Sunday, December 26, 1999

'99 Year in Review:
Recalling the century's last gasp

The Cincinnati Enquirer

April 9 tornado

        A glorious and terrible century is down to its final days. So before we close the book on the 20th century this week, the Enquirer looks back today at its last chapter, 1999.

        In the predawn darkness in April, a tornado burst down on Cincinnati's northeast suburbs, killing four and destroying 95 homes and many businesses. In July, a heat wave killed 12.

Local News
Pop music
Visual art
        There were local wonders: a great new aquarium, a big new bell. Tall Stacks returned to the river, and the Genius of Water underwent repair. Downtown was being rebuilt as the 'burbs grew bigger and more crowded.

        In Washington, the president was acquitted by the Senate, but the nation remained disgusted. A new race for president cranked up, but the nation remained cranky about politics.

        At Columbine High School, two high school students slaughtered their classmates and chilled the world. Life was brutalized in offices in Atlanta, Honolulu and Seattle, in a Baptist church, a Jewish center and a Mormon library.

        Americans fought in Yugoslavia to protect the Muslims of Kosovo. Russia fought in Chechnya to finish what it could not in 1994-96.

Tall Stacks

        In sports, the Reds were surprisingly excellent; the Bengals were predictably awful. Miami Wally-ed its way to the Sweet 16. The Bearcats started at No. 1, then got knocked off — again — by Xavier.

        Marge Schott finally gave up control of the Reds. But Ken Griffey Jr. isn't coming.

        The greatest of their sports, Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky, retired. So did a great of another kind, Nelson Mandela. And shortly so will Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus and Snoopy, who have been real to America for half a century.

        Death ended memorable lives: John F. Kennedy Jr., Roe vs. Wade author Harry Blackmun, King Hussein of Jordan, singer Mel Torme, director Stanley Kubrick. From sports: baseball's Joe DiMaggio, basketball's Wilt Chamberlain, football's Walter Payton, golf's Gene Sarazen and Payne Stewart.

Newport Aquarium

        Business saw dot-com mania and communications megamergers. The Dow hit 10,000, the Dow hit 11,000. So who repealed the law of gravity?

        UC opened the Vontz Center, Frank Gehry's eye-defying leap into 21st century architecture — not to mention 21st century molecular science.

        Cincinnati musicians made national noises. The game show made a surprise comeback.

        And did we mention Pokemon? No, and we won't.


- '99 Year in Review: Recalling the century's last gasp
'99 Sports: Color the year Red
'99 Local News: Prosperous year punctuated by hard times
'99 Business: Consumers hang on as economy and technology take rocket ride
'99 Nation/World: A fitting finale to the century
'99 Films: Embarrassment of riches
'99 Pop music: Cincy back on the charts
'99 Television: A million reasons to watch
'99 Classical music: Life imitates opera
'99 Dance: Comings and goings
'99 Theater: A year to remember
'99 Visual art: All eyes on Vontz Center