Editor's Picks: Long Valley's Top Stories of 2012

Sixteen stories that impacted Washington Township over the past year.

From election campaigns to natural disasters to the expected ending of the world and everything in between, 2012 was downright wacky. 

But in Long Valley, there were thousands of stories to be told, and we’re glad we could be part of it. We’ve already reviewed our top photos of the year and how they each told a story of their own, and shared with you our most read stories from the past 12 months.

Now, it’s the editor’s turn. Below you’ll find the story or stories from each month this year Long Valley Patch Editor Jason Koestenblatt thinks made an impact on the community for one reason or another. If you think he missed one, feel free to add it to our comments section at the bottom of the article.

‘Bert’ the Liberty Eagle made his home at the corner of Flocktown and Schooley’s Mountain Roads in 1999, sculpted from a dying tree by Harry Robinson. The artist passed away at age 87 in December 2011, and we caught up with his family to honor him in print a few weeks later, which can be read here.

Saying Shayna Ericksen is a pretty good basketball player is like saying the sun is kind of warm. Ericksen, a West Morris Central Lady Highlanders basketball star for four years, broke the school’s all-time scoring record as a senior in January. Ericksen now plays for Manhattan College.

Looking back, February was packed with news and impactful stories. The two we decided to spotlight, however, go hand in hand. The first is about doctor Ron Weiss buying hundreds of acres of land on West Mill Road to convert into the “Promised Land,” a farm and wellness center area using homeopathic medicines to treat patients. See his story here.

On the property adjacent to the “Promised Land,” businessman Sean Campbell is cultivating a hard apple cider farm for consumer use on his acreage. See his story here.

Decades ago, traffic projections on Schooley’s Mountain Road showed the artery would grow very congested, and designs were implemented to create a bypass for motorists. But in March, Washington Township Mayor Ken Short says he was told by Morris County Freeholders the bypass project would not happen now, or ever, due to a lack of funding. See what unfolded here.

Over the course of six weeks in the late summer of 2011, Washington Township was devastated by flooding occurrences. One homeowner, whose residence needed substantial repairs from the damage, said it was the township’s responsibility to fix the road in front of her home, which was causing flood waters to flow directly onto her property. See how that worked out here. 

Tragedy was converted into therapy this year when Paula Field-Nichols decided it was time to create a suicide survivors support group. The idea was not borne from inexperience, as Field-Nichols lost her son, Stephen, in December 2010. It was time for her to help those who needed it, she told Patch in May. Learn more here.

It’s one of the biggest events in Washington Township each year, and 2012 was no different. West Morris Central sent more than 300 graduates out into the world to take on higher education and the workforce at its commencement ceremony. See our gallery of photos here.

After a four-year stalemate, an arbitrator finally settled the contract dispute between Washington Township and the police department. Both sides came away with positives and negatives on the deal that is retroactive to 2009. Negotiations for a new contract will begin in 2013, as the current deal expires July 1. Learn more here.

A suicidal, shotgun-wielding man was found in a cornfield and arrested after an hours-long search on an August night this year, according to police. But it was the reaction by residents that stirred emotions, as many said there should have been more police notification about what was going on at the time of the incident. See what was said here.

Who doesn’t love a good cupcake? The great folks over at the Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe in Chester made their names known nationally in August, when the group won an episode of Cupcake Wars. The recognition spawned huge attention for the locally owned business. Find out more here.

We love stories that have happy endings, and there may not have been a better one than the finding of Bandit the dog. Bandit went missing in late July, and thanks to the persistence of his owners, was captured and secured 55 days later. That’s nearly two months! See what the family did and how they did it by reading this.

It’s been 67 years since World War II ended, and our country is losing more and more heroes from that era each day. That’s why on Oct. 3, when Holocaust survivor Olga Menczer spoke to students at West Morris Central High School, it wasn’t an ordinary assembly. Menczer’s focus was to tell students to respect each other, and don’t give up. See more here.

Mike Rossi turned 18 years old this year and was given the opportunity vote. But that’s not the biggest accomplishment for the Long Valley teen 2012 had to offer. Rossi, a member of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team, was named to the World Cup Ski Team and will be touring Asia, Europe and the United States over the next three months as one of the team’s freestyle aerialists. Check out his awesome accomplishment here.

The first-ever Patch competition for ‘Top Dog’ made Long Valley a winner, as Wendel the Wonder Dog received the most votes in Morris County and was named Patch readers’ favorite Pooch. Check out the superhero here.

Capping off an up and down season with a North Jersey Group IV, Section II championship was the West Morris Central Wolfpack football team, which dismantled Warren Hills Regional High School at Rutgers University. See what sparked the team’s second title in four years here.

C. Moore December 30, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Don't forget! Only 1 day left to use Flex Funds! Long Valley Eye Care is open December 31 from 10am-4pm.


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