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Top 10 Stories for 2008

New Richmond, Hammond, Roberts, Star Prairie and Somerset had their share of big news stories for the past year.

Our annual special "Year in Review" section seeks to recount all of the big news headlines that appeared in our pages the past 12 months.

The weather played a big part in the area's news, as usual. Perhaps the biggest hit came in early summer when hail caused problems for many homeowners and motorists. So many insurance claims were filed as a result of the damage that adjusters were in town for days.

Crime and punishment was a big part of the news as well, including arrests in an ongoing burglary ring in New Richmond and drunk drivers being sentenced for irresponsible behavior that resulted in injury and death to others.

Perhaps the biggest story of the year, however, was the declining economy that held the nation in its grips throughout 2008. Declining home sales have resulted in slower population growth in St. Croix County, which has been the fastest growing county in the state for many years running.

The New Richmond News staff has voted on its Top 10 list of news stories for 2008.

Also listed are the Top 10 news stories as recorded on our Web site -- Some of the news staff's top 10 are the same as the readers, but some are not.

Take a look and see what you think. How would you rank the news differently, if at all? Visit our Web site to voice your opinions.

Top 10 Stories for 2008, selected by News staff

1. A huge hail and wind storm blew through the region in May, causing damage to homes, businesses and vehicles.

2. The New Richmond National Guard unit received word that it would be deployed to Iraq for a second time.

3. Declining home sales and a struggling economy put a damper on the population growth of area communities.

4. Ricci Prein, police chief in Roberts, was fired from his post due to alleged misconduct while on duty.

5. A new elementary school and a renovated existing elementary school, along with a new high school beginning, made for a busy year in the New Richmond School District.

6. "Leatherheads," featuring George Clooney, was released. Clooney's character was based on New Richmond native Johnny "Blood" McNally.

7. The Stillwater Lift Bridge was damaged after a boom truck struck the support beams.

8. J.A. Counter & Associated was featured on "Good Morning America" for its new "Results Only Work Environment" change.

9. A new non-profit announced it would take over the New Richmond Area YMCA.

10. The New Richmond Pamida store closed after 18 years in business.

Top 10 Stories for 2008

(According to hits on the www.newrichmond-news Web site)

1. Erik Ness, a New Richmond High School student was killed in a car-truck accident in October.

2.Lake Delton, near Wisconsin Dells, empties because of heavy rains.

3. A delivery truck strikes the Stillwater bridge in July, disrupting traffic for days.

4. New Richmond teacher and coach Rick Montreal was on work release from the St. Croix County Jail after being sentenced for a third DWI.

5. A New Richmond bus driver was cited for drunk driving following an December crash.

6. A New Richmond business man is charged in a child pornography case.

7. Casey Wolff is sentenced in a felony homicide case which resulted in the death of a New Richmond man.

8. Fun Fest activities kicked off in July.

9. A St. Croix County deputy was arrested for DWI.

10. Five people were injured in a Dec. 11 accident at Wall Street and Highway 64.