2012 was a year of continued extreme weather in Maplewood and environs, as Superstorm Sandy struck havoc in our area. It was also a year of tragic, untimely losses in our community and beyond, as the country grappled with the deep pain of the Newtown, CT school shooting.
While crime declined overall in Maplewood, we did experience a grisly double homicide as well as a drug bust near Columbia High School, a kidnapping, and right before Christmas, a brazen daylight bank robbery.
In happier news, a local middle schooler put Maplewood on the map with her star turn on The X Factor, and our little Village was featured on MSNBC.
Here are the top stories of 2012 on Maplewood Patch.
1. Nothing in 2012 generated more views and feedback than Hurricane Sandy, a superstorm that swept through Maplewood on Oct. 29 and 30. Maplewoodians flocked to Patch to read about PSE&G's power restoration plan, as PSE&G employees from all around the country came to New Jersey's aid to help restore power as fast as possible. Residents also clamored for information about gas shortages and street closures, and flooding around Essex County.
2. The Maplewood and South Orange community grieved the loss of 12-year old Kohl Angelo after his long battle with a rare cancer. We mourned the passing of mother of three Ann Thompson, who died suddenly in November. Also, Lonnie Wright, a former AFL/ABA star, passed away due to congestive heart failure and Mark McCombs, a PE teacher at Columbia High School, died unexpectedly after a brief illness.
3. Crime also topped headlines, with Dwayne Flourney, 26, charged in the double homicide of his father and grandmother at their Maplewood home. South Orange men were charged with the beating and robbing of another South Orange resident on Woodland Road; a mother and a daughter were arrested in a drug bust, and there was a rash of burglaries in August and September. Also, a bank robber stole over a thousand dollars from the Bank of America in Maplewood Village the morning of Dec. 22.
4. Beatrice Miller, an eighth grader at Maplewood Middle School, advanced to the Top Ten on The X Factor before being eliminated in a singoff against CeCe Frey. She was voted off by Simon Cowell on Thanksgiving night as supporters all around the country cheered her on and bit their nails.
5. Several new businesses opened up shop in Maplewood. Some of the most talked and read about were Sweet Relish and The Laurel, which came to Maplewood Village in May. Sweet Relish was closed soon after but reopened as Olive & Lizzy. Though Thai restaurant Wild Ginger opened in 2011, it continued to be buzzed about on Patch. (The restaurant was recently reviewed in the New York Times.)