The story of any newspaper is, in large part, told by the stories covered in its pages. Here are some of the highlights of the first decade of the Hesperia Star's coverage:


2000


In the very first issue of the Star, published April 11, 2000, featured the cover story "On the rack: DCs hold the city's future," by the Star's first editor, Hans Meyer. Today, the 435,000 square foot warehouse and distribution center on Amargosa Road no longer houses Heilig-Meyers -- the company made the decision to leave the city four months after the first issue of the Star hit newsstands -- but a variety of smaller businesses.


That same month, the Star covered the upcoming enforcement of a new signage ordinance that prohibited most off-site signage. The rule would not be reversed until 2009, when the Hesperia City Council voted for a temporary moratorium for portions of the ordinance to help local businesses through the ongoing recession.


The Hesperia Unified School District also approved the end of year-round schooling and the return to a traditional school. The HUSD's voluntary school uniform policy was also struck down the same year.


Hesperia City Councilwoman Diana Nourse accused Mayor Pro Tem Bill Jensen of improperly billing the city for personal expenses, including hotel rooms in Las Vegas and Malibu.


The city also began to rebound from the housing bust of the late 1990s, with the city's population rising to 63.589 by September 2000.


Tad Honeycutt was elected to the Hesperia City Council in November, and incumbent Dennis Nowicki was elected for his second term. Incumbents Dee Dee Shore and Bob Chandler were reelected to the Hesperia Recreation and Park District board of directors the same day.


Robb Quincey was hired as Hesperia's city manager.


2001


Despite two past failures at the ballot box, the HUSD school board votes to put a $35 million bond on the June ballot. The money was to be used to fund new schools and repair old ones. Only 36 percent of voters voted in favor of it.


In February the school board approved the district's first charter school, Crosswalk Higher Education Learning Pathways.


Richard Doornbos publishes his first column in the Hesperia Star -- and continues to appear in the paper's pages today.


The city of Hesperia sends out "Visioning" surveys to residents about what they want to see for the city's future, the priorities of its leaders and city services. Almost 70 percent of respondents said they do most of their shopping in Victorville.


The city spends $1.2 million to pave 28 streets. Issues with the conditions of Hesperia's roads are consistently one of residents' top complaints.


The Hesperia Planning Commission approves the city's first wind turbine, located on Danbury Avenue.


The September 11 issue of the Hesperia Star, which went to press several days before the attacks on New York City and Washington, DC, features a lead story discussing how increased development impact fees might affect the city's rebounding real estate market.


HUSD students raise more than $30,000 in less than a month to aid victims of the 9/11 attacks.


City mascot Josh the Joshua Tree makes his first appearance in 2001's Hesperia Days parade.


In October, the Hesperia Star gets the legal go-ahead to begin running legal ads in the classified ad section. The ads go on to become an important part of the paper's bottom line.


The city's annual Christmas tree lighting moves to the corner of Main Street and C Avenue, where it will remain until 2008, when it move to the newly opened Hesperia Civic Plaza Park.


2002


The city council, including Councilwoman Diana Nourse, vote for Bill Jensen mayor. Eighteen months prior, Nourse has accused him of improperly spending city funds on personal expenses. The four council members cite the outpouring of support by residents at that night's council meeting as the deciding factor in their decision.


The city applies for state grant funds to build a new library and solicits input from residents on what their dream library would be.


Hesperia's water is named the best tasting in the United States at the 12th annual Berkley Springs International Water competition in West Virginia.


Founding Hesperia Star editor Hans Meyer steps down in May, heading down Interstate 81 to the Star's sister paper in Barstow, the Desert Dispatch. Staff writer Randall Huntley succeeds him as editor.


California Charter Academy breaks ground in Hesperia in August.


Rita Vogler and Ed Pack are elected to the Hesperia City Council.


Local historian donates his collection of historical artifacts, valued at $150,000, to the Hesperia Recreation and Park District. The collection is to be housed in the Harrison Building, a house on Main Street that had previously been donated to the district as well.


2003


In February, former Lucerne Valley Leader editor Ellen Porter took over as the third editor of the Hesperia Star.


Porter was the first editor to chronicle the challenges facing toddler Jayson Sebby, who faced life-threatening cancer as a child.


Forty-six teachers received pink slips from the HUSD, in an attempt to plug a $1.3 million budget deficit.


