Sacramento Bee editors have selected the following stories from 2015 for you to enjoy reading again, as they highlight the essence of great reporting and writing. Here you will find pieces that will make you think and touch your heart.
Published Oct. 24, 2015 – Reported and written by Cynthia Hubert
Genevieve Lucchesi died on a cold winter morning in a parking lot in midtown Sacramento. She was 77 and had been living homeless for more than 20 years. Genny was a fixture in midtown, with her gray bun and stacked metal cart. But she remained an enigma even to those who tried to help. Who was Genny? What brought her to the streets? And why did she die alone?
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Published Aug. 10, 2015 – Reported and written by Charles Piller
Jerome Lackner, once the maverick leader of California’s Department of Health, lived a big life, daring to challenge powerful institutions and uncompromising in his advocacy for the downtrodden. His death, at age 83, would prove no less controversial.
Published Oct. 14, 2015 – Reported and written by Sam McManis
Leonard Gardner wrote “Fat City,” a critically acclaimed boxing novel set in Stockton, in 1969. His writing influenced literary heavyweights such as Raymond Carver, Richard Ford and Denis Johnson. Now, 46 years after its publication, Gardner is working on a second novel.
Published May 16, 2015 – Reported and written by Peter Hecht
In a corner of the scorched Tulare Lake Basin, where lives and livelihoods depend on water that comes from the ground, a human crisis is accelerating amid California’s unrelenting drought. In northern Tulare County, drinking-water wells are running dry in Monson and other farmworker communities, and challenges to the people who live here are particularly poignant.
Published April 5, 2015 – Reported and written by Chris Macias
Many things in the wine world aren’t supposed to mix: Cabernet sauvignon and oysters. Moscato and rib-eye steaks. White zinfandel and good taste. But Master of Wine Tim Hanni – one of the best-respected and most iconoclastic figures in the industry – says that’s a bunch of twaddle. People should be empowered to decide what works for them.
Published Aug. 9, 2015 – Reported and written by Sammy Caiola
Erika and Eva Sandoval are twins, joined at the pelvis, sharing a liver and other organs. The rare condition has presented significant challenges for the girls and their family. Surgery to separate the babies is expected to be performed sometime in 2016.
Published Sept. 23, 2015 – Reported and written by Jeremy B. White
Dueling perspectives crystallize the debate that pursued SB 277 through the Legislature. In the end, those calling widespread vaccination a needed bulwark for public health triumphed over critics warning of a loss of parental freedom. Opponents have not given up. They believe the same fervor that sent thousands of angry parents to the state Capitol will sustain their ballot campaign and put the issue before the people.
Published Nov. 25, 2015 – Reported and written by Claudia Buck
When she died Sept. 13, Alexandra Barnes' gift of life as an organ donor began. Her kidneys went separately to two men in their 30s, both in New York City. Her corneas were given to a local eye bank. Her ovaries, pancreas, intestine, spleen and left lung were recovered for research. And, in a remarkable cross-country race against time, her liver came to California. As part of her family’s wishes, it was transplanted in a down-to-the-wire surgery to replace the cancer-and-cirrhosis-damaged liver of Bill Lorber, a retired electrician in Loomis.