Each year we compile a list of the biggest news stories reported by the Times-News over the past 12 months. Monday I spent Monday morning compiling a list. Here’s what I have so far. Remember, this is by no means a final or even complete look back. In fact, it has some holes. Many of these I’m writing down as I think of them. I also keep a weekly diary of stories we’ve published throughout the year for times like this. Sadly, though, y headline writing leaves some gaps. For example, just what the heck does “Graham business closes,” actually mean?
So this is a work in progress. Feel free to add your own.
Ultimately, we’ll shape some version of this list and prepare it to put online so our readers can vote on what they think were the stories that saped our community in 2009.
Here’s a peak.
In the recent development department
Developers of Mackintosh on the Lake, Burlington’s most ambitious development, face foreclosure on vacant properties, leaving future of the high-end housing site in question.
A year of notable losses
In January, former Gov. Bob Scott of Hawfields, dies.
Also in January, N.C. State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow of Gibsonville dies after battling cancer for more than a decade.
Not much more than a week later, former and longtime state Insurance Commissioner Jim Long dies just months after retiring from the office he’d held for more than 20 years. The Burlington native also served in the State House.
In July, Burlington City Councilman, legendary coach, teacher and community leader David Maynard dies.
Another military tragedy
Marine Lance Cpl. Roger Hager of Gibsonville and a Western Alamance grad, is killed in July in Afghanistan.
Politics as usual
State Rep. Cary Allred resigns from the state House seat he’d held for well, nearly forever, after questions were raised about his conduct during a night session of the General Assembly in May. Allegations are lodged that he inappropriately hugged a teen-age House page, whom Allred described as a family friend, that he was speeding en route to the Legislative session and had alcohol on his breath. Allred was later charged by the state Highway Patrol with driving 102 mph on I-40 and admitted having one chelada (a combination of tomato and clam juice and beer prior to driving). Allred called the investigation a witchhunt and questioned the motives of his accusers but still he resigned just before the ethics committee issued its report and the findings become public.
Longtime County Commissioner Dan Ingle is tapped by county GOP leaders to replace Allred in the state House. Former county commissioner Bill Lashley, who lost his re-election bid in 2008, was chosen to replace Ingle on the county board.
Celo Faucette was finally elected to Burlington City Council after several attempts at this and other offices. Former councilman and mayor Steve Ross is returned to the council. Former Alamance County Commissioner Larry Sharpe, who was appointed to the council to replace the late Don Starling, fails to win election.
Changes in Mebane: Longtime and controversial Councilman Bob Hupman resigns amid new allegations of sexual misconduct, which were later dropped and questions raised about his massive tax debt, which is among the highest in the state. This follows years of turmoil surrounding Hupman.
Two write-in candidates win town board seats in Green Level.
In June former state Sen. Hugh Webster was found not guilty of fraud by a Caswell County in a case involving accusations that the accountant misapproprriatted funds belonging to his aged aunt.
Crime, punishment and disorder in the court
Cold case: A stepson and two others were charged this year in connection to the November 2007 murder of retired bank employee Sara Dixon. The state is seeking he death penalty
Verdict reached (this week) int he Lawrence Donnell Flood capital murder case.
County authorities led a daytime raid on the Paradise Club, a topless bar in rural Alamance County. The establishment was later shut down by virtue of the state’s nuisance law.
Used car dealer Kevin Brogden gets 57-month prison sentence s on federal charges connected to drugs and money laundering.
Judge Jack Spencer retires as a superior court judge and District Attorney Rob Johnson is chosen as his replacement. Johnson took the judgeship after completing prosecution of the Donnell Flood murder case.
In September Burlington police take a Western Alamance student into custody on the school campus on charges of robbery in connection to an incident that occurred in the summertime. The teen is led from school in handcuffs and in front of his peers and his mother was not contacted. Police later determine that it was a case of mistaken identity. Police chief Mike Williams offers an apology for the error and is rebuffed by the teen and his mother.
Only moments after Alamance County property owners got their new tax revaluations in the mail, the complaints began. More than 13,000 appeals were made of the new land values, which many thought did not reflect the current real estate market. Calls for tax administrator Kim Horton’s job only began to get traction after it surfaced that an appraisal company she was affiliated with allegedly overbilled the county for services — while she was still on the company’s payroll. Horton resigned under fire. The matter involving Horton and the appraisal company is under litigation.
Fairness Alamance brings questions about the Alamance County Sheriff’s Department and its and handling of the 287(g) immigration program to the public’s attention. The group, led by an Elon professor, question the sheriff’s stat-keeping on arrests and a variety of other issues. Ultimately the department agrees that errors in record-keeping were made. It was also revealed later in the year that the jail did not meet all federal guidelines for the Homeland Security program, including the use of Tasers by jailers. Still, the program was renewed under a call by the federal government to focus on criminal offenders. The year also included an endorsement of the sheriff and program by the county Board of Commissioners and criticism by the American Civil Liberties Union.
This and that
In August it’s determined that Burlington’s population is now more than 50,000.
Planned Children’s Museum reaches a new stage. An architect renders sketches of the proposed site and new fund-raising efforts are started.
Burlington’s long dormant downtown begins to show signs of life with new restaurants and shops opening in previously vacant storefronts.
County hired Craig Honeycutt as new county manager, replacing David Smith.
Economic ups and downs
GKN lays off 50 in March and 35 more in April. Hospital cuts hours. Times-News announces furloughs, later Times-News parent company announces Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Unemployment climbs as high as 12.1 percent before leveling off. Stadler ham plant closes in February. In February a Graham label maker announces plans to close. In March, GE plant announced it is laying off 100 people. Problems in the national auto industry lead to changes for Alamance County car dealers, including the eventual closure of some lots and new affiliations for others. In May, GE cut 30 more jobs at its Mebane plant. In May it was announced that a printing companywould close after 50 years in business. In June, a new plant of some kind opened in Mebane. Indulor announces plans to open site in Graham.
In December Tanger breaks ground on proposed upscale shopping plaza in Mebane’s Arrowhead development.