In reviewing the nearly 2,000 stories written by our news staff during 2009, it was apparent that there were a few big issues on the community's mind - traffic, water, budget, schools and government being just a few. Crime was slightly up, new fundraisers were introduced, some big festivals got bigger as others went away and politicians were, well, politicians.
We sifted through and found the stories that to us, made the biggest difference to our community. Today, we present the top ten, to be followed tomorrow by a Year In Review and on Thursday by the ever-popular "What Were They Thinking?" list of some of the off-beat true stories from the SCV. You may not agree with our list, which is OK. Let us know how you feel, we like input. And as an old wise cartoonist who has shuffled off this mortal coil used to say, "They might be mad, but at least we made 'em think."
So in reverse order (you didn't think we would reveal Number One right off the bat, did you?), here's what made news in the SCV in 2009 (with links to the stories themselves)
10. Tony Alamo sentenced to 175 years in federal prison. No longer a local resident. 
9. Las Lomas project rejected by state Supreme Court. Finally. 
8. Santa Clarita Valley's water source, the San Joaquin River, named "Most Endangered" by American Rivers group. Some drips of info here 
7. CEMEX legislation re-introduced by Congressman Buck McKeon. It's a fight that's been going on for 10 years, but one that nobody is willing to give up. Here's the latest .
6. Lennar bankruptcy plan approved by judge, giving Lennar 15 percent ownership of Newhall Ranch project. The details, here 
5. Westside governance: They came, they read, they talked, they voted, and the only sure thing is that nobody wants a brand new city. It wasn't always easy. First the county had its report, here 
Then, the city's report, after a long wait is here 
But the final showdown came on election night, thusly 
4. Saugus senior and US Marine Nicholas Laccabue was denied the right to wear his dress blues instead of the traditional cap and gown at graduation. This conflict led to legislation signed by the Governor guaranteeing that right to Laccabue and all future troops who have completed both high school course work and basic military training. The first story is here 
and Principal Bolde's editorial response here 
and the final story, after Gov. Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law is here 
3. The state budget and its trickle-dump effect on programs and people. Santa Clarita's sales tax revenue drops 15 percent; charities such as the Domestic Violence Center and the YMCA look for temporary grants and legislative help to get by - this year. The city's reaction to the shortfall 
2. Taxpayer frustration (voting down every budget measure on the ballot except the one cutting legislators' salaries in deficit years), Tea Parties, asking government to live on a realistic budget. The Tea Party story's here 
Here's the election info 
And election background 
1. Disney's plans to build 12 new sound stages and studio services in Placerita Canyon on Golden Oak Ranch in its StudiosAtTheRanch project, adding 3,000 new jobs to the local economy. The whole story is here 
Don't miss our rundown of the year itself - with all the local politics, crime stats, human interest, and commentary - tomorrow on hometownstation.com.