So some knuckleheads interpreted the Mayan calendar wrong and the world really didn't end in 2012.

It just felt that way to some people.

First off, Charleston lost political clout when Sen. Glenn McConnell — the most powerful lawmaker in the state — was forced to take over as lieutenant governor after it was discovered that Lt. Gov. Ken Ard had a habit of spending campaign money on PlayStations and vacations.

And then, in the year's waning days, Charleston County Council finally decided to finish I-526 by extending it across Johns and James islands, which could lead to further development on Johns but could alleviate traffic in West Ashley.

The good news is that the road would make it easier for some folks to get to Folly Beach. The bad news is we couldn't drink beer when we get there. Thanks to some kids throwing a rage, and a brawl, over the July Fourth weekend, booze is now banned on the beach.

It was that kind of year.

Good news or bad?

South Carolina politics was its usual mixed bag.

Thanks to some savvy race-baiting in the debates, Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina GOP presidential primary.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that South Carolina's streak for successfully picking the GOP nominee ended in 2012. (Further bad news for some in the state: The guy who did get the nomination was also a dud.)

Some people considered it bad news that Jim DeMint resigned his U.S. Senate seat to take over at the Heritage Foundation. But other folks saw that as good news — now there's no one in Washington trying to stop the dredging of Charleston Harbor.

Gov. Nikki Haley appointed U.S. Rep. Tim Scott of North Charleston to replace DeMint, making him the state's first African-American senator, which is good news.

But mainly it helped divert attention from some really, really bad news: Hackergate. The state's Department of Revenue computer system was broached this summer, leading to the theft of millions of bank account, credit card and Social Security numbers.

Of course, the recession has hit so many South Carolinians, and put a lot of them out of work, that the thieves probably haven't found much to steal.

Does that qualify as good news?

We're No. 1

This is not to say everything in 2012 was bad.

Boeing delivered its first locally built Dreamliner. James Island finally became a town — and the city of Charleston gave up fighting it.

North Charleston finally settled its rail dispute with the state. Maybe in 2013 we can figure out exactly what that deal was.

And Charleston got to work on the Crosstown — and secured money to stop the road from becoming downtown's third river.

Perhaps the best news of all is that Conde Nast rated Charleston the top tourist destination in the world. It was recognition that, despite everything else, this is a really great place to live and to visit.

Of course, the bad news is that now we're probably going to see even more tourists in 2013.

Reach Brian Hicks at bhicks@postandcourier.com.