Choosing the 10 most important stories of the year for the Ada area is a daunting task. In reviewing candidates for 2010, Ada Evening News staffers afforded greater weight to stories that seemed to impact the most people. Another criterion involved how much attention the event gained from outside the area. Yet another was the unique nature of the event. Following are our selections:
#1 - VVRH pays off bond; voters approve tax extension
Valley View Regional Hospital (VVRH) paying off its bond indebtedness earlier than expected, giving up its one cent city sales tax, and voters approving continuation of the tax to fund city improvements got the most votes. Money generated from the penny is expected to fund construction of new police and fire stations, 911 dispatch center, a sports complex, study for a water line between Byrds Mill Spring and Ada and renovation of city hall.
Add to these the appointment of Kent Rogers as VVRH CEO and collectively it is 2010’s story with the most impact.
#2 – Chickasaw Medical Center opens
This year saw the ribbon cutting of the state of the art $145 million, 370 thousand square foot, 72 bed Chickasaw Nation Medical Center. The 300 new jobs it will bring is a great boon for the area economy and an even greater boon for those whose medical issues are being treated in the new facility.
#3 – New jail opens
Also opened in 2010 was Pontotoc County Criminal Justice Center made possible by an 11/16’s countywide sales tax approved by voters in 2006. It too is a state of the art facility with a capacity of housing up to 200 inmates.
#4 – Local educator named state’s best
State Teacher of the Year Elizabeth Smith of Byng is only the second teacher from this area to win the coveted educator award.
#5 – The McCoys’ Amazing Race
Jett and Cord McCoy’s escapades on “The Amazing Race” won over and entire country with their winsome ways. The “boys” came in second in the contest but first in the hearts of area residents as well as much of the rest of the country. In doing so they generated a great deal of positive press for themselves and their home community.
#6 – Taylor Treat
Also drawing attention in a positive way was Miss Oklahoma, Taylor Treat, who came up just shy of winning the Miss America title in February.
#7 – City manager accused of misusing city time
Not so positive was the story involving Ada City Manager David Hathcoat, accused of gambling on city time.
#8 – Stratford High School’s state championship run
Stratford High School’s run to the state football Class A championship fell just six points short in a heartbreaking overtime loss, but is notable for the fact the Bulldogs are the first area team to make it to a state gridiron championship in a long, long time.
#9 – Earthquake rattles area
For sheer number of impacted people, no one who was here will forget where they were and what they were doing on October 13, 2010 when a 4.3 magnitude earthquake rumbled through. There was no lasting damage, but the shock alone will be remembered.
#10 - ECU
Sadly, Bill Cole, former president of East Central University, passed away in March. In November John Hargrave was inaugurated as the university’s eighth president. And since we’re on the subject of ECU, we shouldn’t forget that in January former ECU runners broke a Guinness Book record by clocking 8 hours, 19 minutes and 53 seconds in the 100-mile relay run.