Who will be the 2011 Newsmaker of the Year?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 28, 2011

By Elizabeth Cook
Who is the Salisbury Post’s 2011 Newsmaker of the Year?
You’ll find the answer in Friday’s paper.
Each December since 1984, the Post’s news staff has reviewed events of the past year and named a top newsmaker — someone who, for good or ill, made frequent headlines.
While you’re waiting to find out who is 2011’s Newsmaker, here’s a list of past newsmakers to peruse:
1984: Elizabeth Dole, Salisbury native and U.S. secretary of transportation in the Ronald Reagan administration at the time.
1985: David Murdock, California investor, who sold Cannon Mills Co. to Fieldcrest after buying it from the Cannons in 1982.
1986: Jim Hurley III, publisher, who was leading a major renovation and expansion of the Salisbury Post’s building downtown.
1987:Edward Clement, preservationist, who headed the Rowan Defense Fund, a group that fought against establishing a hazardous waste incinerator in Rowan.
1988: Tim Russell, county manager for three and a half years, who tackled many difficult issues, including construction of a new landfill.
1989:Don Martin, superintendent of the Rowan-Salisbury Schools, who was credited with pulling school merger out of fire.
1990: Darrell Hinnant, executive director of the N.C. Hazardous Waste Commission and a target of fury as the state tried to site a hazardous waste facility in Rowan County.
1991: Ralph and Anne Ketner, Food Lion co-founder and wife, who in recent years helped get the homeless shelter established, gave the city the newly transformed Plaza building on the Square, started a housing program and did much more.
1992: Food Lion, then the fastest-growing supermarket company in the U.S., hit by a critical “PrimeTime Live” report alleging poor food-handling practices.
1993: Newton Cohen, chairman of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, whose support for a $44 million school bond package helped win support for it from Rowan voters.
1994:Bob Martin, Rowan County sheriff from 1986 to 1998, who weathered several storms in 1994: brutal murders, political change, death sentences and a $13 million building project resulting in delays and embarrassment.
1995: Fieldcrest-Cannon Stadium in Kannapolis, a controversial economic development investment by Rowan County commissioners whose first-year attendance figures fell short of expectations.
1996: Rowan Regional Medical Center, which gained the $14 million Wilson L. Smith Family Outpatient Clinic, the $2.8 million South Rowan Medical Mall and several awards.
1997: Four children die. Rowan County faced the brutal facts of child abuse when Jordan Bradshaw (also called “Budde Clark”), Christopher Jones and DeMallon Krider died at the hands of caretakers in separate incidents. All had been under investigation by the Rowan County Department of Social Services. Sixteen-year-old Trola Miller was fatally shot while a bystander at a fight; she had been in DSS custody and foster care.
1998: Julian Robertson Jr., Wall Street investor and Salisbury native, whose gift of $18 million in 1997 to start the Blanche and Julian Robertson Foundation started bearing fruit in the form of grants for local nonprofits and schools in 1998.
1999: David Treme, Salisbury city manager, who named a new police chief and oversaw the Flowers Bakery Redevelopment Area, the 314-acre Salisbury Community Park off Hurley Road and the start of improvements to the Park Avenue neighborhood.
2000: Displaced workers, suddenly unemployed as jobs moved offshore and local textile plants closed. Unemployment hit 9.5 percent before falling to 5.5 percent.
2001: Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR driver, killed when his car crashed into a wall at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 18.
2002: Elizabeth Dole, this time a candidate in her own right, winning a seat in the U.S. Senate
2003: U.S. soldiers, fighting in Afghanistan and, starting in 2003, Iraq.
2004: Dr. Albert J.D. Aymer, president of Hood Theological Seminary, who led the movement of the school from the Livingstone College campus to a site off Jake Alexander Boulevard.
2005: Tim Russell, forced out as county manager after spending $23,000 in tax funds on private investigators to find the writer of hundreds of anonymous “Common Sense” letters
2006: Jack Thomson, executive director of Historic Salisbury Foundation, who led the unsuccessful fight to block demolition of some West Fisher Street buildings and worked with Lowe’s and the History Channel on the restoration of a Park Avenue house.
2007: Treasure Feamster, the 13-year-old girl whose shooting death brought attention to the presence of gangs in Salisbury.
2008: Victor Isler Sr., Justin Monroe, Salisbury firefighters who died in the Salisbury Millwork fire.
2009: Rowan County American Legion team, who lifted local spirits by reaching the Little World Series in Fargo, N.D., and finishing third in the nation.
2010: Bill Kenerly, retiring Rowan County district attorney, who served as the special prosecutor investigating former Gov. Mike Easley, tried two murder trials, negotiated pleas in several others and learned from the state court system that his office was the most overloaded and understaffed DA office in North Carolina.
2011: ?
Find out who the next newsmaker is in Friday’s paper.

Also coming in the days ahead:
Saturday:Top 10 stories of 2011
Sunday: 10 to watch in 2012
Monday:How to keep New Year’s resolutions, and the 2012 community calendar.