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Newspaper Articles

At 17, I was offered my first jobas a sports writer for the daily newspaper in my hometown. Little did I know I would spend the next six years working for the Creston News Advertiser. I then earned my degree and got a real education at the Cameron Citizen-Observer, a Missouri weekly newspaper. In Cameron, I had the time to learn more about graphic designto the point where I was designing nearly all the paper's special sections.


Included here are five of the thousands of articles I published during my journalism career, including two published as a freelancer working for the Platte County (Missouri) Citizen.


Home Is Where Her Heart Is

West Platte volleyball coach Amber Gutrie knows

her dad is watching—and she wants to make him proud

Platte County Citizen - October 3, 2012

He’d be proud.

With her December graduation from Northwest Missouri State University fast approaching, Fred Guthrie’s daughter—his “little girl”—is a young woman eager to find a job. But not just any job. She wants to secure a teaching position that will allow her to “give back” to Weston, a community that has, over the last 14 months, opened its heart to her and her family.


We couldn’t have made it this last year without having our whole community behind us,” said Amber Guthrie, recalling the outpouring of support given her, her mother and her two brothers ever since the tragic news broke Aug. 1, 2011, that flood waters swept away Fred, a Missouri State Trooper, and his K-9 partner, Reed.

Since her father’s passing—his death was officially announced Sept. 28, 2011, and his body was recovered Jan. 12—Guthrie has asked herself one question prior to each action she takes: “Is this something Dad would be proud of?”

The answer, she knew, would be a resounding “YES,” when she decided while student-teaching this fall she could also take on the responsibilities of a part-time job. But not just any part-time job. 2012 marks Amber Guthrie’s first season as the West Platte head volleyball coach—six years after she last wore Bluejay blue-and-black as a standout for West Platte’s 2006 KCI championship team.

Among Fred’s greatest joys had been coaching the youth basketball teams Amber and her brothers, Dylan and Cody, played for.

“In a way, the passion he had for coaching is something I’m trying to carry on,” said Coach Guthrie, after the Lady Jays moved to 14-1 with a sweep of Mid-Buchanan last Thursday. “He’d be so excited right now. I think about him looking down and seeing me doing this, being the head volleyball coach at West Platte. Knowing he’s watching every game is a big motivator for me.”

Home Is Where Her Heart Is
After losing her father, Amber Guthrie found her way back home to coach her hometown's high school volleyball team. This freelance story garnered a Missouri Press Association award.

Sister Power
This article focuses on how playing together on their high school volleyball team helped two sisters bond.

Foul Air
I was especially proud of this article, one of the last I wrote for the Cameron Citizen-Observer, in that I was able to learn about this meeting and by-pass the Missouri Department of Corrections public information office to speak directly with the prison warden. This article was one of those rare times when our little weekly could scoop the Kansas City Star.

A Good & Tragic Story
I wrote this feature as a follow-up about a baby being abandoned at the Cameron hospital.

Bear On The Prowl
Listening to a police scanner paid off, enabling me to be on the spot to cover this story. I was proud of my ability to work with a colleague to gather all the needed information before sitting at the keyboard to write the article.


Sister Power

West Platte's winning program helps

sisters building a winning relationship

Platte County Citizen - October 20, 2010

"When sisters stand shoulder to shoulder, who stands a chance against us?”

– Pam Brown, Australian Poet

Junior Samantha Comer thought she’d be reduced to a puddle of tears when the West Platte volleyball team celebrated “Senior Night” Oct. 12.

“I’ll be bawling my eyes out,” she said the night before, while sitting in a nearly empty North Platte gymnasium.

The Lady Jays had just chalked up a non-conference win over North Platte, with Samantha—the always steady, occasionally spectacular setter—orchestrating the team’s attack. In less than 24 hours, they’d be taking the court for their 2010 home finale against Nodaway-Holt, but not before saluting the team’s four seniors.

And why would “Senior Night” stir such strong emotions in Samantha, just a junior?

Though she will be back next year, she knows playing for West Platte in 2011 won’t be quite the same experience it has been in 2010 or ’09. Next year, she’ll no longer be standing shoulder to shoulder with her sister, Tarah. When this season’s final match-point is played, they will be instantly transformed into former teammates.


Foul Air

Those living near Cameron's two prisons complain of odor

Cameron Citizen-Observer - June 3, 1999

Many of Laura Olsen’s “neighbors” are convicted murderers and rapists. That’s not the problem — not as long as those men remain confined inside the “lethal” fence enclosure around the Crossroads Correctional Center.

The problem is the smell emitting from the sewage treatment system at the prison.

A half-dozen Cameron residents living near the Crossroads and Western Missouri correctional centers gathered last Wednesday afternoon (May 26) at Olsen’s home — less than a full quarter-mile from the prison sewage lagoon on Pence Road — to discuss the foul air they sometimes find themselves choking on. Sixth District State Rep. Randall Relford was there to listen and answer questions.

“I’d rather live on a pig farm than live out here and smell this,” lamented a frustrated Olsen as the meeting concluded

“Oh, yeah. We smell it too,” Crossroads Superintendent Mike Kemna said last Friday. “I have no doubts about the legitimacy of these folks’ complaints.”


A Good & Tragic Story

Baby released from hospital; search for mother continues

Cameron Citizen-Observer - February 25, 1999

Curiosity killed the cat — but not this time. This time curiosity saved the child.

Had the infant abandoned outside Cameron Community Hospital not been discovered for another hour last Wednesday morning (Feb. 17), local law enforcement officials might currently be investigating a homicide rather than merely conducting a search for the baby boy’s mother. One more hour in the sub-30 degree cold could have proven fatal to “Baby Boy Doe,” reflected Children’s Mercy Hospital spokesman Tom McCornally. (The baby is believed to have been subjected to the cold for no fewer than three hours.)

Fortunately, Lisa McCreath, a medical technician at CCH, found the hours-old baby shortly before 6 a.m. She noticed the hospital’s mascot, a chubby black cat named Catscan, sniffing a cardboard box left along a wall approximately 20 feet from the CCH emergency room entrance. Then she heard a noise — coming from the box.

“I heard something — a little whimper,” said McCreath. “So I looked inside the box, and I couldn’t believe what I saw.

“I knew there was definitely something in there making a noise. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be a baby.”


Bear On The Prowl

Animal escapes from owner, roams streets

Cameron Citizen-Observer - February 25, 1999

Mike O’Loughlin and his family had an uninvited guest prowling about their house at 608 N. West in Cameron Tuesday morning—a full-grown black bear peeking into windows and even banging on the back door.

“He head-butted our door, and we all went woosh and ran for cover,” said O’Loughlin’s daughter Dana.

The bear, named B.J., busted through the wall of his owner’s garage, which also served as the back wall of his cage, around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. He then led Cameron police officers and state conservation officers on a two-hour odyssey throughout a west Cameron neighborhood before eventually being secured inside a horse trailer.

No one was harmed.

“I’m so grateful nobody got hurt,” said the bear’s owner, Kathy Bishop. “I’m sure people in this neighborhood were very concerned. B.J. is not a small animal and, even though he’s not aggressive, if there had been a child and he’d gotten a hold of them – somebody small – he could have hurt them.” 

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