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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top 10 Stories of 2009 -- A Madville Times Portfolio

If someone asked what this blog is about, I'd offer the following Madville Times 2009 portfolio. Some are big news stories, some are just fun. Some are stories I followed over a series of posts, some are one-off gems. All are what I would point to as examples of my better blogging in 2009.

Pipeline Through the Heartland: TransCanada on the Farm: The best journalism I've ever done, and a side of the Keystone pipeline story that the professional media didn't touch in 2009.

Water Project District: The best coverage in Lake County of an interesting local environmental and political issue.

Prairie Village: No controversy, no affairs of state, just great weather and huge crowds for this year's Steam Threshing Jamboree.

Bicycles: I went from a serendipitous meeting with a new cross-country adventurer to proposing a plan for a trail around beautiful Lake Herman. I took apart some arguments against a pending proposal for extending the trail out to Lake Herman State Park. That provoked all sorts of conversation, some neighborly, some... not so much.

Netbooks: My story on Elkton's pioneering and money-saving tech trial led to more media coverage... and my decision to replace my ailing HP with an Acer Aspire One D250... bought right here in Madison.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act: Cap and trade will probably get compromised away like the public option on health care, but I had a great time researching and writing about this topic. My conversation with Matt McGovern from Repower America led to a seven-part series on the issue. And how much analysis, pro or con, did your local paper give you on climate change legislation?

Big Stone II: Conservatives whined that the project's collapse was a massive setback for wind power and proof that envirowhackos and President Obama would destroy America's energy security. Yet more and more companies announced plans for more wind power in South Dakota. Our own PUC predicts a doubling of wind capacity in 2010.

Movies: I'm not all politics. I had a blast writing about the new Star Trek in May, then was inspired to musings on manhood and blogging by Julie & Julia.

Rick Millner: In Dutch with the DENR, the EPA, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, not paying his bills, this Veblen dairy operator is a hazard to man and beast, not to mention the good earth. It's hard to tell which stinks more: Millner's business practices, or our state's eager support of such noxious businesses.

Madison City Commission: My coverage of local politics shows where blogs can perform a true service in a world of corporate media that plays to the masses. (Now if only Myron had won that recount: he'd have been a gas in formal discussion of the public urination ordinance!)

* * *
What were your favorite stories? What would you like to see me cover more? Let me know... and stay tuned for more local blogging from Lake Herman in 2010!

Update 2010.01.07 20:00 CST: A friend reminds me of a story deserving a place in the portfolio: "Sandbox. Cemetery. Thunderstorm. Dads." No politics, no ideology, just an old friend taking care of what's important.


  1. I know its not your cup of tea, but I thought the Madison boys' basketball and girls' gymnastics teams winning State titles deserve some mention. The boys' first state championship since 1945 and the girls national-record-continuing 15th straight state championship.

    Both are great, positive examples of what the young people in Madison can accomplish when they set aside egos to work for a common goal. The Dems and Reps in Congress could take a lesson from our Bulldog brothers and sisters!

  2. Another accompliment that could be noted: the nonanonymous comment policy. IIRC, that was a 2009 transition. That policy keeps me reading comments instead of ignoring them.

  3. I appreciated your commentary on the Mundt debate competition situation. Thanks for helping me stay informed on what's going on back in Madtown.

  4. Freedom Toaster=Brett Hoffman (didn't mean to defy comment policy, whoops!)

  5. Brett, your attention to the comment policy is deeply appreciate. Thanks!

    Kelly: agreed! Putting names to comments increases their value significantly, as does eliminating the anonymous comments... which seem to come often from folks at work who don't want the boss to know they're goofing off. ;-)

  6. And Matt, we rely on your for the sports coverage! Get back on the sports-blog horse and ride!

  7. http://sd2.sportsbuzzard.com/blogs/jackrabitt1/

  8. Oh! And I remember you mentioning that new venture earlier. Silly me! Keep at it!


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