Conversations on affordable housing | 107-year-old UK Basketball lover, a few of my favorites this year

Haley Parnell
Haley Parnell
Haley is a reporter for LINK nky. Email her at [email protected]

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Sometimes you sit down to write a story and suffer from writer’s block, and other times you know you have put together something good.

I compiled five of my favorite stories, the ones I’ve seen make the most impact on the community that I have written over the last year. 

Center table success story:

Erica Owens, from the Brighton Recovery Center talks about the recovery rate and behavior modification at the center. Photo by Joe Simon | LINK nky contributor

This story was the first cover story I wrote for our weekly print edition. I sat down with Erica Owens at Center Table, a catering business that supports recovery efforts and culinary training for women with substance use disorder. 

Upon arrival, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I saw a lot of camaraderie amongst the women walking about the area. They had backpacks on, talking amongst each other, college campus style. I would later find out through Erica the different programs, routines, struggles, and victories those women were going through from Erica’s perspective as a graduate of the program.

Listening to Erica’s story, I knew it was one that would stick with me.

The most gratifying part of telling people’s stories is the trust they ensue in you to tell it right.

The secret to living to 107: Tomatoes and UK basketball

Gladys Frazier, of Falmouth, who is nearly 107. Photo provided by Deborah Wyatt

In August, we received an email from someone telling us their husband’s grandmother was about to turn 107.

As someone who loves writing feature stories, I jumped on this opportunity. It’s not every day you meet someone who was born in 1915.

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I went to Gladys’s nursing home in Butler to meet with her and her grandson, Rich, and his wife, Deborah. They helped move Glady’s memory through stories of her time in high school, getting married, her various jobs, etc. After all, she graduated high school in 1934, and most people can’t even recall what they had for dinner the night before.

I chose this story because of its novelty. It was a fun one to pursue.

You don’t have to know where you’re going to know that you’re going somewhere

Aaron Thompson. Photo provided | Kentucky Council on Post Secondary Education website

This was one of those stories where you are interviewing someone so intelligent you have to make sure you’re asking all the insightful questions.

Aaron Thompson’s story of overcoming poverty and becoming the first of nine to graduate both high school and college, well basically knocked my socks off.

This is another story that was just fun to write. I got to be more creative with it as it is a feature story. It also doesn’t hurt when the person you’re speaking to is super inspiring. The story kind of tells itself.

Victoria Square coverage

Victoria Square Apartments. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky

I’m going to cheat and not just pick one story for this one. I had five stories that encompass this coverage because of how extensive it was.

I was asked to start digging into the selling of an apartment complex in Newport back in July and things went full throttle from there.

What started as a story on a complex that had just sold quickly turned into over 200 residents losing their homes in a matter of months. I wanted to be the first person to get this news out there, and I was.

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Our coverage sparked other parties to get involved. This series of stories also sparked a larger conversation in the region, including inside LINK, on the lack of affordable housing in Northern Kentucky, which is why I am most proud of this series of stories I did this year.

Here is the list of Victoria Square coverage:

Residents at Bellevue apartments, faced with rent hikes, unsure of next steps

The School Haus apartments in Bellevue. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky

The idea for this story stemmed from my Victoria Square coverage. It turns out that the same thing that happened to the folks at Victoria Square has and is happening across Northern Kentucky.

I spent quite a few weeks gathering information from sources for this story. I spoke on the phone with one of them constantly, getting updates on her situation, which was devastating. But these are the types of stories that invoke change, so I will gladly be the one to write them.

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