The votes are in by Daily Sun readers for this year’s Top 10local news stories. Voting was conducted only on our website thisyear. following are the results:
1. Richard Bible of Flagstaff is executed after 23 years onDeath Row for the murder of Jennifer Wilson.
Wilson was a 9-year-old Yuma girl who was visiting relatives inFlagstaff. Despite overwhelming evidence, including DNA, linkinghim to the scene of the crime, Bible never admitted guilt noroffered any direct apologies to the family of his victim. None ofhis numerous appeals for a new trial on a variety of grounds wasever granted.
2. 2010 Census: Flagstaff grows by 25 percent in 10 years to65,000 people.
This growth rate mirrored that of the state of Arizona as awhole, but some city officials demurred. They contended the 2000census undercounted Flagstaff by as much as 5,000 people, and thusthe city had been bigger than officially recognized for the lastdecade.
3. Flagstaff Unified School District continues to loseenrollment at a rapid pace, with about 500 fewer students this yearthan last.
District officials can no longer continue to attribute the dropmainly to a deep and lingering recession that is forcing somefamilies to move away from high-cost Flagstaff. this past fall, thenew Basis charter school alone enrolled more than 350 FUSD studentsin its first year. If trends hold through next year, FUSD will havelost 1,300 students in just three years.
4. Water deal with Navajo Nation at Red Gap Ranch givesFlagstaff access to up to 7 million gallons a day.
The deal came after more than a year of negotiations, and onpaper it essentially assures the city of an adequate potable watersupply for the next 100 years. but practically speaking, the citymust still negotiate easements with the Navajo and Hopi tribes fora 40-mile pipeline, then come up with an estimated $200 million tobuild it.
5. Suicides and attempted suicides soar in Coconino County.
The deep recession, rural isolation and a cutback in funds formental and behavioral health services are cited in the 60 percentincrease in each of the past two years. The county’s suicide rateis now higher than it was during the Great Depression.
6. Flagstaff Police Chief Brent Cooper dies suddenly.
Cooper’s death from a heart attack while he was out jogging camejust as the department he headed for five years was beingrecognized for a dramatic drop in serious crime. Analysts creditedCooper with combining grassroots community policing with aggressivedata mining to enable officers to solve crimes quickly and head offnew ones.
7. The Schultz flood area gets federal funding for mitigationefforts.
A year after the June 2010 Schultz fire denuded 15,000 acres ofsteep hillsides above Timberline and Fernwood, county officialswere still struggling to come up with a comprehensive flood controlplan. That was greatly enhanced late this year when Congressincluded $5 million in an appropriations bill that would allowpublic funds to be spent for the first time on improvements aimedat protecting private property.
8. serious bicycle-vehicle accidents are on the rise inFlagstaff.
A series of high-profile accidents over the summer got thecycling community active in ramping up safety information needed bycyclists and drivers alike. Late in the year, the city counciladopted new regulations aimed at clarifying some rules of theroad.
9. Logging with explosives on a windy day starts a 600-acrewildfire at Camp Navajo.
National Guard troops were clearing a road of trees usingdynamite, despite a Red Flag Warning issued by the National WeatherService in nearly Bellemont. only last-minute intervention by aU.S. Forest Service air tanker prevented the fire from overrunningthe U.S. Naval Observatory.
10. Major structural failure at wastewater treatment plant costsFlagstaff millions to fix.
Higher-than-expected initial cost estimates for the upgrade ofthe Wildcat Hill plant to A+ reclaimed wastewater may have causedsome design and construction corners to be cut, according to onereport. an undetected pressure buildup led to the rupture of a30-ton concrete tank cover, costing at least $650,000 torepair.