MaKayla Dyer's shooting still shocks town: 'Rest in peace sweet baby'

For The Guardian

This week, MaKayla’s friends and family gathered to stare at the girl’s costume. There she was, Queen Elsa. Surrounded by pink wreaths. Inside a casket.

The eight-year-old girl from White Pine, Tennessee, died on 3 October. Police say a neighbor in her trailer park shot her, in a dispute about puppies. The alleged shooter was 11.

At the funeral, four-year-old Riley Edwards approached the casket. She placed a teddy bear next to her friend’s body and whispered: “Come on Kayla,” she said. “Let’s go play.”
 
Photo by Mona Nair/WATE

Photo by Mona Nair/WATE

 

Softening The World With A Camera Lens

For Femsplain

My camera bag sat stashed across the room. I had grabbed it not because I expected to take pictures, but because I always grab it. Not bringing along my camera would have been a blatant admission that this was different, that things weren’t all right. Which, of course, was true.
 

'It was devastating': A family struggles to recover from brutal Alabama beating

For The Guardian

When Chirag Patel walked into his father’s hospital room, he saw a different man than the one he had left just two hours before.

Sureshbhai Patel, 57, lay in shock. Dried blood caked his nose. His neck was swollen and blotched with bruises. Chirag lifted Sureshbhai’s arm, and let go. It flopped down to the bed.
 Sureshbhai Patel lies in hospital. Photograph: Hank Sherrod

 Sureshbhai Patel lies in hospital. Photograph: Hank Sherrod

 

The gift of Evereman: Atlanta street artist stages art drop in Chattanooga neighborhoods

For the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Most people driving by the little block faces hanging here and there from Main Street to North Shore probably had no idea where they came from.
Photo by Maura Friedman for the Times Free Press

Photo by Maura Friedman for the Times Free Press

 

 

Art for Femsplain by Fabiola Lara

Art for Femsplain by Fabiola Lara

Rationalizing Our Irrational Fears

For Femsplain

I’m afraid of death. A furry version of it.
It’s the fox on your grandfather’s mantle, face frozen in a half-snarl, half-stoner grin. The antelope mounted over that pretentious coffee bar that doesn’t even serve drip coffee. And that swollen squirrel your weird roommate kept on her desk (where did she even get that thing?).
I’m thinking about them all right now and I want to hurl.

Read more

 

30 seconds of God: 'Ashes to Go' takes liturgy to the streets

For the Chattanooga Times Free Press

The priest stood alone on the edge of the car-clogged road, ashes in hand. A lid protected her canister from the wind, advice she read earlier on a tip sheet.
Photo by Maura Friedman for the Times Free Press

Photo by Maura Friedman for the Times Free Press

 

 

 

The Happiest Hour: two millenials walk into a bar

For Chattanooga Now

What’s the happiest hour in town? Last Wednesday, we headed to The Flying Squirrel, the watering hole of the hip in the happening Southside neighborhood.

Bar Highlights: Specialty cocktails are $5 and a featured food menu (up today was a wagyu beef tartare, a seared pork tenderloin and a sweet corn veloute).

And today’s conversational menu: Tinder, a dating app.
Photo illustration by Erin O. Smith for the Times Free Press

Photo illustration by Erin O. Smith for the Times Free Press

 

Hixson Dairy Queen adds Amazing Grace to the menu

For the Chattanooga Times Free Press

The band begins. Its tempo is fast, the music swells. Gospel songs send vibrations from the tile floor to the ice cream maker as the audience sways, mouthing the lyrics. The instant the band’s final note peters off, applause erupts. You’ve never seen a Dairy Queen so lively.
Photo by Maura Friedman for the Times Free Press

Photo by Maura Friedman for the Times Free Press

        

 

Let it shine

For the Chattanooga Times Free Press

They call him Doctor Shine. The name is burned on the wooden sign hanging in the storefront window where he works. And it’s a nickname that Arthur Ballanger is quick to point out he didn’t bestow on himself. It comes from his customers, he says.
Photo by Maura Friedman for the Times Free Press

Photo by Maura Friedman for the Times Free Press