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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Readers Speak Up: Top Madison Stories of 2008

Catch all of the Most-Commented Stories of 2008:
***South Dakota stories
***U.S. stories
There are as many ways to rank the biggest stories and newsmakers of the year as there are columnists and bloggers. This year, I'm happy to offer you the top stories of 2008 based on your comments. I've gone through the archives, over 1200 posts from this year, and picked out the ones that provoked the most responses from Anonymous and real people alike. I've even broken it down into three separate lists, for local, state, and national stories. Note: Madville Times traffic climbed throughout the year, so ranking stories by number of comments or any other readership metric skews the results toward the second half of the year. But you'll still find a few goodies from last winter and spring.

First up, a list you will find nowhere else: the biggest Madison stories that got you talking:

Madison May Lose Karl Mundt Debate Tournament [11/09]: A story broken by the Madville Times and followed up by the local media and a cross Principal Knowlton (see #4 below!). I get the feeling the school district is trying to keep things quiet now and just let the tournament slip away without a fuss. Stay tuned!

Verbatim: Dwaine Chapel on the Community Reinvestment Act [11/12]: Local economic development exec Dwaine Chapel's penchant for managerial fuzz-speak shone with the clarity of pure mud this fall, as he issued a weird D-minus missive on the opportunity/obligation lending institutions have to support lending for low-income housing. But at least he's not plagiarizing: Chapel and fellow Depot dweller Julie Gross of the Chamber have become much more diligent about citing their sources in the Chamber newsletter (you're welcome).

Commentary: Madison School Board Candidate Responses [3/29]: The Madison Central School Board Election drew all sorts of interest. And given that the Madison Daily Leader editorial policy forbids letters to the editor evaluating the candidates (other than last-minute hit pieces and hastily excepted responses), the Madville Times was the only local media airing your opinions (again, you're welcome!).

Madison TIF Neighbors: Dollar Speaks Louder Than Citizens [12/1]: The Tax Increment Finance district continues to fascinate, irritate, and discombobulate. Readers had lots to say for and against the project, some of it baloney, some of it crotchety envy, some of it fair concern and criticism. We still wait to see whether this investment of public dollars will pay off in tax revenues and truly affordable housing.

Goeman, Olson, and Obama: Yes We Can? [12/14]: Even Joel Dykstra supporters will line up behind a Democratic President if they can bring federal dollars for a favored local project. Hey, don't say Madison's pols can't put the general welfare ahead of partisan politics!

No Free Lunch: Protecting Women and Children Costs Money [11/16]: Reporting on the expenses and salary listed on the House of Hope's tax documents provoked some serious discussion of what closed the domestic abuse shelter and what it would take to get a new one running.

Defamatory, Malicious Misinfo... oh, wait, nope: Documents [11/19]: Principal Knowlton knew what she was doing when she told me I couldn't bring another concerned citizen along with me to our meeting about the Mundt Tournament in November. She wanted me alone so she could chew me out as she might a student or a staff member. Among the blog commentary she branded "defamatory," "malicious," and "misinformation" (recognize the libel language? nice try, Sharon) was my comment that Madison let school out early for the Mundt Tournament but not for a full day. Never mind that school schedules published on the district website supported my statement: Principal Knowlton is committed to defending a bad decision that will likely cause Madison to lose the Mundt Tournament.

Don Parker Spreading Creationist Propaganda in Madison [12/1]: Lots of comments on this one, from here and abroad. Now if the Madison IDEA club can draw even a quarter of the interest of my blog post, Mr. Parker may have a going operation.

Free Speech, Local Business, and Where I Buy My Raisin Bran [10.09]: Dan Roemen stuck a "Vote Yes on 11" sign in front of his grocery store. I wrote "Vote No on 11" on my receipts until Election Day. The retread abortion ban failed. Dan's still in business; I still buy raisin bran from him.

Madison Central School Board Election: The Conversation [2/29]: Oh yeah, I ran for office this year! There was some personal stuff, but lots of you really did want to talk about school board policy, and that was the most fun part of it all, even when (especially when?) we disagreed. Local politics: try it! You'll like it!

Coming up: the top South Dakota stories, according to your enthusiastic comments!


  1. What about the state ready to force the city into 5 lanes of traffic on a 4 lane highway?

  2. That story certainly got people talking here. So far, it has drawn 10 comments. But #10 on this list, the Mundt story, drew 18 comments; the #1 post drew 37.

  3. Personally I find it interesting what topics people are motivated enough to read and make comments. I'm imagine Cory is surprised by what does and doesn't generate a buzz, which would be an interesting story in itself. It used to be quite enjoyable to see the latest comments posted off to the right. Mr. CH, is it necessary to eliminate that feature? Hey, maybe it's time to tell everyone it's been a more interesting year because of Cory's blog and your enlightening (often) and provocative (sometimes) comments. I'm glad you have opinions and are willing to share. After all, it's our crazy little town.

  4. This should be a top story....How can working 40 days a year give you the chance to have full health benefits, in that line of thinking, everyone who works 40 days a year should get full-time health benefits.....


  5. Here we are, a year after the TIF was approved by Madison City and still no affordable housing being built. People need a place to live so what is holding back the new homes.

  6. Anon 9:56: Yes, I love that "Recent Comments" feature, and I will bring it back as soon as I can. Unfortunately, it's not working right now! Bummer!


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