Fort Wayne Community Schools: Scaled-back building renovation plan wins a decisive vote in May referendum, allowing for long-needed improvements at dozens of schools, and district minimizes enrollment losses to move ahead of Indianapolis as the state’s largest school district.
The Harrison: Final piece of Parkview Field development falls into place with construction of office/residential building overlooking the ballpark.
Democratic State Convention: Party chooses Fort Wayne for its first statewide meeting outside Indianapolis, giving the Summit City rave reviews for its hospitality.
Bishop Luers football: In spite of an unsettling start to its season, team brings home another Class 2A state championship and senior Jaylon Smith rakes in the honors, including 2012 Indiana Mr. Football.
Growth: New state-of-the-art campus of Parkview Hospital opens along with part of an accompanying interchange at I-69 and Union Chapel Road. Speaking of I-69
Roads: The first major leg of the I-69 expansion in southwestern Indiana opens, followed by Indiana’s portion of the U.S. 24 Fort-to-Port project and the next-to-last leg of the Hoosier Heartland Corridor along Indiana 25 from Lafayette to Delphi. Plus the long-awaited Maplecrest Road extension connecting Fort Wayne and New Haven finally opens.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge: Downtown gateway is dedicated and quickly becomes a city landmark with its ever-changing light show.
City Council: Newcomers Geoff Paddock and Russ Jehl, along with the return after four years of John Crawford, make for civilized and productive deliberations.
Greg Zoeller: Indiana attorney general intervenes after state appeals court blocks publication of a transcript of a state child abuse hotline call. The court’s prior restraint was clearly unconstitutional.
Purdue University trustees: The board forces IPFW Chancellor Michael Wartell to follow mandatory retirement policy at age 65 – then hires a 64-year-old to replace him. The board also skirts open meetings law to interview candidates for Purdue president – then hires the man who appointed or reappointed each of the trustees.
Rep. Bob Morris: Fort Wayne lawmaker defends unfounded claims against Girl Scouts, drawing ridicule from late-night comics and even his own House speaker.
Paul Moss, Ken Fries: County Councilman Moss’ middle-of-the-night call to Sheriff Fries after being stopped by a county police officer – who canceled plans for a Breathalyzer after speaking to the sheriff – sets off criticism and an ethics probe that ultimately fell flat.
Huntertown Town Council: State regulators’ rejection of proposed sewer plan just one of many problems the tone-deaf town council experiences.
Richard Mourdock: Tea party state treasurer costs the GOP its long-held U.S. Senate seat with no compromise stand and statement that if a woman becomes pregnant from being raped, it was God’s intent.
DCS: Problems with the Department of Child Services are documented and its director, James Payne, resigns after a newspaper unveils his conflict of interest involving the agency and one of his relatives.
Weather: Unusually warm winter leads into exceptionally sweltering summer that hit farms with a drought and included a vicious wind storm (above) that knocked out power to many city residents – some for several days.
Statewide smoking ban: All of Indiana joins Fort Wayne and other progressive locales in sensible regulation of tobacco, but ban is weakened by exemptions.
Right to work: Controversial legislation sparks huge Statehouse protests before it is approved and enacted by Republican majorities.
Indiana Supreme Court: In his third appointment, Gov. Mitch Daniels finally gets it right, adding Lafayette judge Loretta Rush to the all-male court. Rush took the oath of office and participated in a robing ceremony on Friday.
Manchester University: To mark its expanding academic offerings, Manchester College becomes a university and its new College of Pharmacy welcomes it first class of nearly 65 at a new Fort Wayne building.
Civic leaders: Among the well-known city residents who died in 2012 were Patty Martone, 81, an educator and community volunteer who was a role model and mentor to many; Jack Dunifon, 90, a local businessman and longtime Republican leader who served on the City Council, Indiana House, county commissioners and County Council; and Dede Hall, 62, a former city councilwoman and a member of the Hall restaurant family.