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Monday, July 6, 2015

2012 Year in Review

Sunday, December 30, 2012

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The Summer Drought was voted into the No. 6 spot of the Top Ten News Stories of 2012 in the Greene County Daily World.
This week, the Greene County Daily World is featuring its Top 10 news and sports stories of the year 2012. Stories 6-10 appear in Monday's paper, and stories 1-5 will be published in Wednesday's paper.

No. 6 News Story: The Summer Drought

The effects of sweltering heat and a lack of rain during the summer of 2012 was felt in every corner of the county, especially in the agriculture industry.

It was voted the No. 6 story of the year by the Greene County Daily World.

Experts compared the dry spell to the devastating drought of 1936.

In mid-July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated Greene and Sullivan counties as primary natural disaster areas -- farmers across the state suffered significant crop damage and loss.

The lack of rain was causing concern early in the summer season and in mid-June, the cities of Jasonville and Linton both declared a "burn ban" as grass and vegetation dried out under a hot sun. By late June, the Greene County commissioners followed suit and declared a burn ban for the whole county.

Firefighters were called to numerous brush fires that sprung up county-wide including some along railroad tracks where sparks from passing trains ignited fires in dry weeds.

Coupled with the lack of rain, Mother Nature dished out very high heat and emergency cooling shelters opened on several days of near-record-breaking temperatures.

By early July, water utilities were asking their customers to take voluntary conservation measures until there was relief from the drought. In Jasonville, the town had plenty of water in its aquifer, but it needed to take strain off the pumps which were working about 21 hours a day to keep up.

Then on the Fourth of July, traditional holiday plans were disrupted when the annual fireworks display during the Linton Freedom Festival was canceled due to extremely hazardous drought conditions. And then the community fireworks show in Bloomfield was also canceled for the same safety reasons.

A few days after the holiday, rain finally fell, but it came as a a drenching downpour with hail and strong damaging winds that downed many trees and power lines. As much as 5.25 inches fell near Bloomfield and many other areas of the county reported 2.5 inches to 3.5 inches of rain.

It was the most significant, measurable rain in the county for weeks. The county-wide burn bans were lifted, but the lack of normal rainfall continued and farmers and others sustained damage and disappointment throughout the summer.

-- By Anna Rochelle

No. 6 Sports Story: Miners win third straight sectional title

Just like they have the past two seasons, the Linton-Stockton High School baseball team saved its best baseball for the postseason.

The Miners dominated defending Class A state finalist North Central, defeating the favored Thunderbirds 8-2 in the championship game of the Linton-Stockton Class 2A Sectional 47 at the Miners' own Roy Herndon Field. No. 6 North Central finished 20-6 and had their hopes a of sectional three-peat dashed.

The sectional title was voted as No. 6 sports story of 2012.

Tanner Butler, who only had six innings left to pitch after throwing four in a 15-2 victory over Sullivan in the semifinals earlier Monday, tossed a four-hitter over six innings and Abe Neff had three hits and five RBIs as the Miners earned a third straight trip to the regional.

"To be honest, I wasn't tired at all. I was ready to go back out there and pitch now if I had any innings left," said Butler, who struck out 12, walked seven and allowed four hits and one run to earn his third victory of the sectional. "I was pitching on pure adrenaline.

"There was no way that I was going to let my teammates down."

Just like they had throughout the tournament, Linton-Stockton continued to do damage with two outs.

In a scoreless game in the third, Beau Eaton drew a walk off of losing pitcher Conner Strain, who was later ejected after arguing a call at second base.

Strain then hit Aspen Taylor before Abe Neff came to the plate.

Neff then bounced a ball over the shortstop to bring home Eaton and Taylor, giving the Miners a 2-0 advantage.

