By Maureen Post Special to Published Dec 01, 2009 at 11:01 AM

We’re 31 days away from 2010 and in the coming weeks, news magazines will begin to debate what events dominated and shaped the first decade of the 21st century.

In the last 10 years, we’ve seen political and economic changes that unquestionably changed the way we live, heard entertainment stories that captivated us for weeks and adopted technologies intended to increase our overall productivity. 

Once you start thinking, the list of high profile national stories goes on and on. There was the rise of Sarah Palin, the fall of Britney Spears and the death of Michael Jackson. The tragedies of Lacey Peterson, Natalee Holloway and Andrea Yates captivated news coverage for months.

But as much as these stories drew viewer attention, there were events both nationally and locally that fundamentally altered the way we live, do business and interact both here and abroad.

And so, these would be my predictions, for the most influential national events and Milwaukee stories in the last decade. And to add debate to controversy, I’ve ranked them from the most important on down.

In the nation

1. Sept. 11 terrorist attacks (2001)

2. Hurricane Katrina (2005)

3. Election of President Barack Obama (2008)

4. Collapse of the housing market (2007)

5. Deployment of U.S. troops, funds and resources in Iraq War (2003-09)

6. Presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore noted for controversies over Florida’s 23 electoral votes and the rare occasion where the elected official did not win the popular vote (2000)

7. Launch of social media (LinkedIn in 2003, Facebook in 2004 and Twitter in 2006) coincides with collapse of newspaper print nationwide (2008-09)

8. Enron scandal results in the largest bankruptcy in American history (2001)

9. Major League Baseball institutes random testing for steroids and penalizing players (2004)

10. First season of CBS’s "Survivor" airs and triggers a proliferation of reality television on the network level (2000)

In Milwaukee

1. County pension scandal was revealed, ultimately removing County Executive Thomas Ament and several county supervisors (2002)

2. Milwaukee Brewers make it to playoffs for the first time since 1982 (2008)

3. Completion of Miller Park; the first fan roof design in the country kept the Brewers in Milwaukee and lures three million in attendance annually (2001)

4. Santiago Calatrava’s first project in the United States results in a 58,000 square foot expansion of the Milwaukee Art Museum (2001)

5. Harley-Davidson's 100th Anniversary celebration (2003)

Maureen Post Special to staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.

After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.

Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.