From the Editor’s Notebook:
You can see our choices for the Top 10 stories in Faribault County for 2019 on the front page, continued onto pages 2 and 3.
It is a totally arbitrary list, I fully confess. Our readers probably have a few other ideas about the order of the list, and it would be hard for us to argue with them.
Should Corn Plus closing really have been the top story? The weather was really pretty bad all year long, and we had that as No. 1 last year. Yes, a good case could have been made for it to be the top story.
Then there are the stories not on the list. Perhaps they should have been.
Things like the childcare crisis in the county, or Blue Earth’s new city sales tax, or the court case of the last of the so-called Blue Earth Area football players assault case, or the controversy over County Ditch 24.
Or maybe all the stories about animals plaguing the Blue Earth City Council. There were the many discussions about deer, eventually ending in an in the city deer hunt. But, it wasn’t just deer, it was chickens, ducks and bees as well. Not to mention all the loose dogs running around town issue.
There was the story about some young men from Mankato who made a video about using a drone to deliver a Happy Meal to the Green Giant statue.
It was hilarious. But, it did spark a bit of a controversy about banning drones from Giant Park for fear of injuring the Giant who by the way, turned 40 this past year.
Many readers suspected it was our annual April Fools Day story. But, it wasn’t.
There are other possible top stories, but you get the idea. A case could certainly be made for any of them to have been added to the list.
However, there is another top stories of 2019 list that is near and dear to my heart.
It is my personal favorite stories of the year, ones I had the privilege to write. I have written before about how hearing someone’s story, then writing it up to be shared with many others in the Register, is the best thing about my job.
This year of 2019 was no different. There were many stories which I loved doing, and then sharing.
I can’t rank them from No. 1 on down, because they were all my favorites.
There was the story about BEA graduate Christina Anderson and her surgery for a non-cancerous brain tumor just shortly before her wedding.
Her determination to make a quick recovery was remarkable, even to her doctors.
After all, she said, she was not going to use a walker to go down the aisle at her wedding.
It was a really fun interview and it turned into a great story which was picked up by other news media.
The story about little three-year old Ezra Kono was another inspiring story.
The headline called him a happy boy and he was definitely a very happy boy. And, that was despite being born with half a heart and having five open heart surgeries in his very young life.
Interviewing his mother, Amanda Guthmiller, got a bit emotional at times, for her and for me, I will admit.
Next there was the story about Kevin Benson, who survived a heart attack after the first day of the Habitat 500 bike ride.
His remarkable attitude about his whole ordeal was truly amazing to hear.
All three of these stories were inspiring and a privilege to be able to write them.
There was also the wedding story of Larry and Sonja Anderson of Frost, who met 50 years ago and are obviously still very much in love.
There was also the story about long time Relay for Life chairperson Cindy Nelson, who is retiring from the job after having done it for 25 years.
After having written many stories about other cancer survivors, it was nice to finally talk Cindy into letting me tell her story.
Of course, as it is every year, some of the most rewarding stories I work on are the ones for the Our Heroes magazine.
This year was no different. Writing the story about Elmore native Bernard L. Hagge who died a hero in World War II was again an honor to do.
Likewise, it was fascinating to do the research about Phillip Monson, and his being involved in the liberation of a Nazi prisoner of war and concentration camp.
It is hard not to personally attached to these stories and want to do the best job we can writing them. Reporters Katie Mullaly and Kevin Mertens say the same thing. And they, too, have their lists of favorites each year.
Finally, it took a lot of work, but I absolutely loved the hours of researching the 150 year history of the Faribault County Register. It was something I?have wanted to do since I started working here as the editor 12 years ago.
I hope everyone enjoyed reading these stories as much as I did writing them.