2022 Year in Review: A look at 2022’s biggest moments

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(ABC 6 News) – In less than 48 hours, the clock will strike midnight, and 2022 will be over. It’s been a year of ups and downs for many. From devastating severe weather to cities and people being recognized on a state and national level.

In January, Mayo Clinic made headlines when people lost their jobs because of vaccination status. This, after the private healthcare system reviewed medical and religious exemption requests.

“My views don’t matter,” said Kathy Kerssen, an employee at Mayo. “No, our views didn’t matter. Just because I hold certain views to be true, it didn’t matter. I’ve just always believed in where I worked, until now.”

Mayo came back to say nearly 99% of employees met the vaccine requirement.

Moving ahead to the very next month, a Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon made his way to Beijing to be the team physician for the U.S. men’s ice hockey team during the winter Olympics.

“It’s obviously an honor to represent our country,” Dr. Michael J. Stuart said of his new role. “And it’s a special opportunity for me to be part of a team. We really do work very closely together. We help each other out. And so I interface on a daily basis, not only with the athletic trainers, but also with our equipment managers, our coaches, and of course, our players. As well as the entire USOPC medical team.”

Come spring, Mayo Clinic Rochester was named the number one hospital in the world by Newsweek. The Jacksonville and Phoenix clinics also made it into the top 100.

In education news, a Rochester Catholic school teacher was recognized for her work by receiving the MINNDEPENDENT’s Honor Teacher Award.

“There are so many outstanding teachers that we have in our system and there are so many across the state,” Emily Heydon, a kindergarten teacher at St. Pius X School told ABC 6 News. “So to know that I have been picked from the state as a winner it is just that extra confidence that you have where it has been a really tough few years of teaching.”

In the midst of all the good, came devastation for southeast Minnesota, especially in the Mower County town of Taopi after an EF2 tornado hit in April.

Tom Kasel, who was injured in the storm and had his home collapsed described what happened. “The basement wall collapsed and fell on us. Pinned us against the stairwell, stud wall framing.”

Mower County recognized 16 staff members for their work following the tornado, and for saving the lives of two men.

Local communities also saw a number of scams in which people lost thousands of dollars. Catalytic converter thefts also continued.

Another issue for police, a number of overdose-related calls. Fentanyl had become a major problem across the country. This led to the Clear Lake Community School District discussing the possibility of Narcan in schools. And, Rochester Public Schools voting to implement the anti-overdose medication in all of the district’s high schools.

However, there were plenty of other events this year to lighten the mood. RAGBRAI made its way through Mason City. There were a whole lot of county fairs, and Rochesterfest kicked off with the 34th annual breakfast hosted by Gar Lin Dairy Farm.

That wasn’t the only event at the farm, country superstar Luke Bryan performed there in September. His only Minnesota stop on his 2022 Farm Tour.

One last notable moment of 2022, the blizzard conditions we saw in December creating high winds and extremely dangerous temperatures.