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 2018.

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

“I really enjoy the ‘Work We Do’ series and learning about local businesses and the people who work on the North Fork. I feel it gives you a glimpse into knowing someone who you might often see, but really don’t know anything about. I love it!”

Tina Contento, sales executive

“I loved the story about deaf Riverhead High School runner Nick Mammina. The first few paragraphs describing Nick running the track in silence were beautiful. Nick seems like a really great kid.”

Sonja Reinholt Derr, director of sales and marketing


“It was simply incredible to see the Mercy softball team win the program’s first county title in the weeks after it was announced the school was closed for good. Talk about perseverance in the face of adversity.”

Grant Parpan, content director

“The conclusion of ‘Gone,’ the investigation into the 1966 disappearance of Louise Pietrewicz, was tops for me. The in-depth reporting and dedicated police work that helped find Ms. Pietrewicz’s remains after more than 50 years was a testament to the power of community journalism. Seeing the family find a sense of closure was profound.”

Cyndi Zaweski, associate content director

“I adopted my dog from Kent last year, so it was really cool to read about the history of the shelter and their mission. Pam Green and her staff are doing incredible, life-saving work.”

Tara Smith, staff writer

“At least once a summer growing up, we would go to Riverhead Raceway for the stock car races. The story and podcast we did with Michael Dweck, the director of ‘The Last Race,’ was excellent. I especially liked how he described his approach of making the race track itself the main character in his documentary.”

Andrew Olsen, publisher

“The piece about the decline of big box retail in Riverhead was a focused, collaborative effort that really highlighted a wider-scale issue, well beyond local. Plus the podcast tied in with it was really solid.”

Kate Nalepinski, staff writer

Olivia Valle Mercy High School Nicole Smith photo

“I enjoyed the story about Mercy’s valedictorian and salutatorian from the high school’s final class. It was so great to read about the success these young women had during their time at Mercy and how they chose to support each other as best friends.”

Michelina Da Fonte, brand strategist

“The East End News Project focusing on the opioid epidemic has been, in my humble opinion, some of the most important work done this year. Each contribution has helped to shed a light on something that is quite difficult to understand if you’ve not been affected.”

Cerria Torres, production manager