The past 12 months have been hectic to say the least. Gone, it seems, is the slow pace of life so many people long associated with rural living. As eastern Wake County has become more suburban, the pace of life — and news — has increased.
Here's a look at some of the biggest news stories of 2008. Feel free to comment if you think we've left something out.
The nation's biggest big-box made news throughout the region in 2008. Wal-Mart pulled out of plans to anchor a new shopping center in Knightdale. That decision effectively scuttled the entire project for developer Rick Rowe. He faced stiff opposition from neighbors who didn't want the commercial development in their backyard. Meanwhile, in Zebulon there were no such problems with neighbors as Wal-Mart opened its store on N.C. 97 at U.S. 264. The opening of that store has brought with it several other chains, including Alltel, RadioShack and Murphy Oil.
Business news was a regular part of the news junkie's diet in 2008 as the housing market crumbled and banks started admitting problems with risky subprime mortgages. No banks in eastern Wake County have shuttered their doors, but the pace of residential development has slowed to a crawl as developers find it difficult to gain access to credit. The biggest victim of the credit crunch appears to be the developers of Wendell Falls who have all but stopped work on a project that would triple the town's population.
The past year also saw an historic election. Barack Obama defeated John McCain for the presidency, becoming the first black person to ever win that office. Before Obama defeated McCain he had to fend off a challenge from former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton who entered 2008 as the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination. Her campaign included a barnstorming visit to North Carolina by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who held a rally in downtown Zebulon just a few days before the North Carolina primary in May.
Next week's print edition of the Eastern Wake News will include a closer look of what made the headlines in 2008.