Webb St. Shooting

Webb Street Shooting 3
People who are reportedly family members of the victim console one another at the scene where a woman was shot and killed and another injured at 1655 N. Webb St. on Wednesday March 28, 2012.
Webb Street Shooting 1
Gastonia Police tackle a man identified by relatives as Toshawn Adams after he charged through police tape chasing after another man during a small riot that broke out after a large crowd of onlookers had gathered at the scene on N. Webb Street.
Webb Street Shooting 4
Gastonia Police detain a man who took part in a small riot at the scene.
Webb Street Shooting 2
Two people console one another at the scene.



I almost enjoy rainout pictures more than shooting baseball itself. Dark clouds get me excited.

A nice evening for arson

Mobile home fire 1
Firefighters asses the situation after arriving at 303 Lowell Ave. just off of Wilkinson Blvd. near McAdenville to find a mobile home fully engulfed in flames on Friday March 23, 2012. McAdenville, Lowell, New Hope and Belmont Fire Departments responded to the blaze, which was brought under control quickly with no injuries. Gaston County Police were called to the residence earlier in the day for a domestic, and the fire marshall is now indicating the blaze may be arson. 

Sometimes preparedness pays off. Friday night I had just gotten into my car to leave work when I heard a structure fire dispatched. The address caught my attention. It's the same address where police were called out to a domestic a few hours earlier.

This could be interesting, I though.  

And, as luck would have it, I pulled up on this fire right behind the first fire engine. I was standing there camera ready as they assessed the situation (above) and began fighting the fire (below). 

It's a good thing too; mobile homes fast. It was probably less than 25 minutes from when the first dispatch about the call came out to when the fire was more or less under control. 

Mobile home fire 2
Firefighters begin attacking the blaze.

Presidential Visit

Until the DNC...
President Barack Obama waves as he boards Air Force One at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Wednesday March 7. Obama spoke at the Daimler Trucks North America Mount Holly Truck Manufacturing Plant about initiatives to promote alternative energy and fuel efficient vehicles. 

My little home town was graced with a presidential visit today, and I drew airport duty. 

If sitting around at an airport all day to get pictures of a plane landing and a guy waving doesn't sound very exciting that's because it isn't. But this is the first time a sitting president has come to Gaston County in longer than I can remember (I think the last was Clinton) and Air Force One is just plain cool. 

So pardon me for feeling like a little kid inside when I got to watch this monster of a plane land, and take off a few hours later, at a relatively close distance. 

And pardon me if I enjoy having the leader of the free world come to my little home town to talk about an important issue, namely energy, and announce new efforts to promote sustainability and fuel-efficient cars and trucks. 
If nothing else, the light was good and it was an easy assignment. 

Until next time, Mr. President (which will probably be when the Democratic National Convention comes to town in a few months). 

Air Force One
Air Force One comes in for a landing at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base at Charlotte Douglas International.  (click on photo to view larger)

Morgan Grindstaff

Morgan Grindstaff
Morgan Grindstaff, 21, poses with his guitar at his Cherryville home on Thursday February 23, 2012. Grindstaff was born with Cystic Fibrosis, a degenerative condition that gives him breathing trouble and requires him to use a therapy vest and a nebulizer several times a day.

Part of the reason I love what I do is that I get to meet lots of interesting people that I might not otherwise interact with. It's my job to tell their story.

In this case, I took some pictures of Morgan with medical equipment he uses to help him breath due to his Cystic Fibrosis. That was necessary for the assignment, but I think this photo, which says nothing of his condition, is more genuine and dignified.

He's a human being after all, not simply a victim of disease. On the contrary, one angle in the story this photo accompanied was his efforts to raise awareness and support charities for the ailment.

It's always humbling, though, when you have an assignment to photograph someone with a serious medical condition. Morgan described for me how Cystic Fibrosis will typically get worse over time.

"By the time I get to be about 30 I'll be looking at a lung transplant, you know, or dying."

Then he laughed it off.

The Nurse's Dorm

NC Orthopedic Hospital
Pathways Housing and Services Development Coordinator Kim Maguire poses for a photo in the former nurses dormitory on the historic North Carolina Orthopedic Hospital campus in Gastonia on Thursday March 1, 2012.

The building was most recently occupied by the Gaston County Department of Social Services until it was abandoned in the mid '90s. Maguire hopes to secure funding to renovate the building and convert it into veterans' housing.
NC Orthopedic Hospital
Paint peels and crumbles away from water-damaged walls inside the building.
NC Orthopedic Hospital
Furniture sits discarded inside the building. The last occupant was Gaston County Department of Social Services, who left for a new much large facility in the mid '90s.
NC Orthopedic Hospital
Paint peels off of columns on the front facade of the building. 
NC Orthopedic Hospital

Basketball Highlights

Western Regional Semifinal
Highland Tech's Josh Neely, bottom, wins a rebound over Hayesville's Weston Jordan during the NCHSAA Western Regional semifinal game in the UNC-Greensboro Fleming Gymnasium on Wednesday February 29, 2012.

I don't have any statistics to back this up, but I believe that this past season I covered the fewest basketball games of any year since I began working for a newspaper. That's partly because there were only a few good teams this year, but mostly because The Gazette had more stringers than ever covering games. 

The highlight for me was definitely Highland Tech in the NCHSAA Western Regional Semifinal in Greensboro. I've said it before, but the Fleming Gymnasium at UNCG is a fantastic venue for basketball. 

They have broadcast lighting, ample room to move around on the sidelines, and a balcony over one of the baskets. 

Did I mention they have a balcony over one of the baskets? 

This type of shot is something you typically only see from NBA and major college games in arenas with a catwalk. And even then rarely, since it requires some special access, planning and time to pull it off. 

But if you can get it, it's always worth it. Since much of the peak action of a basketball game is under the rim, with players looking up, this lets you get all the facial expressions instead of armpit.  

Western Regional Semifinal
Hayesville's Justin Gonyea, left, and Clint Coleman guard Highland Tech's Jevon Patton in the final minutes of the NCHSAA Western Regional semifinal.
Western Regional Semifinal
Highland Tech's Joe Deese, clockwise from top, Hayesville's Weston Jordan, Highland's Robert McMillion-El and Hayesville's Hunter Lewis jump after a rebound during the NCHSAA Western Regional semifinal.
Abbey vs Limestone Regalado
Belmont Abbey's Paula Regalado and Limestone's Kaileigh West jump after a rebound during the game at Belmont Abbey on Friday February 24, 2012.
Abbey vs Limestone
Belmont Abbey's Darryl Durham and Limestone's Phillip Moultrie jump for a rebound during the game at Belmont Abbey on Friday February 24, 2012. 

Training Burn

Training fire
Brandon Crank, right, and Charles Morrow with the Gastonia Fire Dept. keep a fire under control after conducting training in the abandoned house on S. Firestone Street on Thursday March 1, 2012. Loray Baptist Church, which owns the property, plans to clear the lot and convert it to a community garden.  

I love taking pictures of training fires. I get to acknowledge my inner pyro, take some cool pictures and at the end of the day I don't have to feel bad that someone lost their home (or worse). 

I think the firefighters feel the same way. 

In any event, I found an easy feature and only got a little sunburned from the fire.