Obligatory Year In Review Post?

No, it’s so much more.

But do take a look at what the newsroom picked for our top 10 stories this year, a list topped by my handiwork on water, marijuana and the PUD. While I take credit for the story, I wish I could claim the print headline, which read: “The faucet, the bong and the tornado.”

Those issues will remain prominent this year, but I washed them off briefly with a quick dip into Lake Merwin on New Year’s Day.

For an earlier working-the-holidays tale, I invented a new holiday classic through this Christmas with a cop story.

Brian Streissguth gets ready to wrap up his Christmas Day shift after being shadowed by this reporter all morning. / Brooks Johnson
Brian Streissguth gets ready to wrap up his Christmas Day shift after being shadowed by this reporter all morning. Photo by Brooks Johnson

Despite the usual holiday slowdown, Longview was just full of news lately: On Wednesday the city officially bids farewell to longtime City Manager Bob Gregory; the city’s recycling contractor wants to ship its recyclables to Asia; and, possibly my most-shared-on-Facebook story yet, the Nutty Narrows squirrel bridge gets national recognition.

Another big share came from some bad news. Cowlitz County, for its beautiful landscape at the base of the Cascades and the mouth of the Columbia, has an ugly drug problem: The opioid overdose rate is the worst in the state.

More bad news could have turned into positive change, but the story about a Longview couple who died from carbon monoxide poisoning at a hotel – where detectors are not mandatory – didn’t get enough traction, be it unexciting photos or the heaviness of the topic.

That should do it for weekend reading for any of you who have stumbled upon this living document of my career. But it wouldn’t be this close to year’s end without a proper list, so let me present to you a few of my favorite ledes thus far at The Daily News:

Everyone says the same thing: “You’re from North Dakota, you’re used to the cold.” Yeah, well, that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

A paintbrush, a canvas, a kiln: Rosemary Scandale has no need for these mediums. Her art comes to life on bodies, with the settings on her sewing machine permanently set to historical accuracy.

It would be easy to picture Wilbert Winter’s story as a series of sepia-toned photographs. He was a self-taught aeronautics engineer and pilot who met his wife building planes during World War II. A brakeman on Montana’s Great Northern Railroad. A harsh man who never spent a cent on credit in his 91 years.

Jesus came to town Friday in a gray Honda Civic with Oregon plates.