Top 10 compelling or unforgettable stories of the year:
1 MARC DANN: The Valley sent him to Columbus with pride, and he returned in shame after the ex-attorney general’s office was caught up in sexual-harassment charges and Dann admitted an affair.
2 CRUZE COMMITMENT: GM commits to building its new compact car, the Cruze, in Lordstown in 2010. The fuel-efficient compact was unveiled at the Paris Auto Show in October.
3 The Crawford family: The Youngstown family lost six members in a January house fire when 18-year-old Michael Davis set a porch on fire in retaliation for a stolen cell phone.
4 Kelly Pavlik: The middleweight champion of the world was flying high in February and June and was shot down by Bernard Hopkins in October.
5 Sales: Housing sales and car sales drop as recession takes hold. Tumbling sales of the Lordstown-produced Cobalt led to layoffs at the plant and several suppliers.
6 Joe Kaluza: The KFC manager was shot and paralyzed in a March robbery on South Avenue. Kaluza showed up in court in September to testify against his assailants and inspire the Valley.
7 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Presidential candidates, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain — and the international/national media — visit the Valley frequently. Obama wins handily in the Mahoning Valley but by smaller margins than John Kerry did in 2004.
8 BAILOUTS: General Motors gets a chunk of the $750 billion federal bailout for Wall Street after Congress failed to act to award it a separate bailout package. The funding should provide GM with the capital it needs to survive into 2009.
9 Anthony Slifka: He resigns from the position of Liberty Township police chief after Mary Rush, 87, of Mansell Drive, died after she was found on her front porch, unconscious with severe cuts in April.
10 DOWNTOWN UPGRADE: Taft Technology Center was formally dedicated in downtown Youngstown while Louis A. Frangos’ Realty Tower Apartments, Wick Building and Erie Terminal are OK’d for federal and state funding.