Scott Stanford is general manager of the Steamboat Pilot & Today. Call him at 970-871-4202 or email sstanford@SteamboatToday.com
Steamboat Springs If I had a vote in the Associated Press Top 25, I would rank Boise State No. 2 and make a case for the 12-0 Broncos to play the 12-0 Ohio State Buckeyes for the national championship.
If I had a vote for the Heisman, I'd put Rutgers running back Ray Rice ahead of Ohio State's Troy Smith. And if I had a vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame, I'd elect Mark McGwire on the first ballot, even though I'm convinced he used steroids.
No worries - I do not have a vote in any of those polls, and based upon the way I think, I likely never will.
But every year at this time, I do get to vote for the Associated Press' top news stories of the year. Basically, the AP sends out a list of the 50 or so biggest news stories to editors around the country. The editors cull those lists to 10 and can write in stories that weren't included. I finished voting Wednesday.
I think the war in Iraq, which has now lasted longer than World War II, influenced many of the other stories in 2006. Half my top 10 has some connection to Iraq. Most importantly, the rapid pace with which the public lost confidence in the war brought about a dramatic shift in power in our national government. That shift, via the November election, was my news story of the year.
In the interest of full disclosure, here is my ballot for the top 10 national stories of the year:
1. U.S. election: Democrats seize control of House and Senate.
2. Iraq war: Political disarray and mounting casualties among civilians, U.S. troops.
3. Donald Rumsfeld steps down as U.S. defense secretary.
4. Scandals bring down several in Congress, including U.S. Reps. Tom DeLay and Mark Foley.
5. Darfur: Deaths, devastation mount as outside world struggles for solution. Our decision on Iraq put a spotlight on this atrocity.
6. Illegal immigration: U.S. politicians and public divided over how to address it.
7. Gunman attacks Amish school in Pennsylvania, kills five girls and himself.
8. Concern mounts over global warming; world temperatures highest in 12,000 years.
9. Iran, North Korea pursue nuclear programs despite international pressure.
10. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, killed by U.S. airstrike.
Here are my top 10 Colorado stories:
1. Bill Ritter beats GOP Rep. Bob Beauprez in the governor's race, allowing Democrats to take control of the office for the first time in eight years.
2. State passes statewide smoking ban.
3. The natural gas boom that has dominated western Colorado creeps east, with land developers colliding with energy companies over land.
4. Colorado's election missteps are second only to more woes in Florida.
5. The Interior Department clears the way for leasing public land for experimental oil shale projects in western Colorado.
6. The Rev. Ted Haggard steps down from the pulpit of his Colorado Springs megachurch and as steward of the National Association of Evangelicals amid accusations that he paid a man for drugs and sex.
7. A gunman takes six girls hostage at Platte Canyon High School, molests some of them and then kills 16-year-old Emily Keyes before taking his own life.
8. Colorado lawmakers call a special session to pass illegal immigration laws they call the toughest in the nation, requiring an estimated 1 million people to verify their citizenship when applying or renewing public benefits.
9. A military jury at Fort Carson recommends a reprimand for an Army officer who killed an Iraqi general by stuffing him headfirst into a sleeping bag and sitting on his chest during a 2003 interrogation.
10. Southwest Airlines Co. launches its first Denver flights in 20 years in a fresh challenge to United, Frontier and other airlines at the region's largest airport.
Want to quibble with my choices? Feel free to call or e-mail me.