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One of the best stories I’ve seen in The Star lately is one written by a Star photographer about a former Star photographer.

Longtime photographer Tammy Ljungblad yesterday posted a story about Roy Inman, who worked for The Star from the late 1960s to the early or mid-1980s. Inman, who lives in Olathe, went on to do very well as a commercial photographer and, at age 78, is still going strong.

I was fortunate enough to work with Inman on one story, a profile I wrote in the early 1970s on the legendary baseball star Ted Williams, who was managing the Washington Senators at the time. The main thing I remember about that interview is that about 30 minutes into it, Williams, who was notoriously testy with the media, turned to me in the visitors’ dugout at Kauffman (then Royals’) Stadium and said: “Aren’t we about through? You’ve got enough to write a book!”

Ljungblad’s story is about Inman convincing Star editors to let him photograph Super Bowl IV on Jan. 11, 1970, when the Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings 23-7.

At the time, Inman was a staff photographer for the Star Magazine, the paper’s former Sunday feature magazine. Inman lobbied with Star editors to let him travel from Tampa, where he was shooting a story on the Kansas City Royals’ rookie of the year, outfielder Lou Piniella, to New Orleans to cover the big game.

The Star had other photographers covering the game, but Inman convinced them he could provide a different perspective by focusing on the atmosphere in and around the sidelines. The editors’ decision to approve Inman’s detour turned out to be very wise.

After Inman got back to Kansas City on Monday, the 12th, he and Robert Pearman, then-managing editor of The Kansas City Times (the morning KC Star), reviewed his photos. Several ran in the Tuesday morning paper.

Below are three of those photos…

Note the uniforms and the wholesome, natural look of these Chiefs’ cheerleaders. Note also how the uniform colors blend with the golden color of the evening sky.

Chiefs’ center E.J. Holub wasn’t a bit self-conscious about his missing teeth as he celebrated the team’s victory. (This was the pre-mouth guard era.)

And here was Quarterback Len Dawson, poised to throw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Otis Taylor. This photo ran on the front page of the Tuesday morning paper.

Finally, here are photos of Inman and Tammy Ljungblad…

Thanks to these two great professionals for bringing us this special story and some wonderful, timeless photos.

I was sitting around reading The New York Times and watching the Patriots-Titans game tonight, when I suddenly got transported back into the 1960s, my favorite decade. (I’m sure many of you fellow Baby Boomers can relate.)

Jack Sheldon

What sent me tumbling into the past was an obit about a big band trumpeter named Jack Sheldon, who died Dec. 27 at age 88. The obit said in part…

Known for his warm rich trumpet sound, Mr. Sheldon was also a busy studio musician, accompanying singers like Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee and playing on the soundtrack of numerous movies. He was a favorite of soundtrack composers like Johnny Mandel — who featured him on “The Shadow of Your Smile,” from the 1965 movie “The Sandpiper” — and Henry Mancini.

The reference to “The Shadow of Your Smile” stopped me cold…That was it for the football game; I was off to the computer, Googling various YouTube versions of that song, which I hadn’t heard or thought about or in maybe decades.

But, God, did I — and do I — remember it. It’s one of the most beautiful and haunting songs ever. A commenter on one YouTube version likened its mesmirizing effect to watching a leaf descending gently, to and fro, from a tall cypress tree.

The movie, starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, came out in 1965. At the time, I was a lost-in-the-world freshman in college back in Lousville. I’d had a rough time in my all-boys, Catholic high school, and the blues persisted in that first year of college. One of the main things that propelled me forward and gave me hope for future happiness was the great music of the ’60s.

In my freshman year at Bellarmine College, I remember one of the priest-teachers at Bellarmine College talking about the power of music in class one day. He looked at me — I was sitting in the front row, as I recall — and said, “Music soothes the soul, doesn’t it, Fitzpatrick?”

“Yes, Father, it does,” I said, nodding in unequivocal agreement.

“The Shadow of Your Smile” is certainly a song that soothes the soul, not only with its lilting melody but the great lyrics (written by Paul Webster), which include these lines…

The shadow of your smile
When you are gone
Will color all my dreams
And light the dawn

Many artists have recorded the song, including Tony Bennett, Andy Williams, Bobby Darin, Barbra Streisand, Astrud Gilberto, Johnny Mathis and Engelbert Humperdink.