"It was really amazing the way the kids came through with two outs in the entire sectional," Linton coach Matt Fougerousse said. He coached the last two titles after taking over for the retired Bart Berns (2010 sectional champion coach). "They showed a lot of heart and just kept battling even though they could have given up and said 'the inning was over and let's get ready to go play defense.' "

While Butler's overhand fastball was frustrating the T-Birds and keeping them scoreless, the Miners doubled their lead in the fifth.

Eaton, Taylor and Neff all singled and scored in the seventh and then Butler was hit by a pitch from T-Bird reliever Zach Lyday.

Blake Eaton then doubled in two runs as the Miners' lead again doubled - 8-0.

The Miners, who lost to Evansville Mater Dei 4-2 at the Southridge Regional a few days later, finished the season at 14-16.

-- By B.J. Hargis


No. 7 News Story: Battery Innovation Center opens at WestGate

The No. 7 story on the Greene County Daily World's Top 10 stories list for 2012 is the Battery Innovation Center (BIC) opening at the WestGate at Crane Technology Park.

The BIC is located on County Road 800S in Greene County, just east of U.S. 231.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the facility in August.

BIC is in the process of constructing a state-of-the-art, 31,000-square-foot commercial and light manufacturing facility designed for battery research, testing and low volume manufacturing. The cost of the project is approximately $14 million.

The facility will initially create 30 jobs.

Companies will pay a fee to use BIC's facilities. Three major prospective clients are: NSA Crane, Cummings Engines, and Delphi.

The project is the brainchild of Energy Systems Network (ESN), an Indianapolis-based not-for-profit economic initiative, focused on the development of Indiana's "clean tech" sector.

According to ESN officials, the new facility will link battery manufacturers, government agencies and research labs, academia, and Fortune 500 companies together to accelerate the nation-wide battery market.

"NSWC Crane, as the military's largest research center dedicated to the next generation of energy innovation, can be a magnet for new civilian jobs and investment for southwest Indiana. The efforts of the Battery Innovation Center will help to maximize this great resource that we are fortunate to have in our region," 8th District Congressman Larry Bucshon said at the groundbreaking ceremony. "At the same time working with the BIC will also help Crane access a wider array of high performing and innovative resources and better perform its mission of supplying our soldiers in the field with the energy solutions that they need."

To help fund the project, BIC received a $1 million grant through the Department of Commerce i6 Challenge initiative. The i6 Challenge initiative is a competitive process designed to support "proof of concept" centers that accelerate the commercialization and deployment of emerging technologies.

ESN has coordinated efforts with NSWC Crane, RADIUS Indiana and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to develop a detailed business plan and assess potential demand and support for the Center.

Dozens of organizations also provided input into the development process, many of which are prospective member institutions of the BIC, such as Cummins, Delphi, the University of Notre Dame, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Purdue University as well as Penn State University.

-- By Halea Franklin

No. 7 Sports Story: Lady Cards win repeat sectional in tennis

The Lady Cardinals of Bloomfield High School repeated as girls tennis sectional champions, defeating Linton-Stockton 4-1 at North Daviess High School in May.

This was voted the No. 7 sports story of the year.

The Lady Cards won last year at Loogootee before the sectionals were reconfigured.

"It is really remarkable, the run we have had the last two years," said BHS coach Mike Canty. "It's not like we have girls playing four years in one spot."

Kari Schulte, who had split two earlier meetings with Linton-Stockton's Ashley Cooper, made quick work of Cooper, winning 6-1, 6-1.

"Cooper really beat Schulte pretty good at the start of the season," said Canty. "Then Schulte beat Cooper pretty good at the SWIAC.

"I was expecting a much closer match tonight, but Kari played really well."

At No. 2 singles, Liza Bartlett of Bloomfield defeated Mercedes Shafford, 6-2, 6-1.

"Liza is just so smooth," said Canty. "She is a very thoughtful player."

The Cardinals completed the sweep at singles as Elena Weddle lost just one game as she defeated Brenna West at No. 3.

"Elena played really smart today," said Canty. "She played well at the start and was able to take care of business."

