The Washington Times-Herald

December 31, 2012

Top stories of the year

Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — Top stories of 2012

For the fifth year, the newsroom staff and select writers were asked to rate their top 10 stories of 2012. Here are the top choices.

I-69 Opens

The dream of many in Indiana was realized when Interstate 69 from Evansville to Crane was opened on Nov. 19 by Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Traffic has been light on the interstate so far, but is expected to pick up in 2013 when business could start moving into the area. It is the top story of 2012, but possibly the story that will affect this county and the surrounding area for decades.

Morgan pleads guilty

The pronounced fall of Daviess County’s once top deputy had a final conclusion a day after I-69 was opened in November, when he was sentenced to one year of probation for ghost employment.

There was some outrage over what some felt was too light  a sentence for Morgan, who plead guilty on Oct. 8, for betraying the public trust after it was revealed he hid information to protect womenwith whom he had affairs with.

The drought

The worst drought to hit the area since the 1936 Dust Bowl affected Daviess County in 2012.

Not much in the way of corn or soybeans were grown by local farmers, but one positive was seen in road construction as crews were able to complete I-69 ahead of schedule.

Arvin/Blubaum accident

The Washington High School community was shocked and heartbroken when, in March, then sophomores Derek Arvin and Zach Blubaum were killed in an accident on SR 257 and CR 300S.

Throughout the year, memorials and tributes were held in memory of the two teenagers.

Loogootee wins state

For the first time in the school’s proud basketball history, the Loogootee Lions won  the 2012 Class A state championship defeating  Rockville. The Lions started this season ranked first, and won its first nine games.

Williams trial

Early this year, Derek Franklin Williams was sentenced to 65 years in prison for the murder of his wife, Kim, in 2011.

A jury found Franklin guilty after a four-day trial in Daviess Superior Court.

Jones sentencing

Local pastor Jeff Jones was sentenced to probation, work release and home detention for child solicitation after revelations he had an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old girl. Jones, pastor of Church on the Way, asked for forgiveness and apologized to the victim and the family.

Wellman administration

The first year of Washington Mayor Joe Wellman’s administration was filled with several highlights including the annexation of land at the I-69 interchange to get ready for new construction. The city also announced an expansion at MacAllister Machinery and the combined sewer overflow project completed. One of the lows includes few buyers for the city’s neighborhood stabilization homes.

Crooks runs for Congress

Although he lost, Washington’s Dave Crooks made a good fight in his campaign for Indiana’s 8th congressional district. The Democrat and radio station owner raised over $1 million in funds, but was defeated by incumbent Republican Larry Bucshon in the November general election.

Cody Zeller at Indiana University

While he is no longer with the black and gold, Washington’s Cody Zeller is doing just fine in the cream and crimson at Indiana University.

The center led the Hoosiers to the Sweet 16 last season and started this season ranked No. 1. Zeller was named preseason player of the year by several outlets and was featured on multiple magazine covers.

Honorable Mentions   (Stories that received votes):

•Bennington Levee lawsuit

•Connor Sorrells wins state for Barr-Reeve

•Problems at Oak Grove Cemetery

•Neighborhood Stabilization Project

•Plane landing on I-69 road construction

•Jessica Buchanan released in Somalia

•Chris Wimmenauer dies suddenly