Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - December 28, 2012

Looking back at 2012

The year in photos reflects culture, action and moments of passion

by photos and text Veronica Weber

The task of handpicking a selection of photos that define a whole year is always a daunting one. After scanning through thousands of photographs, we have done our best to choose photographs that reflect the color, action, moments and passionate individuals that defined the year 2012.

The year began with a burst of color as young performers dressed in colorful, intricate costumes danced with brilliant red ribbons as they rang in the year of the Dragon at Stanford in January for the Lunar New Year. In April, the curious red eye of the exotic and beautiful Victoria Crown Pigeon glared out from the cover. The species of bird, a native of New Guinea, has become the focal point of conservation at Pandemonium Aviaries. And at the beginning of fall a fluttering hummingbird sought out nectar from a cactus garden full of bright orange aloe blossoms at the Stanford Cactus Garden.

2012 was also a year of athleticism and prowess as local athletes pushed their bodies to extremes on the courts and underwater. Local pingpong champion Lily Zhang, a junior at Palo Alto High School, trained long and hard all year at the ICC Table Tennis Center in Milpitas to clutch one of the four spots on the USA Olympic table-tennis team at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. While two teams of synchronized swimmers on the Santa Clara Aquamaids spent practically every summer afternoon in the pool balancing upside-down perfecting their rigorous routine while training for national championships in Ohio.

Some moments caught by camera also revealed the action and mood of the year. In August, a dramatic manhunt unfolded for hours in a downtown neighborhood and culminated in an arrest after the suspect was caught hiding under a house in the crawl space. Also in August, firefighters worked to extinguish the last of the hot spots at the Pearson-Arastradero Preserve after an arsonist had set four separate fires in the park. In November, Cheryl Deraiche shared a tender moment with Rev. John Hester as she received communion, a daily comfort she received while undergoing treatment for leukemia at Stanford Hospital.

2012 was also a year of passionate individuals, like Bob Simmons, a passionate voter who, like others around the community, spent a good deal of time traveling to swing states to canvass for his candidate during the tenser moments of the election between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

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