Chicago's 2009 in review

December 29, 2009 (CHICAGO) We started '09 with a hockey game at Wrigley Field and an end-game for a governor in Springfield, as Rod Blagojevich became the first Illinois governor to be impeached.

But not before he gave Roland Burris the job of U.S. senator, the very seat the governor was accused of trying to sell.

And the man who left the Senate to become the first African-American president of the United States took the oath before a huge crowd in Washington. Barack Obama became the nation's 44th president.

With Rod Blagojevich removed from office, Pat Quinn stepped up to the top job in the state. Not long ago, people would have called that move as unlikely as the Sears Tower being named – "whatcha talkin' 'bout?" – Willis.

But that happened too.

Holy Name Cathedral was damaged by a fire, part of the Empress Casino burned in Joliet, but both the casino and the cathedral rebuilt and reopened.

Rod Blagojevich remained in the news, with his federal indictment, reality TV, book tour and hitting the talk shows.

Drew Peterson was arrested and charged with the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. There's still no sign of his fourth wife, Stacey Peterson.

We lost some great Chicagoans and those with ties to Chicago.

The Chicago Bulls' Norm Van Lier, broadcaster Johnny "Red" Kerr, the legendary Paul Harvey -- our own James Ward, Koko Taylor, and Gary's Michael Jackson -- a music giant.

Filmmaker John Hughes passed away.

So did Eunice Shriver, with her passion for Special Olympics, and Chicagoans remembered Ted Kennedy.

Christopher Kelly, the former fundraiser and aide to governor Rod Blagojevich, took his own life, as did Michael Scott, the Chicago School Board President.

We lost two Chicago-area soldiers in the shootings at Fort Hood: Francheska Velez and Michael Pearson.

A scandal unfolded at Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, and four employees were charged with digging up graves and reselling the plots.

Broadcast television went digital -- thanks for re-scanning.

Kiddieland closed down -- thanks for the memories.

Mayor Daley marked 20 years on the job, and Mrs. Daley continued her fight against cancer.

In sports, the Cubs got a new owner in the Ricketts family, the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane had a tussle in a taxi, the Fire made it to the playoffs and Chicago's hopes for the 2016 Olympics were dashed in Copenhagen, leaving the crowd stunned in Daley Plaza.

There was a party on the Mag Mile, as Oprah threw a bash to kick-off her new season, then later, in tears, she told us her show was coming to a close.

Some of us got cash for clunkers, many of us lined up for H1N1 flu shots, and no one seems to want Asian Carp.

There's still the question if Illinois should want to take terror suspects from Gitmo.

And after a year like that, maybe what we need is a good laugh. The Second City capped 50 years.

Here's hoping your smile lasts well through 2010.

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