It's been a year to remember – or for some, perhaps, to forget – in Brick Township.
Superstorm Sandy devastated the community in many ways: from a life lost, to lives turned upside-down, to 60 homes destroyed by fire within a matter of a few hours.
The heroics of first responders and the coming together of the community proved the township's strength, but difficult decisions will now have to be made as the cleanup continues into the new year.
But Sandy was not the only big news story to hit Brick in 2012. Here's a list of our top-visited articles of the year to jog everyone's memory:
1. (Oct. 30)
A family hoisted up in the bucket of a front loader gave a quick wave to neighbors after they were whisked from their home on Port Road. A few blocks away, two men in a kayak – with a small puppy in tow – had just escaped flood waters the old fashioned way: paddling out.
2. SHOCK VIDEO: Camp Osborn Burned to the Ground (Oct. 30)
A New Jersey National Guard helicopter captured images of Brick's Camp Osborn section burned to the ground Tuesday.
3. (Oct. 24)
When Anthony Starego was 12 years old, he watched as Jeremy Ito lined up to kick a 28-yard field goal for Rutgers, then watched as the ball sailed through the uprights, giving the Scarlet Knights a 28-25 upset victory over the Louisville Cardinals, then ranked No. 3 in the nation.
Little did they imagine that six years later, Anthony would be playing an important role for the Brick High School football team and, like Ito, making a game-winning kick that would inspire everyone around him and spread like wildfire in days.
4. (Jan. 17)
The Red Lion Inn will serve up its last bar pie and pour its last drink this week.
The historic tavern, restaurant and liquor store on Drum Point Road, which dates back to the 1920s, will literally have its last call Wednesday night, as the establishment will shut down in preparation for a CVS Pharmacy to take its place at the corner of Drum Point and Hooper.
5. Party's Over at F-Cove (April 7)
Without so much as a last call, the party looks like it might be over – at least for now – at one of Brick's most popular summer hot spots.
The explanation: "It is a national wildlife refuge," Virginia Rettig, manager of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, told Brick Patch. "Any activity that we permit there has to be tied to the needs and requirements of wildlife before they can be tied to what we need to do to recreate."
6. Brick Teacher Fondly Remembered: 'He Invested Himself In Everyone' (Nov. 27)
Vernon Hankins was the kind of person who never hesitated to help those around him. Whether it was helping his students find their artistic voices or helping in his community, he was always there for others, with a kind word to lift them up just when life had pushed them way down.
7. Officials Remove Sick Puppies from Brick Pet Store (Jan. 26)
A total of 39 puppies were removed from a Brick pet store after an anonymous tip led to a multi-agency response Thursday.
Officials from the Ocean County Health Department along with volunteers from the Jersey Shore Animal Shelter removed 39 dogs from Puppies Galore, a puppy store located in the Brick Mall shopping plaza at the corner of Brick Boulevard and Hooper Avenue.
8. (July 18)
To parishioners at Church of the Visitation in Brick, it came as the shock of a lifetime.
The priest who had encouraged them through times of sadness and fear, who brought food to the local needy and who comforted those who found themselves in periods of grief – had been accused of a crime that is as depressing and disappointing as it is serious and unthinkable.
9. Brick Storefront Becomes Hurricane Relief Hub (Dec. 18)
So many Brick residents needed – and continue to need – help after Superstorm Sandy rolled through that a relief effort started by a few township rsidents outgrew its initial home.
Over the weekend, however, volunteers with Brick Hurricane Relief found a new home in the Bay Harbor Plaza shopping center, located at 55 Brick Boulevard.
10. (April 18)
Township taxpayers won't see an increase in their municipal taxes this year. The budget maintains the current level of municipal services, including public works.