There wasn't a standout choice for the biggest story of the year in Estevan.
Call it an issue of quantity over quality. There were a lot of memorable moments this year. A lot of things happened in 2012. But there wasn't that once-in-a-generation moment that screams "Story of the Year."
There was Estevan's civic election in October, and Roy Ludwig's election as mayor. It was noteworthy that we had a mayoral election in Estevan, since there hadn't been one in a general civic election since 2003. (There was a mayoral by-election in 2005). Voter turnout for October's vote was acceptable, but not sensational.
There was also the tragic accident near Midale that claimed the life of highways flag person Ashley Dawn Richards. The southeast experienced a lot of highway-related fatalities this year, but it was Richards' death that drew the attention of people across the country, and resulted in new legislation to increase fines for people who speed in the orange construction zones.
There were lots of other memorable events and stories. The big issue early on was the CP Rail oil transload facility in central Estevan. People were furious when it opened, but the furor died down once people realized that only the federal transportation board had any jurisdiction over the issue.
The new Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute opened in January. The venue boosts Estevan's presence in oilfield training. Spectra Credit Union's board spent much of the year deciding on a merger partner, and then opted for Affinity Credit Union, pending approval from the members. The city continued to grow, although the numbers from the Census, which were released in early February, were lower than expected. The only thing that the Census numbers reflected was the Census' inability to properly track the population in a community with a high transient demographic.
And the southeast continued to recover from the flood of 2011. Some have been able to move forward with their rebuilding efforts. Others are still working through red tape.
The flood was the slam dunk top story of 2011, but there were other stories that year that would have been the biggest story almost any other year: the Kraft Celebration Tour, the grand opening of Spectra Place and the green light for the carbon capture and storage project at Boundary Dam.
This year didn't have that stand-out story, but there were plenty of significant stories that captured our attention and our interest, created discussion and even proved to be a lot of fun.
My choice for the story of the year was the election, but I wouldn't fault those who went with the Highway 39 accident, the transload facility, any of the other stories mentioned above, or any other big story that happened in 2012.