Continuing a tradition begun in 2003, staff of the Wisconsin Historical Society collaborate on the top 10 Wisconsin history-making stories of the year. Historical Society director, Ellsworth Brown says the events of today are what make the history we all tell stories about, and he explained how the Society's staff comes up with the top ten list. "We do a circular around the staff, and ask them for the things that stick in their minds," Brown said. "Then we have an ongoing debate about which should be in and which should be out."
The midterm realignment in state politics was the pick for the top Wisconsin news story of 2006. "The change in the Wisconsin legislature, to put a majority of Democrats in the state Senate" was very much in peoples' minds, Brown said, noting that as a state agency, the historical society pays close attention to politics. In the number ten position, a focus on the man who wears the number 4, for the Green Bay Packers, Brett Favre. "Setting his record for all time passes , surpassing Dan Marino . . and that wouldn't have happened unless of course he came back for the season."
Other top stories included the fatal shooting of Weston School Principal John Klang, "bring home the troops" referenda in Wisconsin communities, the gay marriage and death penalty referenda, standout Badger sports teams including national champion mens and womens hockey, massive marches for immigrant rights , the e-coli outbreak which claimed the life of a state resident, high gas prices leading to a surge in alternatives like ethanol , and Wisconsin's continued lead in stem cell research .