Phoenix Magazine Feature Articles
Jana has twice been named the nation's best columnist writing in a city magazine. She has repeatedly won Arizona's top column writing awards-in 2002, she was the first columnist to ever win both the highest feature column and news column honors.
2009 Feature Stories
You're Sick? It's All In Your Head , April
The same symptoms kept showing up, more than half the workers were sick, but "officially" there was nothing wrong. Wait till you learn what that means for your office job..
The Lone Butte Nine, February
Loretta Avent has had an interesting and challenging career - from the White House to Phoenix - but she has never fought as hard as she has in the past few years for a group of poor American Indian high school students.
2008 Feature Stories
Dissecting Arizona, February
Thousands of saguaros uprooted. Dozens of bighorn sheep killed. Rivers ravaged. George H. Johnson holds three state records that beg the same question: Is he the worst developer in Arizona?
Carol's Broken Dreams, April
Hereâs what we know: Carol Anne Gotbaum accidentally strangled herself to death at Sky Harbor Airport last September. Why, how and whoâs to blame are less clear. In exclusive interviews with PHOENIX magazine, those closest to Carol relive the moments leading up to her death.
Man on Fire, July
After 30 years of solving the phoenix police department‚s grittiest crimes, Jack Ballentine decided retirement just wasn’t for him. Now, after a year of Tackling “and solving” arson cases for the Phoenix Fire Department, it’s Safe to say this guy’s a true trailblazer.
I Fought the Law and ..., September
The late-night, at-home arrests of New Times executives last fall sent shockwaves through Arizona. Was it an “inappropriate abuse” of police powers exercised by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas, or were the elected officials just policing a “law-breaking newspaper?” Now the New Times is suing for millions, and a court will decide if Maricopa County’s top law enforcement officials must answer for what happened that night. Here’s the inside story that leads you down the winding road to this blistering showdown.
Arizona’s Broken Arrow:, November
For years, the tribe that lives at the bottom of the Grand Canyon has been seeking justice for what it calls ‘genetic piracy,’ claiming ASU misused blood samples from most of the adult population. ASU maintains the tribe shouldn’t be allowed to sue.
2007 Feature Stories
Is the Wrong Man on Death Row for the Murder of an Heiress?, February
This should be one of the Valleyâs most important cold cases, but itâs not. Itâs not even on the list anymore. Because someoneâs in prison, Phoenix PD considers the case solved. A fresh look by PHOENIX magazine, however, shows that itâs anything but closed. Among other things, weâve uncovered evidence that fractures the very foundation of the case.
Lois Fraley's Three-Year Nightmare, July
Lois Fraley thought the worst was over when she walked out of the Lewis Prison tower on Super Bowl Sunday, 2004. She had survived the longest prison hostage crisis in American history, having been beaten, raped and mentally abused by two inmates. But in the three years since Fraley’s life changed forever, she says she was held hostage all over again – first by the state and its partisan politics, then by the man who she once called her savior. Will Lois Fraley ever wake up?
To Catch a Rapist, August
Before the Baseline Killer and Serial Shooters, there was the A.M. Rapist, who assaulted women all over Phoenix in the wee hours of the morning and managed to elude police for the better part of 2005. It would take a mere moment for the man to slip up and get caught, but police say it’s what they learned from this particular manhunt that has helped lead them to other serial criminals.
Is Sandra Dowling an Innocent Woman?, September
The County Schools Superintendent is charged with ripping off the homeless children of Downtown’s Pappas School, but a PHOENIX magazine investigation turns up new evidence that suggests it isn’t true.
2006 Feature Stories
Will Global Warming Cook Arizona?, February
Although no one knows for sure, climatologists at ASU and UA warn that Arizona could be in a world of hurt if the temperatures continue to climb. What's more, the worst effects aren't thousands of years away - they're already on the horizon.
The Flight of Phoenix, March
Although the hurricanes and tsunamis aren't likely in this neck of the woods, several Katrina-like catastrophes are conceivable, which is why local officials are working on ways to evacuate the Valley should disaster strike.
He Buried My Mother By A Blue Motel, April
In June, we told the story of Loretta Bowersock, a well known woman who mysteriously disappeared in December 2004, presumably at the hands of her longtime boyfriend. Thirteen months later, her body was found, and, as it turns out, the psychics were right - she was buried by something blue.
Cold Case Unit, April
People get murdered all the time. Some cases get solved, and others go cold. It's the cold cases that consume Sergeant Jack Millward and his squad of Phoenix PD detectives. Although most of the cases will never get cracked, time, technology and tenacity are increasing the odds.
Infamous Arizona, May
The Grand Canyon State has had its share of local scandals ö AzScam, Keating, etc. ö but itâs also linked to some of the most notorious news stories in U.S. history, including Watergate, Tonya Harding and the terrorist attacks on September 11.
Hostage Crisis at 2600 N. Central, July
There was no clue about who the man was, what kind of gun he had, how many guns he had, how many hostages he held, where he was holding them, what he wanted or what would make him give up. Within seven hours, though, George Curran was in custody, and no one was hurt. Turns out, Curran was pissed at the government ö the same government that will try to lock him up for life. What youâll see inside is an hour-by-hour replay of what happened that night.
Sheriff Joe Cost Us Another $9 Million, August
On march 24, jurors in a federal court awarded $9 million to the family of Charles Agster. Like Scott Norberg and others, Agster died while in the custody of Sheriff Joe. But he wasn’t a hardened criminal. In fact, Agster was mentally disabled. What’s worse, the sheriff’s department tried to cover up his death by faking records. As usual, Joe’s people didn’t have much to say. No matter, we have the court records, and they speak volumes.
