It's time to vote for Top 10 stories

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I keep thinking that one of these days the year will go by a little slower. I can’t believe another year is just about in the books.
That means it’s time for the 17th annual ranking by readers of the Top 10 stories of the year.
I expect the rankings to be difficult this year. Not only does this list contain nearly 40 possibilities, but there were at least that many more that couldn’t fit due to space considerations. However, if there is a story you feel strongly about that isn’t on this list, please add it to the bottom where it says "Other" and give it your ranking.
This ballot will appear several times between now and the noon deadline on Dec. 11. For your ballot to count, it must be from the newspaper (not a photocopy) and the stories must be numbered, not marked with an "X."
Rick Doyle can be reached at rickdoyle@wwub.com or 526-8306.

Your top story should be marked as "1." The second most important story would be "2," and so on through "10." If you feel there is an important story that isn’t on this list, write it in and give it your ranking. All ballots must arrive at the U-B by noon on Dec. 11. We will tally the votes and your Top 10 will be featured in the Jan. 3 U-B. Please vote and drop your ballots off at the U-B office at First and Poplar or mail them to: Top 10, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, P.O. Box 1358, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

--------------- The state targets Walla Walla’s Department of Licensing, among others, for closure. The local office was taken off the list after a public uproar.

--------------- Drilling begins in a carbon sequestration experiment.

--------------- School districts try to figure out how to handle snow days, with some schools making up only a portion of the days missed.

--------------- Economy and other issues result in the closure of 26brix, Pine Street Diner, Luscious by Nature, Destination Grill at the Depot, the Country Store, Gottschalks, the Milton Freewater Public Health Clinic, the Washington State Learning Center at Walla Walla Community College.

--------------- Voters reject the College Place School District bond to rebuild Davis Elementary School and convert Meadow Brook Intermediate into a middle school.

--------------- The prison undergoes a series of lockdowns after fights.

--------------- The Blue Mountain Mall is sold at auction. Its future remains cloudy.

--------------- An RV fire kills three women. A male survivor is arrested. Meth is suspected.

--------------- The Union-Bulletin runs a series of columns by David Schmaltz that talk about what it’s like to be out of a job.

--------------- Walla Walla City Manager Duane Cole resigns. He is hired as Clatsop County manager. Nabiel Shawa takes Cole’s place.

--------------- A new bus service linking Walla Walla to Mission/Pendleton hits the road.

--------------- The U-B runs a series of articles and tips called "Wallanomics/How to get by with less and less and less and less and less..."

--------------- Swine flu makes its appearance in the area. Local health officials work with schools and cities to prepare.

--------------- An anonymous donor gives $20,000 to keep the Rising Sun Clubhouse running.

--------------- Two people are stabbed during Nite Glow at the Balloon Stampede. The woman may lose the sight in her left eye.

--------------- A free rock ’n’ roll music camp is put on for local youths.

--------------- Several attempted lurings of children result in police issuing warnings and tips to residents.

--------------- A brawl involving about 80 people after graduation parties at St. Patrick Church is blamed on gang rivalries.

--------------- Several major marijuana grows are discovered, including one with more than 75,000 plants.

--------------- Walla Walla General Hospital starts an 18-week nurse residency program, the first one in the Northwest.

--------------- Some residents push a proposal to create a 200,000-acre scenic protection area in Umatilla County as a way to block a wind farm development.

--------------- Wine bloggers announce they will hold their annual North America conference in Walla Walla in 2010.

--------------- Legislators announce a study to cut 1,580 prison beds across the state. A local task force argues the local prison has already lost jobs and more cuts would hurt the institution and the community.

--------------- A large cache of explosives is stolen from the airport. A reward is offered for information.

--------------- Local soldiers return safely after serving in Iraq. Several of the troops ride in the Fair Parade.

--------------- Voters approve an $11.6 million bond issue to build a new police station.

--------------- Valley Transit triples it fares and puts a plan to increase the sales tax to fund its operations on the ballot.

--------------- The Preston-Shaffer Mill, also known as Wait’s Mill, burns to the ground in Waitsburg.

--------------- Walla Walla considers rebuilding its infrastructure, funding the work through an increase in utility bills. The fee would increase until it hits an extra $33.20 per month in 2015.

--------------- The failure of a refrigeration unit spoils the remaining flu shots during the flu-shot clinic roundup at the fairgrounds.

--------------- Other: ----------------------------------------------------------------

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