2012 in Review: The biggest newsmakers of the year

2012 in Review: The biggest newsmakers of the year

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by Jamie Grey

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBJamieGrey

KTVB.COM

Posted on December 31, 2012 at 11:29 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 2:44 PM

BOISE -- 2012 had many highs and lows, tragedies and triumphs. KTVB went through the year's archive tapes to find some of the most memorable stories and biggest newsmakers in Idaho.

The legislature kicked off the year bringing new laws. Notably, lawmakers banned texting while driving and passed another law requiring student athletes with concussions be pulled from the field.

At the beginning of the session, now-former state senator John McGee apologized on KTVB's Viewpoint program for a drinking and driving incident last year. Soon after that interview, he was in more hot water, accused of sexually harassing a Senate worker. As a result, he resigned his legislative seat and was later arrested, charged, convicted and ultimately sentenced to 44 days in jail for disturbing the peace.

In Decision 2012, Idaho held the first GOP Caucus for presidential candidates. 44,000 Idaho Republicans voted on Super Tuesday, with Mitt Romney ultimately capturing all of Idaho's delegates. Once November hit, the majority of Idahoans stuck with Romney, though it was President Barack Obama who won the nation's votes for four more years.

In that same election, PACs spent a record-breaking $6 million campaigning for and against state education reform-laws. Voters ultimately overturned all three parts of the controversial education package.

The 2012 fire season was long and difficult, with smoke pouring into the Treasure Valley. In July, the Benwalk Fire threatened Mountain Home and forced people out of their homes and businesses.

Also in July, the Charlotte Fire in Pocatello forced thousands to evacuate and burned 66 homes to the ground. In August, the Trinity Ridge Fire barreled toward the small communities of Pine and Featherville. After days of firefighting and worry, the communities were spared.

During the Mustang Fire, Idahoans met a new friend and mascot for fire prevention after firefighters helped rescue BooBoo the Bear. The bear is being rehabilitated and may be released back into the wild in June 2013.

In November, a monkey was killed at Zoo Boise, disturbing the community. Michael Watkins is now accused of the crime and since the incident -- two new monkeys have moved into the zoo.

Several murder trials brought several convictions in 2012. Rob Hall was convicted of second-degree murder for shooting attorney Emmett Corrigan in a Walgreens parking lot after the victim had an affair with Hall's wife.

Four people were convicted for conspiring to murder 19-year-old Ramon Fry in what prosecutors called an "execution chamber" in an Ontario garage. In addition, an Elmore County jury found Jorge Alberto Lopez-Orozco guilty of murdering his girlfriend and her two sons - 10 years after the crime.
   
Several new businesses came into southwest Idaho: Whole Foods, Rosauer's, Chick-fil-A and Big Al's all opened. Chobani opened the world's largest yogurt manufacturing plant in Twin Falls, and Zion's Bank began constructing a new building at 8th and Main, finally filling a big hole in downtown Boise.

Bringing thousands to see, the Boise Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reopened after a 17-month renovation. The church hosted an open house, allowing anyone to tour the temple.

Idaho lost firefighters this year including Todd Tompkins and Ron Chambless who died in an air tanker crash. Anne Veseth was also killed while fighting fires.

Several military members made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country. Staff Sergeant Daniel Brown, Private First Class Shane G. Wilson, Specialist Cody Moosman, Specialist Ethan Martin, Sergeant Chris Workman, and Lance Corporal Kenneth Cochran were amongst those Idahoans who gave their lives.

Idaho also lost two technology icons. Ray Smelek, who is credited with bringing Hewlett Packard to Boise, passed away in September. Tragedy shook Boise in February when Micron CEO Steve Appleton was killed in a plane crash. Appleton is remembered for his numerous contributions to his company and the community.

Finally, with one of the most exciting and happy stories of 2012, golden girl Kristin Armstrong did it again. She brought another Olympic gold medal in women's cycling home to the Gem State.
 

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