2021 is almost over, and it seems like a good time to ask about the top Wyoming news story of the year.

Several of the items that come to mind are related, directly or indirectly, to the seemingly never-ending COVID-19 pandemic. There is the virus itself, of course, which seems to be in decline in Wyoming lately, but is raging anew in other parts of the country with the new omicron variant.

But there are other issues related to the virus that were certainly major stories as well. For example, the fight in school districts across the state over face mask mandates, which led to at least one arrest as well as numerous protests and some very heated school board meetings.

Then there is the Biden administration's vaccine mandate, which is still tied up in court at this point. Of course, there were other stories that made headlines in the Cowboy State this year, like the ongoing political fight between Rep. Liz Cheney and former President Donald Trump and his supporters.

Or how about the difficulty many Wyoming businesses are having in hiring employees?

As the year comes to a close, many restaurants, convenience stores, and other businesses still are operating on a limited basis because they can't find enough people willing to work.

Then there is school funding. The Wyoming Senate and House were not able to agree on a funding formula, so it looks like they will try again during the upcoming 2022 budget session. There were lots of other stories worth mentioning this year as well, including the Biden administration's energy policies, including a moratorium on oil and gas leases on federal lands and a general policy of favoring ''green energy' over the fossil fuels which are a backbone of Wyoming's economy.

If you want to talk about an issue that affects everyone, how about high gas prices? Or inflation in general making it hard on Wyoming families and especially people on fixed incomes.

We'll publish the poll results toward the end of next week, just in time for the New Year!

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