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Wilson, Pham lead top newsmakers for 2014

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Posted at 4:50 PM, Dec 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-27 19:03:11-05

This past year has been filled with big headlines, with everything from the deadly Ebola virus making it’s way into the U.S. to racial tension and riots in a Missouri city.

It seemed to be a year in which more average people rose to fame though headlines, such as nurses stricken with Ebola and a guy who worked at Target whose picture was shared repeatedly on social media.

Here is a list of 10 people who stood out this year, including celebs:

Darren Wilson

On Aug. 9, Wilson, a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, ended the life of Michael Brown, who is black.

Details of the shooting and whether it was self defense or overly aggressive policing differed depending on the witness, but a grand jury cleared Wilson of wrongdoing.

Protests -- some peaceful and some not -- erupted beginning with the shooting and continued off and on through the release of the grand jury decision.

Wilson resigned from the Ferguson Police Department following the grand jury decision.

Nina Pham

Pham, a Dallas nurse, became the American face of Ebola after being the first person to contract the disease in the United States.

Pham treated Thomas Eric Duncan, who got the disease in Liberia before flying to the United States. Pham and others treated Duncan in a Dallas hospital. Duncan died on Oct. 8, and Pham was diagnosed four days later.

Pham was discharged on Oct. 24. Amber Vinson also contracted Ebola while treating Duncan and also recovered.

To date, the two are the only people to get the disease while in the United States.

Jennifer Lawrence

Lawrence has appeared in blockbuster after blockbuster with the most recent the third movie in the Hunger Games trilogy.

But Lawrence also became the face of online hacking when nude photos of her leaked onto the internet. Lawrence called the incident a “sex crime.”

“Just because I’m a public figure, just because I’m an actress, does not mean that I asked for this,” she told Vanity Fair. “It does not mean that it comes with the territory. It’s my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting. I can’t believe that we even live in that kind of world.”

LeBron James

King James dominated the summer sports headlines when he entered free agency. Though the prevailing thought had James staying with the Miami Heat, James opted to return home to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James turned into a reporter and got a byline for the breaking news of the announcement in Sports Illustrated.

Alex from Target

Someone randomly took a photo of 16-year old Alex Lee while he was working as a Target employee.

Suddenly “Alex from Target” became an internet sensation and amassed Twitter followers by the hundreds of thousands.

Mitch McConnell

McConnell bested Alison Lundergan Grimes to win remain Kentucky’s senior senator. With other November political outcomes helped Republicans retake the Senate, McConnell will become the Senate Majority Leader.

McConnell trounced Grimes in what was anticipated to be a close race. Republicans now control 54 Senate seats after picking up nine seats this year. Republicans also control the House of Representatives.

Bill Simmons

After Ray Rice got re-suspended by the NFL for hitting his then-fiancee Janay Rice, Simmons lit into NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and called Goodell a “liar” on his podcast.

The rant got Simmons suspended by ESPN for three weeks. The impact of the suspension might not be finished. Simmons is one of the biggest voices in sports journalism, and his contract ends in 2015.

David Brat

Brat stunned the political world by ousting Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a  primary early in political season.

The win knocked out one of the biggest political players in Washington D.C.

The victory arguably was the most stunning outcome of the entire 2014 political season, though Brat’s win happened well before November.

Eric Shinseki

Shinseki resigned as the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs after the department came in under scrutiny after reports emerged that VA facilities covered up wait times for veterans.

Shinseki was a Vietnam veteran and former Army chief of staff.

Bill Cosby

Cosby, 77, has been accused of sexual misconduct with more than 20 women, according to various media outlets.

The accusations include drugging and sexual assault and most of which date back to the 1970s and 1980s.  The comedian has denied the allegations and he has never been prosecuted.