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Elizabeth Cook: Start wrapping up another year

You have your Christmas traditions. In the Post newsroom, we have our end-of-the-year traditions. Instead of wrapping gifts, we’re wrapping up the year with stories that reflect on the past 12 months and help set the stage for the next 12.

Here are some of the projects we’ll be working on: :

Top 10 Stories

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll compile a list of major events from the past year and we’ll vote on which 10 seem like the biggest or most important stories.

Last year, for example, the top story was the change wrought by municipal elections. Salisbury elected its most diverse City Council to date, with Al Heggins being chosen as mayor, the first African American women to win that position.

The trend echoed across the nation as an unprecedented number of women, minorities and LGBT people were elected to public office.

What have been the biggest stories of 2018? We’ll share a ballot with readers soon, so you can weigh in, too.

Newsmaker of the Year

Who has dominated headlines or was involved in history-making activities in 2018, good or bad?

Since 1984, The Post has named a Newsmaker of the Year, starting with Salisbury native Elizabeth Dole, a rising star in national politics.

Newsmakers from the past 10 years have been:

2008: Victor Isler Sr. and Justin Monroe, Salisbury firefighters killed in the Salisbury Millwork fire

2009: The Rowan County American Legion baseball team, which finished third in the Legion World Series in Fargo, N.D.

2010: Retiring District Attorney Bill Kenerly

2011: The student athlete, as local high schools win several state championships

2012: Doug Paris, named Salisbury city manager after starting with the city in 2006 as a summer intern.

2013: Erica Parsons, missing teenager.

2014: La Resistance, a local political action committee

2015: The Rowan County Little League Girls, who brought home a softball world championship from Portland, Ore.

2016: A’yanna Allen, a 7-year-old killed when a driveby shooter riddled the child’s grandmother’s house with bullets

2017: Al Heggins, Salisbury’s new mayor

Have a suggestion for 2018’s Newsmaker of the Year? Email me at editor@salisburypost.com.

10 to Watch in 2019

Around the beginning of the year we compile a list of people we expect will make news in the coming year, and we dub them 10 to Watch. Usually these individuals have stepped into new positions or taken on ambitious projects.

We could use your suggestions. Who do you think is poised to make a big impact on the community in 2019? To get your wheels turning, here are the 10 to Watch for 2018:

Rod Crider, president and CEO of the Rowan County EDC since April 2017, recently unveiled the agency’s “Expand Rowan” initiative, which will focus on helping existing employers to meet new challenges and grow. Several big economic development projects are far enough along to confirm available incentives, but they have yet to commit to Rowan.   

Alyssa Smith, executive director of Healthy Rowan, who helped convince county commissioners to declare Rowan’s parks tobacco-free this year.

James Harvey was the executive director of the Salisbury Symphony. He and the organization parted ways in May, though, over programming and pay issues.

Shon Barnes, deputy chief of police, who has led Salisbury Police Department’s new foot patrols.

West Rowan Elementary School, which may serve as the prototype for the kind of school consolidation school board members say Rowan-Salisbury needs more of. The new school brings together the Woodleaf and Cleveland elementary school student populations under one bigger, more modern roof.

Addison Davis, who has headed up the Rowan IDEA Center project at West End Plaza.

Jason Walser, executive director of the Blanche and Julian Robertson Foundation and a member of the board guiding development of Bell Tower Green.

Mike Wallace, the former NASCAR driver whose family bought purchased the old Corriher Mill on Main Street in Landis.

Chris Soliz, new leader of Rowan Emergency Services, who saw two hurricanes hit the state and bring heavy wind and rain to Rowan County.

Larissa Harper, leader of Downtown Salisbury Inc. in its first year as a part of city government instead of an independent agency.

Who will you be watching in 2019? Let us know.

Elizabeth Cook is editor of the Salisbury Post. Contact her at editor@salisburypost.com

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