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A year of loss, reflected in NoN’s top 10 best read stories

Protestors shut down Interstate 95 on May 31. (James Russell)

NORWALK, Conn. — It was a year of lost loved ones, lost plans, wages, and hugs; a year of postponed weddings and canceled reunions. Those of us who still had jobs wore workout clothes to work out of our homes, hunting toilet paper at 6 in the morning. We tweeted and Facetimed, baked bread and homeschooled.

With salons closed, we had little choice but to go gray. We binged on Netflix and takeout. We pieced together puzzles and took afternoon naps. We checked on our neighbors and counted our blessings.

As spring slipped into summer, we dusted off bikes and went for a spin. We cheered as the graduates drove past. We tended gardens, rescued dogs, and tackled DIY projects. We took a stand against racism and fought isolation.

Come November, we cast our ballots by mail, and roasted the tiniest turkeys we could find, some of us for the first time. We made pumpkin pies and ate them with our families on Zoom. When the surge arrived on cue, we mourned anew.

We shopped for presents online. We strung lights and trimmed trees. We tried to have a Merry Little Christmas. And when it was over, the minute it was over, we started counting down to 2021.

Now that it’s practically, finally, here, we look ahead and back with gratitude and sorrow; grateful to have survived this terrible, horrible, very bad year, and sadly mindful of all who did not.

And while we’re relieved to see this hideous dumpster fire of a year end, we mustn’t allow ourselves to forget that the nightmare, alas, will not end with it. Come Jan. 1, it will still be up to all of us to protect ourselves and each other by continuing to wear masks, wash hands, and practice social distancing.

We wish our readers a healthy happy 2021. We fervently hope we will all still be here when it ends. For now, we ask that you join us in raising our glass to brighter days. We have all more than earned them.

And now, on to NancyOnNorwalk’s annual top 10 list of the year’s best-read stories. For a measure of how different 2020 was, consider this: The story of which City of Norwalk employees made the most money in 2019 isn’t one of them.

Year in, year out, that’s been top of the heap. Not this year. The No. 1 story of the year in Norwalk was the death of Mary Roman from COVID-19.

Roman, a former City Clerk and a senior Olympian, died in March at the age of 83. The well-known and well-loved citizen who worked to make her community better was Norwalk’s first notable death from the coronavirus.

Number two is the Black Lives Matter protest in late May that shut down Interstate 95 here.

Number three is another tragic death: that of 21-year-old Sher Enriquez, a 2017 Brien McMahon High School graduate, who died of COVID-19.

Number four is an oddity: a story that is no longer on the website. “Deadline for $500 kids’ stimulus payment is today” was removed, as the headline was no longer accurate. But it’s a measure of the desperation out there that people kept clicking after it was taken down. (Those clicks don’t factor into it being #4.)

And so it goes…. the offbeat tale of an abandoned sailboat drew hits in the midst of nothing-but-COVID stories, and the police accountability bill controversy that shone a spotlight on State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25), who cruised to reelection in November, as usual. Campaign manager Mary Pugh commented on Election Night, however, that Republican challenger Ellie Kousidis got more votes than they’d expected.

New superintendent? Sure, that’s interesting but not as much as a no trespassing sign on the Darien/Norwalk line.

Here’s the top 10 list:

  1. Former Norwalk City Clerk Roman succumbs to COVID-19
  2. Peaceful Norwalk protest makes an impression
  3. BMHS ’17 grad dies from COVID-19
  4. Deadline for $500 kids’ stimulus payment is today
  5. Boat owner asks: Why is Norwalk stealing my yacht?
  6. Norwalk Police Department releases video of Duff visit
  7. Norwalk photos: No trespassing sign quickly removed after woman takes complaint to social media
  8. Norwalk BoE set to appoint Estrella as new Norwalk Super
  9. Governor orders schools to reopen in the fall. Teachers are concerned.
  10. Norwalk promises to sell ‘abandoned boat’ to the highest bidder

 

 

Not quite making the top 10 was Norwalk Fire Department personnel issues; right after the April post “COVID-19 will alter daily life in Connecticut for months; peak expected in 2.5 weeks” comes:

 

And then, finally, at #16:

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