The year has officially come to a close, but some of the big stories of 2012 are still weighing on our minds.
Before 2013 gets into full swing, Patch is taking a look back at some of the stories that moved us and shaped our community in 2012. Below is a collection of the most read and most talked about stories seen on Bel Air Patch in 2012.
Take a look then tell us: In your opinion, what was the most crucial, interesting or memorable story of 2012?
- Student Reprimanded for 'Ball So Hard University' Sweatshirt: In January, Southampton Middle School student Ayden Lasley took a stand after he was reprimanded for wearing his Terrell Suggs-inspired "Ball So Hard University" sweatshirt to school. School staff said the sweatshirt sent "mixed messages," the boy's father told Patch at the time. The school later reversed its decision and the Ravens linebacker reached out to the Lasleys with apparel and playoff tickets in appreciation.
- Teen Charged As Adult In Father's Murder: Then 16-year-old Robert Richardson III was charged as an adult in January after allegedly shooting and killing his father, 58-year-old Robert Richardson Jr., at their home in the 800 block of Moores Mill Road in Bel Air then dumping his body in Aberdeen. In the wake of his arrest, friends started a Facebook group—which currently has more than 1,000 fans—supporting the teen. Friends and supporters have alleged the younger Richardson experienced abuse at the hands of his father and those circumstances lead to the fatal shooting. The case has yet to go to trial.
- Traffic Tragedies: Traffic accidents are always of major concern to our community. In 2012, fatal crashes accounted for seven out of the top 10 most read stories on Bel Air Patch. The most read story of the year dealt with a February crash in the area of Wheel Road and Route 543. The crash claimed the lives of Fallston siblings David Bauguess, 29, Ashley Bauguess, 24, and Joseph Bauguess, 17. Other highly-read traffic fatality stories from 2012 include: UPDATED: Council President's Son Dies In Farm Accident, UPDATE: Fatal Accident In Bel Air Causes Traffic Delays, UPDATE: Fire Official Confirms 2 Dead in Fallston Accident, Police Identify Prospect Road Crash Victims, and UPDATE: Joppa Accident Claims Teen's Life.
- Line of Duty Deaths: It was a difficult year for Harford County law enforcement and the Harford County Sheriff's Office in particular. The sheriff's office suffered two line of duty deaths within a week—they marked the third and fourth line of duty deaths in the more than 200-year history of the sheriff's office. died in a car crash while on duty Sept. 6. At his funeral service Sept. 12, Licato's colleague, suffered heart attack symptoms and died at his home early the next day. Any death within 24 hours of a shift is considered a line of duty death.
- Walmart: One of the most contentious issues impacting Bel Air in 2012 was Walmart's proposal to build a 185,706 sq. ft. super center in the area of MD Route 924 and Plumtree Road. The new store would serve as a relpacement to the existing Abingdon location. A July public meeting at Patterson Mill High School drew a crowd of about 800-900 people, many of whom expressed opposition to the new site. A number of attendees held signs opposing the Walmart move and some booed Walmart representatives. Organized protests, blog posts and letters to the editor (both in favor of and against the move) have been constant since that meeting.