It's rare for a year's worth of newspaper front pages to follow such a clear narrative arc.

Last year, The Outlook's "A Year in Review" stories were clustered by theme rather than chronologically — back then, life unfolded in meandering fashion.

2020, however, was exceptional.

The COVID-19 story was foreshadowed in February with an easy-to-miss staff report on public health procedures, but didn't take center stage until March 24, when the first Tallapoosa County resident was confirmed positive. After that, the story became one of tragedy, but also perseverance, and eventually, hope, as the first vaccine doses finally arrived just before Christmas.

A few non-COVID stories did fight their way to the front page. This year, residents also confronted "golf ball-sized chunks of hail," demonstrated against racism at Strand Park, elected a new mayor and turned out at the November election in record numbers.

We now present The Outlook's "Hindsight is 2020" — relive it if you dare.

Jan. 18

Main office plans to be presented

Developers will present their plans for the Russell Main Office at Tuesday’s Alexander City City Council meeting. But it is not the only thing on the council’s agenda. The council will also be presented with the fiscal year 2017 audit at a work session prior to the meeting. Andrew McGreer with Amadeus Development Group LLC said he will present the developers’ idea of what the old Russell Main Office and property will become.

Feb. 15

Health officials: procedure in place for coronavirus

While there have been no confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in Alabama as of Friday, health officials at the state and local level are keeping a close eye on the virus and have procedures in place to train staff on how to screen patients.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19), is a respiratory disease caused by a new Coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and continues to expand, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

March 13

Alex City nursing homes limiting visits, screening all visitors

Panic has set in over coronavirus around the world, but local officials have clear heads as they ensure proper procedures are in place and take extra precautions.

The NCAA first said no fans then canceled March Madness altogether; President Donald Trump has stopped a lot of travel to and from many locations in Europe; the Southeastern Conference has stopped athletic play until the end of the month; Auburn University has told students to stay home and take classes online until April 10 and nursing homes are restricting access — all over coronavirus.

 

March 14

Schools to close for more than 2 weeks

Cases of coronavirus are appearing across Alabama.

One case was confirmed Friday in Montgomery and another in Jefferson County with four other possible cases as of Friday at 9 p.m., according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Numbers are sure to increase and in an effort to idle the spread of coronavirus Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency and closed public schools beginning Thursday.

 

March 24

At least one confirmed case in county: Alexander City resident confirms positive COVID-19 test

An Alexander City resident came forward Saturday afternoon confirming her husband tested positive for COVID-19.

Although she and her husband, who is in his late 20s, wish to remain anonymous, she has sent documentation to The Outlook from Russell Medical confirming his positive results.

The local couple recently returned home from an out-of-state trip and both began feeling flu-like symptoms shortly after. The woman was diagnosed with the flu by Russell Medical.

 

March 27

'Non-essential' businesses ordered to close

Alabama has issued a new public health order as of Friday morning to close more “non-essential” businesses effective 5 p.m. Saturday. The order will be in place through April 17.

These businesses include places such as salons and spas, gyms and fitness centers, retail stores and more. There are four categories of these businesses being deemed non-essential, including entertainment, close contact service, athletic facilities and retail.

 

April 4

Ivey puts stay-at-home order in effect

Gov. Kay Ivey has officially put a stay-at-home order into effect beginning at 5 p.m. today for the entire state of Alabama.

“Today I am convinced that our previous efforts to limit social interaction and reduce the chance of spreading (the coronavirus) have not been enough,” Ivey said at a press conference Friday

afternoon. “That’s why we are taking this more drastic step.”

 

April 21

Area residents relive Sunday's ravaging storm

As straight-line winds and golf ball-sized chunks of hail bombarded across Tallapoosa and Coosa counties, homes were damaged, cars were destroyed and yards were ravaged. The positive side is as of press time Monday evening, there had been no reports of any deaths or major injuries.

The experience was enough to leave anyone rattled, especially those who endured the brunt of the storm.

 

April 24

Bill Nichols sees nearly 90 coronavirus cases

An investigation continues at Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City as more residents have died due to complications of the coronavirus and there have been nearly 90 positive cases at the facility.

The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs released a statement Thursday stating eight residents died from COVID-19 as 64 residents and 23 employees tested positive after the facility completed testing all staff and residents Saturday. Bill Nichols is currently licensed for 150 beds.

 

May 21

Pomp and social distance

Horseshoe Bend’s valedictorian Korbin Kinman and salutatorian Jessie Eason both shine in academics and extracurriculars, citing hard work as the biggest lesson learned throughout their high school experience.

Although guests were limited and social distancing was enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the seniors celebrated their hard work at a semitraditional graduation ceremony at the school’s football stadium Wednesday evening.

 

June 5

Diverse crowd unifies to protest racism, urges continued conversation

Love and unity was the underlying message at Strand Park on Thursday morning among community members of different races, local officials and anyone with a voice to be heard.

Benjamin Russell graduate Christian Carwell organized a peaceful protest in support of George Floyd, the black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, to stand in solidarity with Floyd’s family and the nationwide issue of racism.

 

July 16

State mask mandate goes into effect today

Gov. Kay Ivey has issued a statewide mask mandate.

Ivey announced in a press conference Wednesday all Alabamians must wear masks when in public and in close contact with other people.

Specifically, the mandate states you must wear a mask when you are within 6 feet of another person from another household in an indoor space open to the public; a vehicle operated by a transportation service; and an outdoor public space where 10 or more people are gathered.

 

Aug 15

New details emerge in cold case

The Coosa County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of Joe Danial Stallions Jr. for the 1999 murder of Bobbie Dale Ingram, 38, and her daughter Jodi Angelia Stallions, 17, on Thursday.

Joe Stallions was the son of Bobbie Ingram and brother of Jodi Stallions and is in the Coosa County Jail charged with two counts of capital murder without bond following his arrest Wednesday.

 

Oct. 7

Woody Baird chosen to lead Alexander City as mayor

Woody Baird has been selected as the new mayor of Alexander City.

Baird got the nod after he garnered 1,776 total votes to incumbent Tommy Spraggins’ 1,696 votes.

“God has directed me here,” Baird said. “This is my place; this is where I’m supposed to be. God has me here for a reason and I’m gonna do my best to make this work and make Alex City a better place.”

 

Nov. 3

Tallapoosa County sees record voter turnout

Tallapoosa County voters voiced their opinion in record numbers in the 2020 General Election.

Nearly two of three registered voters in Tallapoosa County cast ballots Tuesday. The 65.64% turnout eclipses the 45% who cast ballots for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016. Tuesday, 19,108 of Tallapoosa County’s 31,936 registered voters cast ballots in person. A record breaking 1,856 cast votes by absentee ballots. To top it all off, Tallapoosa County officials were done tabulating the votes in record time — just two hours after the polls closed.

 

Nov. 11

COVID-19 cases rise locally

Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise throughout the country and state, but also in Alexander City and Tallapoosa County.

In the last two weeks, the Alabama Department of Public Health has reported 160 cases in the county and more than 20,000 across the state in the same time frame. New cases of COVID-19 appear to be affecting many across Alexander City and Tallapoosa County.

Tallapoosa County has seen as many as 25 new cases in a day and several other days with more than 10 new cases.

 

Nov. 11

Alexander City Schools to temporarily shift to virtual learning

All schools within the Alexander City Schools system are temporarily making the move to virtual learning.

According to a Wednesday evening announcement, school will be conducted in the traditional, face-to-face model Thursday and Friday and virtual learning will be effective Monday, Nov. 16. Alexander City Middle School students remain on the plan set in place earlier this week.

 

Dec. 16

COVID vaccine arrives

Dadeville’s Lake Martin Community Hospital was one of the first 20 Alabama hospitals to receive the first batch of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines with 950 doses arriving at its facility this morning, Ivy Creek Healthcare marketing director Heidi Smith said.