Each year across America, newspapers generate year-end reviews during the news-thin holiday season. We are no exception. Reporters Laura Marble and Patrick McNamara, and photographer Randy Metcalf, have combed archives and memories to reflect some — and only some — of the events affecting Marana, Oro Valley and Northwest Tucson in 2008.

Many of our images from a year are visual.

One of the year’s saddest Tucson images is really a collection that surrounded the shooting death of Officer Erik Hite, gunned down June 1 by a gunman who began his spree in the Northwest. We are thankful, every day, for those who serve in lines of duty at home, and abroad.

Remember the visit to the Northwest of President Bush, greeted by sign-waving protestors — and supporters — during a campaign stop for U.S. House candidate Tim Bee? Or the yearlong, yet rapid, rise of Oro Valley Marketplace, the massive shopping center at Tangerine and Oracle?

In a scan of page 1 images, you find a Marana median newspaper hawker, a firefighter watching buffelgrass burn, someone paying $4 for gasoline, fireworks at a high school graduation, a Steam Pump ranch hand in final reflection, Tiger Woods hoisting the Accenture Match Play championship trophy, and troops from the Army 1st/285th Battalion returning to Marana.

A fond image — Ken Blanchard doing John Travolta at the chamber’s Dancing with the Stars gala.

In the world of sports, it’s easy to remember Michael Phelps somehow touching out a foe to win one of his eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics. Closer to home, the Northwest’s Lacey Nymeyer won silver in swimming, and she’s been a terrific presence since, inspiring school children and adults alike with her personality, her dedication and her message. We’ll also remember the year-long saga of Lute Olson.

Politics were a big subject in the Northwest, and across America, during 2008. Al Melvin won election to the Arizona Senate. Pete Hershberger and Jennifer Burns are about to leave the Arizona House. Janet Napolitano, Arizona governor, is getting a new job in Washington. So is Barack Obama. Some kind of year.

These compilations are never complete, of course, and they are not personal. You, dear reader, have memories from 2008 that are yours and yours alone, to be kept, perhaps cherished, perhaps put away. Hold them close.

Happy 2009. We’ll watch with wonder.

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