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The most influential stories for EastIdahoNews.com reporters in 2020



The reporters in the upper left corner of EastIdahoNews.com are Nate Eaton, Nate Sunderland, Eric Grossarth, Brittni Johnson, Rett Nelson and Silas Wright.

As difficult as 2020, we have reported triumphs and tragedies. Our reporter reviewed this year and shared some of their most affected stories.

(Click here to view our most popular 2020 stories, and click here to view this year’s headlines across the state.)

Brittni Johnson

Ririe teen who tried to commit suicide wanted others to know that suicide was not the answer (June 23), and the former student athlete died of suicide. His family used the tragedy to help others (June 24)

Former Bonneville High School student athlete Braydon Pugmire. | Image courtesy of Brad Barlow

I personally have a responsibility not only to tell these mental health stories accurately, but also to do it in a way that makes other struggling people know that they can ask for help. Writing these articles reminds me and the entire community that sometimes what is portrayed externally is not the same as inside. We need to be aware of this at all times. We can do simple things to help others, and I hope this is what the community has learned from these two stories.

See how Eastern Idaho responded to the pandemic more than a century ago (December 22)

This story is different from the stories I wrote before, but I am happy to spend time researching so much information. From the comments I read, people are fascinated to see that the way people in Eastern Idaho deal with COVID is similar to the way they dealt with the Spanish flu more than 100 years ago. In a sense, I think this reassures the people of Eastern Idaho because they know the situation will indeed return to “normal” in the end.

Silas Wright

With the special music videos that several generations of students paid tribute to her, the teacher was moved to tears (July 9)

Zola crying

Idaho Falls High School Chorus Teacher Zola Jensen

This is a great and heartwarming story, and generations of students want to recognize teachers who are of great significance to them. The community learned that despite the COVID-19 restrictions, they can still use their talents (some of which have been converted into professions) to inspire those who inspire them. It was great to be able to interview everyone and hear their passion for music and their love for teacher Ms. J. I will always remember this story.

Eric Grossarth

Rehabilitation addict said that arrest was the best thing for him (August 7)

Logan Celner | Courtesy Photo

The story of Logan Celner gave me a new perspective on addiction and its impact on the local life of Eastern Idaho. Celner talked candidly about his experience, arrest and its impact on life. It provided me with a new way to view crime reports in Eastern Idaho.

Exclusive: Chad and Lori Daybell get search warrant in Hawaii (January 30)

Eric Grossarth and Nate Eaton with the Bell in Hawaii-date change

Eric Grossarth (left) and Nate Eaton try to get answers about the whereabouts of the missing children of Lori and Chad Daybell. Photographed in Hawaii in January. | Deadline

I still remember sitting in the car and hearing 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Valor and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan missing. Little did I know that in about a month, Nate Eaton and I will board a flight to Hawaii, hoping to talk to Chad and Lori Debel. This trip is much more important than planned. It gave me my experience as a journalist, and I may never find it again.

Nate Eaton

Edwards alone killed nearly 1,000 people and buried them in a forgotten cemetery. This will help you remember them (September 21)

Tracey Sessions was appointed as the administrator of the Southern District of the State Hospital in 2008 and made the cemetery one of her main priorities. | Provided by Jim Sessions

We don’t know when John, Mary, or the others buried here were born. We don’t know anything about them. Then Tracey Sessions appeared and began to study it. She has passed away since then, but her husband worked hard to make sure that her project would not die because of her.

She lost her limbs, but never lost hope. Rosalie Parker (Rosalie Parker) is dying and how miraculously recovered (November 16)

Rosalie Parker

Rosalie Parker. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com

I spent a day with this incredible girl and her family. I think I will never be the same. If you have a few minutes, please watch the video in this story. I promise it will make your day better! Thank you Rosalie, let me tell you your story.

For Nelson

Hundreds of people gathered to “stand together” in a solidarity walk in Udaho Falls (June 20)

Protest

The demonstrators held up signs before George Floyd walked together in Idaho Falls. | Rett Nelson of EastIdahoNews.com

The death of George Floyd in May triggered a series of commotions and protests. This led to a national discussion about racism. Although these events have caused conflict in other places, the story of the solidarity walk shows that Eastern Idaho is different. During the demonstrations, city leaders talked about racial injustice and efforts to ensure that everyone needs and receives equal treatment. Idaho Falls Police Commissioner Bryce Johnson’s statement “Black life is really important”, answering the questions that most parts of the United States are trying to solve, and this really makes this story in my book A good story.

“We are not strong enough.” Local businesses that are permanently closed due to COVID-19 (May 7), as well as local new and old restaurants are all victims of the COVID-19 pandemic (September 29)

Sorry we have closed the sign

File photo from March 2020

As the country enters a lockdown state, COVID-19 puts economy and business first. Many companies have weathered the storm, but some have not. The loss of a business is too much, but it’s encouraging to observe how the community unites around those struggling people, to see how struggling business owners handle the loss with grace and dignity, and give We are an example worthy of emulation.

Nate Sunderland

Take a look at the religious circles around Chad and Lori Daybell (February 23)

Julie Rowe and Chad Daybell

Julie Rowe and Chad Debel

This story took several months of research from many anonymous sources. Everyone we talked to seemed to lead us into a new rabbit hole, and we didn’t know what we would find. Finally, we were able to portray a fairly clear “church inside a church” in eastern Idaho. It is surprising how many people have beliefs beyond traditional Latter-day Saints.


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