Today we say farewell to 2013, a year in which wind turbines, casinos and the Sandwich swimming pool were among the issues that dominated discussion on the Upper Cape.
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As usual we were there to provide a glimpse into our communities and how these stories, and others, both large and small, impacted residents who live in this section of Cape Cod.
While our reporters and photographers cover these stories as part of their daily and weekly routines, they enjoy some more than others. So for the third straight year we asked those staff members to pick their favorite stories and photographs from 2013. You will find those here on our website which itself experienced a welcome change this past year: it was redesigned to look cleaner, more polished, and is now responsive, as it adapts to whatever technology—desktop computer, tablet or smartphone—one is using.
Like our favorite stories and photographs, we are proud of the new site and the modest strides we are making online. We hope you will continue to join us here and follow us on our social media streams, Twitter and Facebook, and let us know what we are doing well, where we can improve and what issues are important to you in 2014.
Christopher Kazarian (Falmouth Enterprise)
I have long been fascinated with social media and the power it has in making specific content - whether positive or negative - go viral.
In the Casino Wharf's case it was a negative. It all occurred over a few hours on a Friday evening in July. That is when someone managing the restaurant's Facebook page made a snide comment insulting Cape Cod bands. Steve Moulton took offense to that and replied, resulting in an online argument for all to see.
It was a public relations fiasco for a local business and a lesson about the power that social media wields in today's society. Initially, it led to an angry public, but the incident eventually turned into a positive with residents channeling their emotions into highlighting all that is good with Cape Cod (Exhibit A) and those that make it a special community.
Elizabeth Saito (Falmouth Enterprise)
This feature is my favorite piece of work from 2013 because the story it tells is so compelling. I always find birth stories riveting, and this one is especially dramatic. But more importantly, it's a story of redemption, of love and transformation. I admired the courage it took for these women to share their stories publicly, and also their commitment to helping other mothers.
Geoff Spillane (Mashpee Enterprise)
The article I chose to highlight from the nearly 350 stories I wrote in 2013 was not my favorite. On the contrary, I wish I never had to write it at all. It did though, have a profound impact on me, and the events of the day will forever be etched in my mind.
Patricia Peal (Sandwich Enterprise)
The reason I am choosing this story is because I have always admired entrepeneurial spirit and believe in what I call George Bailey economics; buying from and providing services to our neighbors in our local communities. I remember the speech Jimmy Stewart gives In the movie It's a wonderful life, when his character George speaks to the customers who want to take their money out of his bank. He describes how their money isn't in the bank, it is out in the community working for and with their neighbors. Joshua Bates, at age 13, started his tech tutoring business to earn money to buy a new computer and to help others with their computer problems. That's full circle George Bailey economics to me and a sign of a healthy community.
Deborah Scanlon (Falmouth Enterprise)
I enjoyed writing about the 10th anniversary of the Falmouth Military Support Group. I was really moved by the compassion and dedication of people like Carole Kenney, Peggy Clarkson, Sharon Poulos and others. I even posted this on Facebook at the time: "The more I write or edit stories about Falmouth, the more impressed I am with our townspeople. I'm writing a story about the Falmouth Military Support Group and am feeling Falmouth Pride!"
Michael Rausch (Bourne Enterprise)
News is about people and the issues that affect them. News also puts a spotlight on issues that some people might avoid because they believe it does not affect them. This article shared the stories of people lost to despair, a state of mind that everyone can relate to, to some measure and degree.
James Kinsella (Bourne Enterprise)
I liked this story because it showed how the success of the newly launched summer seasonal train service between Boston and Hyannis might serve as a springboard to year-round commuter rail service to Buzzards Bay -- a development that could have significant impact on people's lives in Buzzards Bay, Bourne, the Upper Cape and much of Cape Cod. Thomas S. Cahir, a Pocasset resident who is administrator of the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority -- and who is steeped in Upper Cape transportation issues -- laid out the relative practical ease of launching commuter rail between Buzzards Bay and Boston.
Lannan O'Brien (Mashpee Enterprise)
At a time when news is so often tragic and disheartening, writing this story reawakened my faith in humanity. Meeting Scott Calkin was a reminder that the Santa Claus from our childhoods represents much more than flying reindeer and magic tricks-- he is genuinely caring and generous, finding joy in giving to others and appreciating each human being he encounters as a miracle. He is what each of us should aspire to be 365 days a year.
Rich Maclone (Sports)
When I sat down to interview Art Baker I knew a little bit about his story. I knew he had been a professional football star. I knew he had been a standout wrestler in college and high school, and a success later on in business.
What I didn't expect was to be transfixed by the story that Baker told of his life. Usually I ask a lot of questions during a feature story. On this occasion I just made sure that my iPhone was recording and let him spin his tale. I had planned to spend about 45 minutes with Mr. Baker that night at Starbucks in Mashpee. We nearly closed the place as the "interview" went well past a second hour.
The hardest part of the story was sitting down to write it. There was so much there. This story was easily the longest one I wrote in 2013, but it's one I'd love to revisit someday in a longer form.