At No. 1 doubles, Rachel Helms and Emily Walker of Bloomfield defeated Linton-Stockton's duo of Kayla Cole and Selena Bowman 6-0, 6-3.

"I would like to congratulate Bloomfield," said Linton-Stockton coach Nathan Skinner, who played for Canty at BHS. "They really put a whooping on us today.

"It was really different facing him in a match like this."

At No. 2 doubles, Linton-Stockton's Natalie Swihart and Sydney Alltop defeated Emma Doris and Amanda Livington in three sets, each duo winning a tiebreaker in the first two sets. The match lasted just short of three hours.

"Natalie and Sydney really battled today," said Skinner. "I was proud of the way they competed today.

"I really did not want to lose 5-0 and the girls came back and got the job done. We were able to make the final of the sectional and win 11 matches (11-8). Although I don't like to lose, we will have everybody back."

The Lady Cardinals won their 18th match of the season at the regional, defeating South Knox 3-2 in the semifinals. They finished the year with an 18-5 record after losing to host Jasper 5-0 in the final.

-- By B.J. Hargis


No. 8 News Story: Dispute for access to public records of WRV School

The ongoing dispute for access to public records of the White River Valley School Corporation was voted as the No. 8 story of the year by the Greene County Daily World.

The requests began in June when a citizen's group called "Save Our Schools", SOS for short, filed a formal complaint with the Indiana Public Access Counselor after the school board allegedly discussed at a May 24 executive session items that did not fall under the category of personnel, as advertised. The notice of the meeting also allegedly was not posted 48 hours before the meeting, as required by the Open Door Law.

Later that month, the WRV administration received nine separate requests from SOS to have access to or be able to copy public records dating back to 2009.

The group was formed after discussions surfaced that the board was possibly considering closing down the elementary schools in both Worthington and Lyons and then building on centrally located elementary school in Switz City.

SOS has requested a variety of records, receipts and email correspondence dating back to Jan. 1, 2009, including communication between the school corporation and a consulting firm MGT of America, various memorandum related to school board minutes of executive sessions, records of communication between the superintendent and the seven school board members; emails by Superintendent Layton Wall from corporation-owned computers; information about job postings; expenditures by Wall, Curriculum Director Michael Langevin and board members for the period March 1, 2010 through June 13, 2012l and expenditures by the school to Graves Plumbing of Switz City for the period March 1, 2010 through June 13, 2012.

A second formal complaint was filed against WRV School Corporation over alleged Open Door Law violations in early July that alleged violation of the Open Door Law pursuant to Indiana Code in properly designating what part of the law is being claimed when an executive session was called prior to the June 26 public school board meeting.

The PAC noted in his 3 1/2 page opinion that the agenda notice provided by the WRV School Board "fails to provide the specific statutory citation and the language of the statute" - opting to list only that there would be a discussion of personnel and citing the statute number.

The PAC also stated, "As to the allegation that the School Board discussed issues during its executive session that went beyond what was allowed or properly noticed under the ODL (Open Door Law) ... I would note that I was not in attendance at the executive session nor is the Public Access Counselor a fact-finder. Advisory opinions are issued based upon the facts presented."

In July the Indiana Public Access Counselor issued two advisory opinions citing the White River Valley School Corporation did violate the state's Open Door Law.

Public Access Counselor Joseph Hoage stated the school district failed to provide proper notice for both executive session meetings.

In September, an incoming school board member, Andrew Davis, filed a complaint with the Indiana Public Access Counsel alleging that the administration was taking too much time to comply with an earlier public record's request.

Davis was unopposed in the Nov. 6 school board election and will take the District 5 (Jefferson Precinct) seat on the board Jan. 1.

The Public Access Counselor later ruled that the school was making acceptable progress with meeting the records request.

The school board announced several months ago that the cost of meeting the records request has exceeded $9,000.

The records request are being handled on behalf of the school corporation by WRV's special school attorney Susan Traynor Chastain, of the Indianapolis law firm of Bose McKinney & Evans LLP.

