As with 2019, the other years of the 2010s were filled with civic improvements, community triumphs, and uplifting tales of personal achievement.
What proved most attractive to readers, however, were unexpected stories — things that took them by surprise, sometimes in pleasant ways but often because developments represented sad news.
As a way of looking back, here by year were the most-read stories on the websites of the Marion County Record, Hillsboro Star-Journal, and Peabody Gazette-Bulletin:
- Commissioners repeatedly bicker, telling each other to shut up, while arguing over multiple topics, including the county’s ambulance service, the director of which eventually resigns.
- Former Peabody-Burns teacher and coach jailed for sexually exploiting two students.
- Former county development director admits draining leftover accounts for her own benefit.
- Marion police officer kills suicidal Lehigh gunman during standoff, later is cleared of wrongdoing.
- Haunted by old abuse allegation, Marion police sergeant quits.
- Groomsmen die in wreck south of Peabody a day before wedding.
- Poor sales prompt Straub International to close Marion dealership.
- Fire at Marion grain elevator forces 2½-hour evacuation.
- Suspended county paramedic reinstated on split vote after lengthy debate by county commission.
- Former Santa impersonator and sheriff’s dispatcher convicted of raping minor.
- Hundreds pack lake hall to protest poor conditions of county roads before road and bridge supervisor resigns.
- Alco closes, but Hillsboro briefly gets a mini-Walmart. Meanwhile, Marion gets a Dollar General.
- Former Tabor athlete charged after two confrontations in which other Tabor athletes were beaten.
- Rumors swirl when commissioners refuse to share reason for sudden dismissal of ambulance director.
- Cyclist loses leg after being hit during drag race between two 17-year-olds.
- Marion principal’s daughter faces charges after a home-alone party that allegedly included underage drinking and drugs.
- Meth and cocaine found in searches after child brings syringe to Marion Elementary School.
- Road grader flattens unusual visitor — a boa constrictor.
- World record for biggest marshmallow roast set at county lake.
- Two former McPherson College football players charged in beating death of Tabor player; a game between the two schools is canceled.
- Marion’s first full-time female police officer forced to resign after undisclosed off-duty incident.
- Valiant 20-minute effort by county lake residents and staff rescues 12-year-old from 8 to 10 feet of water at swimming beach.
- Kansas City-based operators of Hillsboro hospital file for reorganization bankruptcy.
- More than 2,000 marijuana plants valued at more than $2 million seized from plots in southeastern part of county.
- Anti-gay, anti-military protesters from Westboro Baptist Church picket Marion churches.
- Rumors about flag desecration in Peabody nearly lead to major protest rally — until organizer learns the rumors weren’t true. A Peabody police officer was fired for allegedly starting the rumors.
- Five incidents of rape, reportedly involving at least two different perpetrators, are investigated in Hillsboro.