In this final week of 2009, we reflect on some of the most talked about topics in our region over the last year.
Without question, many of the "Newsmaker" issues on this list will continue to spur discussion as we begin a new decade. Overspending on a federal and state level for the past years will continue to affect area municipalities and schools.
Now hear this for 2010: expect a tight budget for the coming year for every public entity ... with some sort of tax increase to pay for contractual obligations that must not be guaranteed in economic recessions that affect every prviate business - large and small.
Here is a look back at last year's top monthly topics:
January - Towns and the county battle over who is better at snowplowing.
February - Ripley says yes to continuing merger discussions while Westfield says no, thus ending the process.
March - Small turnouts seen in village elections.
April - Lakeview Shock Facility annex closes due to state cuts.
May - Some really small signs of belt tightening by municipal governments, especially in the villages.
June - A realization that President Obama's stimulus funding is helping governments and schools deal with expected shortfalls.
July - Water break in Fredonia forces long hours for village workers.
August - Horrific flooding devastates villages of Silver Creek and Gowanda, including a trailer park, pictured above.
September - Wind mill plans in Arkwright face long delay after more than a dozen governmental entities make doing business in New York state nearly impossible.
October - Small villages of Brocton and Cassadaga paying big bucks - $8 million combined - for improved water systems. Wouldn't a regional district be a better idea?
November - New voting machines face first election bringing concerns on privacy and whether some votes actually counted.