Best of 2012
This past year was one that saw Enterprise staff cover everything from the incredible - a bear sighting on the Cape - to the important - wastewater, wind turbines and drinking water - that thrilled, entertained, angered and saddened residents and tourists alike. There were fires, drug busts and unexpected deaths; continued talk of a casino being built in Massachusetts; and local high school athletes delivering their best performances on the fields and courts in this section of the state.
Though we treat each of these stories with the importance it deserves, our reporters delight in some more than others. And for the second straight year, our staff are picking those they enjoyed reporting on the most. We hope these articles touch you in the same way they touched us.
Here's to a great 2012, and more of the same in 2013.
Most Read Web Stories of 2012
- Falmouth: Teenager Dies In Car Accident
- Sports: ‘Juiced’ Baseball Could Be Reason Behind CCBL’s Inflated Offense
- Falmouth: Teenager Dies After Apparently Jumping From Car
- Falmouth: Fire Destroys Main Shop Building at Quissett Harbor Boatyard
- Falmouth: Hurricane Sandy Leads To Widespread Power Outages in Falmouth
- Falmouth: California Man Plans To Restore Cleveland Ledge Lighthouse
- Sandwich: Sandwich Police Bust Marijuana Growing Operation
- Falmouth: Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank And Pie In The Sky At Odds
- Falmouth: North Falmouth Home Destroyed By Fire
- Falmouth: MBL Plans To Sell Lot, Tennis Court Next To Stony Beach
Most Viewed Photo Galleries of 2012
A Voice of the People
During public comment at the beginning of almost every town council meeting for the past three years, a fellow would go up to the lectern and introduce himself as “Mr. Tucker of 63 Pleasant Street” before launching into a variety of comments about town government and related issues. I had always wanted to interview him. When I heard that he had died unexpectedly, I set out to do a profile of this very private man. In a small way, I think the story gave comfort to those who knew him, that he would not be forgotten.
One of the joys of a reporter’s job is the occasional opportunity to call up a professional one has admired from a distance and interview him or her. One such chance presented itself back in October, when I was afforded the opportunity to interview the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra’s Jung-Ho Pak.
I’m not a musician, but I am a faithful audience member, so I was very interested in what was going on behind the scenes as the orchestra, and ultimately Mr. Pak, chose a new concertmaster.
I hope the story helped add an extra dimension to other concertgoers. Besides, I was able to learn more about the ongoing New England Concerto competition, “The Soloist.” I have tickets for both the February semifinals, when the audience will help chose from among eight semifinalists, and for the May finals, when the audience alone chooses the winner from among three performers.
Class Not Just A Lot Of Hot Air
There’s something amazing about watching a good teacher like Janice Lewis hold the attention of 20 or so 7th grade boys and girls, especially as a first-year teacher. What made this story even more fun was watching the kids try to launch their balloons made of colorful tissue paper and listening to them explain the concept.
Every so often as a reporter you hear story pitches that initially give you pause. Several years ago one summer resident called and said he was “bicycling” to the Vineyard. Two years ago a North Falmouth resident excitedly brought in a giant puffball mushroom in hopes we could write about it.
It would be easy to brush these off as insignificant, but I’ve found these off-the-wall stories that show the quirkiness of human nature tend to be the most fun to write. So I jumped at the chance to interview the Allenbys, who believed a small, thumb-sized rock they found on the beach resembled the face depicted in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” and might fetch them a handsome reward.
Whether it did was not important. What was important was the earnestness of their request and the fondness they had for this small rock.
Falmouth's Joe Hackler Designs Electric-Powered Bike
I chose this article because while many community members are discussing ways the town can approach green energy, often with frustration, the main actor in this story, Joe Hackler, is creating his own approach. The story shows the community that green energy does not have to be a hassle, but something that can be fun and productive and not intrusive to neighbors.
Mashpee Housing Assistance
This story includes the comments of a woman who is trying to survive on Social Security benefits. I was struck by how difficult it is to pay rent and buy food on this kind of income. Our community has many people in exactly this situation, but we rarely hear their stories. For me, this story was a window into a reality that is going on all around us.
My, how quickly things can change. Of the more than 300 articles I wrote during 2012, the selection I ultimately chose for my year-end favorite was nowhere close to being considered for the designation -- until the morning of December 14.
Upon hearing that a gunman stormed an elementary school in Connecticut, killing 20 children and six adults less than two weeks before Christmas, an incident that occurred in Mashpee last spring quickly came to mind. In April, an airgun was confiscated from a Mashpee High School student by school personnel, prompting Police Chief Rodney C. Collins to request that a protocol be identified for contacting the police department, "so that the safety of the occupants of a school facility are not subject to unnecessary risk as a result of inappropriate action."
In light of last month's tragedy, the urgency town officials placed upon being prepared for the unthinkable unexpectedly propelled this story to the top of my favorites list. The town was, in so many ways, lucky to have this "false alarm" in April.
Yes, it is certainly troublesome that the incident may have been the source of some friction between the town's police chief, school superintendent, and school committee. But the tension was necessary and, quite frankly, welcome. If that is what it takes for the parties to effectively work together to ensure the safety of Mashpee's school children to avoid, or, in the worst case scenario, minimize, a Newtown-like incident, so be it.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s attempt to build a casino in southeastern Massachusetts has been covered by newspapers and other media outlets across the state and New England. This story is one example where we here at the Enterprise were able scoop our competition. It is certainly not the only example, but it was a big one.
The article made public for the first time the amount of debt the tribe has taken on during its pursuit of the casino; it remains unclear whether the tribe will have to repay that debt if the project does not work out. It gives readers, tribe members and non-tribe members alike a glimpse into what is going on behind the scenes in tribal government. What is going on, at least as far as the casino is concerned, is a lot of money.
Writing this article was a pleasure because it required that I explore a period in Sandwich’s town history. As a history buff, it simply does not get any better for me than having to read and learn about the past, and then share what I have learned with readers.
I’ve been covering the Cape Cod Baseball League for more innings than I can count, and during that time there has been one constant. "Experts” have always considered the CCBL a “pitcher’s league.” Then 2012 came around and set that belief on its ear.
Just a few weeks into the season it was apparent that something was different this summer. The ball was jumping out of the ballparks, not only at record paces, but at record-smashing paces. And, it wasn’t just on Cape Cod. Every league that used the same ball as the CCBL was having similar results.
Homers were up, batting averages were up, and theories began to mount. I went to the center of the story by cutting a few baseballs in half, and found some dramatic differences between this year’s and last year’s baseballs.