My passion for writing began at a young age as I wrote stories about my hamster, as well as many letters to my parents. Once I began high school my mother encouraged me to take a journalism class to see if that passion would grow into something more. With the help of a wonderful mentor, that journey continued through high school and into college as my newspaper writing opportunities expanded.
Although my journalism career began in high school, it officially took off after I graduated from Arizona State University in 2006. Since graduation, every year proves to be better than the last, offering more opportunities to do what I love, write.
In April 2013, I left my dream job and began another chapter in my life . . . one that has proven to be wonderful.
I contribute articles to the Herald & Tribune, which is located in Jonesborough, Tenn.
In July 2013, the past publisher of the Hearld & Tribune, Lynn Richardson, brought me on as a freelance reporter, which eventually turned into a staff writing position.
Here is a collection of some of my articles that have been published accompanied with some photographs I have taken over the years.
Herald & Tribune articles
Articles published in February 2015:
BMA moves ahead to allow beer sampling
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the first reading of a beer ordinance amendment that, if approved on the final reading, will allow customers to sample draft craft beers before purchasing from a convenience store or market.
The ordinance, Town Administrator Bob Browning said, will allow anyone selling draft craft beers the opportunity to obtain a permit.
Fire Chief presents heartfelt thank you
Jonesborough Fire Chief Phil Fritts believes two simple, yet powerful words — “thank you” — are all that is left to be shared after the community rallied behind one of Jonesborough’s sergeants who lost his battle to cancer last month.
“I knew that this community was special and the people were good, kind people,” Fritts said. “They are good honest, decent hardworking people. I really didn’t realize the extent of their compassion and kindness, I guess you can say.”
Board looks at plans for Boones Creek school, top county buiding sites
Beeson, Lusk & Street was selected as the architect to build a new pre-K-8 Boones Creek school with a 2017 projected completion date during a called Washington County Board of Education meeting last week.
“I have been very fortunate to work with the board since the early ‘80s. This by far is certainly the greatest opportunity that I have had and my office has had to serve Washington County,” said Tony Street of Beeson, Lusk & Street at the Jan. 28 meeting.
Articles published in January 2015:
County schools eye increased safety for upcoming year
Additional cameras, as well as upgrades to existing systems, will be added to Washington County school campuses to further secure the schools and keep students safe.
The Washington County Board of Education approved monies for an additional 25 to 30 exterior cameras, as well as upgrading the existing 500 camera systems at its meeting last week. The money, $30,000 for additional cameras and $108,000 to upgrade existing cameras, was taken from the remaining safety money funds provided by the county commission. The county commission provided a total of $500,000.
Articles published in December 2014:
Distillery ready to open in new year
As of last week, Tennessee Hills Distillery can officially manufacture and distribute alcohol in the state of Tennessee, bringing the Jonesborough business one step closer to opening the doors early next year.
“I can’t believe it still,” Stephen Callahan, owner of Tennessee Hills Distillery, said of making progress in following his dreams and his moonshine roots. “Now we have to get our labels approved and wait on our first shipment of bottles and get our souvenir line in order.”
Park to bear name of ISC founder
In a meeting on Dec. 8, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved renaming Storytelling Park as the new Jimmy Neil Smith Park.
“I was surprised first of all,” said Smith, who is also the former president of the International Storytelling Center. “After the shock, I obviously had a great sense of honor and pride. I never thought about a park being named after me, but a park is a beautiful thing.”
Park Proposals: Community meets to discuss land possibility near new senior center
Although some members of the community voiced their concerns about the proposed park behind the new Senior Center being opened to everyone, including children, others at last week’s workshop wanted to incorporate elements that they could enjoy with their grandchildren.
“This is a community input meeting. It’s an opportunity for people within the community to give us ideas,” Town Administrator Bob Browning told the crowd of about 20 people that gathered Dec. 4 at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center.
Articles published in November 2014:
Lure of the dance: Society thrives as community learns to step to the music
The Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center was lit up with smiles one recent Saturday night as dancers of all ages swung from one partner to another, all to the beat of the three-man band.
Before the Nov. 15 contra dance began, a workshop was held by nationally renowned dance caller Diane Silver to help newcomers become accustomed to contra lingo and dance steps, as well as provide a refresher for the seasoned dancers.
Town moves forward with new garage
The Town of Jonesborough will soon see some changes for the town garage, as well as its current property located behind the new Senior Center site.
At the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting on Nov. 10, board members discussed an agreement with the Community Design Assistance Center of Virginia Tech and the option to purchase land from Jean Rosenbaum for a town garage complex.
Boy seeks very special dog
A young boy who had his first seizure at 11 months old is in need of the community’s support to help his family raise money for a seizure response dog.
Misty Royston, said her son Justin, who is now 8 years old, had his first seizure at a graduation party a friend of theirs was having before he was a year old. She said she knew instantly what was happening because of a family member who has epilepsy.
Articles published in October 2014:
ISC sets seven-point plan for the future
A mission that encouraged one executive director to move to Jonesborough continues to thrive, growing communities through new partnerships dedicated to continuing the oldest art form – storytelling.
“When you can bring 11,000 people together, it fosters a sense of community,” International Storytelling Center Executive Director Kiran Singh Sirah said. “That community spirit creates a better world.”
Articles published in September 2014:
Jonesborough resident plans trip to France for dad’s WWII honors
“It is really an honor to have a street named after your dad,” Bill Chapman said.
Articles published in August 2014:
Intern working to bring farmers to film
The Town of Jonesborough will be featured in a film highlighting farmers, thanks to the work of an intern who arrived in town in June.
