Medicine: A Cure for Sickle Cell

Sickle cell anemia is a devastating inherited disease whose victims endure lives marked by recurring episodes of intense pain, frequent strokes, and early death–before age 50, in most cases. But a team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine is hot on the trail of a cure for sickle cell. And that cure may lead to help for victims of lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, and other illnesses.

The story is posted here on the website of Hopkins Medicine magazine.


Marketing: Bistro Poplar

Bistro Poplar is a truly amazing French restaurant in Cambridge, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Like so many folks in that stressful trade, they are so crazy busy keeping up with day-to-day demands that they decided to call me in to focus on marketing. First thing I did was outline a seven-step plan for them. Then I rewrote and reorganized their website–you can see the new content here. Now we’re focusing on their Facebook page, which added 160 fans during a recent five-day period. More to come!


Marketing: Emily’s Produce

Emily’s Produce is a hugely popular roadside farm market located just outside Cambridge, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. During this past offseason, they set out to update their website and asked me to deliver a lot of the content. You can visit the website here.


Medicine: The Early Days of AIDS

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the virus that causes AIDS. The folks at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine recently asked me to interview some physicians who were on the front lines in those frightening early days, when the disease was basically a death sentence and its victims were shunned as outcasts.

The story is posted here on the website of Hopkins Medicine magazine.


Science: She’s Got the Beat

The Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University asked me to write about the work of Natalia Trayanova. She makes elaborate computer models of the human heart in all its amazing complexity, and it’s looking like those models hold great potential for improving cardiac care at the bedside. The story is on Whiting’s website here.


Essay: The Building Block

My wife, Jill, and I used to live in a rowhouse in a working-class stretch of Northeast Baltimore. This essay recalls the changes that came about in our lives as we got to know some amazing neighbor kids. The Maryland Society of Professional Journalists gave it their top prize in the Human Interest category.

It’s in a PDF format here: The Building Block.


Environment: It’s Not Easy Being Green

I wrote this story for Baltimore magazine shortly after finishing a certification program in environmental studies at Johns Hopkins. It examines some misperceptions commonly held by well-meaning environmentalists and makes the point that we’ve got to think harder and act smarter if we’re actually going to “save” the Bay.

It’s Not Easy Being Green


Culture: Follow the Crab

As assignments go, this one was a joy. Baltimore’s Style magazine asked me to work with the amazing nature photographer David Harp and follow the journey of a Chesapeake Bay blue crab from the moment it gets caught up on a waterman’s trotline through the time it lands on a restaurant table.

Follow the Crab (Part 1)

Follow the Crab (Part 2)


Medicine: Within Grasp

Hopkins Medicine recently asked me to write about the amazing team there that’s at the forefront of efforts to facilitate transplants of hands and arms. The work they’re doing may may have important applications that boost a slew of related fields and help a slew of future patients to live fuller lives.

It’s posted here on the magazine’s website.

And it’s here in a PDF format: Within Grasp


Medicine: Comfort Zones

Palliative care is fast-growing field devoted to helping people with terminal illnesses. The goal is to get patients feeling healthier and living more independently as they battle their disease–and to help them and their families prepare for the end of life. Hopkins Medicine magazine recently asked me to do a story about some amazing folks who are at the forefront of the palliative team at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Here’s the story on the Hopkins website: Comfort Zones.


History: The Great Baltimore Fire

This story marked the centennial of a blaze that obliterated 86 blocks and 1,500 buildings. As offers of federal and state aid came in after the fire, Mayor Robert McLane responded by saying, “To them I have in general terms replied: Baltimore will take care of its own people the best it can . . . but we thank you, and we appreciate it just the same.”

After the Fire (Part 1)

After the Fire (Part 2)


Fundraising: Cambridge Main Street

I spent four years as executive director of a small nonprofit, Cambridge Main Street. In each of those years, our fundraising team set a new record for donations–and we did so in the teeth of a pretty rotten economy. Fundraising writing is something I really learned to enjoy along the way.

Annual Donor Appeal

Art: Cone Sweet Cone

The Cone Collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art is a civic treasure of the first order. As the museum readied the unveiling of a new installation of the collection, I wrote this piece for Baltimore magazine looking at how the collection has been treated over the decades.

Cone Sweet Cone


Nature: In Darwin’s Footsteps

Charlie Stine is an ecologist who’d long dreamed of seeing the Galapagos Islands. When he finally got his chance at age 80, my wife and I were lucky enough to be a part of the group that accompanied him. Later, I wrote this piece for the Johns Hopkins alumni magazine looking through the eyes of an ecologist as he takes in the sights at one of the world’s most breathtaking places.

It’s posted here on the website of Johns Hopkins Magazine.

And it’s here as a PDF: In Darwin’s Footsteps.


Annual Report: Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology

This nonprofit contacted me because they needed a stronger way to communicate what they’d accomplished over a five-year period in working to help environmentalists, farmers, and foresters see that there is common ground among them on issues where they have been fighting for years. (FYI, the Center has since changed its name to the Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology.)

Agro-Ecology Report (Part 1)

Agro-Ecology Report (Part 2)


Profile: Wes Moore

I’ve written a slew of profiles over the years. Looking back I think this one might be my favorite–and that’s because the subject is such an amazing young man.

It’s posted here on the website of the Johns Hopkins School of Arts & Sciences Magazine.

And it’s here as a PDF: Lost and Found.


Environment: Something in the Water–A Save the Bay Primer

This essay cuts through the clutter  and complexities surrounding efforts to “save” the Chesapeake Bay. I lead readers through a seven-step primer that aims to deliver everything they need to know to have a basic grasp of the most important issues in this complex and controversial undertaking.

Something in the Water


History: The Last March of Bill Moore

In my younger days I worked for the alternative weekly in Baltimore, City Paper. This cover story explores a lost chapter in the civil rights movement–the brutal death of a white postman while he was on a one-man march through the South to protest segregation. It won the A.D. Emmart Prize for writing in the humanities.

The Last March of Bill Moore


History: The Chesapeake Bay Bridge

On the 50th anniversary of the Bay Bridge, Chesapeake Life magazine asked me to trace the story of this span through the years–from initial conception to modern day traffic backups.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge