2015 FAVORITES

Mount Pleasant police officer Eric Oertel enjoys a long john while he sits on top of the Mount Pleasant Dunkin’ Donuts, as he and other police officers raise money for the Law Enforcement Torch Run benefiting Special Olympics Wisconsin during the annual fundraiser. Donuts and cops. What more can you say? Officer Oertel seems to be enjoying that delicious donut a bit too much, but it was for a great cause. And his sugar-fueled happiness was a joy to capture!

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Rev. Doug Aldrink, 64, the pastor of Racine Christian Reformed Church, touches his wife Laura's head and neck as they spend time together enjoying the Lake Michigan view. Laura, 67, is a patient at Lakeshore Manor. The tender, touching moment between them is what makes this one of my favorite photographs. I was driving by when I just happened to catch a glimpse of this simple, yet powerfully moving interaction, and I wanted to record it to share with the newspaper's readers.

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Paul Alen Perez, an architect from Milwaukee, chills out in the not-so-tropical waters of Quarry Lake Park. Perez, who grew up in Racine, enjoys coming to the park and North Beach in the summer. Sometimes a picture is too great to pass up, it just makes me smile and laugh. I saw this delightfully whimsical image when I first pulled into the park. The only hard part was determining how to photograph it.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan bows his head while sitting near the “Battlefield Cross” as Tim Yorgan delivers the benediction at Memorial Hall. Ryan was the keynote speaker during the Veterans Day program. I have been covering Ryan since I started at the Journal Times in 2000, and this might be my favorite photograph of him. I like the mood of the photo and the sincere reverence Ryan shows for our nation’s veterans.

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Leaem Nesvacil, 4, of Caledonia, enjoys an ice cream cone while sitting in his Oscar Mayer Wienermobile pedal car in front of Danny's Meats and Catering, in Caledonia. Nesvacil's mother, Chelsea Lindsey, said that Nesvacil's uncle got the car for him from eBay for around $500. I love this photograph because of the sense of Americana that it reminds me of when I was growing up in a small town in Indiana.

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Harietta Fields-Walton, 95, strokes Art Petzke's face after he was hit on the head while playing noodle ball at Lincoln Lutheran’s adult day care program. With Lincoln Lutheran of Racine in receivership and the adult day care program costing the organization money, the program’s last day is Friday. The gentle touch and an awesome smile between the two seniors made this an easy favorite for me. There is something so heartwarming and pure – almost childlike – about this image. I just love it.

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St. Catherine's players, fans, and coaches celebrate their one-point victory over Whitefish Bay Dominican at St. Catherine's High School. The spirit and elation shown by everyone as St. Catherine's pulled off a huge upset was remarkable. As an Indiana native, it was one of the few times that I have been reminded of Hoosier basketball (a great thing!).

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Deer jump over a fence after crossing Four Mile Road near Hunt Club Road in Wind Point. Sometimes a picture just hits you. In this case, I am glad the deer did not hit me. I was lucky to screech my car to a halt just in the nick of time to get my camera into position to capture the deer as they soared over the fence.

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Gage Emmendorfer, 14, checks out the view from the top of a tree. Sometimes, you see something surprising, do a double take, and say “what the heck?” I was not quite sure what was in the tree when I drove past Lockwood Park. First, I thought there might be an eagle in the tree. When I raised my camera and realized that it was a person, I knew I had a different – albeit equally compelling – photograph. Of course, it would have been a cool picture even if it was and eagle.

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