The last 20 years brought Frederick County a Baltimore Orioles pitcher and second round draft pick, a epicenter of our downtown economy and an entirely new government. 

But we also feared sending our children to school in fear of two snipers traveling along the beltway, watched loved ones perish in the attacks on the World Trade Center, and scrambled to respond to an opioid crisis that hit Frederick County particularly hard. 

In the last two decades, The Frederick News-Post covered tens of thousands of stories that have made an impact on our lives. We’ve celebrated our highest achievers, covered deaths of our loved ones and documented the issues that impassioned readers and empowered them to speak up.

With Hindsight 2020, we remember and honor the people and stories that have shaped our community over the last two decades. This special section pays tribute to those stories. 

Part of our goal as the newspaper of record for Frederick County is to serve as a historical record keeper of major events in the community. We document the events that made us cry, made us cheer or made us angry — events that made us feel something.

These stories touch every part of our lives, from education to government to sports to tragedies. Each one of them is represented as a top story over the last two decades. There are positive stories, but the news wasn't always positive because life isn’t always positive. Bad things happen to us, and to our community.

But these stories, and the community's response to them, played a big role in shaping our county. 

In the process of developing this special section, our reporters selected five stories from each year as the most impactful stories that happened. We sought reader input through online polls and the results are shared in this section. Ultimately, we chose the story to represent each year, basing our decision on strength of the community reaction and what left a lasting effect on Frederick County. In many cases, we agreed with our readers.

Many of these stories didn’t change much year-to-year. Some carried on for nearly a decade. Some are still ongoing and continue to cover them.

History is often as much a reminder as it is an indicator. As we look back on these stories, and move into the next decade, we look forward to following new stories that will continue to shape the county we call home.

Allen Etzler

Follow Allen Etzler on Twitter: @AllenWEtzler

Allen Etzler is a city editor at the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at

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