What were the feature stories of 2018?

Feature articles are those newsworthy stories that aren’t exactly news – but they are still important.

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authoritarianism around the globe or the cataclysmic environmental disaster that is already happening and the even more terrible one we are hurtling towards–sometimes I’d rather read about a three-legged dog who beat the odds and learned to skateboard. If the news articles are the meat and potatoes of a newspaper–necessary, important, life-sustaining–the features section is a hearty stew. The features say sure, meat and potatoes are great, but why not add a few onions and a bay leaf? In 2018 the Express published feature stories that covered local history and current events. Remember when that family rode their horses to the Starbucks drive-thru?  Hopefully, because that was hilarious. How about the friendly bird that turned Winters into real-life version of Disney’s “Snow White” for a few weeks? Here’s a look back at some of the features stories that we covered in 2018.

Capstone project completion opens opportunities for WHS Ag program” by Crystal Apilado.

Winters High School senior Gary Molina chose a capstone project that will help change the direction of the ag program entirely. With the changes that Monlina made to the school’s ag site, the program will become more like a working farm than a school garden. Molina learned and grew from the experience as well. “With my capstone, personally, it has made me a better person,” said Molina. “Dealing with money and time. These are things that we have to start doing after this year. If you have a hard time getting on it now you will have a head start on it in the long run. Any help you can get now will just benefit you in the future.”

A new adventure for a milestone birthday” by Emma Johnson.

Dorothy Whitman got a very special present for her 100th birthday: a ride in a hot air balloon. After weeks of rescheduling due to smoke, Whitman finally went up in her birthday balloon in August. The present was arranged by Whitman’s friend Marie Heilman and Yolo Ballooning Adventures. Whitman says the whole thing was a wonderful experience, and that she would like to do it again someday.

Business is blooming” by Kyla Sutro.

What is the process of “heliotropism?” Ask a sunflower. “Summer is here,” Sutro wrote, “and so are the beautiful endless horizons of Sunflowers. These young blooming faces move to reverently follow the first rays till the last light of their namesake across the sky.” Sunflowers are a major crop in Yolo county, and one that is sold in the global marketplace. According to Colin T. Miller, sunflower seeds grown around Winters often end up in Hungary and Ukraine.

Immigrants treated as ‘alien enemies’” by Emma Johnson

When the Japanese-Americans and Japanese immigrants were shuttled onto trains leaving Winters, they took only what they could carry. Children were taken out of school weeks before graduation, businesses were closed and entire households were sold quickly and to the lowest bidder. Many of them were sent to a concentration camp located in a barren stretch of Colorado. The Yolo County Archives has a collection of letters written by the interned families to the Vaseys. “How is everyone in Winters?” Hatsuye “Hattie” Nishikawa asked in a letter to Jack Vasey. “We all miss our hometown and our friends. Also the delicious fruit. It is impossible to get anything here like the Winters fruit.”

Penny the rescue goat meets her local fans at The Clayground” by Kyla Sutro.

“Perhaps you’ve heard of a bull in a china shop, but did you see the goat in the ceramic store?” Sutro wrote. Penny may be little, but she has a large following. When the Nigerian dwarf goat showed up for a meet and bleat she was three months pregnant, but still gracious and patient with her fans.

The mystery of Edith Irene Wolfskill” by Emma Johnson.

The events that surrounded the mysterious death of Edith Irene Wolfskill sound like plot points in an Agatha Christie novel. A reclusive heiress walks out of her house one afternoon and is never seen alive again. Where did she go? Why did her maid overhear her telling some unseen person that she would never leave? Why had her two brothers, who also served as her caretakers, not spoken to each other in over a decade? Months later, when her body was found decaying in a dry creek bed, the questions only intensified. Why was she wearing men’s overalls? Why were her shoes, clean and unscuffed despite the weeks she had supposedly spent in the wilderness, removed and placed neatly beside her body? Why did her brother immediately try to claim her fortune for themselves?

Volunteers recondition United States map at Waggoner Elementary School” by Kyla Sutro.

Woody Fridae and his fourth grade class painted the first map on the Waggoner black top in the 1985 school year. This year he returned a retired teacher and a Rotarian to repaint the map voluntarily. “I’ve always loved geography,” Fridae said. “I think of maps as a symbolic model of where we are in the world, so when a map is big enough you can get into physical movement that represents the north, south, east and west of the real world…kids learn by doing and moving.”]]>

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