The Best of Bay Weekly

      I never know where I’ve been until I look back to find out. The journey makes so many demands of its own. If that journey happens to be conceiving, creating, publishing and distributing 50 or so issues of a weekly newspaper, the papers receed into the distance of time like a line of saguaro cactuses overtaken, then passed, on a drive through the Sonora Desert. All their distinctive, memorable features blend into one stereotypic cactus. Or paper.

      Two weeks from now, I’ll have to attempt the time-penetrating job of looking back on 27 years, 1,359 issues, of Bay Weekly. That’s a job I’m glad to postpone. 

     This week’s Best of the Bay gives me the pleasantly manageable challenge of looking back over 2019 to see what we’ve done and done best.

Second Biggest News of the Year: 

Bay Weekly to Retire at Year’s End

September 26;

The Bay Weekly Story: 

Will there be a surprise ending?

      Every good story has an end. You want it to be full of drama and with a good resolution of all that’s come before. We hope we can provide you that, in what will be the final chapter of Bay Weekly as we know it. At the end of this year, Bay Weekly will retire.

     We’ve had a great run, told a wealth of tales, made a lifetime of friends and have a team that makes this one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever faced.

Biggest News of the Year: 

Chesapeake Bay Media Buys Bay Weekly

November 28;

Christmas Comes Early to Bay Weekly … 

And to you, thanks to ­Chesapeake Bay Media

      I feel like a kid on Christmas morning telling you the just-made news that, come January 1, 2020, Bay Weekly will live on under the care of Chesapeake Bay Media. We’ll be the first print weekly to join the multi-media company famous as the publishers of Chesapeake Bay Magazine.

2019 Weird Genius Award

November 28;

      To geographer David Linthicum for I Thought I Knew Where I Lived, his exploration of how USPS subverts our sense of place. 

Biggest Issue of the Year — so Far

     Bay Weekly 72-page 26th Anniversary Special Advertisers’ Catalogue, April 22, encompassing our Back to the Water theme.

Cutest Issue

Who Looks Like their Mama?

May 9;

      You sent us your mother-and-child photos to compete in Bay Weekly’s annual Mother’s Day special.

Scariest Creature

October 24;

      Wayne Bierbaum’s House Centipede, his ­Halloween Creature Feature.

Most Useful Story

April 18;

What’s Your Recycling IQ 

by Sandra Olivetti Martin

      How exactly do you tell recyclables from trash? The answers are fall from simple — and often different in Anne Arundel and Calvert counties. 

Farthest-Out Story 

January 24;

Long-Distance Caller 

by Bob Melamud

      Stakes were high and tension palpable New Year’s Day at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, as scientists and engineers in Mission Control and onlookers the auditorium waited for New Horizons to phone home from four billion miles away.

Who’d Have Thunk It Story

April 4;

Pot-Shopping to Cure What Ails You 

by Sandra Olivetti Martin

       It wasn’t so long ago that you’d go to jail for taking a puff of demon weed. Now medical marijuana is a thriving legal industry in Maryland. In this how-to story, I guided you through the process of becoming a patient and visiting a dispensary, with its dizzying array of marijuana selections to help you feel better. 

Saga Come Full Circle

February 7;

17-Year-Old Helpful Hero

by Shelby Conrad

      Columnist Bill Burton, the legendary outdoors writer, joined Bay Weekly in our first year, 1993 — only weeks after his retirement from the Baltimore Evening Sun. Burton’s granddaughter Mackenzie Boughey appears (though not for the first time) in our last year, honored by Comptroller Peter Franchot with Anne Arundel County’s 2019 William Donald Schaefer Helping People award.

      Boughey was recognized for her work with the Maryland branch of March For Our Lives in organizing thousands of protestors to rally against gun violence

Thanks to these contributors for bringing us good reading all year:

      Liz Barron, Diana Beechener, Wayne Bierbaum, Audrey Broomfield, Warren Lee Brown, Bobbie Carew, Steve Carr, Shelby Conrad, Philip Dales, Allen Delaney, Dennis Doyle, Brad Dress, Beth Dumesco, Richard Dykeman, Catherine Clarke Fox, Angel Gingras, Jackie Graves, Robert J. Griffin Jr., Mark Hendricks, Brady Holt, Sarah Jablon, Barbara Johnson, Mary Ann Jung, Mollie King, Kathy Knotts, Bill Lambrecht, Veronica Lathroum, Matthew Liptak, Julie Wakeman-Linn, Dave Linthicum, Pete MacIver, Bob Melamud, Janie Meneely, Cheryl Simone-Miller, John O’Hara, Maria Price, Susan Nolan, Amy Pelsinsky, Krista Pfunder, Colin Rees, Diane Rey, Jim Reiter, Clair Robins, ­Janice Lynch Schuster, Bill Sells & Vivian Zumstein.