2009-12-31 / Front Page

Decade’s Top Local News Stories Left Lasting Impression On Owen

Staff Report

Then Spencer Elementary School Principal Greg Linton assisted SES sixth grader Kari Harris as they attached the American flag to the school’s flag pole, moments before a prayer circle was held September 13, 2001 to reflect on how important the East Coast terrorist attacks just two days prior were to each and every American. (SEW File Photo) Then Spencer Elementary School Principal Greg Linton assisted SES sixth grader Kari Harris as they attached the American flag to the school’s flag pole, moments before a prayer circle was held September 13, 2001 to reflect on how important the East Coast terrorist attacks just two days prior were to each and every American. (SEW File Photo) The national news stories that shaped the first decade of the new millennium, from terrorism to natural and humanitarian disasters, also left a lasting impression on Owen County and its people, though it’s the decade’s top local headlines that we chose to focus on here.

For Spencer and Owen County, the decade was filled with transition, progress and more than its fair share of tragedies.

Although deaths, accidents and court cases are very important to the Owen County reader, those things were intentionally left out of the following review out of respect for the families.

Flags, both large and small and carried by Owen County residents of all ages, started the Apple Butter Festival Parade on September 15, 2001. The event was altered by the festival host Spencer Lions Club to be a formal salute to the United States and to emphasize our local commitment to the nation and to our leaders as they began to address a “Global War on Terrorism” following the attacks of September 11, 2001. (SEW File Photo) Flags, both large and small and carried by Owen County residents of all ages, started the Apple Butter Festival Parade on September 15, 2001. The event was altered by the festival host Spencer Lions Club to be a formal salute to the United States and to emphasize our local commitment to the nation and to our leaders as they began to address a “Global War on Terrorism” following the attacks of September 11, 2001. (SEW File Photo) Just a few of the top local news stories of the past decade, according to the SEW newsroom staff, were the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 that ultimately led to the current war in Iraq and the ongoing global war on terrorism; the spring flood of 2008; the Owen County Humane Society and the Owen County Family YMCA both opened in 2003; and Spencer’s National Guard Armory closed in 2008 due to statewide downsizing; the Spencer Evening World moved to morning distribution to begin 2009; and Owen Valley High School’s Lady Patriot basketball team captivated the local community on an unprecedented run to the Class 3A state finals’ game in the spring of 2009.

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The Year 2000

•The decade began with the 935 prefix joining the 876 prefix for telephone numbers in northwest Monroe, southeast Owen and northeast Greene counties.

•It was reported that the population of Owen County rose 19.3 percent since 1990 to an estimate of 20,619.

•LaVerl Nicholson was named a Sagamore of The Wabash.

•Former Cloverdale High School principal William Blake Ress was named the new IHSAA Commissioner.

•A 15-acre plot of land was donated at the west edge of Spencer to the Owen County Family YMCA.

•Amber Gramentz is named the 2000 Owen County Fair Queen.

•Indiana University Men’s Basketball Coach Bob Knight is fired after 28 years at the helm of the Hoosiers.

•George W. Bush is elected as the 43rd President of the United States of America.

* * * *

The Year 2001 •January began with the construction of the White River Bridge.

•Dale Ernhardt dies in a crash during the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500 on February 18.

•Owen County is deemed the fourth fastest growing county in the State of Indiana based on percentage of population.

•The Owen Valley Drumline and Owen Valley Winter Drumline capture the state title at the 2001 Indiana Percussion Association State Finals.

•Spencer Hardees closes.

•Former SEW Editor T. Perry Wesley passes away on June 4 and leaves a “treasure chest of memories” for everyone who knew him.

•Emily Dieter was selected as the 2001 Owen County Fair Queen.

•On September 11, 2001, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jets. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The hijackers crashed a third plane into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane. There were no survivors from any of the flights.

•Wampler Printing closes after nearly a century of business.

•A new flasher light is activated at State Road 46E and County Line Road.

* * * *

The Year 2002

•Scott Lawson’s final day with the SEW was January 11. Travis Curry has joined the staff.

•Construction of the Owen County Family YMCA is officially underway in February of 2002.

•Owen County Community Foundation announces that Mark Rogers is the organization’s new executive director. James D. Fulford is also named as executive director emeritus.

