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There was a lot of news last year

By Staff | Jan 1, 2018


Was there a lot of news in Faribault County in 2017, or did it just seem that way?

The pages of the Faribault County Register were just chocked full of news all year long. I know this to be true, because over the Christmas weekend I read through all 52 issues that were produced during the year.

I do this every year as a way to prepare for the Top Ten list which appears in this week’s Register.

I make about four lists as I go through each newspaper. There are the contenders for the Top Ten list, of course, but also a list of other potential important stories. Then there is the list of all the important sports stories, and a list of all of the really nice photos which appeared in our pages over the year.

This year, when I was trying to decide what stories would make the Top Ten, I had a really hard time. There were too many of them.

Some years that is not so true. Those years there are a few that are obvious choices for the Top Ten, then I have had to add one or two that maybe were not so worthy.

It was the opposite problem this year. There were way more than ten stories to put on the list.

You can see the list on the front page of which ones were chosen. But there were several other serious contenders which probably should have been on the list.

Take the story about the storm that hit Pihls Park last spring. It turned out to have been a tornado. Then it was declared to be the earliest in the year tornado ever to have hit in Minnesota.

I really wanted that story to make our Top Ten. I guess I could call it No. 11.

There is the story of all the multi-million dollar renovations at the courthouse. Or the $1.5 million new Wells Business Park under construction. And last week’s Register had the story about another lot being sold in the Blue Earth Golden Spike Business Park.

There were other business stories as well, such as a new Dollar General store built and opened in Winnebago, changes in ownership at KBEW radio and Wells Federal Bank and new ELM Homes in Blue Earth, for instance.

There were some city and school board stories that might have been considered some other year, like when Blue Earth decided to change recycling companies or Winnebago having issues with the sale of some duplexes.

And, there is the fact that there is now Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota and in Faribault County. That was a noteworthy story as well. Or how about the ultra-hyped up solar eclipse which could only be seen in Blue Earth for the first 11 minutes.

We had several stories about people receiving awards, such as A.B. Russ Community Service Award, Mark Franta BEA Teacher of the Year, BEA secretary Sarah Ferguson Eddy Award winner, and others.

Of course, there were also stories about those on Santa’s naughty list, including a former county foreman, former USC teacher and a former Seneca Foods plant manager all charged in court.

You can see the dilemma. Picking through all these stories is time consuming and difficult.

Someone could also possibly have made a case for another story cracking into the Top Ten list. That was the story about a mountain lion being spotted roaming around Blue Earth.

I have another personal favorite story which I really wanted to be able to get into the Top Ten, and could not get it done.

It was the story about a Blue Earth young woman, JyLessa Levenhagen, who survived that mass shooting in Las Vegas the worst one in U.S. history.

She was right in front of the stage when the shooting started, and saw people shot and wounded or killed just a few feet on either side of her.

It was quite a story.

I had it on the short list, but it did not get on the final Top Ten. And I regret that. On some other years, it would have definitely made the final cut.

So, let us call it No. 12.

Perhaps the only way to get around this problem is to simply have a Top Twenty Stories of the Year list, instead of limiting it to just 10. Of course the second we do that, it will be a non-newsy year.

Nope, I don’t think that is going to happen.

The one final story I had on the short list of consideration was the one about a Chick-fil-A restaurant coming to Blue Earth. I think I had it at No. 6.

But, then I remembered it was the annual April Fools Day story and was not true.

I think it being ‘fake news’ automatically dropped it down to being No. 13 on the list.