What were the top southern West Virginia stories of 2005?

Register-Herald staffers pared a long listing of nominations and came up with the op five. The countdown begins today...

Beckley native Morgan Spurlock had a good year — a year so good in fact, that he has been selected as No. 5 in the Register-Herald’s Top Five Stories of 2005.

Although he was selected for his success in 2005, Spurlock’s luck actually began in 2004 when he won the Director’s Award at the Sundance Film Festival for “Super Size Me,” a documentary that followed Spurlock through a month of eating only McDonald’s food.

The fast-food diet resulted in a 25-pound weight gain, depression, headaches, liver problems, a lowered sex drive and high cholesterol.

According to the website IMDB.com (Internet Movie Database), by September of 2004, “Super Size Me” had grossed $11,529,368 in the United States alone.

In January, “Super Size Me” garnered Spurlock an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary.

Though he did not receive the Oscar, just a month later, Spurlock won the Documentary Screenplay Award from the Writers Guild of America.

Following his national, and international, honors, Spurlock received a great deal of recognition at home and was invited to serve as the keynote speaker at the 85th annual Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce Dinner in April.

The success kept coming as Spurlock created and produced “30 Days,” a popular FX series that followed people as they found out what it was like to live a different life for 30 days.

In the first episode of the “30 Days,” Spurlock and his fiancé stepped in front of the camera, living, for a month, on minimum wage.

It was the June 30 episode entitled “Muslims and America,” however, that received the most attention.

The episode showed fellow Beckley native Dave Stacey’s 30-day experience as a white, American Christian living in a Muslim-American community.

For that episode, Spurlock garnered yet another award, this one coming from the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

No new episodes of “30 Days” are currently airing, but according the FX website, new shows will air in 2006.

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