Friday, January 1, 2010

Decade in Review/ 2009

Welcome to the 7th and final post in the series Decade in Review! Feel free to browse through the previous posts as well, since unfortunately they are kinda backwards on here! At any rate, here is the post on 2009. These posts reflect my personal opinions on what was "decade-worthy", and everyone will have their own personal list I'm sure! Enjoy, and welcome to 2010!!
- 2009 -

On the 15th of January, 2009, I recorded the coldest local temperature of the decade, at minus 25.8 degrees. In fact, January 2009 was the coldest entire month of the decade as well!

On the 21st of January, 2009, another presidential inauguration took place in Washington D.C. Liberals cheered, and conservatives groaned as the newly elected president Barack Obama was sworn in.

In late February, a well known American icon, Paul Harvey died. For over 60 years, Americans had listened to his familiar voice on the radio, and always looked forward to his popular “The Rest of the Story” programming. Paul Harvey was one of the longest running radio personalities, and also a syndicated columnist. Americans loved his straight-forward and sometimes controversial approach to reporting the news, whether it was politically related or just an odd story, everyone was left begging for more. He passed away on February 28th, 2009, at the ripe old age of 90.

After a very cold mid-winter, a very early thaw with heavy rains threatened to flood many river valleys across the plains and the Midwest. On March 28th, 2009, the notorious Red River in Fargo, North Dakota crested 22 feet above flood stage, setting a new record hight at 40.8 feet. With many dedicated volunteers who poured in from many states and National Guard troops working round the clock, giant levees were hastily constructed to hold back the massive river in Fargo, North Dakota. Luckily, all but one of the dikes held, sparing large portions of the city from significant flooding.

Our field flooded, February 2009

On the 25th of June, 2009, my mom's dog Dutchess died at the age of 12 years. She had been ailing for some time with a heart condition and several related illnesses, so we were prepared for the inevitable.

I should also note here of another death that occurred on the 25th of June, 2009, and rattled the pop-culture world to its foundations. The death of the eccentrically strange but hugely popular pop star Michael Jackson at age 50 affected the entire world, and so deserves a mention in this Decade Review. Michael Jackson's death did not affect me, and I was glad that I didn't have to worry about what weird thing he would do next!

My mom had been looking at getting a replacement puppy, and we found a reputable breeder in Oshkosh that had puppies for sale. We made the drive down to Oshkosh on August 17th, 2009, and brought back the newest addition to the Wiltrout clan! A little male, we named him Toby, though I have since expanded it to Tobias! He has been growing significantly over the last few months, from just over 3 pounds when we got him, to a good 17 now at the end of 2009!

Another thing worthy of note for 2009, and perhaps of decade significance- though I'm not sure, was our decision to cut down our ailing elm tree and all its friends that graced the center of our parking lot at Robert Wiltrout Nursery. The elm had contracted Dutch Elm Disease in late 2007, and managed to hang on through 2008, before succumbing in early 2009. As it was the nicest tree of the clump, we decided to cut them all down, and drastically increase our cramped parking area. Though the tree was about 2 feet thick, it was surprisingly only 50 years old as evidenced by the growth rings. The great cut occurred on November 5 after careful planning, and I recorded the entire episode which can be watched in time-lapse here.

The last major decade-worthy event, as of the writing of this article on December 29, 2009, was the major Midwest Blizzard of December 8 &9, 2009. Locally, the snowstorm dropped 13.1 inches at Eau Claire, with countless towns reporting at least a foot of snow. Here in Chippewa Falls, it was the largest snowstorm of the decade. The storm snarled traffic and produced blizzard conditions from the Central Plains states all the way across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan before exiting into Canada. Further south, the storm ceremoniously dumped many inches of rain. While that storm was our “snowstorm of the decade”, the snowstorm of the decade for the East Coast came ten days later. On the 17th and 18th of December, a huge snowstorm raced up the East Coast, dumping snowfalls of close to 2 feet from North Carolina north to D.C. and New York City. Ironically, this was the same time as the “climate summit” at Copenhagen, Denmark, to decide how to fix global “warming”. The president flew back from Denmark into the worst snowstorm of the decade!! One more major snowstorm plowed into the Midwest on Christmas Eve, and dumped close to a foot of snow across the Plains. Here in Wisconsin, we were largely spared major snow accumulations from that storm, as the snow turned to rain instead. With that, the “December to Remember” as termed by senior meteorologist Joe Bastardi came to a close.

With a very snowy December, 2009 ended with a flourish the eventful decade of the 2000's, and the first decade of the 21st century. As we look ahead to 2010, it's a new year and a new decade. Have we learned from the mistakes of the past decade? Will this decade be better than the last one? Since history can not be rewritten, how can we expect the next decade to be better if we do not learn from the mistakes of the previous one? May we learn from our mistakes in the last decade and do better! God Bless, and here's to a prosperous decade of the “2010's”!



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