Writings

About

Irene was born and raised in Middletown, New York. She was graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Irene now lives in western Nebraska with her husband and three cats. When she is not hiking and exploring her new home, she is learning to be a better photographer, reading non-fiction books or dystopian novels, and finding ways to score free food as any self-respecting journalist does.

Irene has been on the internet since March 1993 after having discovered Usenet and ISCABBS. Since then, she has designed her own websites, written for others, and explored the internet.

Irene is an award-winning journalist, having written as a columnist, reporter, and photographer at the Scottsbluff Star-Herald for many years. Irene also freelances at Wyobraska Magazine, Pousto Media, and Medium.com. This site contains her personal writings about living with PTSD, life in western Nebraska, childhood memories, travel, poetry, and her grandmother. In March 2020, she posted a story a day about inspiring women in honor of Women’s History Month.

In 2019, Irene researched, wrote, and edited, “Scotts Bluff National Monument: Through the Years.” The limited edition coffee table book celebrates the monument’s past 100 years through historical photos and stories.

Irene recently completed her memoir, which details her struggles with PTSD and childhood trauma. She is currently seeking representation and hopes to have it published soon.

Writing Awards Highlights

Third place, 2018 Marianne Beel Sweepstakes Award, Nebraska Press Women
The Marianne Beel Sweepstakes awards, the highest awards given in the NPW communications competition, are named after the late Marianne Beel, a longtime NPW member and contest director. The Beel Sweepstakes awards are given to the three entrants who earned the most points. Points are awarded based on an entrant’s placement in each category entered, as well as number of entrants in the respective categories.

First place, 2018 Blogs, Personal, “Why We Don’t Report,” from the National Federation of Press Women National Contest and Nebraska Press Women Professional Communications Contest
A personal essay about the #metoo movement and why so many victims of rape and sexual assault never come forward to report what happened to them. This article won first place in two writing contests.

Please note: Online titles are sometimes different from the newspaper title. The titles listed in the awards section are those that were in the newspaper and not the online version.

2018 Writing Awards
National Federation of Press Women National Contest
• First place, Blogs, Personal, “Why We Don’t Report
• Third place, Editorial/Opinion, Online Publication, “Theobald is the Change Needed in Congress

Nebraska Press Women Professional Communications Contest
• Third place, Marianne Beel Sweepstakes Award, Nebraska Press Women
• First place, Blogs, Personal, “Why We Don’t Report
• First place, Editorial/Opinion, “Theobald is the Change Needed in Congress
• First place, Feature Story, Online Publication, “Bullies and Targets
• Second place, In-Depth Reporting, “Vaping,” with Lauren Brant (Part 1, 2)
• Second place, News Story-Newspapers, “Audit Walk
• Second place, Editorial/Opinion-Newspapers, “Libraries Are a Good Investment
• Second place, Personality Profile, more than 500 words, “Squawking Good Time: Unofficial Zoo Mascot
• Second place, environmental articles, “Due Diligence: Proposed power line involves several agencies working to preserve sites along Oregon Trail, endangered beetle
• Second place, Social Issues, “Staying Ahead with Psypact
• Second place, general photo, “A Look at Showmanship”
• Second place, Photographer-Writer, “In the Footsteps of their Ancestors
• Third place, In-Depth Reporting, “Elder Abuse” (Part 1, 2)
• Third place, Food Articles, “Keep Flying. There’s no Good Pizza Here.
• Third Place, Health Articles, “Battling the Bulge”
• Third place, Creative Verse – Single Poem, “When the Hour Arrives
• Honorable Mention, History Articles, “Friendship Across the Ages
• Honorable Mention, Reviews, “Different Destinations
• Honorable Mention, Page or Section Editing – Newspapers, “Fort Robinson Magazine” (in magazine form only, no online edition available)
• Honorable Mention, News or Feature Photo, “Best of the Best”
• Honorable Mention, Photo Essay, “Re-Enactment at Fort Robinson” (Scroll down the page for the photos)

Nebraska Press Association Better Newspaper Contest
• Second place, in-depth writing, “Vaping,” with Lauren Brant (Part 1, 2)

Associated Press Great Plains News and Photo Contest
• First place, Enterprise story “Alzheimer’s” with Katelyn Lambert (Part 1, 2)
• First place, Feature story about suicide, “Out of the Darkness” (Part 1, 2)

Local Awards
• Scottsbluff Star-Herald, Reader’s Choice, Favorite Columnist

2017 Writing Awards
National Federation of Press Women National Contest
• First place, editorial, editorial opinion, “Net Neutrality is Needed
• Third place, enterprise reporting, “Good Vibrations: Robby Simmons talks about life with hearing issues” (Part 1, 2)

Nebraska Press Women Professional Communications Contest
• First place, enterprise reporting, “Good Vibrations: Robby Simmons talks about life with hearing issues” (Part 1, 2)
• First place, editorial opinion, “Net Neutrality is Needed
• First place, photographer-writer, “Awestruck at Agate”
• Second place, news story, continuing coverage, “A Helping Hand”
• Second place, feature story, “Stepping up, speaking out” (Part 1, 2)
• Third place, single photo, news or feature, “Fair Time”
• Honorable Mention, articles covering Nebraska’s 150th anniversary celebration

Nebraska Press Association Better Newspaper Contest
• First place, in-depth writing, Death Penalty (Part 1, 2)
• First place, Special Single Section, Ethnic Heritage Magazine
• Second place, Walk to School Day, with Copy Editor Spike Jordan

Associated Press Great Plains News and Photo Contest
• Third place, personal column
• Third place, feature photo, Petting Zoo
• Third place, General News, “Where Do Your Taxes Go?

Local Awards
• Scottsbluff Star-Herald Reader’s Choice, favorite columnist

2016 Writing Awards
Associated Press Great Plains News and Photo Contest
• Second place, Spot News Photo
• Third place, Enterprise Writing, Medicaid Series (Part 1, 2, 3)

Nebraska Press Association Better Newspaper Contest
• Second Place, editorial, personal column
• Second place, feature series, Medicaid Series (Part 1, 2, 3)

Local Awards
• Scottsbluff Star-Herald Reader’s Choice, favorite columnist
• Named co-worker of the year at the Scottsbluff Star-Herald

2015 Writing Awards
• Scottsbluff Star-Herald Reader’s Choice, favorite columnist

YouTube channels about atheism

As a resident of a conservative community, Irene receives many questions about being an atheist. The channels below are good resources that will answer most people’s questions.

AronRa
Baud2Bits
DarkMatter2525
Evid3nc3 – especially the series “Why I Am No Longer a Christian
NonStampCollector
QualiaSoup
The Thinking Atheist
TheraminTrees

Donate

While Irene will always take a donation to help support the site – or french fries – she would rather you make a donation to an organization she supports.

ACLU
ACLU Nebraska
American Atheists
Center for Inquiry
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Freedom From Religion Foundation
Riverside Discovery Center
Save the Rhino

This page was last updated 29 February 2020.

1 Comment

  1. Rick Myers

    Wow!!! Here’s to more stories and personal insights in the very near future.

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