Justin Heckert

11 articles
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Lost in the Waves

Swept out to sea by a riptide, a father and his 12-year-old autistic son struggle to stay alive. As night falls, the dad comes to a devastating realization: If they remain together, they’ll drown together.

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Let Me Live That Fantasy

Searching for Puddles the Clown, whose cover of Lorde’s “Royals” made him an Internet star.

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Susan Cox Is No Longer Here

One woman’s beautiful, strange, and troubling final days.

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The Old Man and the Tee

A combat veteran trains to be a college football placekicker.

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The Loneliest Number

Life after scoring 100-plus points in a basketball game.

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The Hazards of Growing Up Painlessly

Ashlyn Blocker, 13, has a “congenital insensitivity to pain.”

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How to Build an American Car

The people behind “the only American luxury compact sport sedan.”

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Her Own Flesh and Blood

A family of Georgia churchgoers contracted the plague of their time, HIV. Some survived, some didn’t—this is the story of their family over thirty years.

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The Town That Blew Away

Fourteen other tornadoes hit Georgia on April 27 and 28. This was not the record — that would be twenty, during Tropical Storm Alberto in 1994. But it was one of the worst twenty-four-hour periods in the history of the state. Tornadoes hit Trenton, Cherokee Valley, south of LaGrange, and Covington; killed seven people in a neighborhood in Catoosa County, swept through Ringgold, and killed two more — a disabled man and his caregiver — in a double-wide trailer on the far end of Spalding County. Those tornadoes got all the attention. The Vaughn tornado didn’t even warrant an article in a major newspaper. No one talked about Vaughn. The only way for a person to really find out about it was to drive past.
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The Beards Are A Joke

Four unhealthy, bearded, mostly unknown comedians from Atlanta tour 3,020 miles in a van.

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Zombies Are So Hot Right Now

On the fascination, from Hollywood to Atlanta, with zombies.