•An early morning fire destroys the Barker Motor Sales building in March. The business had been at the same location along West Morgan Street in Spencer since 1977.

•The Secrest Ferry Bridge near Gosport is placed on the National Register of Historic Places in April.

•White River crept near the 23-foot mark as lowland residents awaited a crest in early May.

•Owen County residents are “all shook up” following an earthquake on the early afternoon of June 18.

•Whitehall hill is receiving a face lift as work begins in early June to lower the hill.

•Pigeon droppings prompt the closing of the third floor of the Owen County Courthouse.

•The Spencer Evening World celebrates 75 years of news on the June 29 anniversary of the newspaper’s first issue.

•Jessica Shipley was crowned Miss Owen County Fair Queen during the 4-H fair in July. She also received awards for “Miss Congeniality” and “Best Professional Wear.”

•Spencer Elementary School Principal Greg Linton resigned his post in August to accept the top post at North Clay Middle School in Clay County.

•Daniel Gene Miller was awarded a Sagamore of the Wabash in September.

•Owen County’s neighbors in Ellettsville are facing a very difficult recovery as an F-3 tornado causes extensive damage and destroys numerous homes in early September.

•The well-known “Barn House,” owned by Jim Pendleton in Morgan Township, is destroyed by fire on November 10.

•The new Crystal Flash Convenience Store opens in December on W. Morgan Street.

•The County Home on State Road 43 officially closes.

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The Year 2003

•The Cataract Covered Bridge was moved from its position over Mill Creek as part of a restoration project.

•Fire destroys Honey Bakers Restaurant on State Road 67 in Worthington.

•The Owen County Family YMCA is officially open.

•The remains of missing IU student Jill Behrman are discovered in Morgan County, just north of Paragon.

•U.S. President George W. Bush orders a military attack on Iraq on Wednesday, March 19.

•La Campagne students stood in front of the Spencer Auto Exchange, Inc. asking motorist to “honk” if they support the troops currently fighting in the war in Iraq.

•Karen Veith retires after 33 years as an Owen Valley English teacher.

•Lindsey Vuke named Owen County Fair Queen

•The ground-breaking ceremony held at the site of the new Owen County Human Society building was a wonderful event for those involved.

•President George W. Bush declared a major disaster for Indiana floods.

•The transfer of power began for Lt. Governor Joe Kernan after Gov. Frank O’Bannon suffered a massive stroke. (Gov. O’Bannon passed away three days later.)

•Human bones were recovered from Little Clear Water Estates and sent off for examination.

•School was closed for Cloverdale Community Schools as 11 buses were vandalized.

•SBC is offered DSL Service in the Spencer area.

•Lu Farley has retired from the hairstyling business after 50 years.

•Save-A-Lot store opened its doors.

* * * *

The Year 2004

•A traffic light is installed at the intersection of State Roads 46/43.

•Former United States President Ronald Reagan passes away.

•A new Auto Zone is under construction on Morgan Street in Spencer.

•Tim Callahan of Cloverdale wins $1 million on the “Hoosier Millionaire” television show.

•Tornadoes tore through Owen County, causing extensive damage to area homes, during the Sunday afternoon OVHS graduation ceremony.

•Dewey Hauser, former Coal City resident, receives his WWII medals 59 years late.

* * * *

The Year 2005

•Mitch Daniels takes office as Governor of the State of Indiana.

•Dr. Carrie Milner is appointed as the new Superintendent of the Cloverdale Community School Corporation.

•The Owen County Humane Society officially opened its doors on Romona Road.

•Michelle Heck is named the 2005 Owen County Fair Queen.

•Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in August, causing a surge in gasoline prices, which topped the $3 mark locally.

•The Spencer Elementary Spell Bowl team places first in the state with a perfect score.

•A tornado ripped through southern Indiana, killing at least 22 people.

•A one-inch piece of property in Jackson Township sold on Ebay for $1,752.60.

* * * *

The Year 2006

•After demolition was planned for the Tivoli Theater, Community Renaissance, Inc. came up with the funds to purchase the historic facility, with plans to restore it to its original state.

•A traffic signal was installed on West State Road 46 at the intersection of Walmart.

•S-O teachers Terry Heck, Peggy Zonkle and Linda Williams retired with a combined 94 years of experience.

•Chelsea Bird was named OC Fair Queen

•The Spencer United Methodist Mission store moved to their new site at the former IGA Building.

