I don't know if this will become an annual tradition, but this is the season news people tend to look back at the past year.
The Associated Press, among others, does an annual "Top 10" list of what its members think were the biggest stories of the year, and, while I haven't seen a local list (the Marietta Times had a list contributed by its readers from the past decade), I'm contributing one myself.
This was a big year for scandals involving public officials in the area, but I think the biggest story of the year locally, as it was across the nation, was:
1. The economy: closing of Century Aluminum and major layoffs in other local industries, especially those related to aluminum and the metals industry. But there was also good news, notably, Hino Motors continuing to expand production at its Williamstown plant.
2. Scandals involving government officials. The closest ones involved the firing of Parkersburg Finance Director Randy Craig, a sex scandal involving Washington County and Marietta City employees, and an investigation of two former Washington County commissioners. But it also included allegations against Wirt County's Assessor, the indictment and resignation of Noble County, Ohio's long-time sheriff and the dismissal of Caldwell, Ohio's police chief after a drunk driving charge.
3. Murders/Shooting Deaths, mostly happening during the late summer and early fall in Parkersburg and Wood County.
4. Marietta's Daniel Keck convicted on more than two dozen sexual abuse charges.
5. Sports: Ravenswood High School won its second state title in three years, Parkersburg's Nick Swisher contributed to the New York Yankees' World Series championship, Parkersburg High School football coach Bernie Buttrey resigned.
6. October Parkersburg fire kills two adults and a child.
7. Notable deaths: Former Parkersburg city councilman Demo Dukas, Former Belpre mayor Dick Thomas, area sportscaster Steve Daugherty.
8. Mountaineer Family Restaurant wins financial award in trial involving the construction of Corridor D.
9. Belpre voters approve alcohol sales for three businesses for the first time since Prohibition.
10. Williamstown's Fenton Glass and JABO, Inc. in Washington County featured on cable TV's "Dirty Jobs" show.
I'm sure others (and even my colleagues) have their own ideas regarding stories which were bigger than these. But I refer those with comments (which are welcome, as always) to the title of this blog: It's My Two Cents.
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