Work Samples


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How labor trafficking leaves S.D. workers with no money, no insurance and no freedom

Gerson Cortez put down a slice of pizza as he recalled hearing threats of immigration enforcement shouted at fellow workers on a Sioux Falls construction job.

The 29-year-old was taking a break from putting up sheet rock on a job in Brookings last week as he spoke of his work experiences. He’s happy at his current job. He gets paid hourly, gets regular breaks and has health insurance.

That wasn’t always the case.

‘I lost my spirit’: Women at state prison fight back against meth addiction

Everywhere she went, meth was available.

Two of her friends have been murdered over the drug.

She wanted to quit, especially when she found out she was going to have a son.

“You’d think the thought of having children would make me want to stop, but it didn’t,” Shooter said. “I couldn’t quit. I thought it would be easier to die.”

Judge: Lack of action on 15-year-old case a ‘shockingly dysfunctional malfeasance’ of justice

David Allen Lee, sentenced to life in prison for killing his cellmate in 1998, has been waiting since 2004 for an update on his writ of habeas corpus, a petition claiming unlawful imprisonment.

And according to a hearing on the matter Tuesday, it appeared as though his lengthy wait can be attributed to a lack of communication, and one piece of paper that wasn’t filed in time.

‘It’s nice to make them proud’: Powwows allow inmates to celebrate culture, family

The few uninterrupted hours of the powwow are full of treasured stolen moments: tossing a toy to a son or niece, blowing on a piping hot spoonful of soup before feeding it into the mouth of a grandchild, playing airplane or holding onto a hug for as long as possible. All squeezed in between learning and practicing their culture and playing games designed to help everyone forget where they are, even if only for a moment.

“The clouds part for a bit,” says Milk. “But we never forget where we are.”

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