It was so good it won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

The best vocal version I came across tonight was, not surprisingly, Tony Bennett’s. He’s a master, of course, of slow, romantic songs. His phrasing and sense of timing are phenomenal. Time seems to slow down when you listen to a Bennett song.

For three and a half minutes, then, settle back and listen to this…

Even more haunting, if that’s possible, is the original Johnny Mandel arrangement with Jack Sheldon on trumpet. The instrumental version accompanies the opening of the movie, with the credits rolling against scenes of gentle, ocean waves lapping at a rocky shore line.

The effect is overwhelmingly soothing and calming. Relax again now and let this terrific song wash over you and soothe the soul…

 

2019 is about to be consigned to history, and, like all years, it’s been interesting and consequential, especially “at the juncture of journalism and daily life” here in KC and beyond.

So, let’s toast a few people, boo a few and put a question mark over the heads of a few.

:: U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff and Fiona Hill. (Thumbs up.)

Schiff and Hill were the stars, in my opinion, of the impeachment hearings. In devastating and yet almost throwaway fashion, Hill skewered President Trump as reckless and irresponsible when she said he sent lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others on “a domestic political errand” that put Ukraine’s defense at great risk.

And Schiff…Each day, at the conclusion of testimony before his House Intelligence Committee, he got the final say. And each day he delivered soaring and spontaneous “closing arguments” that held me at rapt attention. He concluded the fifth and final day with these words…

(I)n my view there is nothing more dangerous than an unethical President who believes they are above the law. And I would just say to people watching here at home and around the world, in the words of my great colleague (the late Rep. Elijah Cummings), we are better than that.

With that, eyes full of fire and fury, he slammed the gavel down and adjourned the meeting.

Whatever happens in the Senate is probably going to be anticlimactic, but, boy, those Intelligence Committee hearings — and I don’t care how many people weren’t watching — were really amazing.

:: The state…Missouri, that is. (Thumbs down.)

Mike Parson

It’s bad enough that Gov. Mike Parson, who succeeded one of the most crooked governors (Eric Greitens) we’ve ever had, is probably going to win re-election next year over State Auditor Nicole Galloway. Like Greitens, Parson would rather be lashed at the stake than comply with the Missouri Sunshine Law. But he waited ’til the end of the year to dip to his lowest point.

He went on Twitter and threw himself into Trump’s gelatinous embrace, calling impeachment a “scam” and declaring that Democrats “haven’t moved past Republican’s HISTORIC victory in 2016 and can’t beat our president at the ballot box in 2020.”

Did you notice how he mimicked Trump’s use of all-caps? Well, let me throw it right back at him: This governor is BAD!

:: The city…Kansas City, that is. (Thumbs sideways.)

Troy Schulte

I was sorry, of course, to see Troy Schulte leave City Hall — he was a driving force for betterment — and I’m hopeful he’ll be able to move Jackson County government toward respectability. With just minimal improvement on some fronts, he could probably run against and defeat his new boss, County Executive Frank White. On the other side of 12th Street, meanwhile, we’ve got another pro-development City Council, led by new Mayor Quinton Lucas, who, in campaigning against Jolie Justus, raised hopes he’d be less tolerant of tax giveaways to developers. He promptly dashed those hopes, however, refusing to veto the first giveaway he voted on as mayor and then voting for the next one.

But who knows — and he’s one we tag with a question mark — maybe he’ll change in his second term. Maybe he’ll even develop enough spine to take on the municipal pension-fund crisis in Term Two…I’ll say this for him, he’s engaging and energetic, and it looks like he’s not nearly as pretentious as Mayor Sly (who otherwise was a heck of a mayor.)

:: KCPD (Thumbs way down.)

Rick Smith

What Police Chief Rick Smith has shown so far, in his two-plus years as departmental commander, is he’s afraid of his shadow. And that’s a hell of a thing to say about a big-city police chief.

I cannot remember a KC Star story with any touch of controversy where Smith has been quoted. When he speaks publicly, it’s through his blog. The titles of his last two blog posts have been “KCPD’s unique governance model serves Kansas City well,” and “Study finds police are one of the most trusted groups in America.”

