A compilation of some of my best ledes in news and features stories:

Nicole Caldwell/Ledes

Parachuter Tom Slinkard fell thousands of feet dozens of times without incident. Yesterday, however, The Southwest Parachute Association’s president tripped and broke his ankle on the back steps of his home in Rivertown while carrying trash outside.

A 31-year-old truck driver was killed today when an Amtrak passenger train struck his tractor-trailer at an unguarded railroad crossing in Moorpark, police said.

One-quarter of breast cancer patients who applied for insurance coverage during experimental treatments involving high-dose chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants were denied due to an “arbitrary and capricious” approval process, a study in today’s New England Journal of Medicine found.

After working at his newsstand for 12 years, Rosario Marvello said he could only stand by and watch yesterday as sanitation workers swooped down on the corner of Albany and Massachusetts and abruptly dismantled his newsstand in silence.

A 16-year-old was shot yesterday in the halls of Eastern District High School when two other students attempted to steal his gold necklace, police said.

Marc Balgavy stood at the microphone in the back room of Freddy’s on Dean Street. “Amy: Hi, it’s me again,” he read from a letter he wrote to his neighbor ages ago but never sent. A few people let out sympathetic chuckles. “You are the greatest person I have ever met,” Balgavy continued. His chipmunk cheeks turned red under his dark brown beard. “I know I’m not a great guy… I’m different than those around me. I don’t have a good sense of humor.” The chuckles turned to cheers and applause. Then, the kicker. “Most of the time I can be found making super heroes and villains,” Balgavy read. “I just love making superhero costumes.” The crowd went wild. “Cringe Night,” held at Freddy’s Bar & Backroom in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, had begun.

Temperatures dropped overnight. Rain boots and sweatshirts and jeans covered goosebumped skin. The sky offered a violet backdrop to the October storm. Raindrops hitting pavement sounded like plastic beads dropping on a wood floor. Six inches of rain had fallen in 48 hours. It would be eight days of downpours before the sun came out again. Roads were closed. Rivers overflowed. It was perfect ghost-hunting weather.