When you are in the business of producing a fresh newspaper every day, it is easy to lose track of everything that made headlines over the course of a year. Sure, some issues and events stand out in your memory, but other significant occurrences are not as readily recalled.
At this time of year, we tend to take an accounting of what happened over the previous 12 months. Newsrooms across the country do this, and in every one of them, someone invariably says, “That happened this year? That seems so long ago.”
Our newsroom was no different as we looked back at the bigger stories we covered in 2009. Case in point: The Taco Bell drive-through speaker prank. That story had a meteoric rise in our consciousness, and once the pranksters ’fessed up, it disappeared just as quickly. Was it a significant story? Maybe not, but it did hold the attention of our readers — and Web surfers worldwide — for a few days.
The Smith-Cotton High School marching band “Brass Evolutions” T-shirt controversy had a similar, albeit longer, story arc. Our reports generated heated interest and comments from around the globe for more than a week, then the story cooled and readers moved on. I’d still like to get my hands on one of those shirts, wherever they are ...
While those stories generated a lot of interest, others were more significant to residents in our coverage areas. The impact of the economy’s continued slow growth affected personal pocket books and business bottom lines. Sedalia played host to the Tour of Missouri bicycle race’s time trials stage. And a family in quiet Cole Camp was slain in their home; our horror over their deaths was only intensified when police named a relative as the key suspect in the killings.
The year also brought the passing of Sedalia Mayor Bob Wasson, whose steadfast leadership was only surpassed by the example of strength and determination he showed daily in his battle with cancer.
Each year, The Democrat’s newsroom compiles its list of the Top 10 Local Stories of the year. We will do so again this year and present it on Jan. 3.
But what local stories resonated the most with you? Along with the newsroom’s list, we are giving readers a chance to tell us what stories they thought were most newsworthy, had the greatest impact or were just plain interesting.
Readers are invited to choose 10 stories from the list below. We’ll compile the ballots and present the readers’ list along with the newsroom’s on Jan. 3.
So what makes your Top 10? Keith Riesberg resigning as Sedalia’s city administrator, or the closing of 7th Heaven? The completion of the downtown streetscape project, or the plans for a waste-to-energy plant?
2009 Top Local Story Candidates
• Mayor Bob Wasson dies after a long bout with cancer
• New Smith-Cotton High School opens for school year
• Police undercover investigation leads to arrest of more than 25 accused drug dealers
• Three members of a Cole Camp family are killed in their home; a relative is charged in the slayings
• Smith-Cotton marching band’s “Brass Evolutions” T-shirts confiscated by district
• Keith Riesberg resigns as Sedalia’s city administrator to take same job in O’Fallon
• Tour of Missouri’s time trial stage held at fairgrounds
• Longtime Sedalia merchant 7th Heaven closes
• Warsaw schools remove principal and board member resigns
• Sedalia police pension problems prompt officers to leave department
• Sanitary sewer system backups flood some Sedalia homes
• Streetscape project completed, but construction affects downtown businesses
• Mary McLaughlin sells funeral business
• Deborah Hayes charged with murder after allegedly providing prescription pills to a Sedalia man who overdosed
• Teens’ Taco Bell drive-through speaker prank gains national attention
• State Fair Community College has record enrollment
• SFCC has to deal with major budget cuts
• Furnell Landmark building opens
• Elaine Horn is appointed mayor
• New summer Farmer’s Market opens downtown
• Jobless rate at 15 year high in Pettis County
• Waste-to-energy plant plans announced
• Pettis County forced to make budget, job cuts due to falling revenue
• Amtrak Depot struggles with funding and remains unfinished
• Missouri State Fair experiences record attendance
Send your top 10 via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.