-- By Nick Schneider

No. 8 Sports Story: Cardinals win tennis sectional

It took about 50 minutes for the Bloomfield boys tennis team to pick up wins at No. 1 singles and at both doubles to earn enough points to win the North Daviess Sectional in May.

This was voted as the No. 8 sports story of 2012.

The Cardinals split the last two points to come away with a 4-1 victory over defending champion North Daviess. They had defeated the Cougars by an identical score exactly one week earlier.

Bloomfield came off the bus pumped and ready to play and that energy gave the Cards early leads in all positions.

Del Carter yielded only two games to come away with a quick 6-1, 6-1 decision over Ethan Hawk.

Within minutes of Carter's win the No. 1 doubles team of Andrew Dawson and Jared Myers finished off Lane Heshelman and Trevor Wikle, 6-3, 6-2.

The No. 2 doubles team sealed the sectional championship when they defeated Lane Fulton and Tyler Hostetter, 6-0, 6-1.

At the No. 3 singles spot, Conner Dowden delayed the Cardinal celebration by needing three sets to down a gutsy Braden Lawyer, 6-2, 1-6, 6-2.

The Cards only loss came at the second singles spot where freshman Alex Chestnut couldn't find the right strategy and was beaten by Scotty Woodruff, 6-3, 6-3.

The Cardinals, who defeated White River Valley 5-0 in the sectional semifinals, finished the season at 11-10 after a 5-0 loss to Vincennes Rivet four days later at the Jasper Regional.

-- By B.J. Hargis


No. 9 News Story: Greene County Republicans win big in General Election

On the national scene, a Democrat won the White House in the 2012 General Election, but in Greene County, local Republicans claimed victory in races for the county's top spots.

The local victory was voted the No. 9 story of the year by the Greene Count Daily World.

Starting Jan. 1, 2013, a Republican will hold every elected office in the county courthouse.

The Republicans won both county commissioner races, picked up two of three available seats on the county council, retained the surveyor's office, and won the treasurer's office for the first time in years.

Republicans will have a 3-0 majority of Greene County Commissioners with a gain of two seats. They will also own a 4-3 majority on the Greene County Council with a gain of one Republican seat.

The last time the GOP had a 3-0 majority on the commissioners was 28 years ago in 1984, when the late Wayne Moore, the late Dennis Bays and Bill Helms held the seats.

That same year was the last time Republicans held a political edge on both the commissioners and county council.

Current County GOP Chairman Otto Prow, of rural Solsberry, was a member of the county council that took office in 1984 along with the late Gene Hayes, the late Guy Glover, and the late Tom Oliphant, Sr.

Prow said it was obvious that local voters were not voting a lot of straight tickets but were looking at the candidates for who they were and how they could best serve the county.

Prow pointed out the turnout that numbered over 64 percent countywide was encouraging and mirrored a GOP trend that he noticed throughout the state.

Prow isn't sure if the Republicans have ever possessed every elected county office. If so, it has been decades ago.

"I can't remember when that ever happened. I don't think it ever did recently. Maybe it was back in the '40s or before," he said.

The number of die-hard, straight ticket party voters in the county was clearly low.

There are a total of 20,781 registered voters in the county. Of those, 13,433 votes were cast, 3,006 by absentee ballot, 2,312 voted straight Republican and 1,571 voted straight Democrat.

When the votes were tallied, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (R) got 64.4 percent of the total votes in Greene County; Barack Obama (D) got 33.05 percent; Gary Johnson (L), 2.32 percent; and write-ins, 0.23 percent. In the race for U.S. Senator: Richard E. Mourdock (R) got 50.64 percent; Joe Donnelly (D), 42.73 percent; Andy Horning (L), 6.59 percent; and write-ins, 0.04 percent.

