As 2012 is ushered into the history books, a look back on its major news stories is a reflection on tragedy and triumph.
Stories covered loss of life, jobs and homes. There were changes in the economy, transportation and elected leadership. Mother Nature offered up challenges in winter and summer. And a Brainerd man’s life of service and compassion serves as an inspiration to others.
The following is the list of top 10 Brainerd lakes area news stories of 2012 as voted on by Brainerd Dispatch news staff members:
■ 1. Slaying of two teenagers leads to murder charges against Little Falls man.
■ 2. Economy has a pulse after all with addition of Costco, Olive Garden and others.
■ 3. Fire destroys apartments in south Brainerd, leaving 20 people out of a home.
■ 4. Ready for roundabouts? College Drive project completed.
■ 5. Hotly contested races dominate area election.
■ 6. Reign ends. Brainerd continues high jobless rate, but sees positive trend.
■ 7. Devastating deluge. Lakes region soaked beneath record rainfall and major flooding.
8. Dreaming of a white Christmas. Largely snowless winter leaves lakes area in a brown out.
■ 9. Pilot killed in small plane crash near Crosslake.
■ 10. A big heart passes on. Brainerd’s Dick Endres dies leaving legacy of compassion and devotion to others.