The calendar said 2010, yet this year comes to an end feeling a lot like 2009, at least when it comes to the top news stories of the year.
The poor economy and its far-reaching effects nearly earned the No. 1 spot for the second consecutive year but was bumped to No. 2 by this year's elections.
The election results included the victory of Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, who made last year's list for helping pass President Barack Obama's health care bill.
The Metropolitan Police Department made the list again, this time for controversial shootings and inquest changes that followed.
Sen. John Ensign just made this year's list as investigators closed probes into the affair that landed him on last year's Top 10 list.
The lingering saga of Southern Nevada's hepatitis outbreak returned to the list, as did stories about celebrities.
A few newcomers made this year's list, including the opening of the Hoover Dam bypass bridge and the fatal federal courthouse shootout.
Following are the Top 10 local news stories of 2010 as voted on by the staff of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Pay close attention. There's a good chance a few will be back next year.
1. Local election goes national
On election night, the nation looked to Nevada as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid faced his toughest challenge since eking out a 428-vote victory in 1998.
Many pundits and polls predicted victory for Sharron Angle, who rode a wave of Tea Party support to win the Republican primary and put herself in the national spotlight.
With millions of out-of-state campaign dollars flooding the state, Nevada's mailboxes, websites and televisions became a national battleground.
Angle's campaign hammered Reid on the economy and his support of Obama's legislative agenda, including the health care bill.
Reid's campaign called Angle extreme and focused on her limited-government ideas, such as eliminating Social Security and the Department of Education.
When the votes were in on election night, Reid won by a 5-point margin, and Angle became one of the few Tea Party candidates in the nation who failed to come out on top.
Other Democratic candidates didn't fare as well as the senator on election night, including his son, gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid. He lost to Brian Sandoval, who cruised to victory after unseating Gov. Jim Gibbons in the Republican primary. Gibbons became the first sitting governor in Nevada to lose in the primary.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Dina Titus was narrowly bounced after her first term by Republican Joe Heck.
2. Economy limps along
For the second consecutive year, Nevada was one of the states hardest hit by the lingering national recession. Unemployment reached a record 15 percent, foreclosures shuttered homes on street after street, and the once-booming population fell for the first time since 1920.
State and local governments were left to reconcile budgets with dwindling revenues.
Gov. Jim Gibbons called a special session in February to close an $887 million gap in the $6.9 billion general fund budget. Lawmakers and the governor reached a last-minute deal that will hold the budget over until next year.
At the local level, governments used cutbacks in budgets, union contract concessions and layoffs to balance their books.
Next year doesn't look much better.
State legislators will head to Carson City next month facing at least a $1 billion budget shortfall.
Local government coffers could be raided by the state after a judge's decision last week upheld the state's legal right to do so.
3. Officer-involved shootings
Last year the Metropolitan Police Department made headlines with fatal crashes. This year it was fatal shootings.
While more than 25 people were shot by Las Vegas police officers in 2010, two stood out and generated a public outcry that led to changes in the coroner's inquest process that reviews fatal police shootings.
The first was the June 11 death of Trevon Cole, a small-time pot dealer who was shot during a nighttime drug raid at the apartment the 21-year-old shared with his pregnant girlfriend.
Cole was unarmed and flushing marijuana down the toilet when Brian Yant and other officers burst through the door.
Yant testified that Cole turned toward him in a threatening manner in the darkened bathroom, prompting him to fire a single shot.
Despite contradictory evidence and a strong push by prosecutors to convince the jury that Yant accidentally pulled the trigger, the jury found the shooting justified.
The greatest outcry came after the July 10 shooting of Erik Scott, a U.S. Military Academy graduate, outside the Costco store in Summerlin.
The store was evacuated after the 38-year-old, who had high levels of the painkiller morphine and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in his system, did not leave when an employee told him guns were not allowed inside.
Three officers stopped Scott outside and opened fire after he pulled his holstered handgun and extended it toward them amid a crowd of shoppers. A coroner's inquest jury found the officers' actions justified.
The two shootings lead to proposed changes in inquests, including adding an independent ombudsman to ask questions on behalf of the relatives of those killed. Police union leaders oppose an ombudsman and have said they will advise officers not to testify.
The Clark County Commission will vote on the changes Jan. 4.
4. Shootout at the courthouse
Johnny Lee Wicks walked into the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse carrying a grudge and a shotgun.
When the 66-year-old's Social Security benefits were cut, a long-seated anti-government anger boiled over. He entered the courthouse early Jan. 4 and opened fire with his 12-gauge shotgun.
Court security officer Stan Cooper, a 72-year-old retired Las Vegas police officer, was killed.
Other security officers and deputy U.S. marshals returned fire as a running gunbattle spilled onto Las Vegas Boulevard. A deputy marshal was wounded in the gunfight, which ended across the street when Wicks was shot in the head.
A week later, about 2,000 people attended Cooper's funeral.
5. A new bridge
After five years of building, transportation officials opened the Hoover Dam bypass bridge in October, giving motorists a speedy path across the Colorado River and sightseers a bird's-eye view of the iconic dam.
The largest concrete arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere stretches 1,900 feet across Black Canyon and 900 feet above the Colorado River.