In the May 27 issue, Porter wrote a piece entitled "Council: Casino just rumor," in which Councilwoman Rita Vogler and Mayor Dennis Nowicki disavowed any knowledge of a tribe seriously looking at Hesperia as a casino site.


The news that the state would be taking vehicle licensing fee revenue -- which traditionally had gone into local governments' coffers -- had city officials scrambling to come up with ways to maintain the same levels of fire and police service in the city.


In June, the Star welcomed a new assistant editor, Peter Day, who that week wrote about a Las Vegas architect designing a casino for Hesperia. The architecture firm had called the Star seeking a subscription and ended up on the phone with Day. Mayor Nowicki continued to insist that, until there was signed paperwork, it was "pure speculation" that a tribe was planning on bringing a casino to Hesperia.


And in July, the city broke their silence on the casino issue, releasing the results of a poll that said 52 percent of Hesperia residents were in favor of a casino located within the city. The proposed Timbisha-Shoshone tribal casino would sit on 57 acres west of Interstate 15 and south of Main Street, adjacent to where the High Desert Gateway shopping center now stands. The project would reportedly generate more than $6 million a year in direct payments to the city.


The casino issue dominated the rest of the year, with the HUSD and religious leaders coming out against the project. Three out of the five members of the city council were also in support of the project.


In October, the southern portion of Hesperia was evacuated, as the flames of the Old Fire advanced on the city.


With the support of the HUSD's teachers union, Bruce Minton and Helen Rogers are elected to the school board. During their term, the school board elections were synchronized with the elections of the city council and park district, saving the HUSD from paying for poll workers and polling stations all on their own.


In December, Peter Day was named the editor of the Hesperia Star. He would go on to be the Star's longest-serving editor, and holds the position to this day.


2004


The first three months of the year were focused on an off-again, on-again referendum putting the question of the casino before the voters -- sort of. In reality, the Measure X vote was simply whether residents wanted the city to accept any revenue from the casino, but both supporters and opponents framed it as a vote on the casino itself. In the end, 58 percent of voters approved the agreement between the city and casino.


Despite a standing-room-only crowd of angry firefighters and supporters, the Hesperia City Council voted in April to shut down the Hesperia Fire Department and replace them with contracted San Bernardino County Fire Department firefighters.


In a clash of cultures between long-time residents and newly arrived Hesperians, the Hesperia City Council banned off-roading in much of the city. Today, residents with large tracts of private property can ride on their own land, but riding on public land and privately owned "vacant" property is prohibited.


The HUSD announced plans to open two sixth-grade only schools as a temporary measure to avoid anticipated overcrowding.


The Hesperia Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 50th anniversary in a gala held in the former Heilig-Meyers distribution center.


As a thank you for years of help with transportation funding, the Hesperia City Council renamed Ranchero Road Jerry Lewis Parkway after the Republican congressman. Residents were unamused, and showed up in force at the next council meeting, and the city council quickly voted to reverse their decision.


Firefighter Mike Leonard is elected to the Hesperia City Council, and Tad Honeycutt is reelected. Dennis Nowicki, who spent a then-record amount on his campaign -- $90,602 -- loses his bid for a third term.


2005


Record flooding hits the city, filling some homes with mud and washing out Rock Springs Road. City engineer Mike Podegracz says the city inherited its drainage issues, but officials say there isn't enough money for a storm drain system in the city. When Podegracz is named interim city manager later in the year, he and the city's top financial officer, Brian Johnson, find room in the budget to begin a storm drain system.


In April, an audit tracing the causes of the California Charter Academy's financial implosion is released. City councilman Tad Honeycutt is mentioned more times in the 107 pages of the audit than anyone other than CCA founder C. Steven Cox. School board member Eric Swanson and Supervisor Bill Postmus are also mentioned briefly in the pages of the audit, although the auditors stop short of accusing any of them of actual criminal wrongdoing. But the auditors do say CCA officials -- who oversaw a chain of 36 charter school sites across the state -- misused $23 million in taxpayer funds.


Despite Measure X's approval the year before, no progress is made on the Hesperia casino, as the two warring factions of the Timbisha-Shoshone tribe -- one based in Bishop, the other in Newberry Springs in Death Valley -- each set up their own rival tribal councils, both of which claim to be the only legal representatives of the tribe. Their fight is then trumped by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's declaration in May that he will not approve any casinos in urban areas -- and using the federal government's definition of an "urbanized area," Hesperia is listed on the no-casinos list his office releases.


