intern worked on a back to school themed package.

Even though that was my last project this summer, they said I could do Correspondent work for them, which I'm really interested in! So hopefully this isn't the last time I'll be in print at the Carroll County Times!

They also had a really nice going away party for us, where they got us an ice cream cake and gave us a bunch of CCT parting gifts and a card. They are so wonderful!

Read my stories:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fair Food

Photo by Ken Koons

Hello adorable baby!

For this article, I had to investigate the food at the Carroll County 4-H and FFA Fair. It was hard to know where to focus- the outside stands or the inside dining area. I chose a little of both, for a full spectrum of coverage.

Many journalists like to concentrate on just one thing. When you give me a topic, however, I like to cover my bases. This can be a problem because my story lacks focus, but it does give readers a much better idea of the event. After reading my article, people know about how it feels to be there rather than about one aspect of that experience. I pride myself in that, but I don't know if it is regarded as a good thing. Maybe for small, commuity papers. Well, at least I tell the truth in my writing.

Read my story:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Remembering Katie Bossler

This was an extremely difficult story to write. I'm a little bit upset with the editors, because I think they tried to beef up my story but they made an error and added redundancy, in my opinion. I guess I'm touchy about this story, in particular, because I wanted it to be perfect. It's so horrifying.

Because it was a story of remembrance, I didn't add in some interesting parts. The mother said in the interview that she hopes the public gets angry because he's out of jail and the bail was very low ($20,000 for drunk driving and killing a teenager). She said he didn't even know he hit anyone, just thought he hit a car. This other woman I interviewed, the North Carroll teacher, said her husband died when a 17-year-old ran the double yellow line on a curve, while texting, and struck her husband. She said with vehicular crimes like these, people essentially only receive a slap on the wrist. After killing someone. How crazy.

How many people have to die before we learn not to drink and drive or text and drive?

Read my story:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Day in Court

Today was really cool, and an appreciated change of pace. Ryan Marshall, the writer who covers criminal cases in Carroll County, took me and Rachel (the other intern) to court to watch the trials today.

I've never been to court, but I know a little bit about it since I'm a poli sci major. I feel like Ryan's job would be really great- it would be mixing my two favorite things!

Some of the cases we heard were boring, but some were really serious. There were a lot of people brought in wearing handcuffs and chains on their feet. This one man was circled by police officers- apparently they thought he could be a very big threat.

I feel like the judges are very burnt out. I read that was a huge issue when it comes to that profession. One judge read his decision while rubbing his face and sighing in an annoyed fashion. The same judge also mocked a lawyer once- he said "There may be a dilemma", because the other lawyer was downstairs handling a domestic violence case that was taking longer than expected. So the judge was like "Oh, is there a dilemma?" in a snarky way, then when he got the explanation he was just like "OK, lets take a long recess." People who were waiting for their trial were PISSED!

One of the interesting cases, though it was simple, was this man was driving and pulled over for his middle break light being out. While stopped for that, he was charged with another crime (possession or something). His lawyer fought that he shouldn't have been stopped in the first place because the law says you only need 2 brake lights. The prosecution said you need all three if the car has all three. The judge decided that was crap, so he threw out the charges because the man shouldn't have been stopped in the first place. Crazy!

The domestic violence case was sad, because the man seems crazy but the woman still loves him. Apparently he shot a gun near her in their home. We missed the teary witness account, but the judge let him off easy with reckless indangerment charges and charges for shooting a gun within city limits. I hope those people go their separate ways.

One story was really sad- it was about these two brothers who commited a chain of armed robberies in Carroll County. The case we saw was for the brother who drove the getaway car. His brother went into a bunch of shops and robbed them, but after about 4 robberies, still only got about $500 or less. From a couple of places they only made $30. They just had given up, I guess. They were super sloppy and now they were going to get like 20 or more years, and for what? Totally wasn't worth it. I think their mother turned them in. Apparently they were drug addicts, so that's probably why they did it.

One case was kind of funny. This man said he'd do his girlfriend's taxes. He got the money put right into his bank account, because he said it would be easier. Once he got the money, he lied to his girlfriend and said he didn't get it yet. She kept asking, but then he stopped answering her calls. So, she sued him for the money- the $100!! But he didn't get in trouble, really- probably mostly because he was already serving for another crime but out on work release. When will people learn.

Ryan showed us how he's allowed to look in case files and see what people plead, etc. He said not many cases have a jury- about one a year. We also learned how complicated it is when people commit crimes in more than one county or more than one state. Each state gives them different sentences and everything. One man wanted out because he committed a crime in MD, but then he committed one in NJ and they gave him a harsher sentence. He said that wasn't right because he committed the first one in MD so should be charged here, and said he'd be out by now if that had happened so he wanted out. The judge denied his request.

All in all, it was a good time, but it really makes me wonder how people could throw away their lives doing such stupid things. How depressing.


Photo by Ken Koons

So I had a very big day yesterday. After going to Chestertown to take care of some Elm duties and return some ILL thesis books, I came home and covered Reese Carnival.

I was going to get there early, but it started raining so I thought I'd wait it out a bit. The photographer, Ken Koons, went at about 630 so I followed shortly after. Amazingly, there were still a lot of people there.

So, since he got there before me, he scoped out a story. There was a person who brought her chocolate colored skunk.

What a great story! New, inventive, yay!

So, it ran today and was interesting, but I got a call from Chad Reese, President of the fire department saying, "So animal control is out here looking for the skunk because it's not allowed on carnival grounds. Do you have contact information for them?"

Oh no!

I feel horrible! I got them in trouble and the poor skunk had to go home. What a bummer, now my story is a lie because people can not see this skunk all week since my story brought the issue to light. I guess it's there fault for bringing it without permission, but I feel horrible.

Read my story:

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Photo by Kyle Nosal

I have a special connection to this story, since I used to go to Camp COPS when I was 12ish. My mom sent me to many local camps in an effort to get me out of my grandparents house (where I stayed most of my summers and picked up bad habits like watching tv constantly).

Well, looks like Camp COPS has become much more serious and structured. I went to it when it was a very new camp. It's a lot like the CSI camp I wrote about- it's an effort to bond youth and police officers.

Read my story:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Masterclass of Roots Music

Photo by Kyle Nosal. This is NOT a picture of Tim O'Brien, but instead a student in his class named Josh Henderson from N.C.

Tim O'Brien, who taught the Masterclass of Roots Music, is a big deal in the Folk world! He's a grammy winning artist and was in the band Hot Rize. By the way, roots music is classic american music and is mainly folksy-country-bluegrass. Anyway, Tim O'Brien was a very nice man and made me want to become more musical. I should, it seems like a fantastic stress reliever...
Well, I had a fun time chillin' in this class and it made me reconnect with my bluegrass roots.
Oh, yes, I have bluegrass roots.

Read my story: