The following were selected by Newton Kansan staff as the top 10 news stories for 2011:
No. 1 — When Chad Carr pleaded guilty Nov. 3 to a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the death of a North Newton toddler Vincent Hill, it brought some sense of closure to a tragedy that had deeply impacted the quiet community of North Newton, which previously had never had a recorded homicide.
No. 2 — A heat wave started in the area in early May, with temperatures soaring above 100 degrees on many days through the end of August. Records from the 1800s and 1980s were broken, including one on June 7 that had been set in 1939. On that day this year, the temp climbed to 101.
No. 3 — First, it was named — the Meridian Center. A name chosen to honor Newton’s past as a stop on the Meridian Highway, which became Highway 81.Then, in July it opened.
No. 4 — Youthville announced a “consolidation,” and the loss of dozens of jobs in Newton in October.
No. 5 — Sand Creek Station landed its second major national tournament, the United States Golf Association’s 2014 Amateur Public Links Championships. Course manager Chris Tuohey called the tournament the “Super Bowl” of public golf. The course hosts the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Men’s Championships this spring, bringing the top junior college golfers to Newton. The course is home to a Wichita Open pro-am, along with several high school and college tournaments, and numerous corporate golf outings.
No. 6 — The emergency vehicles were brightly polished, gleaming in the afternoon sun filtering in through the windows. The smell of fresh paint still lingered on the air, and it was easy to feel the excitement as the Newton Fire/EMS department dedicated its new Station No. 3, 2520 S. Kansas Ave., on June 9.
No. 7 — Local government spending generated quite a bit of discussion — and some heated debates — this budget season. Due to a large response from the public, the city commission’s budget hearing had to be moved to the Newton High School auditorium. Almost all the seats in the auditorium were full, and community members spent about two hours sharing their comments and concerns about the budget before it was adopted.
No. 8 — Although a special program in Harvey County called the Domestic Violence Response Team was founded for the purpose of giving domestic violence victims a voice and a resource to turn to for help, the team’s grant funding has run out, and the program could end if another source of funding is not found.
No. 9 — It was an announcement large enough Gov. Sam Brownback wanted to make it — Newton, and the Kansas Logistics Park, had been selected as the site for a new wind energy company producing a new type of wind turbine.
No. 10 — The first look at proposed budget cuts by USD 373 was a scary one — a list more than a page long containing three options. Included were staff reductions and the elimination of programs.