We've collectively turned the page to 2013. Now, it's time to turn back to 2012 and review the biggest stories of the year.
The 10 most impactful stories of 2012 are the ones that disrupted our daily routines for days, shook our faith in humanity, catapulted Randolph County into the state limelight and made us lose or gain faith in the United States criminal justice system.
After careful review of the headlines that dominated our front pages throughout 2012, two main themes emerged: merciless, wayward weather and a preponderance of violence.
Tied at the top of the list recently compiled by The Inter-Mountain are, without a doubt, storm stories.
The June 29 windstorm that whipped across the state with little warning left countless central West Virginia residents without power, life essentials like food and water and most importantly, a way to communicate with others to secure those essential resources for survival.
Exactly four months later, Mother Nature dumped several inches - and in some areas several feet - of heavy wet snow, resulting in days upon days of downed power lines.
There were a disturbing number of violent events in our area in 2012.
However, 2012's top 10 isn't all gloom and doom. Randolph County officials can now boast that the county superintendent of schools - Dr. James Phares - was snatched up by the state board of education to be the state superintendent.
Now, cancer patients who travel long distances to receive treatment at the Davis Memorial Hospital Cancer Care Center can stay overnight for free at the newly constructed Davis House, easing some of the pain involved with traveling before and after treatments. Meanwhile, people living in the Upper Tygart Valley River Watershed between Elkins and Valley Head will receive clean water, courtesy of the construction of the Elkwater Fork Dam.
And who doesn't like a happy ending? The Elkins High School football team was first forced to forfeit its wins when the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission ruled that one of the team's players was ineligible. After further legal research into the matter, the WVSSAC reversed its ruling, restoring the Tigers' wins and deeming star running back L.J. Lawrence once again eligible to play.
The past year was chock-full of news; a slew of big stories may not have made the top 10 cut, but they inched into the honorable mention category.
The seven stories that were so close include: the death of Elkins sport legend and local youth mentor Roy Simms; Pickens High School student Olivia Hudok challenging the state and county's stance on immunization requirements; Lena Lunsford's sentencing for welfare fraud and the ongoing search for her daughter Aliayah Lunsford; local businessman Robert Reckart's sentencing in federal court for illegally possessing a firearm that discharged, severely injuring a minor; a Randolph County grand jury finding former Elkins Middle School teacher Autumn Faulkner innocent of child sex abuse charges; and a Philippi woman filing a domestic violence protection order petition against Barbour County Sheriff John Hawkins and then being indicted by the county.
Find the top 10 original stories in their entirety on pages A7, A8 and A9.