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The Suburbanite
  • 2012: A year in review — highs and lows

  • But here’s a look at some stories that made headlines in The Repository and at CantonRep.com in 2012.

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  • Depending on you, the biggest story of the year may have been the re-election of Barack Obama, the Summer Olympics in London, mass casualty shootings in Connecticut and Colorado, or Superstorm Sandy.
    Or perhaps, none of the above.
    Defining “big” or “important” news events is somewhat subjective, especially at the local level.
    But here’s a look at some stories that made headlines in The Repository and at CantonRep.com in 2012.
    January
    • Less than an hour into the new year, Sofia Marie Calabris enters the world as Stark County’s first baby of 2012.
    • “Maverick,” a downtown Canton peregrine falcon who fathered chicks for nearly a decade, dies.
    • Ron Johnson is fired as McKinley High football coach, despite making playoffs all four seasons he led the Bulldogs.
    • Canton officials fire police officer Daniel Harless, who’d threatened to kill a man during a traffic stop the previous summer.
    • Diebold Inc. announces plans for a new headquarters in Green.
    • Stark County Common Pleas Judge John Haas overturns a November 2011 vote to expand police coverage throughout Lake Township; incorrect ballot language about the price tag, he ruled, may have misled voters.
    • Richard Beasley, of Akron, is indicted for the “Craigslist Killings;” his alleged victims include 47-year-old Timothy Kern, of Jackson Township.
    February
    • Bruce Lawver, an 18-year veteran of the department, is sworn in as Canton’s new police chief.
    • Under pressure from the Board of Education, Michele Evans resigns after five years as superintendent of Canton City Schools.
    • Two-time Ohio Mr. Football, Erick Howard, is convicted in a home invasion robbery and rape case; the former North Canton Hoover star is sentenced to 30 years in prison.
    • Canton’s Esber’s Restaurant and Lounge closes after 84 years in business.
    • From Indianapolis, site of the Super Bowl, this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Class is announced: Jack Butler, Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin and Willie Roaf.
    • McKinley’s Ameryst Alston sets Stark County girls’ basketball career scoring mark.
    • Jackson High junior Chase Kinney wins a state swim title in the 50-yard freestyle.
    March
    • Four Perry High wrestlers — David Bavery, Zack Dailey, Mitch Newhouse and JoJo Tayse — win state titles.
    • Former McKinley star and ex-NBA player Eric Snow donates $1 million for a new downtown Canton YMCA.
    • St. Stephen the Martyr Lutheran Church in Jackson Township hosts a Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio 100th anniversary event.
    • Former Maple Heights High football coach Todd Filtz gets the same job at McKinley ... It feels like summer in mid-month as temperatures topped 70 degrees for seven days in a row.
    Page 2 of 4 - April
    • Stark County’s sales tax increases to 6.25 percent, from 5.75 percent.
    • Former Lincoln and McKinley high schools basketball coach Ken Newlon dies.
    • The Canton Charge D League basketball team makes the playoffs in its inaugural season.
    • State geologists update the map of the Utica shale, and it puts Stark County in a potential sweet spot for oil and gas reserves.
    • Hartville Hardware opens a mammoth 245,586 square-foot store.
    • Jonathan T. Patterson, 19, is sentenced to life in prison for killing a man during a home invasion robbery a year ago.
    • Timken Co. breaks ground on a $225 million expansion at its Faircrest steel mill.
    May
    • Dragonfly Academy, a school for autistic children, temporarily closes amid allegations that services are not being properly provided.
    • A crowd of more than 200 gathers for an anti-violence march at 12th Street NW and Shorb Avenue in Canton.
    • Elissa Prazer, 19, of Carrollton, is named Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival queen.
    • Browns’ coach Pat Shurmur speaks at the Hall of Fame Luncheon Club. He entertains the crowd and says, “I hope I have some good things to talk about when I see you here next year.”
    • Ohio Supreme Court affirms earlier decision, which invalidates a Lake Township police levy.
    June
    • North Canton Hoover’s Maddie Morrow (high jump), Sandy Valley’s Andrew Milhoan (long jump), Northwest’s Alyson Lindic (high jump) GlenOak’s Cody Jones (high jump), Green’s Morgan Estes (pole vault) and Cory Glines (1,600 meters), of St. Thomas Aquinas, all win state titles in track and field. (Information has been changed to correct errors at 10:20 a.m. 1/2/13. See corrections at end of story.)
    •  Hoover High’s girls’ softball team wins second straight Division I state championship with a 2-0 victory over Lebanon.
    •  Gov. John Kasich’s office signs an agreement that would allow Thistledown horse racing track to possibly move to a site within 12 miles of the Akron-Canton Airport.
    • TTI Floor Care announces plan to close its bag plant in Canton at year’s end — it’s the last remaining local manufacturing piece of what once was the Hoover Co.
