Daily: Ashley Development pulls from projects (2007)

I have special stories attached to all of my articles, but I think this one makes me proud because it could be considered a “scoop.” If I remember correctly, I heard something at a West Easton council meeting referencing a bigger project in the county seat, Easton. The news for West Easton was that this developer, Ashley Development, a known name in the Lehigh Valley, would not be moving forward as scheduled with a West Easton project because of the economy.

For some reason, perhaps because of my charm and politeness, but more likely it was because of the news entity I represented, the head of Ashley Development (Lou Pektor) returned my phone call. I confirmed information about the West Easton project but I also got information about the project in Easton and another big redevelopment, “the Dixie cup,” in Wilson borough.

Ashley Development

Ashley Development

This article is also available online via the Morning Call: http://articles.mcall.com/2007-09-29/news/3780119_1_project-majestic-tax-revenue.

Editorial: Bad Behavior of Bethlehem School Board (2007)

When we launched the Lehigh Valley News Group, the Lehigh Valley branch of Berks-Mont newspapers (a Journal Register entity), I served as managing editor for the five new newspapers and the one previous-existing, The Saucon News. In addition to managing editor duties, I served as editor of the largest of the new papers, The Bethlehem News. We headed into a territory that had been abandoned by my previous employer (Chronicle Newspapers, a division of The Morning Call, a Tribune Company newspaper). In addition to those Chronicle weeklies that had just closed, most of our proposed territories were also served by The Press weeklies, an entity that still continues today.

I attended the school board meetings of the Bethlehem Area School District. After more than five years of covering the Phillipsburg School District, the differences between the two boards fascinated me. Bethlehem was a larger school district, had more schools and more students. But let’s just say the people who sat on the two boards were also different. I’m sure everyone had their good intentions, but the interactions on the Bethlehem board were often tense.

I wrote this editorial after one board meeting where the disagreements between board members, and their unwillingness to move forward after a vote, scared not only me but also drained the color from the superintendent.

BASD board behavior

BASD board behavior

Daily journalism: Brush with celebrity, Mitchel Musso (2007)





Image Image

The holiday season, 2007. My daughter was a week shy of three-and-a-half years old. I recall having plans this night. Grown-up plans. My editor from the Morning Call telephoned and asked me to do this quick assignment. Famous last words.

I am not a fan of Disney. I like the classic Disney films like Mary Poppins, Pete’s Dragon and maybe a Bambi or Lady and the Tramp. (Okay, maybe not Lady because I get really upset when Lady gets thrown out of the house.) Blame Hunchback of Notre Dame. I went to go see it with the man I later married. I did a “May term” in college where I traveled to Paris for three-plus weeks to study the influence of politics on the art and architecture of various periods and Hunchback/the cathedral Notre Dame de Paris were on the list. When we returned to the States, we read the various literary works in the original French. Except for Hunchback because we had worn our poor professor thin and he asked us to please read it in English over the weekend. His plan was to meet with us Monday and be done with us so he could continue with his summer.

And it would have taken us too long to read the book in French. This is my back story. It frames my anticipation for the Disney film.

I arrive in the theater. I am watching. The cathedral is on fire. Esmerelda crawls into her cot where in the book she dies. I am crying. In the book, everyone dies. Tragedy is a French necessity.

She wakes up and lives happily-ever-after.

I was very angry.

Flash forward about ten years and I’m sitting in the Crayola Factory in downtown Easton with a thousand other people waiting for a star of the Hannah Montana TV series who, like everyone else in the Lehigh Valley, got caught in traffic on our infamous highway Route 22.

And I’m waiting for a much needed date night after I file. I barely met my deadline this night, and instead of date night I treated myself to an album of French Christmas carols I downloaded from iTunes. And, to further frame the way my life often works, the album turned out to be instrumental with some children singing “La la la” where the words should be.

My husband claimed they were French “la’s.”

I have been teased mercilessly about this album.

To return to the story for one last moment, I tried to inflect some humor into it. And Mitchel Musso was a really nice guy. Not that I know/knew who he is. I barely knew the name Hannah Montana.



