Mi Triqui: Life in Three Languages

March 24th, 2014 § 0

Back by popular demand: Mi Triqui: Life in Three Languages.

Several people contacted me on Twitter after blip.tv took down this old video. So here it is!

This is the story of Bernandina Hernandez, a 23-year-old Hollister woman who speaks three languages: English, Spanish and Triqui. It was a third of my masters thesis at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

I met Bernadina and her family at an indigenous cultural celebration at a Catholic church in Windsor, while on assignment at my part-time job reporting for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.  After the Mass, the long speeches, and the traditional Oaxacan dances, I interviewed Bernadina, got a glimpse of her life and knew she would be good on video and worth following around for a few days.

Where have you been?

March 24th, 2014 § 0

This website is horribly out of date. What can I say? I’ve been very busy.

I promise to add some more recent stories soon. Just please remember that everything, from my resume to the Top 10 list, is from several years ago.

Thanks for your interest all the same!

High-tech cargo airship under construction in SoCal

January 30th, 2013 § 0

AP Photo

I spotted this story, pitched it to powers-that-be in the Video Department, and to the local editors in Los Angeles. Getting everyone on board is not a small feat! But the result was worth it — a cross-format package on the wire and on video.

High-tech cargo airship being built in California

By RAQUEL MARIA DILLON  January 30, 2013

TUSTIN, Calif. (AP) — The massive blimp-like aircraft flies but just barely, hovering only a dozen feet off a military hangar floor during flight testing south of Los Angeles.

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Border Patrol’s latest tool: Deterrence

September 10th, 2012 § 0

I went to los Dos Nogales to report this with the border beat reporter. I shot the standup in 109F heat!

Bilingual black church in LA puts the ‘hola’ in holy

May 19th, 2010 § 0

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Blacks, Latinos pray together at traditionally African American Pentecostal church in changing LA neighborhood

By RAQUEL MARIA DILLON | Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES – The black choir clapped and swayed, propelled by the organ’s groove and drums’ beat as gospel music filled the tiny New Life in Christ Church on Compton Avenue.

The rhythm came naturally, but when it was time to sing, the choir had to turn to sheet music to keep from stumbling over the Spanish lyrics.

Two years after this African-American Pentecostal congregation of about 100 people welcomed their Latino neighbors, the two groups are still trying to stay in tune in a part of the city that has not always lived in harmony.

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Outlaw Urban Farmers, with video

February 5th, 2010 § 0

VIDEO: City chickens in the shadow of downtown LA

Urban farmers fight nationwide to sow green biz

By RAQUEL MARIA DILLON | Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Tara Kolla fancied herself a green thumb-turned-green businesswoman when she planted an organic flower plot in her yard and sold poppies, sweet peas and zinnias at the local farmers market. For her neighbors, it was an eyesore.

Where Kolla saw her efforts as creating a lush sanctuary, her neighbors witnessed dusty pots, steaming compost, flies and a funky aroma on their tiny cul-de-sac in Los Angeles. They complained to zoning officials — and prevailed.

Kolla and other urban farmers are fighting back by challenging city halls across the country to rewrite ordinances that govern residential gardens. They believe feeding their fellow urbanites homegrown tomatoes, fresh eggs and sweet corn will change the world one backyard at a time.

Seattle has loosened its rules for backyard goats, New York City’s health department is taking steps to legalize beekeeping and Detroit is looking into regulating compost and greenhouses.

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Juan Gabriel, Calle 13 y los Latin Grammys

November 5th, 2009 § 0

I covered El Divo’s antics at his special dinner the night before and still had energy to bailar hasta la madrugada. Ojalá que todos las asignaciones sean diversiones como ésta.

Puerto Rico’s Calle 13 wins 5 Latin Grammys in Las Vegas

By RAQUEL MARIA DILLON | Associated Press Writer

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Puerto Rican duo Calle 13 won all five awards it was nominated for Thursday at the Latin Grammys in Las Vegas, including two of the top awards of the night and honors in both urban and alternative categories.

The awards show ran late because Mexico’s “Divo of Juarez,” Juan Gabriel, sang for 40 minutes straight while mariachis stomped on stage and the audience clapped and sang along.

Calle 13 won album of the year for its innovative collaborations and politically charged reggaeton. Left with little time to accept the golden gramophone for the top honor, lead singer Rene Perez, who raps as “Residente,” dedicated the award to Argentine folk singer Mercedes Sosa, who died in October at age 74.

“May she rest in peace. An applause for Mercedes Sosa, please,” he said in Spanish.

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From Impressionism to Pop Art: 2 art stories in one week

September 12th, 2009 § 0

Warhol’s sports superstars stolen from LA home

September 12, 2009

one of the stolen paintings

one of the stolen paintings

Court: Holocaust survivor can sue for painting

September 12, 2009

In Madrids Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

In Madrid's Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

‘All hell broke loose’: 30,000 flee California wildfire

May 8th, 2009 § 0

‘All hell broke loose’: 30,000 flee Santa Barbara wildfire

By Raquel Maria Dillon | ASSOCIATED PRESS

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) _ Turning the horizon a lurid orange and raining embers on roofs as it advanced, a wildfire that has destroyed scores of homes in the hills menaced the celebrity enclave of Santa Barbara and other coastal towns Friday, and the number of people ordered to flee climbed to more than 30,000.

AP Photo | Keith D. Cullom

AP Photo | Keith D. Cullom

Authorities warned an additional 23,000 to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

Columns of smoke rose off the Santa Ynez Mountains as the 4-day-old Jesusita fire — fanned by “sundowner” winds that sweep down the slopes in the evening — blew up from 2,700 acres to 8,600 in less than a day, creating a firefighting front five miles long.

“It’s crazy. The whole mountain looked like an inferno,” said Maria Martinez, 50, who with her fiancé fled her home in San Marcos Pass, on the edge of Santa Barbara. The couple went to an evacuation center at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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3 sidebars in 3 days: Santa Barbara wildfire

May 7th, 2009 § 0

While I covered the progress of the fire for the mainbar, I filed three sidebars:

Firefighters trapped in burning house

How the other half evacuates (after jump)

Evacuees long for normalcy of home (after jump)

Malibu firefighters trapped while battling Santa Barbara wildfire

By Raquel Maria Dillon | ASSOCIATED PRESS  5/7/09

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) _ Battalion Chief Scott Smith’s yellow jacket reeked of wood smoke and his eyes were red with exhaustion at the Emergency Operations Center.

Earlier, one of his crews nearly lost its engine to the flames and Smith fetched them out of a burning home where they had taken shelter Wednesday amid a wildfire near Santa Barbara that had charred 500 acres and driven thousands from their homes.

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