Whirlwind news events don't just happen at the national level - local stories can also grab hold of our attention and refuse to let go.
What follows is a roundup of some of the stories you clicked on most in 2018 here at wvxu.org, from drama at City Hall to a (shockingly controversial) history of Cincinnati chili; a change to Kentucky custody law, a purported "truly anatomical" bike seat, and everything in between.
Ohio Issue 1: The Pros And Cons
By far our most-clicked story of 2018 was an October segment of Cincinnati Edition, where Clermont County Court of Common Pleas Judge Jerry McBride and Executive Director of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center David Singleton hashed out the benefits and drawbacks of the ballot measure, which aimed to change drug possession felonies to misdemeanors, and steer non-violent drug offenders away from prison and into treatment. In the end, many sided with McBride, with 63 percent of Ohioans voting against the measure during the 2018 midterm elections.
New Kentucky Driver's Licenses Are Coming
In 2019, Kentucky begins issuing new REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses, which Congress passed in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. (It limits the ability of those without compliant IDs to board domestic flights or enter federal buildings.)
"Prepare early" was the advice given by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's Jordan Smith. That's good advice, given how many questions y'all had about the changes.
FC Cincinnati's New West End Stadium
In April, FC Cincinnati released a concept for its new soccer stadium in the West End. From the very beginning, the plan had its detractors, with dozens of people showing up at numerous town halls, community council meetings and public hearings to argue against a stadium in the neighborhood. Council passed the deal later that month, and come May, Major League Soccer finally said the words fans had been waiting for. FC Cincinnati broke ground on the site Dec. 18, with March 2020 as the target date for the grand opening.
The Death of Kyle Plush
The 16-year-old died in April after getting trapped in his minivan in the parking lot of Seven Hills School. He called 911 twice, but officers failed to locate him, which led to multiple internal and external investigations into why. The Plush family, however, feels they still do not have an answer.
Cincinnati's Planned Solar Project
In what Mayor John Cranley called the ultimate "think globally, act locally" project, the city announced plans for a 25 mega-watt solar project that would power 25 percent of the city's energy needs. It's expected to be done sometime in 2019, and could be the largest in the U.S.
A 'Truly Anatomical' Bike Seat
Dayton, Oh., physical therapist Shane Page says he has created a bike seat that "accepts our anatomy instead of pressing against it." Page won a University of Dayton competition and plans to sell the so-called Physiosaddle this coming summer.
A New Joint Custody Law In Kentucky
Earlier this year, Governor Matt Bevin signed a law stating that separated parents get joint custody of their children by default (except in cases of domestic violence). It is the first state in the country to implement such a law. Supporters say the law allows for a more stable upbringing, while critics argue it unravels protections against abusive parents and makes it harder for a judge to give one parent more time with children.
The History Of Cincinnati Chili
At the start of chili season, WVXU food writer Julie Niesen wrote a piece about the origins of the iconic Cincinnati chili - spaghetti, topped with a thick, sweet-spiced meat sauce and a pile of bright orange cheese. Our Facebook fans had lots to say about this one, proving there are as many ways to order Cincinnati chili as there are Cincinnatians.
City Charter Amendments
You clicked like crazy on our coverage of Cincinnati's charter amendments on the 2018 ballot, proving that public radio fans love to be informed citizens. That included Issue 12 (passed), which allows City Council to hold executive sessions; and Issue 11 (failed), which would have seen five council members elected to four-year terms while the remaining four would be elected to two-year terms during the next election cycle. Instead, you passed Issue 10, which returns council to two-year terms beginning in 2021.
Fifth Third Center Shooting
In September, the city showed how "Cincy Strong" it was following a shooting at Fifth-Third Center that left two wounded and four dead, including the gunman. First responders were honored for their bravery and victims received touching tributes from those they knew and even those they didn't.
A Personal Remembrance of John McCain
John McCain passed away August 25 at the age of 81 from brain cancer. WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson recalled his many times on the campaign trail with the Arizona senator and former presidential candidate, including that one time he filleted local conservative talk show host Bill Cunningham.
Ferry Brings Rabbit Hash And Rising Sun Together Again
In October, ferry service between Rabbit Hash, Ky., and Rising Sun, Ind., was restored thanks to Rising Star Casino, which decided to build a new ferry in order to connect the two towns, once linked by a thriving commercial trade. The previous ferry, the Mildred, sank in 1945.
Jerry's Springer Takes A Bow
In June, media reporter John Kiesewetter broke the news that Jerry Springer's Springer show was ceasing production. That caused many to speculate whether the 74-year-old would re-enter politics, prompting Howard Wilkinson to reflect on what a "thoughtful" political commentator the former WLWT news anchor could be. Alas, Kiesewetter reported in November that Springer's new show, Judge Jerry, would debut here next fall.
Reds Don't Hold Opening Day Parade On Opening Day
Fans had known since late 2017 that the Reds' Opening Day Parade wouldn't be held on Opening Day thanks to the Easter holiday -- but that didn't stop fans' ire, especially after the parade's proximity to opening day got further delayed due to weather. We wondered: Had the Reds ever delayed opening day due to weather before? "The Reds have rescheduled Opening Day due to rain seven times since they first joined the national league in 1876," Greg Rhodes, team historian and author of seven books on the Reds, told us. In 2019, all returns to normal, with both Reds' opening day and the Opening Day Parade taking place on March 28.
Macy's Closes Downtown Store
The year 2018 started out with some not-so-great news from Macy's, which is headquartered in Cincinnati: the department store would close its Downtown location come March, part of the 100 planned store closures announced in August 2016. "We deeply appreciate the loyalty of our customers and associates and remain committed to the greater Cincinnati area," the company said in a statement. The city's plans for the now-empty space remain to be seen.
Cincinnati Raises Legal Age To Buy Cigarettes
A more recent entrant, a story about an ordinance that raises the legal age to buy cigarettes in the city from 18 to 21 ignited many opinions, most not in favor.
Cincinnati's Connection To Dayton And The Wright Brothers
You loved learning about how Cincinnati was founded, in part, by Colonel Robert Patterson, also the founder of Lexington, Ky. The colonel's family would soon settle in Dayton, but not before another legendary bloodline would enter the area.
Last But Certainly Not Least...
Who could forget all of the drama at City Hall in March over the attempted firing/ultimate resignation of Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black? Let's hope the city's newly appointed city manager fares better in 2019.
Is there a story we missed? Tell us in the comments.