Racing in Republic

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I can't back down from a handshake.

That's what I kept telling myself as I was thinking of every possible excuse to stay in bed a little longer yesterday morning.


CANADA! Photo by: Bruce Strong

It started with strawberry rhubarb pie and ended with Canada and piglets‚ such are adventures with Bruce Strong.

Windows into other people's lives

Justin and Jerry look through photos.  Photo by: Juliette Lynch

Full disclosure: Juliette and I are having way more fun with Jerry than journalists should ever expect to have with a story. He's witty, wise, reflective and incredibly easy to work with.

A few days ago, he chopped us off some fresh rhubarb from a patch of plants growing around his old house, and we (er, Juliette) was only too happy to return the favor with a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie.

Being Connected

Jerry looks at the buds forming on his trees. Photo by: Juliette Lynch

I have never seen buds grow. I have never nurtured a plant from a seedling to a tree. I have never harvested my own peaches or cherries. I have never tasted fresh horseradish dug from my own garden. But Jerry has.

He says being connected to the earth through gardening and growing and taking care of the forest centers him, and that in turn gives me a sense of who he is. It is too easy, he says, to get disconnected from one's soul, to forget to stop and watch a bud turn into a flower, to listen for a cricket as it sings a tune in the tall grass.

Veteran Advises Recent Graduate

Adam Howerton plays the guitar at a farewell party

John Jones may have only spent three months fighting in the Vietnam War, but he‚'s got stories to prove that he experienced the wrath of combat overseas in such a short time.

While in Vietnam, John was shot at twice- first, when he was grazed by a sniper and then when a rocket grenade hit his tank, causing him to lose his left eye. It is the candidness of veterans like John that recent high school graduate Adam Howerton has come to appreciate.

The Ultrasound

Cassie shows her daughter Ashleigh how to read the ultrasound that Doctor Bradfo

I had the pleasure of attending Cassie's final scheduled doctor's appointment before she gives birth to her and Jared's second son. I have never really been this involved in the birth of another person before, not even in my own family, so to be allowed in the doctor's office multiple times and know that Cassie felt pretty OK with me snapping pictures wherever I wanted really made me feel trusted as a journalist.

a young John Wayne

A young Jerry Middleton, photographed by a friend in Vietnam

john wayne, the american cowboy
you can be him too, chant the troops,
follows the boy, still wishing for more than stubble
on his baby-soft chin.

pull up your boot straps, boy
towering over, says father
to war, you go, now is your duty

but rumbling streets, and white-brimmed hats
filled with beautiful young things
that only visit in the night
can't fight the feeling
nor the terror that lingers
when it's over.

touch the earth, young son
press your weathered face to my ground
rush, deep dirt, fill the holes
clothe him in the whispers
that run through the trees

Our newsroom

Photos by: David Miller

We're really fortunate to be working out here in Washington. Most journalists don't get the chance to spend 6 1/2 weeks embedded in a location, getting a true feeling for a region and its people.

Today, most of the Syracuse fellows are out reporting, taping, gathering source material, surveying the landscape, and otherwise doing what they do best. It's pretty cool to sit in our newsroom, situated on the western edge of a deep valley, surrounded by trees, mountains, horses and goats, and just absorb the natural beauty of this place we're able to report from.

A Damp Victory

"The goats" get ready to show their skills in Curlew, Wa. Photo by: Kelly West

I'll admit, I was skeptical.

The News21 basketball team was thrown together last minute, with time for only one practice together before the three-on-three tournament in Curlew, Washington was scheduled. I never should have doubted.

Introducing Chewekah Middleton

Photo by: Juliette Lynch

Thursday was the fourth visit Juliette and I made to Jerry's house, but the first time we've met his son, Chewekah (chew-EE-kuh).

The younger Middleton is 30 years old and lives in a cabin he built himself a few hundred yards from his dad's. Jerry wanted to find a Native American name for his son, and liked the sound of Chewekah, a creek in Washington‚ when he heard it mentioned.

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