At year end, we traditionally ask readers to tell us which of the year’s events they consider the top story. For 2010, we asked readers and viewers of both the Deseret News and KSL to rank a series of stories, selecting the 10 they considered the most important. The poll was conducted on both DeseretNews.com and KSL.com. This is the year as they saw it. (Note that the poll was taken prior to the Provo Tabernacle fire, which is why it did not make the list.) For a look at which stories gained the most attention on deseretnews.com this year, check out this list.
A 60-year-old Chevron pipeline ruptured in June, leaking 800 barrels of oil into Red Butte Creek and the pond at Liberty Park.
Chevron paid a $423,000 fine in conjunction with that leak, believed to have been caused by an electrical arc from a nearby power pole that punched a hole in the pipeline. A second but smaller leak occurred on the same pipeline in December, when a failed valve allowed up to 500 barrels to spill out.
During an escape attempt at a Salt Lake courthouse April 2, 1985, Gardner killed attorney Michael Burdell and seriously wounded bailiff Nick Kirk. Sentenced to die, he was on death row for more than two decades before being executed this summer. Given a choice of execution methods, he selected the firing squad.
Sun Cha Warhola was charged with two counts of aggravated murder after her children, Jean, 7, and James, 8, were found strangled in their Layton home in September.
Two rogue employees in the Utah Department of Workforce Services accessed state databases and gathered personal information including addresses, health data, birthdates, Social Security numbers and more on 1,300 people they claimed were in the United States illegally. Then they sent the list to local media and law enforcement, asking that those listed be deported and signing it "Concerned Citizens of the United States."
An internal state probe identified the workers, who were fired.
Brigham Young University and the University of Utah both left the Mountain West Conference. In June, the University of Utah announced that it is joining the PAC-10. In September, the BYU Athletic Department unveiled its plans to go independent in football and join the West Coast Conference in all other sports.
Sisters Rebecca and Rachel Toone, 4 years and 15 months respectively, died after a pest control tech used a powerful pesticide to kill voles in the yard of their Layton home. Officials say the pesticide was improperly applied. The tech, Cole Nocks, has pled not-guilty to misdemeanor criminal charges.
Two deputies, Josie Greathouse Fox and Brian Harris, were shot and killed, while a park ranger, Brody Young, was critically injured this year.
Fox, a Millard County sheriff's deputy, was gunned down during a traffic stop in January. Roberto Miramontes Roman faces capital murder charges in her death. Ruben Chavez Reyes was found guilty of obstruction of justice in connection with her death.
Harris, a Kane County sheriff's deputy, was chasing a burglary suspect when he was shot and killed just over the Utah-Arizona border. Scott Curley faces first-degree murder charges in Arizona.
Young was shot multiple times while patrolling south of Moab near the Poison Spider Mesa Trail in November. Police think he injured his assailant, thought to be Lance Leeroy Arrellano. Arrellano, they say, escaped into the Red Rock desert country and has never been found, fueling speculation that his wounds proved fatal.
An afternoon machine gun training exercise by the Utah National Guard at Camp Williams went awry Sept. 19, sparking a fire the Guardsmen couldn't control. It went over a hill into a residential area.
The Herriman fire ultimately consumed more than 4,300 acres and destroyed three homes in the neighborhood north of the camp, forcing evacuation of hundreds of Herriman residents.
The body of 4-year-old Ethan Stacy was found in a remote area near Powder Mountain in May, hours after his mother and stepfather said he'd wandered away during the night from their Layton apartment. The two, Stephanie and Nathan Sloop, have been charged with killing the boy, who was visiting for the summer from Virginia.
Mitchell was found guilty in federal court of charges he kidnapped and sexually assaulted Elizabeth Smart, eight years after he took the 14-year-old from her home at knifepoint.
"I hope that not only is this an example that justice can be served in America, but that it is possible to move on after something terrible has happened, and that we can speak out and we will be heard," a beaming Smart, 23, said shortly after the jury convicted him.