    • More than 5,000 runners compete in the Canton Marathon and its affiliated races.
    • Three-year-old Takenya Spicer dies in a Canton house fire.
    July
    • Gov. John Kasich speaks at the Pro Football Hall of Fame to tout benefits of his JobsOhio 2 bill, which can provide funding for tourist industries.
    • The thermometer peaks at 99 degrees on July 6, a record for the area.
    • Heather Smith, 29, of Uhrichsville, is struck and killed by an auto while walking along U.S. Route 62, after her release from Stark County Jail early on a Saturday morning.
    Page 3 of 4 - • Stacey St. Jean-Barton is sentenced to 22 months in prison for sending nude photos of herself to two Washington High students; the former cafeteria worker had admitted to having sex with some male students.
    • GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a fundraiser at Brookside Country Club.
    • Former Northwest High and Malone University golfer Justin Lower wins the Ohio Open.
    August
    • In what’s becoming a summer ritual, local residents report seeing a mountain lion-like cat roaming the North Canton area; the cat’s existence is never confirmed.
    • Jack Butler, Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin and Willie Roaf are inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during the annual summer festivities.
    • Mary Phelps celebrates her 112th birthday at Hartville Kitchen.
    • John E. Wise, of Massillon, is arrested after allegedly shooting his 65-year-old wife to death in the intensive care unit at Akron General Medical Center in what some dub a mercy killing.
    • Dragonfly Academy Executive Director Brianne Bixby-Nightingale resigns.
    • A rash of shootings plagues Canton.
    • Celeste Fronsman, 29, of Canton, is found beaten and badly burned in Muskingum County; she dies two days later.
    September
    • Canton City Council votes down a proposal to purchase traffic enforcement cameras.
    • An Ohio newspapers poll shows President Obama leading Republican challenger Mitt Romney by five points in Ohio.
    • Stark County’s jobless rate is 6.8 percent — the lowest in four years.
    • Three vacant houses burn on Wells Avenue SW, in what appears to be arson.
    • The Rev. William Pawson of Westminster Community Church likens the congregation’s decision to leave the Presbyterian Church, USA, to a divorce; members opposed a change that would have permitted homosexual clergy.
    October
    • Canton Fire Chief Stephen J. Rich reacts to a sixth vacant house fire set by “vigilante arsonists;” he issues a plea for it to stop.
    • Canton Marathon officials say they are in payment plan negotiations for tens of thousands of dollars owed to vendors and cities from the summer races.
    • The Cleveland Cavaliers face the Milwaukee Bucks in a preseason game at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.
    • Of 20 public school districts in the area, 17 receive “excellent” ratings on state report cards.
    • Vice President Joe Biden campaigns at the J. Babe Stearn Center in Canton.
    • A healthy newborn baby is found abandoned outside the East Sparta Fire Department.
    • Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan campaign in North Canton.
    • Diebold shelves its plans for a new headquarters in Green.
    • A newspaper poll shows President Obama and Mitt Romney tied in Ohio.
    • A jury in Akron finds 17-year-old Brogan Rafferty guilty in the “Craigslist Killings;” victims included Timothy Kern, of Jackson Township.
    Page 4 of 4 - November
    • Canton City Schools Superintendent Chris Smith dies while being treated for leukemia.
    • Stark County, as a whole, chooses President Obama over Mitt Romney in the presidential election.
    • In local elections, Michael McDonald tops Larry Dordea in the race for Stark County sheriff.
    • Jackson High freshman basketball coach Scott Studer resigns after police discover he’d secretly taped nude players in the showers for eight years.
    • Jim Dennison, who founded the Walsh University football program in 1995, retires.
    • Seventeen people involved in local cocaine and heroin trafficking, including several suspected members of the Rated R street gang, plead guilty to federal crimes.
    December
    • Cincinnati Moeller tops Toledo Whitmer 20-12 at Fawcett Stadium, concluding a weekend of six Ohio High School Athletic Association football championship games in Stark County.
    • University of Mount Union officials say they plan to demolish the Mount Union Theater in Alliance to make way for a new academic building.
    • VXI Global Solutions hires its 1,000th employee for its downtown Canton call center.
    • Statistics show increases in homicide, rape and auto thefts in Canton this year.
    • The University of Mount Union beats St. Thomas of Minnesota 28-10 to win the NCAA Division III national title.
    • Former Jackson High freshman basketball coach Scott Studer is sentenced to 15 years in prison for secretly taping more than 100 nude student athletes as they showered.
    Correction: Sandy Valley's Andrew Milhoan won a state title in the long jump and Cory Glines of St. Thomas won the 1,600 meters. Milhoan's event was incorrect and Glines' first name was misspelled when this story was first posted online 12/31/12.