Jon’s Favorites · 2015
At times, 2015 felt like a long year. At other times, 2015 felt like it flew by. I’m sure we can all agree on that. Either way, I wrote plenty of stories over the course of the year on all kinds of topics.
Here are a few favorites from the year that was, though I’m sure I’ve forgotten a couple along the way. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them.
How Dogfish Head strives for quality through science
This was my favorite story to report in 2015. It’s a feature on the quality control team at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and what the team goes through to make sure each bottle and keg of beer that comes out the Milton brewery meets their high and specific standards.
I enjoy learning about how things work and the people who make things happen. It’s also, for me, a fun challenge to take the information and make it presentable for a reader to enjoy. With the help of photographer Joe Lamberti, we were able to do that through text, photo and video.
Profiles and photos
There are many things that make where I live and work special, but the people stand out.
I spent a lot of the year writing about people and their passions. It has been a lot of fun to do and it’s an honor to tell their stories. I’m just happy they’re willing to share them with me.
This year, I started taking many more photos. I even bought a nice DSLR camera to take those photos. I’ll be the first to tell you I have plenty to learn and plenty of room for improvement when it comes to photography. But some of my favorite photos of the year that I took are in this first story.
Isaac Jenkins Sr. was called to pastor at Macedonia Baptist Church in Pocomoke in 1960. Fifty-five years later, he’s still there.www.delmarvanow.com
A few more profiles I enjoyed writing in 2015 included:
He's not quite Jungle Jim, but Jim Davis, the park's longtime maintenance man, prepares for another summer near…www.delmarvanow.com
For Tim Ferry, 2015 is his 40th year with 'the ultimate summer job' www.delmarvanow.com
All in all, it's a labor of love for Mayor Marion Jones. www.delmarvanow.com
Roxana family receives wheelchair-accessible van
When I drive along one of the local roads that I take every so often, I pass a house with a wheelchair-accessible van in the driveway. Each time I see that van, I smile.
Every once in a while, you realize your work has made a difference in the community. What turned out to be a three-part series chronicling a single mother’s efforts to acquire a handicapped accessible van for her wheelchair-bound 9-year-old son did just that.
It was a very memorable experience for me.
In the first part, the mother entered a contest to try to win a van. In the second part, the reader finds out she didn’t win the contest, but someone nearby who read the first story reached out with an offer for the mother to buy her van she no longer needed. As a result, a GoFundMe campaign was set up as a way to help raise money for it. In the third part, an anonymous donor stepped in to provide the funds needed and the family received the van.
Mother of 9-year-old, wheelchair-bound son says a new vehicle would be life-changing for the Delaware family. www.delmarvanow.com
A GoFundMe campaign has started to help raise $8,000 for Danielle Twigg to buy wheelchair-accessible van for her son.www.delmarvanow.com
Explore the Shore: Disc Golf
I didn’t write this story. My colleague, sports reporter Ryan Marshall, did. But I did shoot photos and video for what was a pretty fun assignment. Definitely a highlight of my year.
Bucket list item checked off; animals in the spotlight
I was able to check something off my bucket list, as I was finally able to cover a spelling bee. Now I need someone local to be on “Jeopardy!”
Other things I got to check out over the course of 2015 were audition day at Clear Space Theatre Company in Rehoboth Beach and what was billed as the world’s first cart coaster at Jolly Roger Amusement Park in Ocean City. I also got to document the making of a restaurant, writing a series of stories about how the process happens.
When the local movie theater gutted out its theaters to install luxury seats, I got to give readers a sneak peek of the finished product. I wrote about mermaids in Ocean City, a Delaware town’s plans to celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Back to the Future” and a surprise art gallery for an artist who is going blind. Truly, no day this year was the same.
It was also an interesting year in animals, as two stories I wrote that were popular among readers read dealt with pet adoptions in Worcester County. A story I wrote about a dog that lived at an animal shelter for eight years before being adopted got attention from People Magazine’s website, while one about a cat that lived at the shelter for a dozen years before being adopted was widely read, as well. I also got to meet a baby kangaroo.
Thanks for reading this far. While you’re here, check out a few favorite stories of mine from some of my colleagues.
» From the aforementioned Ryan Marshall: Becoming Julian: Autism, football and family
» From Emily Chappell: Delaware woman shares story of loss, hope and breast cancer
» From Phil Davis: Leap of Faith: ALS patient raises hope by tackling fear
» From Mitchell Northam: 20 Years: The Delmarva Shorebirds and 14 kids: Siblings adopted together in big, happy family
» From Rachael Pacella: The case for saving stars in Sussex
Oh, I almost forgot. I told you to follow Kamlesh on Twitter every Friday. I hope you did.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jon Bleiweis has been a reporter with Delmarva Media Group — home of DelmarvaNow.com and a number of daily and weekly publications on the Delmarva Peninsula — since August 2011. To see his recent stories, click here. He can be reached at @JonBleiweis on Twitter. For more about Jon, visit JonBleiweis.com.