Top Severna Park Stories of 2011
Here's a look back at stories that stirred emotions and brought visitors to Severna Park Patch this year.
Severna Park Patch celebrated its one-year anniversary on Nov. 17 and it has been a whirlwind of a year both personally and professionally as I transferred my skills as a journalist for a daily newspaper over to what is known by many in the field as "the wild, wild west" of online news.
I've learned a new way of telling stories; shorter, more visual, more immediate and paperless. With almost unlimited and fluid space, this Patch, myself and the contributing writers and photographers, produced close to 1,800 posts in a little more than a year.
Severna Park Patch joined its online Patch pals covering community news for hometowns all over the country. So, which ones did Severna Park find most interesting? Here are the top stories in 2011, starting with the most-read, and regretfully, many are the most tragic stories from 2011:
Any news related to businesses in Severna Park was widely read, from ribbon-cuttings to closings and reopenings. The community has proven through readership that it cares about what is happening in our business community.
The abrupt closure of the popular Severna Park eating establishment the Atlanta Bread Company in June left many customers upset and wondering what was up.
Since then, it has reopened under corporate ownership and is busy as ever.
Police and Fire
Reporting sad and bad news is the toughest part of the job and I had quite a few sensitive, tragic stories to test my expertise at handling them carefully for the families and community sake.
A Severna Park High School graduate and former Edgewater resident, Kelcey Silva, was killed in a motorcycle accident in downtown Annapolis in June. Dozens of friends and family members streamed into Barranco & Sons Funeral Home to share their sorrow at the tragic loss of this vibrant young woman.
Two teenagers were struck by a car as they crossed the southbound lanes of Ritchie Highway, near the Earleigh Heights Fire Station in Severna Park, where a carnival was in progress. Kara R. Micciche, 17, of Pasadena died. Sean Snyder, 19, of Severna Park, survived the accident.
An Arnold woman died after being ejected from her pickup truck following a two-vehicle crash on Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard, near Lower Magothy Beach Road in late November.
Cats were seized from Cool Cats Rescue Center located on Benfield Road. The cats were found to be in various medical conditions, including two deceased cats that were recovered. All of the cats were removed from the premises and Animal Control stepped in.
Formerly a homeless amputee, Fred Stamm is now earning money and has a place to live, thanks to Severna Park resident Chuck Beck and his best friend Smokey, a golden retriever who travels with him around town. Stamm's life turned around thanks to the help of Beck and others in the community. This story also appeared on the Huffington Post as a "Greatest Person" feature story.
This story put Severna Park Patch on the map as it broke the story on an alleged scammer named Joseph Gill. The story made its way to television newscasts and the front pages of newspapers around the region about Joseph Gill allegedly scamming county and other school systems in the state with promises of visits by Baltimore Ravens players to their school assemblies.
User Generated Content
Terra Snider’s Later High School Start Times Petition, first posted in October and updated through December, was shared and posted on various Patch sites throughout the country, sparking conversation throughout school communities. Snider said on Patch that the exposure on the topic was "galvanizing a national coalition of parents, teachers, doctors, nurses, sleep scientists and caregivers."
Snider said the Patch network of coverage on the petitions played a major role in its progress, with coverage in more than 20 different Patch communities as well as other online news sources.