No column this week. The family company, roaring fire and glass of 16-year-old single malt Scotch were too much to give up. But the column will be back in the Voice section Jan. 3.
Don't despair, though. The blog will still be active, starting with a wrap-up of the biggest stories of the year.
No doubt the "Biggest Story of 2008" honors will go to the sordid saga of Kyle, the teenage boy who escaped apparent abuse and captivity in a Tracy home. Four adults were arrested on suspicion of torturing him, and the trial will be back in the news early in 2009.
However, it's far from the most important story of 2008 in Tracy. Kyle's story certainly grips the imagination and headlines (it's not every day a bloody body races into a health club with a chain around his ankle and pleads for help), but these 10will undoubtedly have a far greater impact on our community, in no particular order:
• Ellis project gains approval
• Holly Sugar selected as sports park site over Schulte
• Delta College trustees waste millions of taxpayer money
• Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta stretched to the breaking point
• Ives wins re-election as Tracy mayor; Abercrombie, Maciel elected to City Council
• Foreclosures sweep through San Joaquin County
• More people than ever apply for charity assistance
• City wins public records lawsuit on technicality
• Economy takes nosedive
• Gas prices soar for summer, slump in winter
And of course, in the non-local category, Number 1 goes to Barack Obama winning the presidency in a landslide over John McCain after one of the longest campaign seasons in history.
Did any stories make your Top 10 list for 2008 that didn't make it into print here? Let us know. The list is open for revision.