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Best Reader stories from 2011

Alaska pipeline, Irwin Molasky, Sudan refugees, Tijuana is Smugglerville, Del Charro hotel

I was in Barrow by way of Laborers Local 942 of Fairbanks, Alaska.
  • I was in Barrow by way of Laborers Local 942 of Fairbanks, Alaska.
  • Dad was a bum

  • Mike Elliott’s father disappeared when he was 13 years old. Not disappeared as in vanished mysteriously. Disappeared as in left and never came back. Some 27 years later, on a rainy afternoon, Mike drove through Pinellas County, Florida (1100 miles from his hometown of Bayonne, New Jersey), in search of an address that might or might not belong to his father.
  • By Elizabeth Salaam, June 15, 2011
  • Work 10 weeks, take 10 months off

  • I’d been ejected from the mobility ball game five months earlier. If you’ll pan the camera to the right and zoom in, you’ll see me standing on the back of a flatbed truck with six other partygoers. Craig, a cocaine-addled Teamster, was wheelman. We were making our way down the spit at Point Barrow, Alaska, to a beach party. It was mid-July, and we were enjoying a heat wave.
  • By Patrick Daugherty, Nov. 9, 2011
  • Why would the FBI give $223 million to Irwin Molasky.?

  • He is the man who helped build a greater part of Las Vegas with millions of dollars from Jimmy Hoffa’s mobbed-up Teamsters’ pension fund. Along with his close friend and business partner, the legendary Moe Dalitz, an early associate of Detroit’s notorious Purple Gang — high school dropouts who built their fortune on murder, hijacking, and rum-running during Prohibition — he built Paradise Development.
  • By Matt Potter, June 29, 2011

“The men in gray,” as they referred to Wackenhut. “Those guys are way worse than the guys in green,” meaning the federal agents. “They hit you and always yell at you.”

“The men in gray,” as they referred to Wackenhut. “Those guys are way worse than the guys in green,” meaning the federal agents. “They hit you and always yell at you.”

  • I live in Tijuana, Smugglersville

  • I was hobbling back from the store with a liter of milk, when I saw three young men sitting on the steps in front of a house in my Tijuana neighborhood. My friend Trini’s son lives in that house. He was supposed to be renting out part of it to one other guy, but something must have happened to change that. Another neighbor has a nephew crashing on his property. I have no problems with any of this, but when Trini’s son saw me, he came outside and filled me in.
  • By John Edward Rangel, May 4, 2011
  • To escape from Sudan, end up in San Diego

  • When Dep Tuany arrived on a drilling rig in the impoverished Sudanese village of Boriak, hostility lingered thick in the air. The village held roughly 1200 refugees living in grass and wood huts. They had recently returned from camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. A local chief had just been killed by one of the larger tribes in the region, and his people were rallying to execute the offending tribe’s chief in retaliation.
  • By Chad Deal, May 18, 2011

Plus the day Howard Hughes tried to hire J. Edgar Hoover and Frank Sinatra got FBI help ransoming his son.

Plus the day Howard Hughes tried to hire J. Edgar Hoover and Frank Sinatra got FBI help ransoming his son.

  • How Texas oilmen ran national politicians from the Del Charro hotel in La Jolla

  • Britton described a cluster of freestanding units added to the back of the hotel by Murchison and Richardson, where their old friend and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover spent two weeks each summer. “Hoover, who formally patronized Casa Mañana (now exclusively for the old and retired, hence no place for Mr. G-man in full flush), occupied one of the ingenious ‘bungalows,’ which are the best architectural feature of Del Charro.”
  • By Matt Potter, Jan. 5, 2011

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