10 years of AP’s top story of the year
(AP)—The top news story of the year for the last 10 years, as selected annually by the state’s newspapers and broadcasters:
2008—SAFE-HAVEN LAW: Nebraska lawmakers pass safe-haven law with no age limit, resulting in abandonment of scores of older kid before the law is changed.
2007—MALL SHOOTING: A 19-year-old gunman goes on rampage at the Von Maur store at Omaha’s Westroads Mall, killing eight people and himself. Robert Hawkins had been in and out of foster homes and state care all his life.
2006—OSBORNE-HEINEMAN: Rep. Tom Osborne loses GOP gubernatorial primary to Dave Heineman, the Republican incumbent, after being heavily favored to win the nomination.
2005—HEINEMAN-GOVERNOR: Lt. Gov. Dave Heineman became Nebraska’s 39th governor. He succeeded Mike Johanns only 20 days into 2005, after Johanns was confirmed as U.S. secretary of agriculture.
2004—JOHANNS-AG SECRETARY: Then-Gov. Mike Johanns was tapped by President George W. Bush to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture, marking the first time in 15 years that a Nebraskan had been chosen to serve in a Cabinet position. Clayton Yeutter of Eustis served as agriculture secretary under the first President Bush, 1989-1991.
2003—NEBRASKA-SOLICH FIRED: Nebraska athletic director Steve Pederson fired football coach Frank Solich Nov. 29 after Solich finished the regular season 9-3. The coach had compiled a 58-19 record in six seasons but was 16-12 in his last 28 games. He’s the first Nebraska football coach fired since Bill Jennings after the 1961 season.
2002—BANK SLAYINGS: Four bank employees and a customer are gunned down at U.S. Bank branch in Norfolk. Four men are arrested that same day and later charged with first-degree murder, which carries a possible death sentence.
2001—TERRORISM: Within hours after the Sept. 11 attacks, President George W. Bush flies to Offutt Air Force Base south of Omaha to convene a national security meeting. Nebraskans respond to the attacks by donating more than $4 million and some of their blood.
2000—DROUGHT: A severe statewide drought destroyed crops and pastures, fueled a record number of wildfires and forced water rationing in some communities.
1999—FARM WOES: Despite bumper crops, a second year of low commodity prices forced many small farmers to consider selling their farms or taking second jobs to survive. Experts predicted the faltering farm economy could force up to 10,000 of Nebraska’s 55,000 producers to restructure or quit altogether.