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On a mission: Transgender woman prepares for return to a dangerous place

As globs of ultrasound gel were spread across Mia Quetzal’s face, she asked if Natalie Suero had ever worked on a transgender woman before.

“Oh, yes,” Suero told her. “Many.”

Quetzal, 36, came to Natalie’s Skin Solutions in Fort Myers for her second round of facial laser hair removal. She said her facial hair has been one of her biggest insecurities as a transgender woman.

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Read more: Naples Daily News


Reaching out to girls in trouble — the best they can

Hayley and Vanessa are best friends.

The teens pick off one another’s plate during dinner, share inside jokes and occasionally say the same thing in unison, which sends them into a fit of laughter.

In matching khakis and heather gray sweaters, it might appear as though the pair were at summer camp.

They’re not.

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Read more: Naples Daily News


Becoming Trixie

Getting her look just right is all in the eyebrows.

Using a stick of purple Elmer’s glue, Trixie Towers flattens her natural brow before covering them with nude foundation. She then draws a new, thin one in brown Nyx liner.

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WINNER: First Place, Best Profile – 2015 SPJ Sunshine State Awards

WINNER: First Place, Best Coverage of LGBT Issues – 2015 SPJ Sunshine State Awards

FINALIST: Best Profile – SPJ Mark of Excellence Region 3 

Read more: Naples Daily News


The Hijab Challenge

“That’s the problem with journalism. You’ve got to keep the Muslims happy,” a nail technician at Gulf Coast Town Center said to me.

We had been discussing my major – journalism – when her remark cut the conversation short. It also sparked my determination to bring the Hijab Challenge to Florida Gulf Coast University.

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WINNER: Third Place, Feature Story  SPJ Florida Colligate Press Association 2013

Read more: CNN, NPR, Pinnacle Magazine


The celebration of a lifetime

It was the celebration of a lifetime.

As Fadi Rabil sat in a gray metal chair outside of his restaurant, Chrissy’s Bistro & Tavern, a smile stretched the width of his face. Droves of guests stopped to say “hello,” shake his hand, kiss his face.

In all, more than 400 friends and family came to Chrissy’s on Sunday evening, eating, drinking and dancing with the cancer-stricken man who brought color to their lives.

Read more: Naples Daily News


Daisy in the water

Billy Norris was shark fishing in the dark, quiet waters of Big Hickory Pass when he heard heavy breathing coming from the side of his boat.

“We turned around and at first we thought it was a manatee,” Norris said.

Peering out into the blackness the evening of Feb. 17, Norris, owner of Pale Horse Fishing Charter, shined a light in the direction of the sound. What he saw stunned him.

Read more: Naples Daily News


200 gather to remember slain transgendered woman

Laquesha Loggins remembers many things about Yazmin Shancez.

She remembers how Shancez loved to dance, how she was always happy, saying she “always woke up with a smile.”

And she remembers the last words Shancez ever said to her: “Sis, I love you.”

WINNER: First Place, Best Coverage of LGBT Issues – 2015 SPJ Sunshine State Awards

WINNER: First Place, Best Coverage of Race and Minorities – 2015 SPJ Sunshine State Awards

Read more: Naples Daily News


FGCU freshman found dead

A Florida Gulf Coast University freshman found severely ill and “possibly intoxicated” in his dorm room Sunday morning died later in a Lee County hospital.

Read more: Tampa Bay Times, Naples Daily News


Little Big Man

When 6-year-old Jeremiah Senecharles saw his father Jose Senecharles tumble unconscious onto the white tile floor of their East Naples home, he knew there were two things he had to do.

“I was thinking about praying and calling 9-1-1,” Jeremiah said.

He did both.

Read more: Naples Daily News


Will Write For Food 2013

The 2013 Will Write For Food edition of the Homeless Voice. For this SPJ program, I embed as a homeless person and a fellow student and I ride along in an ambulance to find the homeless and bring them back to the shelter.

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Read more: The Homeless Voice


The year that changed FGCU

From the first dunk that made “Dunk City” to the ESPY win, 2013 was the year that changed FGCU.

Read more: Eagle News

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