Lot of variety in Top 10 ballot

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The number of days in a year doesn’t change (except for Leap Year), but every year the months seem to go by faster. It is already time for readers to cast your ballots for the Top 10 stories of the year.

This is the 19th year we have had readers decide on the most important stories and 2011 again has a full and interesting ballot. We have tried to include as many stories as possible, but if there is a story you feel strongly about that isn’t on this list, please add it to the bottom where it says "Others" and give it your ranking.

This ballot will appear several times between now and the noon deadline on Dec. 12. For your ballot to count, it must be clipped from the paper (not a photocopy) and the stories must be numbered, not marked with an "X."

Rick Doyle can be reached at rickdoyle@wwub.com or 526.8306.

Your top story should be marked as "1." The second most important story would be "2," and so on through "10." All ballots must arrive at the U-B by noon on Dec. 12. We will tally the votes and your Top 10 will be featured in the Jan. 1 U-B. Please vote and drop your ballots off at the U-B office at First and Poplar or mail them to: Top 10, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, P.O. Box 1358, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

---------------- Groups and individuals hold fundraisers and make donations to keep the Pioneer Park Aviary open.

---------------- State officials continue their investigation of possible financial impropriety in the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office. The FBI later takes over.

---------------- State budget cuts eliminate local horse races.

---------------- Two children, Olivia and Eva Wilson, are killed in a house fire in Milton-Freewater. A space heater is blamed for the fire.

---------------- Three moose romp their way through the city.

---------------- A consultant's report gives a blueprint for ways the area can improve its signage.

---------------- The Umatilla County commissioners agree to supplement the Milton-Freewater ambulance service with $1,000 a month. The ambulance service says it will need $3,000 a month or it will close.

---------------- Wolf tracks have been found that confirm the animals are present in the area.

---------------- Local suicides hit a crisis level with as many deaths in one month as in all of 2010. The Union-Bulletin provides a two-day package of stories, including available resources. A support group for family and friends who lost loved ones to suicides is started.

---------------- A judge rules against Inland Octopus' attempt to use constitutional grounds to allow the mural. An appeal is filed.

---------------- The Walla Walla School Board decides to delay putting a bond issue for Walla Walla High School on the ballot.

---------------- A sales tax to fund mental health services is approved by Walla Walla County commissioners.

---------------- Groundbreaking ceremonies for a new outpatient clinic and residential recovery units are held at the VA.

---------------- Walla Walla Community College is ranked as one of the top 10 schools by the Aspen Institute. The ranking makes the college eligible for $1 million in prize money.

---------------- Walla Walla officials hold several meetings and discussions on different ways to raise money to fix streets. The U-B publishes a series on the history of the local roads.

---------------- Julio Cesar Martinez is killed in a shooting police call gang-related.

---------------- A controversy develops over where to hold the annual Peach Basket Classic.

---------------- An increase in the number of people needing help causes financial problems for Helpline.

---------------- The Stremcha family wins a new Mini Cooper for a video in the Dairy Queen MiniBlizzard TREATment contest.

---------------- A consultant presents a report on how the city library system and rural library system should work together. Negotiations between the two entities later fall apart.

---------------- Walla Walla is selected as "Friendliest Small Town in America" by a panel of USA Today and Randy McNally Best of the Road Rally representatives.

---------------- City officials order owners of the Blue Mountain Mall to clean up the property. The action results in the possible foreclosure sale of part of the property.

---------------- Lack of funding cancels the annual Flu Shot Round-up.

---------------- The Power House Theatre opens its doors.

---------------- The insurance pool that covered the Port of Walla Walla dropped the agency after it had three major claims in three years. The price for a new policy is substantially more.

---------------- A long, cool, wet spring led to late crop harvests. There were no days this summer that hit 100 degrees.

---------------- Audrey Brewer is stabbed to death in a fight at the Blue Mountain Mall. Angela Dawn Effinger is arrested.

---------------- Fire destroys two warehouses full of chickpeas. The smoke lingers for days. The fire is thought to have been arson.

---------------- Miltary personnel return for Iraq and Afghanistan as others prepare to leave.

---------------- After surviving the worst-case scenario, the penitentiary is again under the gun as the state looks to make more cuts.

---------------- Other: ----------------------------------------------------------------

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