News: West Easton talks trash with Waste Management, fining them 40K (2002)

As a freelance reporter for the Morning Call, I loved West Easton. Small town, good bunch of elected officials who always had something to say. They could balance a mean budget. This particular saga started in the summer of 2002, when their trash hauler missed a good portion of the borough. The trash saga between Waste Management went on for months, but if we’re talking off the record, you have to admire the little town for standing up to a huge corporation.

It’s my version of a municipal soap opera.

These articles are also available online at The Morning Call.

Little West Easton considers significant fine against Waste Management

Little West Easton considers significant fine against Waste Management

Part 2: West Easton levies $40K fine

Part 2: West Easton levies $40K fine

Part 3: Waste Management asks West Easton to lower fine

Part 3: Waste Management asks West Easton to lower fine

Opinion: Lessons Learned in Phillipsburg, N.J.

My guest column in my last issue of The Free Press

My guest column in my last issue of The Free Press


I worked at The Free Press (Phillipsburg, N.J.) for about a year. I left when a publisher from another weekly called me out of the blue and offered me an editor position. I hated to leave Phillipsburg and my amazing publisher Enid, but I had long ago learned that regrets often stemmed from not knowing “What if?”

The Free Press was a weekly paper, paid subscription, mailed to those who subscribed. At the point I started working for Enid, I had already freelanced for a decade. This was my first full-time journalism position. I was sitting at my desk in our very tiny newsroom on September 11, 2001. The experience of being part of the media, even if only part of a small local weekly, gave a haunting layer to the tragedy.

After a year as editor of The Blue Valley Times, working with my former science teacher, Larry Cory, I joined the staff of the start-up weeklies from the Morning Call, known as The Chronicles. I returned to Phillipsburg, and in the three years that entity existed, I made some relationships that last until today. Phillipsburg still holds a special place in my heart.

And it’s not just because the gas in New Jersey is cheaper than Pennsylvania. And it’s not because the gas stations are full service.





Professional samples available on the web

(In progress. I will add to this post until complete)

My LinkedIn Profile:



Article from The Morning Call, archived through the Library of Congress and visible on the Open World Leadership Center web site (2003)

Visiting Russians Learn about American Libraries


More about libraries:
Meuser Library in Wilson sets out to prove it’s friendly (2007)

Phillipsburg to get first look at library addition this month (2003)


Morning Call sports feature:

Slate Belt basking in glory of two football teams (2001)


Morning Call municipal news articles about Phillipsburg, N.J.:

Phillipsburg group fails to get answers about reassessment (2003)


In Phillipsburg, a neighborhood awaits tax ruling (2003)


Phillipsburg PAL serves up invitation to fundraiser (2003)


Some Morning Call municipal news articles about West Easton, Pa.:

$40,000 fine considered for missed trash pick-up (2002)


West Easton, trash hauler argue over fine (2002)


West Easton to pay trash hauler again (2003)


West Easton delays choice on $52 tax (2007)


West Easton, housing developer try to settle dispute (2007)


Ashley pulls back from two projects (2007)


Some Morning Call municipal news articles about Glendon, Pa.:

Glendon neighborhood sings the stray cat blues, The Morning Call (2007)


Glendon residents worry about possible work-release program (2007)


Williams eyes taking over nearly a mile of road in Glendon, The Morning Call (2008)



Business article from The Bethlehem News

Crystal Signatures shares the art of glass and pride in Bethlehem (2006)



Hippocampus magazine:

My Battle of Algiers: A memoir by Ted Morgan (2012)


Becoming Jimi Hendrix by Steven Roby and Brad Schrieber (2012)


Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (2012)


House of Stone by Anthony Shadid (2013)



“YWCA seeks volunteers to help” in the daily newspaper, the Express-Times, contributed photo by me (2008)


“Sciota shopkeeper honors those who serve,” front page of the daily newspaper, the Pocono Record (2013)



Some snapshots I took during my time at The Lehigh Valley News Group:

Bethlehem Area School District teachers head down the River (2006)


Freemansburg 150th/Carnival (2006)


Blueberry Festival at Burnside Plantation (2006)


Durkee employee reunion (2006)