Writing samples

Snowy owls entertaining birders from coast to coast

A national feature story on the widespread irruption of Snowy Owls, with birders from the Pacific Northwest to New England reporting frequent sightings of the yellow-eyed birds.

Don Meyer wins 891 by coaching kids over basketball

A feature story on legendary college basketball coach Don Meyer as he prepared to break Bobby Knight’s all-time NCAA win record (a mark eventually surpassed by Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski). Meyer, who later was was the subject of a Buster Olney biography, included my story in his recruiting packet sent to prospective players.

Cool temps hamper bees’ honey production

A story on how cool summer temps were putting the strain on South Dakota beekeepers and honey producers.

Time changes organ’s church role

A story on the continued popularity of the pipe organ despite many modern churches transitioning to services led by praise bands and a nationwide shortage of qualified organists.

Hillsview enjoys status as S.D.’s smallest town

A feature on the little-known McPherson County town of Hillsview, which boasts a population of 3. The town south of Eureka once was home to a couple hundred people and boasted its own butcher shop, bank and ZIP code.

FBI confirms activist was killed in SD in 1973

A story about the FBI finally acknowledging publicly that a black civil rights activist was killed during the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee and saying it suspects militant members of the American Indian Movement are responsible.

SD museum with rare instruments seeks $15M revamp

A travel feature on the National Music Museum in Vermillion, S.D., a tourist attraction that boasts more than 15,000 items ranging from a Stradivarius violin to a Bob Dylan acoustic guitar.

Backpacking across Europe, 20 years past prime

A first-person travel feature on my 19-day trip backpacking across Europe using a train pass and staying at hostels.

Award winners

AP Exclusive: Sept. 11 recovery loans went to many who didn’t need them

loebMy award-winning investigative project on how the U.S. Small Business Administration was granting loans slated for 9/11 recovery to many business far away from Ground Zero. The project and follow-up stories won the 2006 Gerald Loeb Award, business and financial journalism’s highest honor.

Meltdown 101: The economy and alternative energy

sabewMy installment in The Associated Press’ award-winning “Meltdown 101” series that sought to explain aspects of the 2008 economic crisis in terms the average reader could understand. The project won a 2008 Best in Business Award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.