Meanwhile, we are living through what Mayor Lucas described in November as an “epidemic” of violence in the city, and on Sunday The Star published a front-page takeout that exposed the police department’s assault squad, which investigates nonfatal shootings, as “”woefully understaffed.”

And where was Rick Smith in that story? Liker many a Kansas City shooting suspect…”nowhere to be found.”

Instead of standing up for an interview, which he, as the department’s CEO should be most willing to do, he pawned the response duty off on Deputy Chief Roger Lewis.

Remember, too, that Smith succeeded another loser, Darryl Forte, who snuck out the back door in 2017 with $500,000 in accrued vacation, sick and comp time dangling from his pockets. During Forte’s watch, a scandal of epic proportions grew like a mustard seed in the children’s unit. The Star reported that several investigators in that unit did little or no work, sitting on cases for months and in some cases stuffing evidence in their desks with no notes to indicate which cases the evidence belonged to.

Sadly, we used to have a pretty damn good police department, but I’ve had no confidence in top management the last few years. All Kansas City residents should be worried.

:: McClatchy and The Star (Thumbs up, down and sideways.)

Now that it’s clear McClatchy is running out the clock — it’s got a $120-million pension-fund payment due in 2020 it can’t possibly meet — the remaining employees at the chain’s 29 daily papers will be strategizing for “life after McClatchy.” (By the way, the whole chain now has about the same number of employees, 2,500, as The Star had in the early 2000s.)

The Star made a big move in that direction earlier this month with its “Throwaway Kids” series about the pathetic state of the foster-care system in most states. KC Star editor-president-publisher (and probably admin-assistant) Mike Fannin is dying for a Pulitzer, and reporters Laura Bauer, Judy Thomas and Eric Adler just might get it for him (and themselves) with this effort. All involved have learned that to get a Pulitzer you have to not only go deep but also promote the hell out of your series and follow it up with one or more stories where experts say how important it was and how badly change is needed.

The Star planned and executed the strategy very well. Now it will be in the hands of a Pulitzer team of judges. If The Star wins, Fannin will be assured of a bright future in the narrowing field of journalism, and Bauer, Thomas and Adler would be able to go elsewhere, if they wanted, or just retire having reached the pinnacle of their field. If they don’t win, well, Fannin will still be OK, and Bauer, Thomas and Adler can either go elsewhere or retire having come close to the pinnacle of their field.

**

Mark Zieman

In this journalism segment, I would be remiss if I didn’t say farewell to Mark Zieman, onetime “boy-wonder” editor at The Star and now vice president of operations at McClatchy. Zieman is now approaching 60, and Tuesday will be his last day at McClatchy.

Zieman doesn’t have a lot of friends among former Star employees because, under him, scores were bought out or laid off. A former assistant managing editor who transitioned to Human Resources caught the front-line whiplash from the layoffs, but it was Zieman who was implementing the harsh orders from McClatchy executives in Sacramento.

I don’t know if Zieman is leaving voluntary or if he was asked to leave. Either way, I doubt if he will seek another job in journalism. He has made millions — last year’s total compensation package was about $1.8 million — and he’s got his Pulitzer. As projects editor at The Star, he directed the paper’s examination of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.

But, in any event, let’s wish a Happy New Year to all, including ourselves, regardless of which way the thumbs are pointing. To loosely paraphrase Adam Schiff, we can all hope to do better.

The case of a casual-encounter-turned-deadly — an encounter between two lost souls of the world — drew to a close Thursday with a 26-year-old Ottawa, KS, man, Korrey Rinke, being sentenced to life in prison for killing a 46-year-old woman he had met at a clinical research program.

It’s the story of a young man, Rinke, who was so ignored as a child that he didn’t find out until after being arrested for murder that he suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome. It’s also the story of an older woman, Julianna Pappas, who was so disconnected that even the spelling of her first name is not entirely clear.

We do know how her life ended, however: Rinke beat her to death near the Indian Creek Trail in August 2016 after she refused to have sex with him because he didn’t have a condom. That’s what he told police, anyway.

Both these forgotten souls were directionless and drifting through their days when they met. Both were apparently drawn to the clinical research program at the former Quintiles company by the prospect of money…either extra money or money they needed just to get by. (Volunteers for some of these medical research programs can make thousands of dollars.)

