Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ashley Schafer, continued (Post 2)

Shafer Christmas 4

Shafer Christmas 3

I wanted to post a few more photos today from the Schafer Christmas. I still have some more I am going through, but wanted to share these with you. More to come. I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday break! :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The story of Emmarie Truman

Emmarie Story

Family members describe Emmarie Truman as a 17-year-old with just enough sassy attitude, persistence, humor and God's grace to beat a life-threatening disease — all while smiling.
It is who she's become since overcoming cancer in early 2008, when she had a lemon-sized tumor removed from her brain.
It is who she'll need to continue to be to overcome her next fight: leukemia.

I was fortunate to be assigned this story on such an amazing girl. She truly inspires everyone she meets, I mean, I feel like she has such a fantastic attitude on life. Here is a link to the full story. A special thanks to the family who was so cooperative and to Citizen Patriot photographer Nick Dentamaro, whose photos are stunning. You did a great job Nick. Go team Maytamaro. This story was published in today's Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Wish List 2009


Geno Burton, 84, left, smiles at Terry Peterson, a John George Home resident supervisor, after he told a joke about having his blood pressure and temperature taken, both with new devices off of the wish list. The John George Home received a new blood pressure pump and thermometers, as well as a number of blankets.


Nancy Naylor, left, laughs while holding three new pencils, assisting Bette Watkins while she sharpens the pencils with the new electric pencil sharpener that the Reading Writing Connection received from the wish list published in November. The organization also recieved a filing cabinet, hanging file folders and a three-hole punch.


Concord resident Don Keith, who works maintenance for disAbility Connections, stops to talk to a Jackson resident while salting the parking lot outside of the building. Bags of salt were among the items disAbility Connections received off of the wish list. "We get so many handicapped people coming in, many with one leg and crutches. If we don't salt it will be too slippery for them," Keith said. "It's a difficult task to keep it salted down, but we do what we can and this gift of salt helps a lot."

These were shot for the Jackson Citizen Patriot. They publish a wish list the day after Thanksgiving and then publish a wishes granted, and wishes still in need list Christmas day. These are the latter. It was a great assignment, getting to know people and hearing their stories.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Ashley Schafer: An ongoing project

Ashley Shafer necklace Christmas gift

Merry Christmas everyone!

I spent the morning with an amazing family, the Schafers. I am at the beginning of an on-going project I will be documenting throughout the next five or six months. The project is about Ashley Schafer, a Mount Pleasant High School graduate who recently lost her sight in March after waking from a coma.

She has been going to therapy in Bay City for 15 hours each week, and last week, started a push to 21 hours a week. She spends the weekends with her family in Beal City. There will be more updates on Ashley as I continue to tell her story. She is a wonderful person, and I am glad I am given the opportunity to tell her story.

Ashley Shafer Christmas portrait

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Winifred Street fire



A firefighter walks out of smoke that billows out from a house Thursday on Winifred Street in Jackson, Mich. Here is a link to the story written by my girlfriend, Citizen Patriot Reporter Jackie Smith.

A profile on award-winner Alberta Thompson

Legally blind woman wins award

In today's edition of the Jackson Citizen Patriot, I had a story published as the A3 centerpiece. And the subject is Alberta Thompson, and she is a wonderful woman with one heckuva story to tell. Read it here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Caring to carol

Hospice Caroling 3
Eleven-year-old Amanda Harness, center, opens her eyes during a prayer session with other members of the American Heritage Girls Troop 3489 and Boy Scouts of America Troop 317 before singing carols throughout the halls and rooms Tuesday night at Allegiance Health Hospice Home. (Published in and property of the Jackson Citizen Patriot)

I was given the opportunity to both shoot and write a story for the A3 centerpiece in today's Jackson Citizen Patriot. The story is about a group of young carolers singing for residents in the Allegiance Health Hospice Home in Jackson, Mich. I had one heckuva great time hanging out with these carolers, made some images I enjoyed and was able to tell their story. Here's a link to read the story online.

