2009 in Harrisonburg

Brent Finnegan -- December 31st, 2009

snow photo by RTCL2In lieu of a best and worst of 2009 list, I wanted to recap some of the biggest stories of the year. Since I waited ’till the last possible day to do it, this is by no means comprehensive or definitive.

We essentially started the year with a hit and run, and ended with a blizzard. But thankfully, 2009 was more than that.

Some of the most popular stories on this site, according to your clicks and comments, were restaurant-related. News and reviews of Beyond and Local Chop and Grill House were among the top ten most-clicked of ’09. hburgnews readers love food.

Also in the top 10 were the Maria Martinez stories, which linked back to the Daily News-Record’s reportage. Of course, that was before DNRonline, plagued by security issues, erected a pay wall, effectively reducing traffic from here to there.

Our story about Rosetta Stone’s purchase of the old police building from the city received over 150 comments.

Discussion of racial intimidation and southern pride at Broadway High School also broke 100 comments.

If Obama’s visit and the subsequent Democratic sweep of city council were the biggest Harrisonburg stories of 2008, the Republican resurgence has to be the biggest political story of ’09. The pendulum swung back this year, leaving many people (including me) wondering what will happen in 2010 and 2012. Adam Sharp said it last year, and it’s worth repeating in this context:

Harrisonburg is not a blue city, but it leans slightly Democratic. Never again (i.e., not for 16 years) will there be a similar surge of young people voting Democratic (see 1992, 1976, 1960) for a young presidential candidate promising change.

healthcareThe health care debate played out in Harrisonburg as politicians on Capitol Hill hemmed and hawed about reform. From the AFP rally to Tim Jost’s talks, to the Health Summit, to Goodlatte’s “town hall meeting” to the vigil held during Senate negotiations, it was hard to avoid health care reform as a topic of conversation.

For a list of the top 20 hburgnews stories according to Google Analytics, click here (jpg).

I could go on, but I’d rather see your lists and additions. What were the biggest local news stories of 2009? What were the most underreported or unreported stories the media missed?

Snow photo by RTCL2 from the hburgnews Flickr pool.


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