2005 Feature Stories
State of the City, January
Light rail, Prop. 200, ASU's Downtown campus... there's a lot going on in Phoenix. With that in mind, we sat down with Mayor Gordon - to get his thoughts on where things are headed.
Will Sheriff Joe Stop at Nothing?, February
The pink underwear and green bologna are one thing, but entrapping an inmate is going too far. Thatâs what a jury determined in the case of James Saville, a young man whoâs suing the sheriff for $10 million for entrapment and wrongful incarceration. Chances are, heâll collect something, but thatâs nothing new when it comes to Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whoâs already cost county taxpayers $13.5 million in lawsuits.
Anchor's Away, March
He's the dean of Valley newscasters, a man synonymous with Channel 12. After 25 years, though, Kent Dana is moving on to greener pastures at Channel 5, where he's signed a five-year contract that's rumored to be worth about $650,000 per year.
The Kobe Case, April
Scottsdale psychiatrist Steven Pitt is no stranger to high-profile cases - he did the "psychiatric autopsies" in the aftermath of the Columbine massacre. So, when the prosecutors in the Kobe Bryant rape case asked him to join the team, it wasn't a big surprise. Although the criminal charges were eventually dropped, and, at press time, the civil suit was being settled out of court, Dr. Pitt is convinced that Bryant had something to hide.
Mr. Big-Shot Attorney, May
Glen Campbell, AZSCAM, Winnie Ruth Judd, Miranda· Larry Debus is no stranger to high-profile cases. His favorites, though, involve Sheriff Joe. As you'll see, he loves suing the sheriff, a man he considers audacious and unworthy of his ongoing popularity.
Where is My Mother's Body?, June
When Phoenix furniture mogul Terri Bowersock got the call that her mother was missing, she immediately suspected the worst. What she quickly learned, however, is that things were even worse than they seemed. So far, her mother's body has never been found, but Terri knows that it's buried somewhere in the desert, and she knows who did it. All she wants to do now is get it back.
Joseph Smith Had 33 Wives, July
Mainstream Mormons have been denouncing polygamy for more than a century, but the founder of the religion was all for it, even though it ultimately led to his death. What follows is a history of the radical belief, and as you'll see, Smith's death wasn't the only legacy - for decades, polygamy's been causing all kinds of problems.
CSI: Phoenix, August
No. It's not another spin-off of the popular CBS series. This is a story about real cops doing real work in the real world. As you'll see, it isn't as glamorous as it is on TV, but the men and women of Phoenix PD's crime scene unit take pride in what they do, and what they do is solve murders.
Rape is Rape, September
Men rape women all the time. Without a doubt, it's one of the most heinous crimes in society, which is why rapists are sent to prison for a long time. That is, unless the rapist is the husband of the victim - when it comes to "spousal rape," the penalties can be as little as a slap on the wrist. That's how it was in Arizona, when Deb was raped by her husband. Instead of just accepting it, though, she single-handedly took on the Legislature and got the law changed. Today, thanks to her, rape is rape - married or not. In an exclusive interview with PHOENIX magazine, Deb tells her story.
2004 Feature Stories
Black and White and Read All Over, February
There was a time when Steve Benson, editorial cartoonist for "The Arizona Republic" and grandson of a Mormon prophet, railed against gays and women's rights. But then he changed his tune, and now the Pulitzer Prize winner, who's syndicated in more than 100 U.S. newspapers, is attacking the president, the war and the Mormon church.
Michael Crow is up to Something, March
Some say his plan is good, some say it's bad, but everyone agrees that ASU's ambitious president is taking America's fifth largest university in a whole new direction. Time will tell if he's on target.
Escape From Colorado City, May
The Mormon Church renounced poly-gamy more than I00 years ago, but in Northern Arizona, a fundamentalist sect of "believers" is still playing by the old rules - men are taking two or three "wives," fathering dozens of children and collecting millions in welfare. It's been going on for decades, without much uproar, but now, the kids are running away and the attorney general has vowed to protect them.
Arizona - Innocent Man to Death Row, July
How in the hell did this happen?
Nuclear Attack in Kingman, Arizona, November
In 1945, the U.S. military dropped atomic bombs on Japan, killing tens of thousands of Japanese civilians. Seven years later, it start-ed dropping bombs in Nevada, indirectly killing untold numbers of American civilians. No one knows for sure how many Arizonans have died from the fallout, but in Kingman, they're still counting, and survivors Worry the numbers will increase if the government follows through on its plan for another round of nuclear tests.
Arizona's Prison Boss, December
Some say she's too soft to run Arizona's troubled prison system, while others say she's an unflinching ramrod with the grit to get things done. Time will determine her legacy, but already, Dora Schriro has successfully managed the longest hostage crisis in U.S. history - and in the process, became the only prison director ever to get everybody out alive.
2003 Feature Stories
Bringing Down The Bull, May
When Salvatore Gravano ratted-out his fellow mobsters and moved to Phoenix - courtesy of the Witness Protection Program - he was given a second chance. He didn't take it. Instead, he started one of the biggest drug rings in the country and got busted. Not by the FBI, which was clueless, but by the Phoenix Police Department. Good for them. Not so good for Sammy.
Out from Under the Cloud, November
For nearly three decades, Howard Mechanic eluded the FBI - he was on the lam. Eventually though, his past caught up with him and he went to prison, where he expected to grow old. But that didn't happen. Instead, he got a pardon from President Clinton, and today he's living happily ever after in Prescott, Arizona.