Podegracz officially replaced city manager Robb Quincy -- who left for a comparable position in Upland -- in August.


A new six-lane interchange at Main Street and Interstate 15 opened in November, after months of construction and a decade of planning.


A local mailman outraged about the state of Hesperia's roads sets up a Web site as a lightning rod for discontent about how the city spends its money. His activism and the notoriety gained from PaveRoadsFirst.com eventually lands Paul Bosacki a seat on the Hesperia City Council.


2006


For the first time since the early 1990s, Hesperia City Hall is open five days a week -- previously, it was closed every other Friday as a cost-cutting measure.


In March, the HUSD moved its district offices from portable classrooms on the edge of Mesa Grande Elementary School to an unoccupied medical office building on Main Street.


In another move that also becomes a campaign issue later in the year, the district forms its own photography department to take school photographs and print yearbooks in-house.


A year after the CCA audit, Honeycutt says that he has yet to speak to a law enforcement agency about the failed chain of charter schools.


The Hesperia Art Club celebrates its 40th anniversary.


After 19 years on the HUSD school board, Jack Hamilton announces that he will not seek reelection. Richard Hall, who had served 16 years on the board of the Hesperia Recreation and Park District, also announced he would not seek reelection: Instead, he made an unsuccessful run for a seat on the Hesperia City Council.


HUSD superintendent Dick Bray leaves his position at the start of the 2006-2007 school year, handing the reins over to Deputy Superintendent of Personnel Hank Richardson.


Cooking columnist Charlene Peters begins her monthly column in the Hesperia Star in October with a selection of recipes suitable for watching football games at home.


Hesperia City Hall moves from a strip mall on Main Street to a new location on Seventh Avenue, next door to a 20,000 square foot library. The library becomes one of the county's busiest, with thousands of Hesperians signing up for library cards each year.


After waiting 22 years, Hesperia High School gets its own football stadium. An estimated 3,700 fans watch the Scorpions celebrate by trampling the Victor Valley Jackrabbits, 42-0.


Thurston "Smitty" Smith trades his seat on the Hesperia Recreation and Park Board for a city council seat, as Rita Vogler and Ed Pack are reelected. Jack Hamilton, who did not run for the seat during the election, is appointed in January to replace Smith on the park board.


Three current and retired teachers are elected to the HUSD school board, bringing with them very definite ideas on things they want do and how to go about doing them: Hardy Black, Robert Kirk and Lee Rogers. The night they're sworn in, the three outline ambitious plans for three school board meetings a month, throwing out an elementary school construction bid they say was improperly awarded, possibly changing the school calendar, moving the district to a "site-based management" system where each school has more control over its own destiny and shutting down the HUSD's two sixth-grade-only schools.


Rebekkah Swanson (whose husband Eric lost a school board reelection bid on Election Night), Mike Limbaugh and Richard Lupton are reelected to the park board.


Two Hesperia sisters, 20-year-old Audrey Delgadillo and 17-year-old sister Stephanie, raise their three younger sisters while both of the family's parents are serving in Iraq. The Star's December feature on the Delgadillo sisters leads to international media attention for the family.


2007


Former city councilman Theron Honeycutt, the father of Tad Honeycutt and the husband of former Assemblywoman Kathleen Honeycutt, pleads guilty to child rape and assault in Vancouver, Washington. He is sentenced to six months in jail, three years in a sex offenders treatment program and 120 months of a suspended sentences and lifelong parole.


The newly elected trio of school board members make good on their announced intentions and vote to close the HUSD's two sixth-grade only schools before the start of the 2008-2009 school year. Another of their planned changes don't go quite as well, as explorations of moving the district to the Apple Valley Unified School District calendar -- not coincidentally the district where many of the HUSD's teachers live -- meets with strong push-back from parents.


In March, the Hesperia Recreation and Park District celebrated its 50th anniversary.


In April, dozens of residents were evacuated as the Roll Over Fire threatened portions of southern Hesperia near Ranchero Middle School.


Two years after the CCA audit was released, the Federal Bureau of Investigation closes its investigation without filing charges. The San Bernardino County District Attorney's public integrity unit indicates that they, on the other hand, are still in the process of building a case.


After 41 years, the Hesperia Art Club leaves the city, heading for a new home in Apple Valley.


The Hesperia City Council votes to add "one nation under God" signage to council chambers.


