The Spill

Tomas Alex Tizon: CORDOVA, ALASKA — By way of telling his story, and the story of this fishing village, Mike Maxwell — born, raised and hoping to die here — wants to talk about what happened to the herring.

They were the little kings of the sea in these parts. They ran so thick in Prince William Sound that some days, it was said, you could walk on the water stepping on their silvery-blue backs.

When the Exxon Valdez spilled its oil in March 1989, the world saw images of blackened seabirds and otters and seals, of bloated whale carcasses and once-pristine beaches covered with crude. Hardly anything was said about the herring.

No one at the time understood the fish’s central place in the ecosystem, nor did anyone know the herring’s demise would lead to years of hardship for the people here.

“It’s scary what we didn’t know,” says Maxwell, 47, a scruffy, balding, big-boned man with a small voice.

Sheeler Splits

Professor Sheeler. I’d take his class. Congrats, Jim. Too bad for newspapers.

At the same time, Sheeler believes that the art of storytelling will be as important tomorrow as it is today. “No matter what medium we’re reporting in, somebody’s got to be there to write the stories,” he says, “and I think that’s where journalism is going to be headed. You need to give people a reason to really invest their time in a story, and to do that, you have to write it well.”

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BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) — W.C. “Bill” Heinz, a sportswriter and author who witnessed the Normandy invasion on D-Day, covered some of the greatest sports events of the 1940s and helped write the book “MASH,” has died. He was 93.
His daughter, Gayl Heinz of Amesbury, Mass., said he died early Wednesday in Bennington. The cause of death was not released.
A New York native, he attended Middlebury College in the 1930s and then went on to become a reporter at the New York Sun.
During World War II, he reported from Europe. After the war he covered sports, including Babe Ruth’s emotional last appearance at Yankee Stadium in 1948. In the mid-60s, he helped Maine physician H. Richard Hornburger write the book about a mobile army surgical hospital in the Korean War.

Here’s one of the best sports stories ever written.


Just wanted to let everyone know: Bill Reiter of the KC Star has four top tens in the APSE contest currently being judged in Florida, which is a truly astounding number of awards, and further proves that he is one of best sports projects reporters in the country.

Tiny. Evil. Everywhere.

David Segal (thanks, Raja): NEW YORK — Nobody had seen one in decades. Then, five years ago, they started showing up in homes and hotels across the country, prompting a flood of calls to pest control professionals. And nothing, it seems, can stop them.

No, not bedbugs. Bedbug newspaper stories. Since the return of Cimex lectularius, as the bedbug is formally known, more than 400 articles have wriggled into print, all making roughly the same point: The bloodsucking critters are back, and in numbers that amount to a scourge.

“They’re tiny, evil and everywhere in the city,” wailed a recent headline in the New York Daily News. USA Today trotted out a “Poltergeist” reference in November with “They’re ba-a-ack for a snack. It’s easy to say ‘Don’t let the bedbugs bite’ — until the paranoia-inducing, bloodsucking parasites shake you awake.”

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Just Isn’t Fair

Here: If nature abhors a vacuum (not that anyone in this town knows what a vacuum is), does Hollywood abhor the absence of a Vanity Fair Oscars party? Oh, stop the whining. So what if it feels like a school night? We’re still crashing, whatever we can, however we can. Party reporters can’t spell “pride.”

The Governors Ball is held in a mall, we discover. It is at the Kodak Theatre, but not in the Kodak Theatre. So there is no valet. Instead the guests arrive by . . . escalator. At the entrance, a rope line of photographers, but no fans, no screaming, no wop-wop of papacopters overhead. We are disoriented.

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Capt. Kearney’s Quagmire

Elizabeth Rubin: WE TUMBLED OUT of two Black Hawks onto a shrub-dusted mountainside. It was a windy, cold October evening. A half-moon illuminated the tall pines and peaks. Through night-vision goggles the soldiers and landscape glowed in a blurry green-and-white static. Just across the valley, lights flickered from a few homes nestled in the terraced farmlands of Yaka China, a notorious village in the Korengal River valley in Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Kunar. Yaka China was just a few villages south and around a bend in the river from the Americans’ small mountain outposts, but the area’s reputation among the soldiers was mythic. It was a known safe haven for insurgents. American troops have tended to avoid the place since a nasty fight a year or so earlier. And as Halloween approached, the soldiers I was with, under the command of 26-year-old Capt. Dan Kearney, were predicting their own Yaka China doom.

Monday Reading

Hank in Hollywood: Wouldn’t it be great if they just walked in, blew right past everyone, like they were late for something, and nobody cared? If they did not stop to talk about their clothes, their morning wakey-wakey-eggs-and-bakey and what sort of breath mints they’re contractually obligated to carry along in their bejeweled clutches? What if they simply used the red carpet as a conveyance, a path, from the limo to their Kodak Theatre chair? Wouldn’t the world honestly be a better place?

Dan Barry in Newport, Indiana: The employees pull up to the gate, show their identification cards to the armed security guards and continue on. They drive past wooded stretches and open fields, past the occasional frolicking deer, and park before buildings of almost requisite ugliness. Shift time.

Kruse in Baldwin, Florida: Guy Ambrose says he sees it everywhere.

He says he sees it in town, at the IGA grocery, at the Kwik Mart, at Everybody’s Restaurant across from City Hall.

He has seen it, he says, even in his own home.

So Ambrose, 54, a retired Army medic turned Town Council member, decided to do something about it.

“WHEREAS,” begins Ordinance 2007-17, “the Town Council of the Town of Baldwin has found that the welfare of the residents of the Town of Baldwin is hampered and imposed upon by persons intentionally wearing their pants below their waist for the purposes of exposing themselves and their undergarments …”

Justin George in Tampa: He’s in a cage. Drunk, sweaty, bloodthirsty spectators jostle in anticipation.

The crowd packs in like cordwood, and the fight promoter incites them, stoking a frenzy with the skill of a carnival barker.

The man in the cage is the champion, Chip Santiago, or “Demo” – Demolition Man – who arrived with the fanfare of a celebrity. White fedora, silver chain, two strippers and a trainer all tucked into a limousine. Santiago enticed the crowd – a little shadowboxing, a few roundhouse kicks and some handstand pushups – before disappearing into the dressing room to prepare for Jason “Short Dog” Jones.

Andy Meacham in St. Pete: The ashes lie in a tiny green urn, on the coffee table of a St. Petersburg living room. The room is filled with figurines and chiming clocks, beside cards and a photograph of a smiling teenage boy.

Olga Lindberg, 66, got the ashes by agreeing not to attend the funeral of her grandson, Dennis Lindberg. Her daughter – Dennis’ aunt and guardian – made the offer in what has been their last communication.