The first two photos in this post are the two that published in print for the package. The last photo was a nice moment of a woman I quoted in the story. She was very moved by the carolers performance.

Hospice Caroling 2
Allegiance Hospice Home resident Barbara Alexander listens to a group of about 30 carolers sing four holiday songs surrounding her bed Tuesday night. The two troops gathered to sing as a service project. (Published in and property of the Jackson Citizen Patriot)

Hospice Caroling 1
Allegiance Hospice Home resident Ruthann Tilden, 65, of Brooklyn, smiles at the carolers as she listens to four holiday songs and sings along with them. "What they just sang, that, oh yes, that was marvelous," Tilden said, who cried during their performance. The carolers sang through the songs for her twice. (As shot for the Jackson Citizen Patriot)

Special thanks for the assignment from Dave Weatherwax. What a guy! You'll do great in Jasper, my friend. He and fellow photographer Nick Dentamaro shot a local funeral for state representative Mike Simpson, who died Friday after suffering a heart attack. Check out their photo gallery.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Geno Burton, a portrait

Geno smiles

Geno Burton, 84, smiles after telling jokes to a resident supervisor of the John George Home where he resides in Jackson, Mich. Since 1949, John George Home has been providing a safe and independent living environment for elderly gentlemen like Burton.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

An Allen family Christmas

Children's Christmas Shopping Spree

So I was assigned a wonderful, feel-good story about a Children's Christmas Shopping Spree in Jackson for needy families. About 30 students were selected by teachers and counselors to participate, three of which were from the same family.

Read the story here. I also was able to spend my morning at the assignment with Citizen Patriot Photographer Katie Rausch.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Granary Restaurant and Christ birth recreation

Granary Restaurant story

Above: The Granary Restaurant reopened under new ownership. The story played as the A1 centerpiece, and Citizen Patriot Photographer
Katie Rausch has some really nice images. Three played in the paper. I highly encourage you take a look. Just wonderful.
Read the full story here.

Below: A quick turnaround story on a local church's efforts to recreate Jesus Christ's birth in a 10-minute drive-thru fashion. It was on A3.
The story is below, but here is the link in case you prefer to read it in online format.

Christ birth recreation story

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Rap at Queen's

christmas rap
I wrote a story that was published in today's Jackson Citizen Patriot. Read the full story and see work by Citizen Patriot Photographer and friend Dave Weatherwax. My favorite part of the rap is the chorus. Just look for the paragraph that begins "J-J-J-Jesus the Lord ..." (Story and photos property of the Jackson Citizen Patriot)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jackson City Council meeting

Jackson City Council

State Rep. Martin Griffin, left center, speaks with area residents as they watch the City Council meeting on a television just outside of the City Council chambers Tuesday night. The Jackson City Council is going forward with its city manager search against the wishes of leading local business people. The council plans to bring back Robert Hillard, city manager of Allegan, and Frank Peterson, city manager of Springfield, for a round of second interviews in the next two weeks. (Shot for and property of the Jackson Citizen Patriot)

This is one of the first two photos I had published in the Jackson Citizen Patriot. See the other at the story link below. Thanks to J. Scott Park for giving me the chance to shoot this assignment.

Read the full story by Citizen Patriot Reporter Keith Roberts.

I also wrote a story, working with Citizen Patriot Photographer Nick Dentamaro. Santa Claus visited the John George Home. Needless to say, Nick and I had a blast. Read the story and see Nick's photos here.

gifts for john george home

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pie a Republican

Pie a Republican

College Republicans member Vanessa Oblinger, a Grand Rapids sophomore, smiles after Clinton sophomore Tim Snell smashed a pie in her face Wednesday outside of the Charles V. Park Library during a "Pie a Republican" fundraiser. "It's for a good cause," she said. "Plus, when it hit my face, it felt good, nice and cool. It was sweet and sticky, and he was gentle." (Property of Central Michigan Life)

Here is something I shot in mid-November. Fun image, and the quote is hilarious. She even laughed after saying it.
Here is a link to the story on

Monday, December 14, 2009

Graduation: A photo essay

I was able to make images at Central Michigan University's December commencement ceremonies on Saturday. I shot alongside Sean Proctor and Libby March, both very wonderful people, for Central Michigan Life. I even saw two great friends graduate, Neil Blake and Sihang Zhang. I wish you both the best in your future endeavors. I know you will be successful. A special thanks to Ashley Miller for the go-ahead on this assignment. So happy I was given this opportunity.

