Very much like the rest of you, I am ready for 2020 to finally end. Saying that this has been one for the books might not get to the heart of what we've each experienced.
Overhanging it all has been COVID-19, which I think has upended a lot of what we might take for granted. It has also been a traumatic year of socio-political frustration. It has been a year synonymous with social distancing, masks and the Zoom meeting.
If I were to assign 2020 a theme song, I don't think many would disagree with the Yakety Sax. Maybe it could also be the Temptations' 1970 classic "Ball of Confusion."
We have seen more than 330,000 Americans die from COVID complications. It has been a year of cancellations, setbacks and much trepidation. It has also highlighted deep socio-political divides -- and we saw these divides play out here on the square.
It was the year without car shows. It was without the Greencastle Music Fest, First Fridays, the 4-H Fair Parade and Celebrate 4. The Banner Graphic went to publishing two papers a week. Monon Bell didn't happen -- and the Bell remains in Greencastle. All of our teachers and school administrators have fought an uphill battle since March.
Even with the veritable dumpster fire that has been 2020, though, particular stories which I reported on stand out from the more routine coverage that was on my beat.
There was that imbroglio in which both Cheryl and Wayne Galloway -- Cloverdale's former clerk-treasurer and town manager, respectively -- were accused of corruption. The aftermath was a new clerk-treasurer and -- perhaps -- a little more cohesiveness.
The most constructive was the controversy around South Putnam teacher Brandon Kinnaird. It showed how a news article can be weaponized by people who are more reactive than they are critical. This followed the accusations of slander and scheming to get Mr. Kinnaird fired. The realization here was that the BG can drive the dialogue.
This is only a reference to the most "interesting" stories of mine from 2020. All of the interruptions and unmet expectations made us having the news frustrating at times.
There were the non-newsy things which made what we do meaningful. We relied on our connections and contacts more than ever. We figured out we could continue to do our jobs as journalists, even in the midst of a pandemic. We did it as best as we could.
This year challenged me not just as a reporter, but also as a community member in the same vein. I am grateful for participating in the Putnam County Leadership Academy, which solidified for me the overarching importance of connections and partnerships. This experience has only inspired me to be more engaging outside of the newsroom.
It was a tough year of growth and perseverance, and this will carry over to 2021. Our commitment to the Greencastle community and to Putnam County remains the same.
As I have alluded to before, we can't do what we do without the support and trust of our readers, as well as that of our police officers, firefighters, city/town officials and our schools. You all play a big part in getting the news out, especially in these times.
I wrote in my New Year's Eve post a year ago that I looked forward to covering more engaging stories. We got more than we expected -- and, frankly, that's not a bad thing.
I encourage you to sift through our 2020 Year in Review in Thursday's edition of the Banner Graphic. Reflect on what has happened, both the good and the bad. I would argue that it revealed much about who we are, and how we continue to move forward.
Take care, and a sincere "Thank You" for keeping us busy and always without a dull moment. See you all next year -- and let's look forward to much greater days ahead.