The top story ballot, which is voted on by various members of the T-G staff, was being prepared at about the time the school security issue, both here and in Connecticut, was becoming news.
The school shootings at Sandy Hook and the threats here in Bedford County were, quite obviously, one of the biggest stories of the year, and the ramifications of the issue will continue into 2013, as local officials try to work out the best ways to keep children secure. Trying to put such a huge and emotional story in its proper context would have been difficult at a time when the story was still breaking.
There are many things that make something newsworthy -- long-term significance or just the water-cooler factor of everyone talking about them, and our list this year represents a diverse selection of topics. Voters were given a list of 31 story possibilities and asked to rank their top 10 choices from within that list. Here, counting down, are our first two entries.
20 points, 1 first-place vote
Cascade High School Band, led by David Lucich, lived up to the nickname "Champions," winning the Tennessee Division I State Marching Band Championships held Oct. 27 at Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro.
The band placed first in music and marching and second in percussion, in addition to the overall championship.
"I was really, really proud of them." said Lucich, a few days later. "This group, they worked really hard all year. They're probably the most hard-working group that I've had."
The band had previously placed fourth in an Oct. 6 competition in Antioch, and second overall at Glencliff, including first-place awards for its guard and percussion and a first place in its class.
Even more remarkable is that it's a young band, with 36 new members out of 82.
"They just kept getting better every week until the end," said Lucich.
Bedford County strongly supported Republican candidates in state and federal races, voting by large majorities for the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket over the incumbent ticket of President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden, and supporting Scott DesJarlais for U.S. House over Democratic challenger Eric Stewart.
According to unofficial summary totals from the Bedford County election office, the total was 10,026 for Romney to 4,207 for Obama. Tennessee, as expected, went strongly for Romney, but Obama won re-election in the nationwide tally.
DesJarlais was the incumbent for the 4th District House seat, but new to Bedford County residents; Bedford County was shifted from the 6th District to the 4th as a result of the normal redistricting that follows the U.S. Census. Even so, he had been praised by local horse industry leaders for his support of the industry in its regulatory battles.
THURSDAY: A tragic discovery provides closure