Over my 12 weeks at the Journal Sentinel in summer '15, I produced 143 briefs, news stories, features and obituaries on everything from lions on the loose to a countywide bus drivers’ strike. I often staffed the breaking news desk’s off-hour shifts and focused on practicing my bread-and-butter reporting skills.


Latest step in lion search: live traps with 'people food'

And so it has come to this: a mix of turkey, chicken, summer sausage and McNuggets -- bait for the first live traps put out Tuesday evening for the lion-like animal that has evaded capture for more than a week.

For a few weeks that summer, Milwaukee tittered with the possibility of a roving wild mountain lion after 14 people claimed sightings over a single weekend.


Riders say bus strike will cut their lifeline

The Milwaukee County Transit System provides about 150,000 passenger rides a day. In June, its bus drivers walked off the job, leaving many who couldn't afford to have a car in the city without a means to get to work. I spent the day before the strike on MCTS buses talking to people who were about to be stranded.

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Foul ball to face proves life-altering for Brewers fan

From where Deedee Townsend sat — a prime spot behind the Milwaukee Brewers' dugout — the crack of the bat echoed. A foul ball zipped by Townsend at 100 to 120 mph and hit her companion, Laura Turek of Milwaukee, in the face, breaking a main nerve and fracturing her forehead, left eye and sinus cavity.


Quinn remembered as man who lived what he preached

That summer at the Journal Sentinel, I learned how to write obituaries, and I learned to love it. I discovered how valuable it could feel to help sources cope with fresh grief and paint a picture of someone the larger community might not have realized it had lost. The Rev. Howard R. Quinn kept a meticulous home, where he provided refuge for  anyone struggling with homelessness, emergencies and dysfunction of all sizes (from a neighbor who swallowed a TV knob to runaways far from home).


Burmese refugees watch as suspected robber kills father

In one of the more difficult crime stories I covered, I went to the home of Ca Na Ro, whose husband had been shot by a robber earlier that day. The family had spent years in a refugee camp in Thailand and were working hard to start a new life in Milwaukee. One morning, while they prepared breakfast, the couple's 11-year-old sun walked into the room with a stranger holding a gun to the boy's neck. From there, language barrier, fear and bad luck converged in tragedy.