As 2012 comes to an end, West Hartford Patch takes a look back at the stories that attracted the most attention during the past year.
West Hartford Patch had its second anniversary in November, and year two has been another busy one. We have published more than 3,000 articles on topics that included several tragedies, politics, crime, animals, sports, schools, business, and – of course – crazy weather.
These stories touched everyone’s lives in different ways and left impressions that won’t soon be forgotten.
Here are most read and most talked about stories of 2012. Are you surprised? We'd love to hear what you consider the top stories of the year.
West Hartford Administration to Address Petition Against Duffy Principal (July 16):
In mid July, a group of 90 current and former Duffy Elementary School parents made their concerns about the leadership of Principal Kathleen Tracy public, with the delivery of a petition to the administration and West Hartford Board of Education. Several follow-up stories on this very same issue also made it into the year's top stories, including "Duffy Parents Speak Out About Experiences with Principal," and the article about Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen List's decision to keep Tracy in her position for the 2012-13 academic year ("Superintendent: Principal to Remain in Place Through June 2013").
The tragic death of West Hartford residents Maimuna Anyene, her husband, and the couple's four children in the crash of a Dana Air plane in Lagos, Nigeria touched not only the family's neighbors in Quaker Green. The popular family had friends everywhere, and messages poured in from all over the world. A touching essay about Maimuna Anyene written by her best friend ("A Tribute to Maimuna Anyene") and West Hartford Patch's coverage of the memorial service held in honor of the family ("Memorial Service Pays Tribute to Lives of Anyene Family") were also among the year's most read stories.
No discussion of the year's top stories would be complete without mention of the crazy weather. The incredible coincidence of another superstorm on the anniversary of 2011's freak October snowstorm was unbelievable. This year we took the approach of consolidating most of the coverage after the storm hit under one story, to make it easier for readers to keep track of the updates. Do you think it was helpful? The story about the approach of Hurricane Sandy the day before it hit ("Hurricane Sandy's Impact on Connecticut Called 'Life-Threatening'") and our gallery of storm images ("PHOTOS: Hurricane Sandy in West Hartford") and updates about school closures were also included in the year's top stories.
West Hartford residents love to be "in the know" when restaurants and stores are opening and closing in town. Patch's story about the plans for Noodles & Company and Neighborhood Market by WalMart opening in Marshall's Plaza was very popular. Noodles & Company opened on Oct. 3, and that story also attracted plenty of readers. Neighborhood Market did not open in late 2012 as planned, but work is ongoing and we'll provide an update as soon as it's available.
This story incited a firestorm of comments, many about gun control, after a man walking his dog early on a summer morning shot at a bear that attacked the dog. The dog, a 6-year-old Schnauzer, later died of its injuries. The bear was never located, but further investigation determined that the shooting did not take place on MDC property where carrying a firearm is specifically prohibited.
Moose on the Loose in West Hartford (June 2):
Sometimes a picture is worth more than words, and that was certainly true of this story. A photo of the very unusual appearance of a large moose in West Hartford, accompanied by a handful of words, resulted in 270 Facebook recommends and a place on the list of top 10 stories. Patch readers love animal stories, so please continue to send us these kind of photos!
West Hartford residents like their restaurants! News about plans for Pepe's, the iconic New Haven pizzeria, to open in West Hartford spread like melted mozzarella cheese after this story was published. This editor is very much looking forward to the grand opening, and will keep readers updated as that date gets closer.
This is a sad story of a 59-year-old man who had a medical emergency while swimming laps at the Cornerstone Aquatics Center. Thankfully these incidents rarely happen in West Hartford.
We know that we love living in West Hartford. The rest of the country heard about it, too, when West Hartford joined just three other Connecticut locations in earning a spot in CNNMoney Magazine's ranking of the top 100 places to live in 2012.
Drug busts of this magnitude don't happen very often in West Hartford. In fact, police said the intercepting of a package containing 167 pounds of marijuana at a Cambridge Street home was one of the largest, if not the largest, in the town's history.
Click on the links to read the original stories.