Pappas

From what I’ve been able to find out, Pappas apparently moved to this area from Houston within about a year of crossing paths with Rinke. The only photo I’ve been able to find of her — a grainy one that looks like it might have been culled from a group photo — shows her to be a thin, shapely woman with long brown hair.

At some point, she had rented a room in a house near 39th and Campbell. She told a roommate (a woman who emailed me after I first wrote about the case) that she had had a felony drug conviction when she was young and that the conviction had made it difficult for her get housing and jobs.

Her means of transportation, at the time she hooked up with Rinke, was an electric bike.

After The Star reported Pappas’ death, I scoured the internet for information about her, but all I found was a one-sentence obit in the Houston Chronicle that had her first name as Juliaanna, with a double “a,” as in a combination of Julia and Anna. But every news report I’ve seen has had her name with just one “a” in the middle.)

The obit listed no survivors, but the former roommate said she had spoken of visiting her parents in Houston while she was living here.

Rinke

Rinke, for his part, was an alcoholic who worked for an Ottawa company that manufactured and installed covers for trucks. From information that came out at his sentencing, he could have been a poster boy for The Star’s series on the failing foster-care systems most states have.

During his confinement, he was diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome. A psychologist testified that the condition was worsened as Rinke was “bounced around the (foster care) system” throughout his childhood. Since he did not receive treatment for the condition as a child, the psychologist said, any treatment as an adult to address it would be “negligible.”

A co-worker of Rinke’s once wrote a comment on a blog post I had written about Pappas and Rinke. The commenter, who simply signed in as “Stephen,” said…

One thing that stands out to me is, every time we hired any female employees, he would be very awkward, inappropriate and some times rather sexist towards them. He would constantly ask them about their ‘sign.’ I knew something was off about him, but never would have expected this. Also, his father has been in and out of prison most of Korrey’s life.

At Thursday’s sentencing in Johnson County District Court (I did not attend), Rinke at least had the decency to express remorse.

“I’m sorry for drinking and I’m sorry for the death of Ms. Pappas,” The Star quoted him as saying.

As I would have expected, no one showed up to speak in person about Pappas. A prosecutor, however, read a statement from a brother who lives in Texas but apparently didn’t care enough to make the trip.

“She was a free spirit who trusted people,” the statement said in part. “Obviously…more than she should.”

The brother’s faceless statement stood as a biographical capsule of a woman whose early mistake probably contributed to her failure to make any kind of mark in life.

And Korrey Rinke? He will be eligible for parole in 25 years, when he’s about 50. What are the odds, do you think, of him turning his life around and making something of himself after he’s released…assuming he lives that long?

Sitting behind his curving, marble-faced court bench, Judge William B. Collins was eager to get a trial date set in the first-degree murder case of Kylr Yust.

Actually, he was more than eager; he was anxious.

“We need to get this set so we can take care of it,” he said, looking at the lawyers sitting at the prosecutor’s table and the defense table.

Assistant prosecutor Julie Tolle said, “We’re looking at October.”

…October, as in 10 months from now and nearly a year after Yust’s trial was originally scheduled to start.

At the mention of October, sighs went up from some of the 30 or more people who had come to the Cass County Justice Center this morning for a hearing in the case of Yust, who is charged with murdering Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions.

Collins wasn’t happy either…”We need to get this done,” he said.

Collins, who has been presiding judge in Cass County the last seven years, then began pushing back at the assertions of lawyers on both sides that they had other trials during the summer and couldn’t work the Yust case in until the fall.

He asked about June. No, that wouldn’t work, said one of Yust’s attorneys from the Missouri Public Defender’s Office.

“How about July, then?” Collins said.

Matt Vigil, one of Yust’s lawyers, said he had a trial in St. Louis starting July 13. But Collins kept pushing and finally got no objection to starting jury selection July 22. (Because of pre-trial publicity, a jury will be chosen in St. Charles County, and the jurors will then travel here to hear the case.)

**

It’s been a long wait for justice for the families and friends of Kopetsky and Runions.

Kara Kopetsky

Jessica Runions

Kopetsky was last seen May 2007 leaving Belton High School. Yust later told a friend he discarded her remains in a wooded area. Runions was last seen in September 2016 leaving a gathering with Yust. Witnesses at the gathering said Yust was drinking heavily and was “acting very possessive towards (Runions) and aggressive towards others at the party.”

