It was supposed to be a good day. It was the first day of school and Johanna Romo, 12, had just woken up. It was already hot, and if she had looked out the window, she would have seen smog hugging the valley floor, obscuring the mountains, as it has almost every day this year. But she didn’t have a chance to look out the window.

I received a grant from the Leonard C. Goodman Institute for Investigative Reporting to write this story, which ran on the cover of In These Times. Read the rest here. I was on CounterSpin to talk about this story.

***

Irene Flores was pushing a strawberry cart through the rain-drenched Oxnard fields, the wheels clogged with mud, when she felt her back seize. She held onto the cart and wondered if she was dying.

I wrote this story while participating in a 2013 California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship, a program of USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism. Read the rest here.

***

Directories of doctors given to low-income patients across California are highly inaccurate, making it difficult for them to get the health care they’re entitled to under state law, the California Health Report has found.

More than half of the primary-care doctors in provider directories given to low-income patients in three counties in Northern, Central and Southern California are not accepting new patients with Medi-Cal, the state’s low-income health plan, or could not be reached by telephone.

This investigative story spurred a state audit and legislation. Read the rest here.

***

Nancy Mauthe remembers walking along the Sespe Wilderness in the early 1980s and wondering if she would ever see a California condor there again.

This story was published in In These Times. Read the rest here.

***

When Irene Gomez emigrated from Mexico at 14, she immediately began working in the strawberry fields in the Oxnard Plain.

The work was exhausting, poorly paid and unreliable — but that was the least of her problems. She was also helping a friend escape from a violent relationship and was worried about living in the U.S. without legal papers.

She was overwhelmed, but felt she had nowhere to turn.

I wrote this story while participating in a 2014 Mental Health Fellowship through the Maynard Institute. Read the rest here. I talked about the story on the Southern California public radio show Which Way L.A. with Warren Olney on KCRW.

***

Demetria Martinez is sitting in a state-funded children’s center in Oxnard, wrapping her baby daughter in a shawl, when worry invades her face. Her daughter is sick, she says. Something about her heart. The doctors told her, but she didn’t understand.

Martinez is speaking Mixteco—an indigenous Mexican language full of clicks and tones not used in English or Spanish—but she conveys her emotion without words too.

I wrote this story while participating in a 2013 California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship, a program of USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism. Read the rest here.

***

As soon as Dena Adame turned onto Oak Knoll Drive that afternoon, she realized something was wrong.

Above the one-story craftsman homes, smoke was swallowing up the sky. The sun was darkening. The air was growing thick.

This story was the first in a three-part series that won the 2011 Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association’s first-place award for Best Enterprise Reporting. Read the rest here.

***

In a remote Ventura County field, hydraulic fracturing has chipped away at underground rock, helping release more than 80 million barrels of oil since drilling began in the 1890s.

Above ground, three creeks snake from the adjacent Los Padres National Forest and overhead California condors fly, their protected refuge just behind the oil wells.

This story was published in the California Health Report. Read the rest here.

***

When Adriana Stovall heard that the Affordable Care Act would require health insurance companies to provide nursing mothers with a breast pump beginning Jan. 1, she was elated.

Finally, the working mother would have access to an efficient pump, enabling her to provide more milk for her 11-month-old son.

Or so she thought.

This story was published in the California Health Report. Read the rest here.

***

Joshua Scott unrolled his sleeping bag in Ashland’s hills and prepared to break the law. It was Monday night, but it could have been almost any night over the past eight years the 38-year-old has been living on the streets.

This story won the 2011 Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association’s first-place award for Best Lifestyle Coverage. Read the rest here.

***

Nearly every afternoon this summer, Florencia Ramirez drove past the strawberries and lima beans growing in the Oxnard plain, and each time she grew angry about what she saw.

As the plants gulped in the Southern California sun, high-powered sprinklers ricocheted over the fields, spraying water into the air during the heat of the day, when evaporation was at its peak.

In an area plagued with water shortages and droughts, some of the largest agricultural producers in the nation seemed to be using water with abandon, Ramirez observed.

This story was published in the California Health Report. Read the rest here.

Comments are closed.