The $240 million project gives truckers a faster route between Las Vegas and cities in Arizona. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, tractor-trailers had been banned from crossing the dam, forcing them to travel 30 extra miles through Laughlin.
The bridge, officially called the O'Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge, includes a pedestrian walkway where people can view the Hoover Dam. The bridge is named after former Nevada Gov. Mike O'Callaghan and Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan after quitting the NFL to join the Army.
6. Hepatitis outbreak aftermath
After a two-year wait, former patients of the endoscopy centers run by Dr. Dipak Desai began to see some justice.
Desai, whose clinics were linked to more than 100 hepatitis C infections because of unsafe injection practices, was indicted in June on 28 criminal counts related to the 2007 outbreak. Two nurse anesthetists also were indicted.
With a March trial date set, lawyers on both sides were battling over whether the 60-year-old is mentally competent to stand trial after he had two strokes.
On the civil side, the first of hundreds of lawsuits went to trial and ended with one of the largest verdicts in Nevada history.
After a two-week trial, the jury awarded $500 million in punitive damages to Henry Chanin and his wife, Lorraine, who sued the drug companies who made and sold the anesthetic used in the endoscopic procedures.
Their product liability lawsuit claimed Teva Parenteral Medicines and Baxter Healthcare Services did not include appropriate warnings against reusing vials between patients. It also claimed the companies should not have sold large vials of propofol to endoscopy centers, because they tempted nurses to reuse the vials instead of throwing away leftover sedative.
Several more trials are on hold pending an appeal of pretrial issues before the Nevada Supreme Court.
7. Disrupted catheters
Medical accident or devilish plot? The question remains unanswered five months after officials at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center revealed 14 "catheter disruptions" that killed one newborn and led to emergency surgery for another.
Before long two nurses who worked in the neonatal intensive care unit, Jessica May Rice and Sharon Ochoa-Reyes, had their nursing licenses suspended, lost their jobs and became "persons of interest" in a Las Vegas police investigation.
Since then both nurses have maintained their innocence, the nursing board reinstated their licenses after finding no evidence of wrongdoing, and national medical safety experts have questioned how the hospital investigated whether the catheter lines were intentionally cut or broke because of a product failure.
Meanwhile, the hospital has changed its catheter supplier, the nurses remain unemployed and the police investigation continues.
8. Lake Mead keeps shrinking
A decade of drought pushed Lake Mead's ever-dropping water level into record territory in October when it fell to the lowest point since it was created.
The last time the lake's surface elevation hit 1,083.18 feet was in 1937, when it was being filled for the first time behind the newly completed Hoover Dam.
Since 1999, the lake's surface has plunged almost 130 feet and water forecasters expect it to hit another record low next year. If the fall continues to 1,075 feet, the federal government would declare the first-ever shortage on the Colorado River.
As if the falling water level wasn't enough to worry about, a $700 million project to build a third water intake pipe into Lake Mead was delayed a year when workers excavating an underground cavern in July hit a fault zone, causing water and debris to pour into the work area.
The third intake will pull from deeper in the reservoir, allowing the flow of water to continue even if levels fall below the two existing straws.
9. Celebrities and the law
Like moths to a flame, celebrities just can't seem to avoid trouble when they flitter toward the lights of Las Vegas.
Pop music singer Bruno Mars, aka Peter Hernandez, was busted in September with cocaine in a restroom at the Hard Rock Hotel after a performance.
A month earlier, police arrested socialite Paris Hilton during a traffic stop on the Strip after a small baggy of cocaine fell out of her purse in front of an officer. She initially denied it was hers but later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug possession.
The trouble wasn't limited to out-of-town celebs.
Rocker Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe was arrested in June on a drunken driving charge after driving 60 mph in a 45 mph zone in his Lamborghini sports car.
In October, Palms owner George Maloof got a DUI after driving 72 mph in a 45 mph zone.
Champion boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. stands charged with poking a Southern Highlands security guard in the face after a confrontation last month over a parking ticket.
The year also included Mayweather being charged with felony domestic battery in the beating of the mother of his children and coming under scrutiny after one of his bodyguards was charged with shooting at a former Mayweather employee outside a skating rink.
10. Ensign's troubles behind him?
Dogged by scandal after admitting to an affair with a former campaign staffer, Sen. John Ensign spent most of 2010 under a cloud of investigations.
But in a span of two weeks in November, the second-term Republican found a ray of sunshine when the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice closed their investigations into the matter.
Investigators were trying to determine whether Ensign broke ethics rules or laws to cover up an affair with Cindy Hampton, his former campaign treasurer and the wife of Doug Hampton, a longtime friend who became his top administrative assistant.
Both Hamptons left Ensign's employ in late April 2008, several months after the affair was discovered and caused rifts between their families. The major allegation centered on Ensign's efforts to call Nevada firms and find lobbying work for Doug Hampton as a way to cushion the aide's departure and loss of salary.
Authorities investigated whether Ensign made his office available to Hampton and his new clients in violation of federal laws that forbid high-level Senate aides from lobbying senators for a year.
The once-rising Republican lawmaker remains under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee.
Contact reporter Brian Haynes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0281.