It is hard to believe, but on Sunday Southampton Patch turns 2 years old.
Southampton Patch has made great strides in just two years, with awareness growing that Patch is the first place to check out for breaking news and the most important local headlines.
To mark the occasion, I wanted to recall some of headlines from Year 2 that stick out in my memory, and likely yours as well if you have been reading Southampton Patch for the past 12 months.
One of the most notorious stories of the past year was the traffic jam in July that crippled much of the South Fork for six hours. It really shined a light on just how vulnerable our town could be in an emergency, and got officials talking about safety improvements and communication.
Also in July, presidential contender Mitt Romney made a visit to Southampton Village for high profile fundraisers, which drew massive protests. Then in August, Vice President Joe Biden came to a fundraiser in Bridgehampton for President Obama's re-election, hosted by Nathan Lane with a performance by James Taylor.
Speaking of elections, Southampton Village resident Tim Bishop was elected to his sixth term in the U.S. Congress this year, after fending off second time challenger Randy Altschuler, of St. James.
Another one of our local residents, Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, of Noyac, made a spirited, albeit unsuccessful, run for New York State Senate.
Southampton Village this year affirmed the appointment of a new police chief, Tom Cummings, and Southampton Town provisionally appointed a new chief, veteran officer Robert Pearce.
These 12 months have been a tumultuous time for the town police, with a new lieutenant being suspended for a time, two convicts being released and the district attorney continuing an investigation of department records and practices.
The biggest story of Southampton Patch's second year was, obviously, Superstorm Sandy and the havoc it reached on the East End. Southampton was spared the worst of the storm, thankfully, and in the aftermath it's warmed the heart to see so many of our neighbors step up to help victims in the hardest hit areas. Patch will stay on top of this ongoing story for months to come, as Long Island continues to put itself back together.
Southampton has faced a number of tragedies in the past 12 months, including August's hit-and-run in Water Mill that took the life of Sister Jackie Walsh, who was staying at a Sisters of Mercy retreat house. The suspected driver is still at large. Though the story has fallen out of the headlines, I have not forgotten about it and will bring you updates as soon as Patch gets word.
In August, the Shinnecock Indian Nation lost two young members, D.L. White Jr. and Jason 'Tek' King, in a car accident near the east entrance to the reservation, and more heartbreak followed in November when another member, Matthew Williams died in a crash in Flanders.
Also among the high profile losses during Southampton Patch's second year were the Reverend Monsignor Edmond J. Trench, formerly of Sacred Hearts Parish; former Sag Harbor Village Mayor John A. Ward; Sagaponack resident and developer Gregg Saunders; and veteran Bill Frankenbach.
It is also painful to recall the death in August of Southampton native Keith Greene, a 35-year-old husband, father and chef. Portions of the proceeds from Saturday's Polar Bear Plunge for Hunger will go to support his family.
Among the lighter headlines, Southampton Village's Coopers Beach — where the Polar Bear Plunge is held annually — was named the number two family beach in the U.S. by National Geographic Traveler. It was previously named the number one beach in America by "Dr. Beach."
And The Parrish Art Museum opened the doors to its long-awaited new facility in Water Mill.
There are many more big stories that could be mentioned here, but I have to stop somewhere.
I also love hearing from members of the community about what's important to them. You can comment on stories, post announcements, start your own Local Voices blog and email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many exciting things in Patch's future, and I hope you will be a part of it.
Brendan J. O'Reilly
Editor, Southampton Patch