As I continue the "best of" lists for 2011, these are my picks for the best, most interesting, most touching stories of the year. These are the stories that I was excited to write or struggled with writing because of the sensitive topic or was pleased with how well it was received by the community.
Saturday I shared my picks for January to June 2011. Here is the second half of my top 12 picks—month by month.
As I said in the first part of this list, journalists get an adrenaline rush when breaking news happens. And I certainly felt that adrenaline rush when I heard about a possible shooting on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Linthicum in July. Turns out, it wasn't exactly a shooting, but it had everyone on edge for a good part of the day.
I spent hours with group of news men and women sitting on Winterson Road waiting to hear more details about the man who police said walked out of the woods, approached a speed enforcement Jeep with a shotgun and a hammer, smashed the windshield and disappeared back into the woods. Police never reported locating the man.
There were entirely too many relevant stories to choose from in August, but just for the sheer craziness of it I had to go with the earthquake coverage. After standing terrified in the doorway of my kitchen as my apartment shook, I gathered my senses and went out into the streets to speak with people about what they—and I—just experienced.
I think I got my favorite quote of the year from William Turner in that video: "Everything just started going everywhere," Turner said. "I felt like the whole apartment was going around, like, in circles—back and forth, to and fro. It was wicked, know what I mean?"
Other notable headlines in August:
In September, the country saw two executions of convicted murderers. There was a large media following of the execution of Troy Davis and many people were talking about the case—advocating both for and against the Georgia man convicted of killing an off-duty police officer.
Earlier that week The Washington Post reported about a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that said the standards jurors use to determine whether or not the death penalty should be imposed are constitutional.
It made me wonder where Glen Burnie residents stood. Are we for or against the death penalty? According to the poll, we're for it. (At least 69 percent of us are. The poll results are unscientific.)
It seemed that no matter what article we published about Patrick Downey III, everyone had a lot to say. Sometimes the conversations got heated and needed to be moderated and, in some cases, even shut down. No matter how you feel about Downey, it was always an interesting and lively discussion.
Being trained in traditional journalism sometimes makes it hard for me to open up in the columns I write here on Glen Burnie Patch. But in the spirit of Thanksgiving I felt the need to come from behind the curtain a bit and thank those of you who've helped me throughout my journey with Patch—and it had been just more than a year since the site launched. That gave me a lot to reflect on and be thankful for.
December 2011: '
I feel like I might have a bit of a crush on Granville Gilbert—this is my third time writing about him in a month! But I couldn't be more impressed by the 74-year-old man's pure love for Christmas and bringing happiness to others. I enjoyed spending time with him at his home during one of four open houses he held to raise money for youth programs at his church, Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church.