I started working for The Daily News in October 1979 as a classified ad salesperson, and moved into the newsroom as a proofreader-news clerk four years later. I wrote obits, wedding announcements and other staples, plus personal columns, editorials, and the occasional feature.  In 2000 I officially became a reporter, covering the crime beat and, later, education. I won seven awards for news writing. You can click on some of my stories in the drop-down menu on the home page.

I retired in November 2013 to return to college, where I graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s in English/writing minor. I’m living my life backwards — first the career, then the college degree.

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It was always a thrill to get a story on the front page. This one was a pure stroke of luck. On Sunday, June 8, 2008, I had just left the Kelso Police Department and was about to turn to go over the Allen Street Bridge when flashing lights up the road aroused my curiosity. I drove toward the lights and realized there was a big bust going down. I snapped this photo of the arrest of a Vietnamese national with a Swedish passport who had been living the past several years in Canada. He had been spotted leaving a home in Longview — vacant and unoccupied, owned by an out-of towner  — that had been broken into and converted to a whole-house marijuana grow operation. This kind of thing was happening around Seattle, but this was the first Longview operation police had found. The meter had been cleverly rewired to fool the PUD, but the neighbors were not fooled by the aroma and alerted the cops (the first “big pot bust” the headline refers to). After this story went online, I got a call from the Swedish newspaper Expressen, who got me a follow-up quote from the arrestee’s Swedish wife (“We are shocked.”)

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Ego bonus: The photo I took of the arrest has been used by local law enforcement to illustrate inter-agency cooperation.

I imagine that legalization has ended this practice in Washington. I feel sorry for the home’s owners, whose house was destroyed by the heavy moisture.

2 thoughts on “Journalist

  1. Dear Leslie,

    I cannot find the option to contact you through your website therefore, I am doing so in a comment below one of your entries. I’m working as a researcher for the new upcoming documentary about the eruption of Mount St Helens in 1980 and I would love to discuss some of your knowledge, as I have seen that you have for example written an article about the Moore family. I would really appreciate if you were able to get in touch with me.

    Many thanks,
    Agatha

    Like

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