Our staff gives its picks for favorite stories of the year

Every year at this time we ask our staff about the stories we published that moved them.

As per usual, it’s a collection of heartwarming features and news stories that made a difference in 2017.

Check out our staff picks and click on the links to read any stories you may have missed.

“Tony Lawrence’s ability to ‘let go of the bitterness’ he feels toward the man who killed his daughter, as explained in the piece from what would have been her graduation day, blows me away. What an incredible man.”

Cerria Torres
Production manager

“I loved the story people coming together to help Jim Seitz find out information on the plane crash that took his father’s life in 1964. You could really tell what an emotional experience it was for Mr. Seitz.”

Laura Huber
Editorial assistant

“In a year that saw women’s issues in the spotlight nationwide, Riverhead elected its first female town supervisor. That’s certainly something for a community to be proud of.”

Grant Parpan
Content director

“The multimedia profiles of North Fork residents suffering from tick-borne illnesses brought to life the struggles so many North Fork residents face.”

Nicole Smith
Staff writer

“I love the new multimedia series we introduced this year called ‘The Work We Do,’ featuring people from the North Fork. This is a very special place and this series captures some of the people that make it so unique.”

Andrew Olsen

“The story about ‘Riverhope,’ the library card program for the homeless at Riverhead Free Library, is an inspiration. It reinforces the concept of the local library as a welcoming place for everyone, without exception. Kudos to circulation director Liz Stokes for creating the program.

Lauren Sisson
Senior associate editor

“The profile of Bob Jester was a story of inspiration and determination. Mr. Jester reminds us all how important it is to have a positive outlook on life.”

Tina Contento
Sales executive

“I was moved by the story of Donna Farley, a Mattituck mother and colon cancer survivor now advocating for early screening. This story has a happy ending, with Ms. Farley able to share her story and use it to help others.”

Krysten Massa
Staff writer

“My favorite was ‘Gone,’ the investigation into the 1966 disappearance of Louise Pietrewicz, because it was an extraordinary piece of journalism involving in-depth reporting and superbly written. It brought a real-life mystery to life while at the same time demonstrating that ‘the good old days’ weren’t all that good.”

Bob Liepa
Sports editor

“The piece on the East End Hospice bereavement program at Spirit’s Promise horse sanctuary informed us of a place where people struck by tragedy could gather to find some sort of solace in a really unique way.”

Kelly Zegers
Staff writer

“I loved the story about the neon sign at Modern Snack Bar in Aquebogue. I’ve been driving past that sign for years and it has that ‘suspended in time’ look to it. This story tells the 67-year history of the sign, and of the Wittmeier family, who has owned the business for even longer than that.”

Tim Gannon
Staff writer

“The story of East End Arts’ Music by the Bedside program and the video that accompanied it was a favorite for me this year. It’s always inspirational to see young people volunteering to help others.”

Joe Werkmeister