Ag drone field grows

The Salinas Californian, March 2013

While deadly military drones grab headlines, a very different type of drone glides above the vineyards of Davis. Precisely aligning itself along a row of grapes, the robotic helicopter releases its 16-liter pesticide payload on the crops below.

Featured Online and on Page 1 of the weekend edition. Accompanied by opinioncolumn by another reporter.

Weak wildflower season expected

The Salinas Californian, March 2013

Flower fans should prepare for a disappointing wildflower season. Many of the crimson, sapphire and gold signs of springtime remain in hiding following an unusually dry winter.

Full-page featured aritcle in print edition.

Panetta Welcomed Home

The Salinas Californian, March 2013

After serving in President Obama’s cabinet for over four years as CIA director and secretary of defense, Monterey native son Leon Panetta was welcomed home Thursday during a reception at California State University, Monterey Bay.

Published on A1 of print edition.

A Whale of a Time

The Salinas Californian, March 2013

When it comes to learning about whales, Jennifer Sena’s class of Greenfield kindergartners found out Wednesday that nothing beats the real thing.

Lead story on page A1. Includes several photographs taken by me.

Hummingbirds feather their nests

The Salinas Californian, March 2013

The soft fluttering of tiny green wings is a pleasant reminder of the Monterey Bay area’s hummingbird inhabitants. Whether you spot a crimson and emerald Anna’s hummingbird living here year-round or one of the orange rufous hummingbirds that cruise into California’s Central Coast during the spring, seeing a hummingbird is always a treat.

Underwater robots unite Alisal, Harden students

The Salinas Californian, March 2013

Cruising around the outdoor pool at Alisal High School is an aquatic robot built by Harden Middle School student Jesus Cruz with the help of Alisal students Angel Soriano and Eduardo Marquez. The plane-shaped robot is simply three small motors attached to a few feet of plastic piping, but for Cruz it’s a sign that engineering can be “very cool.”

Salinas native to study plant-killer bacteria in Bangladesh

The Salinas Californian, February 2013

A strain of plant-killing bacteria plagues farmers in countries around the world, wilting and killing crops overnight. Longtime Salinas resident Alejandra Huerta, 31, has been named a Borlaug Fellow in Global Food Security, an honor that will fund a research expedition to Bangladesh to study the devastating plant disease. The fellowship’s goal is to help meet the agricultural demands of Earth’s ballooning population.

Story on A1 of print edition.