Here's the most recent story I did for the newspaper. Not only was I very interested in the subject matter (the environment), I really believe it's the best story I've ever done for the paper. I especially like the lead (the opening paragraph) and some of the transitional sentences (these are harder to construct than you think. You have to setup the next quote with a question or statement that isn't a question and you can't let the writer's "voice" be heard in the construction).
Anyway, here it is. (original link here)
Transporters embrace "green" initiatives
by Staff Sgt. Carlos Rodriguez
Keesler Public Affairs
8/13/2008 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, MISS. -- According to the Energy Information Administration, the United States is the biggest polluting nation in the world. The U.S. has the highest greenhouse emissions and uses the most energy of any country, despite having a population one-fifth that of China.
Despite these statistics -- or perhaps because of them -- many Americans are going "green." An example of this attitude shift can be found right here at Keesler where the 81st Training Wing commander, Col. Greg Touhill, is a great supporter of a spate of new and existing green initiatives.
"'Going green' is all about being good stewards of America's resources," said Colonel Touhill. "As Americans, we should all be striving to preserve our environment and conserve resources."
One agency on base dedicated to making a concerted effort to fight global warming and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse emissions is the 81st Supply-Transportation Squadron, winner of the 2008 Arbor Day Foundation award -- a program run by the 81st Civil Engineer Squadron to find the "greenest" unit on Keesler.
"We're really going with the vision set forth by Colonel Touhill and our commander, Maj. Clarence Lee," said Master Sgt. Kevin Benjaman, the unit's vehicle management superintendent. "From an environmental perspective, it's important that Keesler's going green."
Among the many initiatives already in place, vehicle managers place a lot of emphasis on recycling.
"We currently purchase only recycled oil, recycled antifreeze and recycled tires," said Capt. Tyrone Hill, vehicle management flight commander. "We also recycle all of our used oil, antifreeze, oil filters and tires.
As well as these current initiatives, the squadron also plans to introduce even more environmentally-friendly policies in the next two years.
"We are introducing low-speed vehicles into our fleet," said Captain Hill. "They have automatic speed limiters, are 50 percent cheaper than regular four-door sedans and get almost double the fuel economy.
"We already have one LSV in our fleet and are forecasted to receive 12 by 2010 and a total of 20 by 2011," he added.
LSVs are only one type of energy-saving vehicle planned to become part of Keesler's future fleet.
"We also plan to introduce alternative fuel vehicles such as those that run on E85, a blend of ethanol and gasoline, and are also slated to start leasing gasoline-and-electricity hybrid vehicles," said Captain Hill.
The impetus behind these myriad changes comes not only from the wing, but also from the federal government.
"Some of the new federal rules do dictate some of our policies," said Sergeant Benjaman. "But, I believe that Keesler is among the Air Force's leaders in these new eco-friendly initiatives."
Even with all of these changes, the vehicle management team takes its "green" commitment further.
"We send out monthly newsletters to all of our base vehicle control officers with tips on how to conserve fuel and be energy efficient with their government-owned vehicles," said Sergeant Benjaman.
These green policies, while saving energy and reducing the base's carbon footprint, also save the wing money.
"The intention of the 'go green' initiatives is not to save budgetary monies, though," said Captain Hill. "The initiatives are designed to reduce harmful emissions in the air and chemical contamination in landfills and groundwater. The savings to the environment carry significant ethical importance."