From the June 2014 magazine.

A New Home for Mr. Sleepy

An investigation of a shady house leads a sober reporter to the story of a lifetime

My bank teller, Debra, called me out of line one day and said, “I need your news team to take back my neighborhood.” She was upset about a busy crack house directly across from her home. It had been a persistent problem for years. “I’ve called the police and the mayor more times that I can count,” Debra said. “The city boards up the doors and windows, but before long someone rips off the plywood and restarts the cocktail party that goes on 24 hours a day. I can’t sit on my front porch or let my children go outside.” She told me her grandmother had purchased her home during the Depression, no small achievement, and it had remained in the family all these years. “Please help,” Debra requested. So I promised to try.

My teller made the appeal because the TV station where I worked had a series called “Taking Back Our Neighborhoods,” where my colleagues and I would report stories about crime and threats to our neighborhoods. Like AA, the stories focused on solutions. I have worked as a reporter and news anchor at this station since 1978, and I’ve been sober there since August 28, 1989.

-- Anonymous

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