HOBOKEN, NJ — It's hard to deny that the coronavirus pandemic was the biggest local and national story of 2020, with the U.S. death toll reaching more than 341,000 Americans Wednesday.
On the local level, mayors and other officials suddenly were thrust into a new role: fielding questions, helping residents find tests (in short supply in spring), consoling those who lost loved ones.
After the initial state lockdown from March to June to slow the spread, what was next?
Hoboken, with its proximity to Manhattan, has attracted a diverse population of commuters who appreciate their shops and restaurants. But how could those businesses survive? And how could students best learn at their computers?
But of course, there were other big stories:
The controversy surrounding the ICE contract at the county detention center
Protests against racial inequities after the death of George Floyd in June
Severe storms with flooding and downed trees.
Here are some of the top stories in Hoboken this year:
In March, Hoboken was one of the first in the area to close facilities. The state often followed Hoboken's lead. In December, the city got its first vaccination center.
To be remote, or not to be remote? In spring, schools suddenly had to figure out how to teach kids via computer. In fall, they had to figure out how to send them back safely. Some districts chose a hybrid plan, but had to close temporarily due to positive tests.
Many Hudson County residents left for the suburbs, but more than 3,000 New Yorkers moved to Jersey City and Hoboken.
The state released guidelines for outdoor dining. Local towns allowed restaurants and shops to sell outdoors, and many restaurants expanded their delivery and takeout options. Some establishments had to close, while others opened.
Local police chiefs spoke out after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Protests were held in the area.
Then, local observers became outraged when the county of Hudson renewed a 10-year contract for ICE to oversee the county jail. One activist filed charges against a Hoboken-based freeholder.
Three hospitals were up for sale, and words were exchanged.
Domestic violence tends to rise during the holidays, with financial pressures ramping up. In a shocking and sad crime in spring, a Jersey City man killed his restaurateur wife. And a Hoboken woman spoke up about domestic violence, sharing the story of her mother's death at the hands of her father years earlier.
Don't forget puppies!
Yes, puppies were popular in lockdown, but that meant puppy scams, puppy thefts, and luckily, some happy (scrappy) endings.
Several severe storms swept through the area. Many Hoboken corners flooded during two "50-year storms."
And in December, a nor'easter dumped more than 10 inches of snow on the area and closed most schools.
What's to come in Hudson County? Watch for Patch's previews in the new year: Development, business, more.
Got news? Email caren.lissner@Patch.com. To be the first to get news alerts with breaking stories in your town, or to get a free local newsletter each morning, sign up for Patch breaking news alerts or daily newsletters.