2012 will be remembered in Central Virginia as a year where our region made national headlines, both good and bad, and was elevated onto a grander stage on several fronts.
Most notably, the Washington Redskins announced its decision to move its training camp to Richmond beginning next year. While the City came under scrutiny for its handling of the plans, the move itself will bring national media to the River City for years to come.
Richmond and Petersburg were also showcased on a national level in Steven Spielberg's biopic Lincoln, which was filmed primarily in the two cities. The movie has already garnered a number of award nominations and generated some tourism buzz for the area.
RVA also managed to make headlines overseas, through both triumph and controversy. James River High School alumnus Kellie Wells overcame sexual abuse to not only make the U.S. Olympic women's hurdles team, she also returned home from London with a bronze medal.
Meanwhile, local rocker Randy Blythe was at the center of a controversy in the Czech Republic. The Lamb of God frontman was arrested in Prague on manslaughter charges over the death of a fan at a show. He's now awaiting trial.
Severe weather hit Central Virginia, though the area was spared the worst of a pair of storms. Derecho became a household term after strong winds knocked out power to thousands in the area.
Residents hunkered down in preparation for Hurricane Sandy a few months later, only to find the devastation centered farther to the north.
A long, grueling political season came to an end in November with several close races. President Obama won Virginia for a second time, on his way to securing reelection. Tim Kaine beat fellow former governor George Allen for Senate, ending Allen's political career. Mayor Dwight Jones also was re-elected, however several Richmond City Council members found themselves unseated.
State lawmakers found themselves ensnared in a couple of controversies that had some questioning how progressive the Commonwealth was in terms of equal rights. Omens' rights came into question as the General Assembly debated a bill that would call for a transvaginal ultrasound prior to an abortion.
Gay rights were at issue when a Richmond prosecutor was denied a judicial appointment due to a history of gay rights advocacy.
Chesterfield was shook by a pair of tragedies. First, an elementary student died at school from allergy complications after being exposed to a peanut.
Then, an Altria executive disappeared from her Midlothian home in a case that still hasn't led to any arrests.
Virginia nearly failed to stage a state fair after the State Fair of Virginia declared bankruptcy. However, a new buyer and a new deal led to a slightly scaled-down version of the fair being held.
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