Editorial: Looking Back on the News of 2010 in Clarke County

As we all take a few moments to reflect on the past year and look forward to what 2011 will bring, we at the Clarke Daily News would like to take this opportunity to look back on the past year in local news.

Our effort to return local news to Clarke County launched a little over one year ago. Our first official post was put online on December 17, 2009. Since that time our site has had 219,800 visits with 731,104 page views. In one year’s time our writers and contributors have written and posted 1,290 articles.

When looking back over the news of 2010, events like “Snowmagedden” and the construction of the new high school certainly led the way, but we thought we would adopt a slightly different measure for the news in review for Clarke County and provide the top ten most commented articles of 2010.

One of the features our site provides is the ability for the community to discuss the news in an open forum. The comments on articles provide a voice for people to say things they think but may be reticent to discuss openly in a small town. This has proven volatile at times. While we make every effort to moderate in a way that allows for productive discussion, inevitably some comments will ruffle some feathers. However, discussions in any forum will always have people voicing and defending positions that will not be shared by everyone. It is the nature of any conversation and we believe conversation is a good thing. While some readers have been very outspoken about our policy, we believe it provides a valuable feedback mechanism for the residents of our community. The goal is to allow discussion where none was possible before. Based on the data from our site, our readers agree. The 1290 articles on our site have generated a staggering 4,313 comments.

So as we reflect on the year in news, the measuring stick for significance in this top ten list is the number of comments articles generated. Here’s our retrospective list:

  1. Manslaughter Charges Filed in Connection to Death of Aaron Shirley – 268 comments
    The tragic death of Clarke County High School student Aaron Shirley shook the community to the foundation. The accident involved underage drinking and caused the entire community to face the problem.
  2. Amir Banks Named in Connection with Aaron Shirley Death – 149 comments
    Once the driver in the accident that claimed Aaron Shirley’s life was identified the community was forced to wrestle with issues of forgiveness and punishment.
  3. School Board Told that Teacher Salaries & Computers Need Funding Boost –   118 comments
    In times of tight budgets and limited funds the Clarke County Education Association representative made an appeal for specific funding considerations and the community responded to the issue.
  4. Letter to the Editor: Clarke County Band Association Fund Raiser Denied – 117 comments
    The only “Letter to the Editor” to make the list was an appeal for fairness in fundraising procedures at the high school and it garnered a significant response.
  5. Remodeling Project Underway at the Former Lighthouse Restaurant – 110 comments
    The beleaguered property that was the Lighthouse Restaurant has undergone some significant changes over the past year and readers had a wide array of opinions on the changes.
  6. Clarke Community Seeks Answers on Underage Drinking – 97 comments
    Brought into the public consciousness by the death of Aaron Shirley, underage drinking became a lightning rod for conversation.
  7. School News Round-Up – No Guitar Heroes At CCPS – 96 comments
    A dust up over the scheduling of Band Camp lead to discussion of teachers salaries.
  8. Survey Finds Young Farmers Optimistic But Concerned Over Activists – 95 comments
    This was the earliest post in the list and veered from farming into animal cruelty and the agricultural community in Clarke responded.
  9. Sex Ed Coming to Clarke Schools 90 comments
    As Family Life Education makes a planned return to the curriculum in Clarke, residents voiced opinions on education and morality.
  10. Ashburn Man Arrested in Metro Terror Plot – 66 comments
    An incident with local connections to terrorism launched a long back and forth discussion about racial profiling and safety issues.

There were many more comments and many more issues that are near and dear to Clarke County and we hope to continue bringing the news to you in 2011. We would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our readers and contributors and extend our wishes for a happy and prosperous new year to you all.


  1. I for one ‘discovered’ CDN in July. My thanks to the CDN editors and writers for keeping me informed as to what is ‘happening’ in my local community.

    Since you are an on-line paper. Your readers can ‘harvest’ world, national, state news from many sources but to get local news is a rare find.

    Thank you to CDN for focusing on issues in and around Clarke County.

    Here are a few of my personal favorites from 2010: youth (local kids raise funds for animal shelter, summer stock of Arabian Nites play), school events (since I do not have children in school any more it is good to keep touch with school events, sports reporting, plays, and FFA oranges sale-yumm), commerce, (Trick of the Trade, Berryville Grill), arts (Music in the Park, Barns of Rose Hill), people (obitituriary, births, celebrations, lottery winners, local personalities), Police, Sherriff reports, traffic alerts, (oversized shipments on Rt 7, road closings because of wires on the road), local celebrations/events (July 4th, Enders VFD events, Boyce Centennial, Clarke Co Studio Tours, Parking meter decorations, Santa).

    Oh, I would be remise in not mentioning that is was good to know I was not the only one who was infested with ‘dem stinkin’ bugs.

  2. Laura Bohall says:

    I am SO grateful for this outstanding local news source. Thank you, thank you!!
    Especially for your continuing focus on the schools in Clarke County. As a PTO rep and teacher sub I witness the efforts of Clarke County school employees to give our children all the oppoutunities and advantages possible in a school day, every day. Your coverage reminds us that it actually does take a village to raise our youth. Allowing comments on articles gives us a voice to be heard and reckoned with. Your photography gives us insight into corners of Clarke not to be missed. Thank you!

  3. Sarge Willis says:

    Happy New Year to CDN and their staff. I hope to be still making comments on your 10th anniversary.

  4. It can be difficult to measure the impact a local resource such as CDN has on it’s community. The data provided above is a clear testament to CDN’s impact on Clarke County. Without this fantastic resource residents would have a difficult time obtaining local information that was important to them.

    Thank you for the time and energy spent by CDN and staff providing this valuable resource. If there were a donate button I certainly would.

    Happy New Year!