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One graduate receives her diploma after beating the odds.
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Updated: Wednesday, 02 Jan 2013, 10:23 AM EST
Published : Monday, 31 Dec 2012, 6:00 PM EST
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - As 2012 comes to a close, NewsChannel 15 is taking a look back at some of the top stories of the year. After viewers voted for their favorite, this is how the top 15 stories stacked up.
Number 15: Morris Controversy
In February, State Representative Bob Morris refused to sign a resolution to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, calling it a "radical group that promotes abortion and homosexuality."
The story got national attention on late night and news programs. Then in a NewsChannel 15 exclusive interview, Morris said he regreted how he expressed his reservations about the group, but won’t change his tune.
“We have many good Girl Scout organizations here in Indiana, the troop leaders and the children,” Morris said. “My concerns are with the national organization and Planned Parenthood.”
The Girl Scouts says it's neutral on abortion, homosexuality and birth control.
Morris was re-elected to the Indiana House in November.
Number 14: Fighter Wing Future
In February, the Department of Defense announced $500 billion in budget cuts and they could include some A10 units. In June 2010, the 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne started getting A10s and lost the F16s.
Now the jets could be replaced with ten MC12 Liberties, a larger plane used for intelligence and surveillance. The A10s were to start moving out in October and the MC 12s would start coming in next year.
But that's all on hold as lawmakers and the city of Fort Wayne fight for the fighter jets.
“I'm hopeful that Congress will speak loud and clear on this, and I've talked to Democrats and Republicans and led a group of 60 members in opposing this move, and I think we're going to be successful in the long run,” Congressman Marlin Stutzman said.
Then at the end of December, the U.S. House passed a military spending bill that would keep the A10s in Fort Wayne through September 2013. Their final future, though, is still uncertain.
Number 13: FBI Raids
On December 6 FBI agents descended on homes all across Fort Wayne. It started with the homes of former NFL player Jason Fabini and his brother, Michael, on the northeast side of town. Throughout the rest of that day and the next, the raids reached a total of ten houses.
The FBI still isn't saying what prompted the raids, but NewsChannel 15 saw agents taking out dozens of boxes and guns. No one's been arrested and no charges have been filed, but the investigation is still underway.
Number 12: Ethics Investigation
In the early morning of June second, Allen County Councilman Paul Moss was pulled over by an Allen County Sheriff’s Department deputy. A Fort Wayne police officer also responded and this report said the stop was on suspicion of drunk driving and that Sheriff Ken Fries told deputies to let Moss go.
Moss said he was driving his daughter and her friends home and was willing to take a blood alcohol test. Moss said he only called the Sheriff to see what was taking so long.
“I didn't ask for any favors. The only thing I asked if he could expedite the process,” Moss said.
But, two weeks later, a complaint was filed with the Allen County Ethics Commission and months of investigations followed.
A hearing in October gave testimony from the officers at the scene. Then in a final hearing in November, the commission accepted Moss' apology and dismissed the complaint.
"Paul Moss accepted responsibility for what I think certainly I felt was a lapse of judgment, a mistake,” Tom Hardin, an attorney and member of the ethics commission, said.
Number 11: Law Firm Link
What turned into a story of twists and turns, all started on March 27 at the home of Attorney David Kuker, a corporate lawyer with Faegre Baker Daniels. A man surprised him in his garage and shot him twice.
The suspect took off and the scare of a gunman on the loose put schools on lockdown and rattled the southwest community.
Then days later, police said the shooting was an isolated incident.
"This is a selected target and that's what we feel right now,” Scott Tegtmeyer, a public information officer for the Fort Wayne Police Department, said.
But, police wouldn't elaborate and no one was arrested. Crime Stoppers issued a reward for information.
Then exactly five weeks later, there was another shooting. It was in a different neighborhood, but the victim was an associate at the same law firm.
“There is a link there that we are obligated to explore,” Raquel Foster, a public information officer with the Fort Wayne Police Department, said.
Police also searched a pond for evidence, but as life returned to normal in the neighborhoods, no suspect was ever arrested in either case.
Number 10: Parkview Expands
After more than five years of planning and four years of construction, Parkview Regional Medical Center off Dupont Road welcomed its first patient March 17.
The huge hospital has more than 440 patient beds, uses new technology and moved many services from Parkview's Randallia campus.
Despite fears in the
neighborhood, the Randallia location is staying. An emergency room and some inpatient beds are staying, but the focus of that campus is transforming to rehab, mental health and senior care.
“It’s more than a hospital. It's providing education, providing health and wellness opportunities,” Sue Ehinger, COO for Parkview Hospital, said.
The Randallia campus also got a facelift in August.
Number 9: World Leader Visit
Fort Wayne was one of the stops in September when Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi visited the United States. Suu Kyi is a democracy advocate and former political prisoner from Myanmar.
After accepting a Congressional Gold Medal in Washington, Suu Kyi delivered a speech to more than 5,000 people at the Memorial Coliseum. She spoke about the importance of education and the challenges of developing democracy in Myanmar.
“We are now at the most important and delicate juncture. Many people seem to have the impression that we've made it through to democracy. It’s not like that at all. We are just at the beginning of the road,” Suu Kyi said.
About 4,000 Burmese live in the Fort Wayne area, making it one of the largest concentrations in the country.
