When I graduated from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a journalism degree in 1988, I had no idea the event that would affect me most in my career would happen less than two years later when I watched a man die. As a media witness for the execution of a man convicted of killing a college cheerleader, it set me off on a career as a crime reporter.

But I did so much more. For nearly 20 years, I wrote and edited and wrote and laid out pages and wrote some more. I covered stories ranging from the local town council to North Carolina's devastation from Hurricane Floyd to serial killers.

Along the way, I picked up dozens of N.C. Press Association awards and learned my craft pretty well. And I think I've written just about everything - crime, politics, education, business, sports, human interest, features, profiles, cars, courts, government and my personal favorites, golf and travel.

In January 2008, I left the safety of a daily newspaper and decided to venture out on my own. Good luck to me.

Dolphins at play along the Alabama Gulf coast
Elk in Southeastern Kentucky