Writing Portfolio

No valid driver license offense getting immigrants deported

Naples Daily News Achsah Ortiz said goodbye to her husband in a way she never imagined she’d have to – in a detention center days before he boarded a one-way flight to Mexico. He had lived quietly under

Chemo didn’t hold this graduate back

The Bakersfield Californian It’s hard to think about algebra and English when weeks and weeks of chemotherapy sap your energy and make you sick to your stomach. But Kirstie Wesley, diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s

Pink-slipped teachers tell their stories

The Bakersfield Californian Evelia Rodriguez called the red halls of Arvin High School home twice; first as a student graduating in 2001 and then returning in 2007 to teach social studies. For the 25-year-old who

Packed schools make tough choices

The Bakersfield Californian Two weeks into the school year, Lamarka Banks was told her daughter could no longer attend Roy W. Loudon School, separating her from her little brother.

Silly bedtime leads to better sleep

Walking on Mom If you’re like, oh, a bazillion parents everywhere, bedtime pushes the anxiety meter up and up until it quivers near the “losing-it” mark. The mere mention of toothbrushes and PJs sends my

Should you let your kids fight?

Walking on Mom My husband went to parents night at our 4 year old’s preschool and what he reported back to me blew my top. The teacher said if two children wanted to fight, she would allow it. “A lot of the

When breastfeeding sucks, it might be your biology

Walking on Mom Every. Single. Thing. my husband did drove me out of my mind. The way his feet slap-slapped across the floor. The way he looked at me. The noise he made while opening the cupboards. Here

Gator Tales Part One: Adrenaline pumps as alligator hunters close in on prey’s red eyes

Naples Daily News Armed with a fishing rod and three-pronged treble hoo, a 9-foot harpoon and .44-caliber Magnum ammunition, two hungers set out on a pitch black lake in search of the closest link to

Gator Tales Part Two: State trapper hooked on dirty job, despite low payoff

Beneath the scorching August sun near a Bonita Springs pond, trapper Dave Regel prepared to lure his prey. This particular animal had outsmarted him three times before, but Regel was

Gator Tales Part Three: Economy bites trappers

Naples Daily News With a bottomless pocketbook, you can take a piece of the Florida swamp home with you around your waist, on your feet or slung across your shoulder. Alligator leather may begin in the

Foul smell from Chinese drywall causing health problems, some say

Naples Daily News The smell was undeniable as the garage door opened to Rene Galvin’s half-million dollar dream house. Climbing the wood stairs to her second-story coach home, the odor, like burned matches

Woman finds lucrative second career as computer-based options trader

Naples Daily News She’s still learning. She knows what’s at stake. But one North Naples woman is determined to take control of her retirement savings after watching it free fall. Susan York has launched what she

Ladies in the water

The Bakersfield Californian Who says women can’t handle a fishing rod as well as men? Dressed in waders and lipstick, Sisters on the Fly travel the country in their “doll house” vintage campers reeling in trout,

What I saw in my mother’s stretch marks

Scary Mommy These are my stretch marks. I made them. I wrote those words in the notebook I kept last summer, right next to where I had been keeping track of my mother’s vital signs. When you go

Spaghetti and the memories of a mother’s cooking

Walking on Mom Every family has at least one favorite recipe. Ours was my mom’s spaghetti. It was my daughter’s 3rd birthday dinner and I decided to make my mom’s spaghetti for the first time since she died