Though my photos are posted above, I encourage everyone to see the full gallery of images made by Sean, Libby and I.

Friday, December 11, 2009

An officer and a funeral

Bill Yeagley
Above: Central Michigan University Police Chief Bill Yeagley talks to university officials on his cell phone as two firefighters prepare to enter Dow Science Complex to contain the contaminated area Aug. 28. Read senior reporter Jake Bolitho's full story on Bill Yeagley.

Also, here is the story I wrote on the chemical exposure for the Web site as it happened.

Right: Jason Denslow solemnly holds the American flag given to him after a funeral for his son, Det. Sgt. Dan Denslow, who served at the Isabella County Sheriff's Department for 34 years. He died Aug. 4 in Lansing at Sparrow Hospital of internal bleeding complications following a surgery. He was being treated at the facility for two months, and was in serious condition the last five weeks. “He was always smiling, always trying to get people to laugh with a very welcoming personality and never had a bad thing to say, only kind words. That’s Dan,” said Bill Yeagley, Central Michigan University Police Chief.

Here is a link to the initial story I wrote before his funeral. I also wrote a followup, but it seems to have been lost in the Web site transition. Hopefully, it comes up soon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Orchesis: 40 years in the making

Orchesis Dance Theatre

Above: Livonia senior Mallory Stempin dances in in April on the stage of Bush Theatre at Central Michigan University during her final performance with the Orchesis Dance Theatre Company. The dance company celebrated its 40th year during their annual spring show.
Below: Stempin looks up at Grand Rapids senior Korey Brown during Orchesis Dance Theatre Company's spring show. Stempin said the company has been based on a variety of dance, solidified in its use of ballet, jazz and even modern dance as well.

These are a few images I made for a class project last spring. Here is a link to the home page. There is a story, photo gallery and video.

The origin of its name comes from the Greek word meaning “the place on a stage where the action takes place.” This definition is not far from the truth of the word’s meaning at Central Michigan University, but the origin of Mount Pleasant's group tells a much different story.
More than 40 years ago, it started as a nameless dance club. And stayed that way until 1969, two years after Orchesis Artistic Director Yvette Crandall and a group of students gave it more of a purpose. That year, the club was renamed into a “company.”
“It was not performance-oriented. The students just watched other university’s dance concerts. It was nothing like it is today,” said Crandall, a fine arts professor. “The students wanted more … they wanted to dance on stage."
Crandall arrived in Mount Pleasant in 1967. The students desire to dance built higher within one year, and in 1968, held lecture demonstrations with Crandall where she would tell them of her college dance experience.
She said she shared stories with them about different dance styles she learned while studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a company she danced with called “Orchesis.” Click here to continue and read the full story.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Observe and report

Board of Trustees 02

CMU Trustee Brian Fannon stands in an observation room at the Education Building while he and other Board of Trustees members receive a tour of the facility Thursday afternoon. (Shot for Central Michigan Life)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bowtie with a smile

Board of Trustees 01

Interim Medical School Dean Cam Enarson smiles in the crowd of observers Thursday at the Board of Trustees meeting in the President's Conference Room. (Shot for Central Michigan Life)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A presidential welcome

George Ross was named Central Michigan University's 14th president today at the Board of Trustees meeting. It was quite a day. Here's a photo gallery I created for Central Michigan Life of his announcement and first day filled with meetings thereafter.

Here are the links to the stories by an amazing team of reporters.
University Editor Sarah Schuch's story: Former VP of Finances to take over CMU presidency in March
Senior Reporter Brad Canze's story: President-designate George Ross comes from rural background
Staff Reporter Connor Sheridan's story: Many surprised, happy with the choice of George Ross for CMU's president