The remains of both women were found in rural Cass County in April 2017. Six months later, Yust was charged with two counts of murder and two counts of abandonment of a corpse. He has been in the Cass County Jail ever since.

Yust

When Yust entered the courtroom this morning through a side door, he barely resembled how he has appeared in law enforcement mug shots. Instead of close-cropped hair, he had long, brown hair that covered his ears, the back of his neck and his forehead. The hair flipped up slightly in the front, and he had a full beard. All of his many tattoos were covered by drab, gray and white jail garb. Although he appeared calm and engaged, he never looked at anyone in the audience. I only saw him speak once to one of his attorneys.

His attorneys have filed several motions aimed at delaying the start of trial. One of those motions, that another mental-health exam be scheduled, fell by the wayside today. His attorneys said he is now receiving medication for psychological conditions that have been troubling him and that he no longer “lacks capacity to understand the proceedings against him or to assist in his own defense.”

In recent days, however, Yust’s attorneys have filed another seemingly spurious motion: They would like to have some of Kopetsky’s and Runions’ remains tested at a lab of their choosing, apparently to verify the Kansas City Police Department and FBI labs’ determination that the remains are, indeed, those of the deceased women.

Tolle, the assistant prosecutor, said this morning, however, that no part of the remains can be sent to a lab that is not accredited by a national accreditation organization. The lab the defense attorneys are proposing — Technical Associates Inc. in Ventura, CA — is not accredited.

“You didn’t know about the accreditation?” Judge Collins asked Yust’s attorneys.

“We just learned about it this morning,” Vigil said.

Collins scheduled a hearing on the remains-testing issue for Jan. 21.

He also eamarked July 7, 8 and 9 as days for other pre-trial motions to be taken up. “That should give everybody a chance to get all of these issues taken care of,” Collins said.

**

Well, we’ll see about that. Delay is the typical defense strategy in big cases, and Yust’s attorneys are in full-delay mode.

What was troubling today was that it appeared the prosecution was willing to indulge the defense strategy. The prosecution appears to have a strong case, and it may call scores of witnesses. But cases tend to weaken with time. Witnesses die (one already has in this case), move or otherwise slide away. And evidence sometimes gets stale, or even lost.

Judge William B. Collins

The people who sighed at the prosecutor’s suggestion of an October trial did so mainly because they are tired of waiting for justice to be served. But they also realized the hazard of 10 more months of delay. Their best hope for adjudication as soon as possible appears to rest with one person — Judge William B. Collins.

Well, I got my “Dear Jim” letter (actually Dear J Fitzpatrick) from The Star tonight.

The paper is not breaking up with me altogether, but it does seem to be taking back the ring it gave me many years ago.

Horror of horrors, starting March 14, The Star will no longer publish a Saturday print edition.

This is in keeping with parent company Mcclatchy’s announcement last month that it will eliminate Saturday print publication at all 29 of its daily papers by the end of next year. (Of course, the company could be out of business by then.)

Fortunately, The Star is letting me down easy, and the letter even gave me some good belly laughs.

Here are some of the best knee slappers…

:: “The Kansas City Star is changing to ensure we are able to meet the needs of our readers and the communities we serve long into the future.”

Yep, that’s our beloved Star, always looking out for the needs of the readers and the VAST number of communities it serves.

:: “Starting March 14, we will launch a new weekend package with expanded newspapers on Fridays and Sundays and access to the Saturday edition exclusively online.”

A new weekend package! Great news, right? For instance, Friday’s paper will have “new puzzles as well as a new themed section called ‘Uplift,’ your source of good news for the weekend.” I can’t wait for the exciting new puzzles (I’m hoping for interactive tic-tac-toe) and the waterfall of good news.

:: “Saturday…You’ll also find our EXTRA EXTRA digital supplement with more national, international and entertainment news and Sports Xtra.”

Why there’ll be so much “more” and so many “EXTRAS” I doubt I’ll be able to get away from my computer on Saturdays, what with the online cornucopia The Star will be offering up.

:: “Sunday: In addition to the usual comics content, we will add the puzzles and comics that you love to read in your Saturday paper.”

More puzzles? My heart is racing.

:: “Your subscription rate will remain the same and will also continue to include 7-day unlimited digital access.”

All this bonus coverage and my rate is staying the same?? C’est impossible! 