In the race for governor of Indiana, the tables turned in favor of a local Democrat: John Gregg (D) got 55.6 percent of the total in Greene County; winner Mike Pence (R) got 41.74 percent; Rupert Boneham (L) got 2.66 percent. In the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Democrat Glenda Ritz carried the county; and Republican Larry D. Bucshon carried Greene County in the race for U.S. Representative in District 8.

Winner Kreg Battles (D) carried Greene County by a narrow margin over Bruce Borders (R) in the race for District 45 State Representative and winner Matt Ubelhor (R) carried Greene County over Jeff Sparks (D) in the race for District 62 State Representative.

On the county level, winners included Kelly Zimmerly for County Treasurer, Butch Wright for Surveyor, both Ed Michael and Nate Abrams for County Commissioner, and Jerry Frye, Gregg Roudebush and Patti Jones for County Council seats. All are Republicans except Jones, a Democrat.

-- By Anna Rochelle

No. 9 Sports Story: Miners win golf sectional

There was no place like home, especially for the Linton-Stockton boys golf team.

For just the third time in school history the Miners claimed the top spot in the IHSAA Sectional, which was voted as the No. 9 sports story for 2012.

"It's what we strive for," Linton-Stockton coach Derek Bradbury said.

"Linton golf has won so many matches and we've come away with a few sectional titles and we've won one regional - so it means a lot.

"Linton is a football town obviously, but today we brought the golf championship home."

And it came - you guessed it - on their home turf at the Phil Harris Golf Course in Linton, but it was anything but easy.

A combination of sporadic heavy rainfall throughout the day and a tough field didn't prevent the Miners from claiming their first team title since the 2006 tournament. The first came in 1989.

"All the kids were cold out there and a lot of them didn't bring rain gear because they didn't expect it and they gutted it out," Bradbury said. "I think the rain had a little bit to do with it. But, the competition's high here at the sectional.

"When everything's on the line it tightens everybody up. There are a lot of good teams here, so it's a good test for us."

After falling behind on the front nine by as many as five strokes, a back nine charge led by senior Ben Boyd and junior Clayton French, turned the tide on eventual third-place finisher Owen Valley and secured the title for Linton-Stockton.

The Patriots faded on the back nine and ended up behind the Miners and runner-up Terre Haute North.

Boyd, who played in the No. 5 spot, closed out the day with a 69 to finish second in the battle for low medalist, one shot behind North's Grant Lewellyn.

The senior's round set a pace his teammates were able to follow. Even with the solid efforts of Luke Jerrells (76), Koye Kaiser (78) and Cole Bradbury (83) it still took French's solid finish to notch the win for the Miners.

"They didn't give up, we went into the back nine down five shots or so," Bradbury said. "We came out and had some really, really good scores on the back to pull it out."

French birdied the final three holes to rack up a 70 and push his team past both Owen Valley and Terre Haute North.

"We won by four shots," Bradbury said. "He birdied those last three holes to give us the cushion. He's done that all year."

The Miners finished sixth at the regional, but French advanced to the state finals, becoming the third Linton individual (Tim Fish and Rachael Pruett) to qualify for a second day of competition.

-- By Rick Curl


No. 10 News Story: Hit-and-Run accident in Greene-Sullivan State Forest

No. 10 on the Greene County Daily World's Top 10 story list for 2012 involves a hit-and-run accident at Greene-Sullivan State Forest.

The collision took place between the truck and four individuals on a bridge located on County Road 1400W about 340 feet north of County Road 100S in Greene County shortly after midnight on June 26.

The accident injured four people, including three children. Michael Delp was struck by the vehicle and thrown approximately 30 yards. Delp's nieces and nephew were also injured.

Blake Hammond, 8, sustained some head trauma during the incident. Danielle Hammond, 10, suffered a broken collarbone after being struck. Justice Hammond, 11, had surgery on both legs and sustained a broken femur.

The victims had been fishing off a bridge in Greene-Sullivan State Forest.

