We published a lot of hard-hitting stories this year: Breaking news, investigations and accountability pieces, but we also published stories that inspired and brought readers joy. Here’s a recap of some of those stories from this year.
Vacant field or makeshift launchpad? Dad gets creative for kids’ spaceship adventure.
Unbeknownst to NASA, Aden and Noah prepared for “liftoff” all thanks to their father Paul Newson’s big idea in Reservoir Hill.
It all started with a spacesuit.
What happens when a house on Baltimore’s “Miracle” 34th Street goes for sale?
The catch? Prospective buyers might need to fit the qualification: “Must love Christmas.” Anyone interested in the house might be asking: Will I have to participate in the extravagant holiday decorating that happens each year?
Can coach Sam Brand’s basketball odyssey build Carmelo Anthony’s dream in Baltimore?
As director of the Team Melo AAU basketball program, the former Poly coach wants to inspire more city youth on a larger scale.
How one Maryland ad man’s life’s work became a time capsule of regional advertising
Art Ehrens, a veteran ad man who lived in Bethesda, Maryland, passed away at the age of 76 on April 16. But not long before that, earlier this year, Ehrens was having a conversation about commercials with a friend who brought up Patton Oswalt’s routine from his 2016 Netflix special, and the auto dealership jingle that stayed in the comedian’s head for decades. “Yeah, I wrote that shit,” Ehrens replied, according to his son Jon.
How a team from Baltimore turned data from the James Webb Space Telescope into the images seen around the world
July 13 marked the culmination of more than three decades of work on the James Webb Space Telescope. Thousands from across the world have been involved in the project at one point or another since its inception in 1989, including a team from Baltimore.
“It was kind of emotional this morning, getting through the conference and seeing the public reactions,” Joseph DePasquale said. “It’s been intense to say the least.”
Basketball or football? At 16, Malik Washington is chasing a dream in two sports — and recruiters are watching.
At 16, Malik, a rising sophomore at Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn, is one of the top-ranked quarterbacks in Maryland. He is also a major Division I college basketball prospect. This summer, he played for Team Melo, one of the nation’s elite youth basketball programs. By traveling throughout the country, he had the opportunity to test himself against the top-ranked players in his age bracket in front of hundreds of college coaches who are keenly assessing those they want to recruit.
Longest living Jane Doe: A Baltimore woman’s decadeslong search to find her identity
Maybe she was a springtime baby in the 1960s. Maybe she’s 54 years old or 56.
She could be named Ruffin after a father she never knew. Or maybe Conyers after a mother she never met. Maybe she has a middle name after all.
On this April morning, the woman who is Missing Child No. 1201298 will discover her identity.
The Crate Gatsby Instagram profile is a crash course on Baltimore’s musical legacy
There’s a healthy niche community of record collectors in all corners of the world finding ways to share their findings on social media. In the case of 30-year-old Randallstown native Chase Mortenson, it’s his cleverly titled Instagram account, Crate Gatsby. Mortenson, who grew up with both a love of history and music, started the account in 2017 to broadcast the local music he found while crate-digging on the internet and in real-life.
And his collection is more than you could ever imagine.
DJ Amy Reid creates musical ‘Utopia’ centered on joy and connection
Reid has been creating magical dance spaces in Baltimore for years. She’s a member of the band Chiffon, which has been creating electronic pop music and touring since around 2014. She supports other musicians like Ami Dang with keyboard, background vocals and synths. She will DJ your wedding, party, or b’nai mitzvah.
Thrift store shopping tips from lifelong bargain hunters
Work colleagues Uhmar Alston and Brenda Wintrode discovered they both love treasure hunting at thrift stores.
BONUS: Stories that gave us hope
Corey Woodfolk was sentenced in 1994 to 50 years in prison. Now he’s the GM of a law firm in Baltimore.
For 23 years, Woodfolk was incarcerated in federal prison, where he taught himself the law and earned certificates in areas including paralegal studies and business and corporate law. Since his release in 2017, he’s become the general manager and litigation specialist at Bates & Garcia, P.C., a law firm in Baltimore, and specializes in state and federal appellate and post-conviction work.
“Anybody can change, if they want to change — at any time,” said Woodfolk, 53, of Baltimore County.
‘Doing what we do best’: Abell neighborhood residents come together after June fires
On a slightly chilly September morning, John Washko sat at an outdoor makeshift cafe in the 300 block of East 31st Street.
He sipped a cup of coffee and chatted with a neighbor. On the table in front of him was a pile of nuts he put out for squirrels. Dog walkers passed by the small collection of mismatched chairs and tables and greeted the coffee drinkers before continuing on their way.
Washko, 75, has come by nearly every weekday for almost the past three months. Lately, he’s come to see the progress on his home, which is being repaired after it was burned in an early-morning fire on June 15 that also damaged three other homes in Baltimore’s Abell neighborhood.
‘It means everything:’ How the Juvenile Restoration Act has provided a second chance for people sentenced as children to prison in Maryland
For 30 years, Anthony Fair said, he prepared for the day when he would be released from prison in Maryland.
On Jan. 20, 1993, Fair shot and killed Rodney Ross, 17, and William Fortune, 38, in the basement of a stash house in Sandtown-Winchester — a decision, he said, he immediately regretted. He was later found guilty in Baltimore Circuit Court of first- and second-degree murder and use of a handgun during the commission of a crime of violence, and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole, plus 20 years.
He said he never had a doubt, though, that someone reviewing his case would eventually give him a second chance. And on Sept. 20, Fair walked out of the Patuxent Institution, a prison in Jessup, a free man.