**

The letter trundled on for a few more paragraphs about how great all this is for the readers, and then there was a final laugh. The letter was signed by Mike Fannin, whom The Star announced in October as The Star’s new “president.”

As you might recall, the story about Fannin’s ascension from editor to president conspicuously failed to mention Tony Berg, who was introduced with great hoopla, less than three years ago, as publisher. Berg was “nowhere to be found” in the October story about Fannin. Also missing was any mention of the word “publisher” — so secret and unspeakable was Berg’s fate (shuttled off to Wichita).

But in this letter, this letter about the “changing” Star, the title of publisher was back. And who had it? Why, none other than Fannin. So now we can officially say it: THE KING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE KING!

**

Note: In a final pea-under-shell misdirection play, in Wednesday’s (today’s) print edition, the letter is signed by Fannin above the title of “president.” (This guy’s credibility is in the toilet.)

Even though The Star doesn’t have the depth, breadth and impact it formerly did, a story that ran on the front page Sunday may well have strong repercussions for a major institution in this region.

The story was titled “Women reporting rapes in Lawrence say police department failed them.” The illustration that accompanied the story depicted a huge Lawrence PD badge dwarfing the image of a young woman. At the right side of the illustration are the words, in quotation marks, “Women aren’t safe here.”

I wonder how KU chancellor Douglas Girod felt when he saw that headline. I wonder how Barbara Bichelmeyer, who announced Friday that she is leaving UMKC to become executive vice chancellor at KU, felt. They and other KU administrators must have a sick and sinking feeling because that story will echo far and wide. Thousands of parents from coast to coast, and maybe beyond — and their daughters — will learn of that story, or at least its thrust, and have second thoughts about the possibility of attending KU.

I guarantee you there will be far fewer young women in the stands at Allen Fieldhouse in years to come singing, “Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk, KU.”

Those four words — “Women aren’t safe here” — will be repeated thousands of times at dinner tables, at high schools and everywhere else that prospective college students talk about their college dreams and plans.

The Star’s story, reported and written by Katie Bernard, cited several cases of young women who had gone to Lawrence police with allegations of being raped and getting little more than shoulder shrugs. One woman who reported that her ex-boyfriend had raped her multiple times said an officer told her that “since it was a relationship, it means it was consensual.” Another woman said a Lawrence officer told her sexual assaults happen when women in college “experiment.”

Moreover, Bernard reported that the Douglass County District Attorney’s office had charged at least three women — not just one who case The Star has carefully documented — with falsely reporting rapes. The charges have all been dropped because of The Star’s questions.

And if the story wasn’t enough of a gut punch, the lead editorial in Sunday’s paper piggybacked on it. The first sentence of the editorial read, “Police and prosecutors in Lawrence have a staggering amount to learn about sexual assault.”

…It’s hard to imagine a more damaging label for a college to carry than it’s a place where women aren’t safe.

This morning, I expect there’ll be some hurriedly called meetings at KU, the police department and the D.A.’s office to start to deal with the fallout from this blockbuster story. Significant damage has been done to the reputations of the police department, the D.A.’s office, and, by extension, to the University of Kansas.

It’s a rotten development for a very good school, but The Star exposed things that needed to be exposed.

**

For those of you who don’t take The New York Times, I recommend you get to the grocery today and buy Sunday’s edition. It’s got a remarkable, 44-page tabloid section about a 40-year-old Belgian woman — a paralympic athlete named Marieke Vervoort — who chose to end her life of chronic pain with doctor-assisted suicide, which is legal in Belgium.

A photographer named Lynsey Addario and a New York Times sports reporter named Andrew Keh spent significant time with Vervoort over nearly three years. Vervoort opened up to them, allowing complete access to the physical and emotional anguish she was experiencing along her winding road to death.

Fittingly, the project is called “The End.” A short paragraph on the cover of the section sums up the story this way…

“Knowing she had the legal right to die helped Marieke Vervoort live her life. It propelled her to medals at the Paralympics. But she could never get away from the pain.”

If you want to read a great story about courage — and you’re prepared for a good cry — I strongly recommend Addario’s and Keh’s incredible report. (It’s on The Times’ website, but if you want the full impact, get the print version.)

In the days before Marieke Vervoort died, friends came to the hospital to say their goodbyes.