Arrested in connection with the accident was Russell Goodman, Sr., of Pleasantville. He faced preliminary charges of four counts of failure to stop and remain at the scene of an accident resulting in injury - all class D felonies; and one count of obstruction of justice - a class D felony.

Russell L. Goodman, Jr., was arrested, and faced preliminary charges of obstruction of justice - a class D felony; and false informing - a class A misdemeanor.

Also arrested in connection to the accident was Joshua Marlow, of Jasonville. He faced a class D felony charge for obstruction of justice.

Marlow allegedly filled two plastic gas cans with water and poured it on the road to hide evidence leading from the site where a truck driven by Russell L. Goodman, Sr. allegedly struck four pedestrians.

The tire on the GMC truck allegedly driven by Russell L. Goodman, Sr. was blown and the vehicle drove on its rim for several miles en route to his residence. The rim rolling on the pavement produced scratches and indentions on the roadway.

In addition, Marlow allegedly drove the suspect's truck into a wooded area in an effort to hide evidence from police after he was asked to do so by Russell Goodman, Jr., according to a probable cause affidavit.

Marlow was told by Russell Goodman, Jr. to drive the truck out of the woods and place it behind a garage on his dad's property, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Prior to instructing Marlow to hide the truck and wash the roadway, Russell Goodman, Jr. allegedly told Marlow that his dad may have "hit a kid."

-- By Halea Franklin

No. 10 Sports Story: Area athletes earn honors

Several area athletes combined to make the No. 10 spot on the list of the top sports stories of 2012.

Eastern Greene senior volleyball player Scottie Ingram, who plans to continue playing at Murray State University in Kentucky, was named a member of the Max Preps Small School All-American roster for her efforts.

She led the Lady Thunderbirds to their fourth straight sectional, third straight regional and second straight semistate title.

Ingram was also a part of the Lady T-Birds' appearance in the Class 2A state championship game a year ago.

She was also joined by teammate and fellow senior Casie Divine in garnering All-State and All-Star status by the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association.

J.T. Yoho of Eastern Greene earned a D-I scholarship and is now a freshman playing basketball at Wright State University.

Julie Riggins of Bloomfield did likewise, earning a scholarship to run cross country and track at the IUPUI.

Two members of the Linton-Stockton Miners' football squad were named All-State by the Associated Press.

Quarterback Austin Karazsia, who surpassed almost every passing record conceivable by a Miner quarterback, was joined by defensive back Koye Kaiser on the list.

It was the first time Karazsia had gained the honor while Kaiser got the nod from the AP for the second straight year.

All-State honors weren't limited to just football and volleyball players in the area as Brock Dowell became a member of the Class A all-state first team for baseball.

The Shakamak senior led his team to the IHSAA Class A State Championship game and recorded the final three outs of the Lakers' semistate win over South Central (Elizabeth).

Five area athletes qualified for the IHSAA state finals.

Linton-Stockton's Clayton French led his team to a sectional title before advancing to both days of the IHSAA Boys Golf State Championship.

He fired a round of 74 on day one then followed with a round of 83. His two day total left him short of the medal stand but not short of success.

Linton-Stockton's Micaela Hazlewood got a berth in both the shot put and discus while Shakamak's Savannah Turner made the first appearance at the state finals in track for the Jasonville school.

Hazlewood earned a seventh-place finish in the discus with a toss of 127 feet, 11 inches while Turner ran 26th in the 1,600 meters.

Two boys from Linton-Stockton also got berths, including Kent Helton, 28th in the long jump with a leap of 19-4 1/2, and hurdler Grant Stamm.

Stamm, just a junior, was 20th in the 110 meter high hurdles with a time of 15.36 seconds.

In girls cross country, three local runners advanced to the semistate as Averi Workman (Bloomfield), Hannah Resler (Eastern Greene) and Turner all placed in the top 15 at the Bedford North Lawrence Regional, but came up short of the top 15 at the Brown County Semistate a week later.

-- By Rick Curl



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