8 Washingtonian Longreads From 2014

From the chef who went rogue to the world's best nipple-tattoo artist.

A new year. A new e-reading device. Visitors who still haven’t quite left yet. Whatever your reasons for searching for longer things to read, here are some of Washingtonian‘s best features from 2014, selected by articles editor Kristen Hinman.

“Danny Pearl’s Last Story”

Asra Q. Nomani spent ten years trying to figure out whether Khalid Sheikh Mohammed really murdered her friend and fellow reporter Daniel Pearl.

“The Chef Who Brought Down Bob McDonnell Tells All”

Todd Schneider was chef at the Virginia governor’s mansion when Bob McDonnell occupied it. And surely to McDonnell’s enduring regret, he was diligent about documenting things that felt fishy to him. “You have to remember,” Schneider tells Luke Mullins, “everybody talks in the kitchen.”

The Suit Who Spooked the EPA

John Beale retired from the Environmental Protection Agency with a sterling record and the understanding that he’d spent some of his time doing clandestine work for the CIA. The truth was very different, Michael Gaynor writes.

“How Did a 7-Year-Old Boy Catch His Father’s PTSD?”

The traumas of wars aren’t always confined to the people who fought them. Roxanne Patel Shepelavy writes about Logan Pearce, a teenager from Mechanicsville, Virginia, who absorbed the PTSD with which his father, Brian Pearce, returned from Iraq.

“Dads Want to Have it All, Too”

Brooke Lea Foster talked to men in the Washington area who’ve organized their lives around something other than work.

“Nipples by Vinnie”

A tattoo artist in Finksburg, Maryland, named Vinnie Myers is highly sought-after for a special skill: He creates some of the very best nipples on reconstructed breasts. Michelle Cottle drills into his mystique.

“This May be the Most Extreme Lost Dog Search Ever”

Georgetown resident Janet Mihalyfi has spent more than $35,000 looking for her lost dog, Havoc. That effort has included robo-calls, “critter cams,” psychics, and tracking dogs. “I have people who say Janet’s delusional, that she’s crazy,” a Havoc volunteer tells Marisa M. Kashino. “I can’t wait till we find him, so I can say, ‘F— you.’ ”

“Can a Better Football Helmet Save Your Kid’s Brain?”

Virginia Tech’s STAR rating system has changed the football-helmet industry. But it may have also led to helmets that make players more vulnerable to some types of concussions, Patrick Hruby reports.

“How David Gregory Lost His Job”

The “most coveted job in political journalism” was hosting Meet the Press. But it lost its lustre under David Gregory, who replaced Tim Russert after his death in 2008. The inside story of how NBC dislodged Gregory from the show, by Luke Mullins.

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Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously the news editor and lead media reporter for the Poynter Institute, arts editor for the now completely vanished TBD.com, and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.