By Ron Marasco
Another eventful year in Central Iowa came to a close on Monday night .We saw triumph and tragedy, several visits by two guys who wanted to sit in the Oval Office, and the hottest year on record.
Time to look back at what made headlines in Iowa in 2012.
First, the weatherman stayed busy this year. From a warm winter right into a hot summer.
"I've been here in Des Moines for like 18 years, and I've not seen it this hot," said Frank Boksa of the National Weather Service.
The Metro registered more than 70 days over 90 degrees, 11 of those over 100 degrees.
A drought soon followed. People in the Metro were asked to cut their water use by 10 percent.
In December, we made up for the lack of snowfall the previous winter. A blizzard dumped a foot on the metro on December 19th and 20th.
A flurry of political activity, too. The caucuses in January kicked off the run for the White House.
We originally thought Mitt Romney won the Republican nod in the Hawkeye State by a margin of 8 votes. But in April, we found out Rick Santorum actually beat Romney by 34 votes.
Then came the general election. President Obama and Mitt Romney made nearly two dozen visits to Iowa between them.
"This is a choice between two fundamentally different visions of where we need to go as a country," said President Obama back in the Fall.
Obama eventually took the state's six electoral votes and the election in November.
In July, two Evansdale girls captured our attention, along with the nation's. Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrisey disappeared while riding their bikes near Meyers Lake.
"We're just lifting their names up to God and joining with the families and everyone else in the community just asking for a miracle," said pastor Jeff Rasanen from the First Assembly of God Church in Evansdale. He made the comment a week after the girls went missing.
That miracle didn't happen. Hunters discovered their bodies on December 5th.
One thing we learned in 2012: Be careful when using your work email. Outgoing Des Moines Public Schools Superintendent Nancy Sebring found that out the hard way. School officials uncovered more than 40 sexually explicit emails between her and her lover costing Sebring her new job as head of the Omaha School District.
West Des Moines' Shawn Johnson made headlines when she danced her way to 2nd place on Dancing with the Stars All-Stars.
Another West Des Moines gymnast didn't come in second.
"I told my mom I'm moving to Iowa," said Gabby Douglas. "She wasn't on board with that at first, but finally she let me go and now I'm in Iowa."
And the rest is history. Gabby Douglas stole America's heart by a winning an all-around gold in gymnastics at the 2012 summer Olympics in London. The win propelled her to AP Female Athlete of the Year, the first by a gymnast since 1984.
2012 was also a lucky for some other Iowans. Twenty Quaker Oats workers split a $241 million Powerball jackpot, and a Bondurant family won $202 million.