Number 8: Coach Cut
Shock waves went through the high school sports world when Bishop Luers fired long time athletic director and head football coach Matt Lindsay in September. The Diocese said inappropriate video clips, none involving nudity, were found on Lindsay's computer. That, officials said, violated the school and church's ethical standards and policies.
The Allen County Sheriff's Department was asked to investigate. Part of the investigation was serving a search warrant at Lindsay's house.
“I have to stress that so far we've not found anything illegal that's connected with Matt Lindsay at this time,” Jeremy Tinkel, a public information officer with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, said.
No charges have been filed.
Lindsay with Bishop Luers for the last 33 years, 26 of those as head coach leading the Knights to nine state championships.
Number 7: Ambulance Shooting
A fight and stabbing in the early morning hours of September 9 outside Piere's ended with shots fired at an ambulance. Medics were taking the victim to a hospital and family and a friend were following in another car behind the ambulance when another car drove up and fired at the car with family inside. All three people inside were seriously hurt.
The gunfire also riddled the ambulance, leaving 18 bullet holes in the truck and bullet fragments in an EMT's arm.
Five days later, Traneilous Jackson was charged with four felony counts of attempted murder.
Number 6: Fallen Heroes
Two young soldiers from northeast Indiana were killed in 2012 fighting in Afghanistan.
May 18, Sgt. JaBraun Knox died from enemy rockets. The DeKalb High School grad left behind a wife and six-month-old son.
This was the 23-year-old's first deployment to Afghanistan. He had been to Iraq once before. He died two weeks after he was home for a surprise visit.
Three months later, Knox's friends and family held a golf benefit to raise money for a scholarship in his name at his high school.
In July, Specialist Nick Taylor died when his truck was attacked by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan.
Taylor graduated from South Adams High School two years ago. There he excelled in sports and was an outstanding student.
A stranger from Illinois filled the small town of Berne with more than 2,000 flags to honor Taylor and his high school retired his football jersey
"He has left such a wonderful mark on this community that I don't think we will ever forget,” Rarletta Evans said.
Number 5: Fallen Firefighter
What started as a grass fire the night of November 11 ended in tragedy. Washington Township volunteer firefighter Mark Haudenschild II died when his tanker truck rolled in a turn. The 26-year-old left behind a wife and two children - ages three and one.
“He always had a smile on, and he definitely loved his kids. Those little ones were his life,” Angela Starr Haudenschild, Mark’s sister, said.
Hundreds of people and emergency responders travelled from all over to say goodbye to a man who died doing a job he loved.
Number 4: Election 2012
The election year started with an upset in the May primary. Richard Mourdock unseated Richard Lugar and ended his 36 years of service in the U-S Senate.
"Serving the people of Indiana and the United States Senate has been the greatest honor of my public life,” Lugar said.
Lugar urged Mourdock to be less partisan in his campaign, but Mourdock didn't back down.
“When we talk about bipartisanship we're trying to get Democrats to come our way rather than see Republicans going the other way,” Mourdock told NewsChannel 15.
Then in October, Mourdock made national headlines again with a controversial comment about rape.
"Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended it to happen,” Mourdock said in a debate.
lost the general election to Democrat Joe Donnelly.
Also attracting a lot of attention this year was the race for Indiana governor. After meeting term limits, Mitch Daniels stepped down. Former Republican Congressman Mike Pence will take over the state's top office after defeating Democrat John Gregg and Libertarian Rupert Boneham.
In the race for Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Democrat Glenda Ritz unseated incumbent Tony Bennett.
Nationally the race for President was relentless. Obama came close to Indiana with several stops in Ohio. Mitt Romney made one visit to Indianapolis.
In November, Obama was elected to a second term as President.
Number 3: Plumadore Sentenced
Last year ended with a horrific crime in Allen County. A few days before Christmas 2011, 9-year-old Aliahna Lemmon went missing. Then the day after Christmas, Michael Plumadore, Lemmon's babysitter, told police he killed the little girl and cut up her body.
Aliahna's tragic death gripped the community and was in the national spotlight for months into 2012.
In June, Plumadore was sentenced to life in prison instead of the death penalty at the family's request.
Vigils and other events throughout the year kept the little girl's memory alive in the hopes of preventing another young life being taken too soon.
Number 2: Drought Watch
The dry weather this year spanned more than half of the United States and created one of the worst droughts in decades. By the end of May, northeast Indiana was in a moderate drought.
As the drought worsened, grass fires became more common and cities and counties started issuing burn bans. The bans eventually expanded to fireworks bans around the Fourth of July. But, by the end of the month, many of the burn bans were lifted.
The drought devastated area crops, leaving many farmers to face a season without paychecks.
While summer ended, the drought didn’t go away. The NewsChannel 15 viewing area is ending the year nearly ten inches below normal precipitation.
Number 1: Severe Summer Storm
On June 29, Mother Nature rocked northeast Indiana toppling trees, tearing apart homes and businesses and knocking out power to thousands. Crews came from other states to help put up new power polls and restore lights, but the damage was so widespread, it took a long time to finish the process. Some people suffered in the sweltering summer heat with no power for nearly a week.
The storm was expensive, too. It's estimated it cost Indiana Michigan Power more than $12 million to repair damage, pay overtime and cover living expenses for out-of-town crews. The thunderstorm cost the city of Fort Wayne nearly $2 million in clean-up.
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