The HUSD school board hires the most expensive, slowest, least-experienced, most-poorly evaluated bidder for Oak Hills High School, and announces their intention to hire an outside consultant to oversee the project for $10,000/month. Other bidders stop short of openly threatening legal action -- but outline the criminal and civil case against the district if the action is not reversed. The board reverses the action.


The three newly elected school board members are hit with a recall notice. Former school board member Lori Nielson spearheads the recall. The recall fails early in 2008.


After 51 weeks on the job, HUSD Superintendent Hank Richardson leaves his job. He's paid to stay at home, collecting his $166,525 annual salary until August 2009, and is legally barred from disparaging or suing the school board. Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Mark McKinney is named interim superintendent and is given the job on a permanent basis in March.


San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Deputy Paul Solorio is wounded during a shoot-out with men attempting to rob the Cigmart on Main Street. He is the first Hesperia deputy to be shot in the line of duty. Solorio recovers and returns to duty.


Councilman Thurston Smith's son Brandon, 19, dies in a motorcycle accident during the Adelanto Grand Prix.


Tad Honeycutt and CCA founder C. Steven Cox are arrested. Honeycutt is charged with 15 counts of misappropriation of public funds, 15 counts of grand theft, three counts of failure to file a state tax return and a count of filing a false tax return. If convicted, he faces 20 years in prison. Neither has yet gone to trial. Honeycutt refuses to step down from his seat on the city council, but does not seek reelection in 2008.


2008


Councilwoman Rita Vogler declares her intention to challenge Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt for his seat in the June election. She loses, but the various primary challengers cost Mitzelfelt more than half a million dollars.


After years of considering the city's application, the California Department of Transportation green lights the Ranchero Road Underpass, a decades-in-the-making pass beneath the BNSF railroad tracks that bisect the city. The under crossing would give Hesperians a second way to cross the tracks, other than the often-congested Main Street overpass.


Facing a budget deficit, the HUSD school board pink slips 54 teachers.


In April, after weeks of public meetings, the city council toughens restrictions on truck and RV parking, over the objections of truckers who call the city home.


In June, Hesperia celebrates its 20th anniversary with a celebration at the new Hesperia Civic Plaza Park.


During the public comments portion of the HUSD school board, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services George Landon announces that he's quitting.


As a record number of California homeowners go into foreclosure, the number of Hesperians in foreclosure triples from the year before.


Citing health concerns, school board member Bruce Minton announces during an August school board meeting his intent to resign his position at the end of the month.


Founding father Val Shearer dies in August. He was one of the city's first councilmen and on the park board before that.


A SuperTarget opens in the High Desert Gateway Shopping Center on Main Street, adjacent to what was theoretically going to be the Timbisha-Shoshone tribal casino. The store is the largest new retailer to open in the city in more than a decade.


Paul Bosacki and Mike Leonard are elected to the city council.


Chris Bentley and Anthony Riley are elected to the school board.


2009


The school board votes to lay off 198 employees, including 181 teachers. Later budget cuts by the district restore more than 100 jobs.


Newly elected school board member Chris Bentley launches a new recall against fellow board member Robert Kirk. Kirk says he will resign within 60 days if Bentley goes through with filing the recall papers but, when Bentley does, he instead steps down as board president. Bentley's recall, like Lori Nielson's recall before it, fails to gather enough signatures to put Kirk's recall before the voters.


After 17 years in Hesperia, the Hesperia Native American Pow-Wow is canceled in March, after organizers and the Hesperia Recreation and Park District fail to see eye-to-eye on rules for vendors. The pow-wow moved to Apple Valley in 2010.


In July, the Hesperia Civic Market and Street Faire -- a joint project of the city and park district -- debuts in Hesperia Civic Plaza Park.


Oak Hills High School opens in August 10 for freshmen, sophomores and juniors. (Seniors will be added in the 2010-2011 school year.) The HUSD is the only school district in the Victor Valley with three comprehensive high schools.


Hesperia High School celebrates its 25th anniversary.


Long-time park board member Richard Lupton dies in November after a long battle with pulmonary disease.


2010


The HUSD tables plans to open meetings with prayer after the American Civil Liberties Union warns the district is opening itself up to a civil suit.


Staring down the barrel at a $13 million deficit, the school board sends out pink slips to 105 employees.


The Hesperia Star celebrates its 10th anniversary.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star