Articles published in July 2014:
Distillery slowly emerges on Fox Street
The home of Tennessee Hills Distillery is coming to life as renovations are completed and the installation of equipment will soon be under way.
Articles published in June 2014:
Hill prepares for re-election
Matthew Hill, Jonesborough’s Republican State Representative, recently launched his campaign for re-election.
Boones Creek principal recognized by board for making a difference
An educator of 44 years — 20 of which were spent at Boones Creek Elementary School as the principal — was honored with the Director of Schools “Made a Difference Award” earlier this month.
A lesson well-learned on the beauty of art: Class strikes all “A’s” in college-level test at Providence
Eight students at Providence Academy have gotten the art history bug — and they’ve got the scores to prove it.
Arguably stand the test of time
A splash of color has been added to the wrought iron fence behind Boone Street Market bringing additional character to downtown Jonesborough through the images of murals.
Articles published in April 2014:
In honor of mom: Journee’s focus to fulfill lifelong dreams
An organization, created in honor of the founder’s mother, is beginning to work to make dreams come true for those battling a terminal illness in Northeast Tennessee.
Articles published in March 2014:
Board gives distillery final approval: Callahan gets ready to realize dream
With the final approval from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Stephen Callahan is now ready to continue his dream of opening a moonshine craft distillery in the Town of Jonesborough.
Crockett hero quickly steps in to save fellow student’s life
David Crockett High School senior Kenny Cutshall’s quick thinking saved the life of a fellow student recently.
‘Relay’ gets ready for 2014
For Lisa Tipton, the Rally Team meeting at AmericInn Lodge & Suites last week to kick off the second Relay for Life season in Jonesborough was the perfect place to tell her story.
Cameras pulled from classrooms
After concerns surfaced last month about cameras being used as a new teachers’ evaluation tool in Washington County classrooms, the process was stopped immediately, Director of Schools Ron Dykes told school board officials at a called meeting on Feb. 25.
Articles published in February 2014:
Boone, Crockett students team up to manufacture the perfect robot
With their robot stored safely away, students of David Crockett and Daniel Boone High Schools are focusing on final preparations for the First Robotics Competition.
With one ‘no’ vote cast . . . Future downtown distillery clears next hurdle
Stephen Callahan, who hopes to open a distillery in downtown Jonesborough later this year, received nearly the full support of the Board of Mayor and Alderman during an ordinances first reading last week – minus one vote.
Denis moves forward in Mars One mission quest
Jonesborough resident Darlene Denis has been notified that she has made it to the next round, the interview process, which carries her one step closer to traveling to the planet Mars.
Snow days causing problems for county schools
With only three snow days left for the 2013-2014 school year, going to school on Saturday is one alternative under consideration.
Articles published January 2014:
Proposed distillery gets planning commission OK
Stephen Callahan is one step closer to opening a distilling company in downtown Jonesborough – a new company that will produce Tennessee moonshine.
Innovative teachers receive Quest awards
Seven grants totalling $20,000 were given to teachers of the Washington County Department of Education last week during a special ceremony sponsored by the Quest Foundation.
Fairytale magic: JRT to bring ‘Storybook’ characters to life
Youngsters will soon have the option of being entertained by princesses and super heroes for their birthday parties thanks to the Jonesborough Repertory Theater.
Distillery coming to Jonesborough?
If all goes according to plan, a craft distilling company may come to downtown Jonesborough later this year.
Local student rings in 2014 with dream trip
A flyer, which was spotted in a “Seventeen” magazine, won one Jonesborough resident a trip to New York with her family.
Our Favorite Martian? Local woman on track for out-of-world experience
If all goes according to plan, Jonesborough resident Darlene Denis may soon trade her Tennessee address for one that is out of this world – on the planet Mars.
Local minister says goodbye to the pulpit, but not to the message
After helping get Cross of Grace Lutheran started in 2010, Reverend Edward Wolff is retiring. His last worship service was on Jan. 5 at the Jonesborough Area Senior Center.
Articles published December 2013:
Town selects major as employee of the year
Jonesborough Police Department Maj. Matt Rice was named Employee of the Year for the Town of Jonesborough in a recent ceremony during the town’s holiday employee-appreciation luncheon.
New K-9 joins police department
Loki, an 18-month Chocolate Lab, reported to his first 12-hour shift with the Jonesborough Police Department on Dec. 6.
“He’s full of life, energetic and always ready to work,” said K-9 Officer Jamie Aistrop, Loki’s handler. “For praise, affection and a toy, they will do anything.”
New park manager shares big plans for new year
Some improvements are currently under way at Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park under the new management of Bill Knapp.
“Really every day is different,” he said of why he enjoys working at state parks. “I told myself I didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk. I wanted to be out in the woods enjoying myself all day.”
Town approves traffic cameras for five more years
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen has approved the renewal of a five-year agreement with Redflex Travel Systems, the company that operates Jonesborough’s traffic camera enforcement system.
Lease paves way for Boone Street Market
The Town of Jonesborough and the Jonesborough Farmers Market was approved during the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting last week, paving the way for the opening of the Boone Street Market sometime next year.
Gettin’ Knottin’ for Christmas
The Knotty Ladies struck the town again with their snow-belisk yarn bombing, bringing a gift of whimsy and delight for the community to enjoy during the holiday season.
Articles published November 2013:
Students learning through story
Students from the afterschool “Story to Performance” class at Jonesborough Elementary School are putting together a radio show that feature stories and music they have created.
Organization helps families deal with loss of infant children
Kingsport resident Kimberly Broyles and her husband decided to try and conceive a child after they had been married for two years. Eight years later, they are still trying to start that family.