Associated Collegiate Press counts Calgary Journal feature among best

PamRocker thumbnailA Calgary Journal story, The Faith of Pam Rocker, received an honourable mention in a North American journalism contest. The Associated Collegiate Press announced that Mount Royal University journalism students Danielle Semrau and Hannah Kost's multimedia project received recognition in the Multimedia Feature of the Year category. The story was originally published in April 2013 on the Calgary Journal's website. 

Rocker, a self-described activist, struggled to reconcile her faith with her sexuality until finding acceptance at Hillhurst United Church – an affirming ministry that actively supports the LGBTQ community. Rocker says that the story's success is probably due to the genuine interest that Semrau and Kost showed in learning more about her journey.

Deviant facial ink still taboo to some

When Countess Coitus Carcass was a young girl living near Carseland, Alta., she had reoccurring nightmares about sharp, menacing needles stabbing her face.

As a child, the only tattoos she had ever seen were her grandfather's aging war tattoos, which were sloppily done and faded beyond recognition. She says the idea of getting a tattoo never crossed her mind. At least, not until she was 14 years old.

"I almost wonder if (the dreams) were a premonition about my face tattoo," says Carcass, now 34.

"I always drew on my legs and I was kind of impulsive," Carcass says. "It definitely wasn't something I put a lot of thought in to. I was willing to be talked into it."

Death becomes hobby after life experiences

cristycrossFraser grew up admiring the beauty of cemeteries and gravestones. Cemeteries are where she bonded with her mother as a young child and now this is where she bonds with her son.

Photo by Lisa Taylor
Each year, Calgarians pursue careers in the funeral business. Some are attracted by the unusual nature of the industry, while others are drawn to it because they want to help people going through pain and loss. For 39-year-old Calgarian Cristy Fraser, her decision to pursue funeral directing has been on her radar since she was a young girl.

Growing up in Calgary, Fraser says death and the "dark side" always intrigued her. Her mother taught her not to be afraid of death and it's a normal part of life. In fact, she and her mother used to visit cemeteries often as a way to spend time with each other in peaceful places.

Fraser says being a funeral director is a "calling" and she always knew she would end up working in a funeral home.

"Some little girls grow up with the intentions of getting married, playing bride, etcetera," Fraser says. "I was never that girl."

After the death of his wife, Jacob Pitchon, 80, finds vigor and life in dancing

SonoraTHUMBHe approaches me with an open hand and says, "Let's dance!"

Jacob Pitchon is an 80-year-old man with a good sense of humour and an enthusiasm for dancing that I bet any person would love to have.

He set the dance floor on fire while dipping his partners and shaking his entire body to the beat. Never did a smile leave his face as perspiration began to build – he gave it his all.