•Daily Sudoku was added to the Spencer Evening World.

Caleb Petree started his first year as principal at Patricksburg Elementary School.

•Pam (O’Neal) Smith, former resident of Owen County was a contestant on the NBC reality TV show “The Biggest Loser.”

•The Spencer Evening World and World Arts, Inc. leader, John T. Gillaspy passed away.

•There was an open house at Owen Valley High School that gave residence a chance to preview the school’s new addition.

•Chester “Pudge” Richardson is elected as the next Owen County Sheriff.

•The FBI is assisting in the investigation of robbery at People State Bank.

•Local artist, Ken Bucklew, is feature in “Homes & Lifestyles” 2006 Winter Edition.

•Norman Timberlake is set for execution for the murder of Indiana State Police Trooper Michael Greene.

* * * *

The Year 2007

•Former SEW co-owner Maurice Endwright is named to the Indiana University Journalism Hall of Fame.

•A cougar escaped from the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point.

•In her final game at OVHS, senior Sam Stahl steals the ball and scores a game winning basket against top-ranked Bloomfield. Stahl also became the all-time leading scorer for OVHS girls’ basketball with 1,943 points before sectional play began.

•Many local homes suffered damage in tornado.

•An April 6 massacre at Virginia Tech University saw a gunman claim the lives of 32 people before turning the gun on himself.

•Volunteers in Medicine opened to Owen and Monroe county residents in April.

•In May, emergency sirens were installed throughout Owen County.

•In July, Alissa Wallace was named 2007 Owen County Fair Queen.

•Coal City Community Volunteer Fire Department firefighter Denise Leslie was killed in an automobile accident on her way to a fire. Leslie was the first Owen County firefighter killed in nearly 40 years.

•The remains of Fireman Third Class Alfred Eugene Livingston, who was killed during Pearl Harbor were returned home to Worthington.

•Cook Biotech Inc. is featured on the History Channel’s Modern Marvels.

•Chris Wesley and Julian Duling are selected to Congressman Brad Ellsworth’s Small Business Advisory Council.

Spencer Evening World Editor Tom Douglas retires after more than 30 years of working for Owen County’s only daily newspaper.

* * * *

The Year 2008

•Lavoran Wright, Owen Leader Editor Emeritus, passed away at the age of 103.

•Jo Ann Ligon retired after 25 years as the Owen County bailiff.

•A 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit a small town in Illinois and shook many states including right here in Owen County.

•Record rainfall led to devastating flash flooding and a White River crest of 26.84 feet. (Photo)

•Gas prices exceeded the $4 mark at area filling stations.

•Richard Foutch takes over as Spencer Chief of Police and Dr. Adam Spaetti as the new Owen County Health Officer.

•Second-year athletic trainer Joe Dunagan was doubling his role for CHS as its athletic director as well.

•The Spirit of the American Doughboy statue on the lawn of the courthouse square was vandalized.

•Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels made a stop in Owen County.

* * * *

The Year 2009

•The United States of America sees the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama, the first African- American president in the history of this great nation.

•15 inches of snow fell on Owen County during the month of February 2009.

•The Spencer Evening World moves to a morning distribution, sending the daily news straight to your postal mailbox.

•The Owen Valley Lady Patriots girls’ basketball team took us on a thrilling ride to a runner-up finish at state finals.

•Local WWII veterans joined in the Hoosier Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.

•U.S. officials began monitoring the H1N1 virus.

•Owen Valley’s Randy Lientz and Cloverdale’s James Hinton and Elizabeth Cheatham set their sights on state track and field titles with Lientz and Hinton finishing in the top five in their respective events.

•Donnie Carver named new SES principal, Norm Warner head of technology department.

•Veteran Owen County Prosecutor Allan Fountain passed away and Don VanDerMoere took over the reigns of the department.

SEW staff writer Michael Stanley published as book on WWII veterans’ stories.

•Cook Urological celebrated the opening of its new 160,000 square foot building.

•Gosport loses clerk-treasurer Tracy Snodgrass to resignation, regains former clerk-treasurer Wyatt Holsapple in the position.

•Town of Gosport receives many grants from the state.

•Greg Linton named new SOCS Superintendent.

•Steve Redenbaugh named as Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame inductee.

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