Below is a list of stories from 2019 that stood out as important in Kosciusko County
1. Judge rules against Kosciusko County Fair Board in race track dispute
A two-year court battle is still being appealed as the fair board claims racing revenues are vital
IMPACT: Motorized racing at the fairgrounds could be silenced again.
2. Bus tragedy ends with sentencing
Allyssa Shepherd was convicted and sentenced in the deaths of three students from one family.
IMPACT: The deaths led to changes at the state level and at many school districts.
3. Community Corrections director one of three arrested
The department has been the subject of two criminal investigations in three years involving improper use of electronic monitoring bracelets, leading to a halt of new entrants in the program.
IMPACT: County leaders are in the midst of a review of the program.
4. Two officers suspended after police chief accused of roughing up driver
Chief Scott Whitaker apologized for an incident involving an elderly driver who he thought might be inebriated.
IMPACT: The dispute created a divide among city council members and exposed a split within the Republican Party.
5. Mayor Thallemer wins a third term after a bruising primary
Councilman Ron Shoemaker lost in his mayoral bid in the primary, and Thallemer was unopposed in the November election.
IMPACT: The Thallemer administration will continue on with an agenda focused on controlled growth and a need for more affordable housing.
6. K21 Offers $200,00 to nine towns, $1 million for a future ice rink
The health foundation’s proposals have been a catalyst for new ideas across Kosciusko County.
IMPACT: Support of an ice rink could bring to life the long-sought proposal
7. Animal control officer resigns after new allegations of animal abuse
Jerry Clase had faced accusations of mistreating animals over the course of his career
IMPACT: The county updated its related ordinances.
8. Husky Trail death
Eight-year-old Gidieon Cook died in June after he was struck by a car on Husky Trail in front of Harrison Elementary.
IMPACT: Warsaw school officials and city officials focused on making safety improvements to the crosswalk. The driver was not charged.
9. Amish Acres in Nappanee closes, up for sale
One of the most popular tourist attractions in northern Indiana is in a state of limbo.
IMPACT: The land could be parceled out or a buyer could try to revive the tradition.
10. Owens grocery store closed
The west side of Warsaw lost its longtime grocery store because of slumping sales.
IMPACT: Area residents lost a convenient option. City officials would like to see the vacant property filled.
11. Tippecanoe Chapman regional sewer district established
The state approved the plan late this year.
IMPACT: Supporters will soon create a board of directors to oversee and decide how they intend to handle sewage.
12. Etna Green gets new town hall, numerous changes in personnel
Moving into a new town hall bothered some people. The clerk-treasurer resigned over the issue. The town council president stepped down later and the Etna Township Trustee also stepped down.
IMPACT: It’s a new era as the town enters 2020.