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Saturday, December 29, 2018 1:00 am

Year in Review

Winners, losers, tossups and milestones from 2018

Winners

Christiana Hicks: Snider grad cements Fort Wayne's reputation as a birthing ground for musical talent. Performing as Christiana Danielle, she finished in the top 10 in season 14 of “The Voice” – just after Addison Agen was named first-runner-up in the show's 13th season.

The Clyde: Bluffton Road theater, a Regional Cities project, adds another first-class entertainment venue to the city's collection.

Sunday sales: Indiana finally joins the rest of the nation in allowing sales of beer, wine and spirits on Sundays, between noon and 8 p.m.

New Allen Alliance: Stellar Communities designation – and millions of dollars in state aid – go to collaborative effort by Leo-Cedarville, Grabill, Harlan, Woodburn, New Haven, Monroeville and Hoagland to enhance the quality of life for residents and prospective residents. 

Beasley Courts: Fort Wayne soccer standout DaMarcus Beasley, Indiana Soccer, the Homestead High School soccer team and other supporters turn an underused tennis court at Packard Park into the city's first outdoor Futsal court, allowing for small-sided soccer.

Downtown Fort Wayne: The central city's renaissance continues with more employers announcing plans to relocate there, including party supplier Shindigz and Ruoff Home Mortgage.

The Chapman Challenge: Purdue University Fort Wayne benefactors Howard and Betsy Chapman pledge more than $200,000 to help create 25 endowed scholarships.

Losers

Red River Waste: With nearly a full year in service, city's new trash and recycling hauler continues to struggle, with recurring missed pickups and other complaints.

Indiana women: Institute for Women's Policy Research gives the Hoosier State a “D” for the economic status of women. Indiana earned an “F” for work and family policies, 51st among the states and District of Columbia.

General Assembly: With supermajority control of both the House and Senate, GOP leaders still couldn't finish their work on time. Indiana taxpayers picked up the tab for a one-day special session to address bills left hanging at adjournment.

Spring: Punxsutawney Phil didn't predict an early end to winter, but he still missed his prediction by six weeks, with freezing temperatures and snow holding on until late April.

Planned Parenthood: After critics target the office with mailers identifying the name and home address of a nurse practitioner employed there, the organization's West Jefferson Boulevard clinic is shut down. “This is not how decent and compassionate people behave. These are actions of harassment and intimidation that are done in the name of faith, religion and Jesus,” said the president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.

Tossups

Say's Firefly: West Lafayette students finally succeed in their efforts to have the firefly designated as official state insect, but it took three years and multiple bills to do so.

Utility customers: Costs for most area electricity, gas and water customers go up, but state regulators reined in increases in the wake of federal tax cuts benefiting the utility companies.

April Tinsley case: After 30 years, a guilty plea ends the case of the abduction and murder of the 8-year-old Fort Wayne girl. But details of the horrific crime will never be forgotten.

Fort Wayne drivers: Traffic and utility work at locations across the city create more than the usual dose of traffic headaches this year, but the improvements are welcome.

Civic engagement: Long lines at area polling locations are a welcome sight as voter turnout in Allen County climbed to almost 50 percent in the general election. But we're still waiting for “I voted” stickers.

Public servants: Well-deserved retirements come to Allen County Judges Dan Heath, John Surbeck and Stanley Levine; 40-year county official Linda K. Bloom; 40-year city official Pam Holocher; and David Long, former city councilman and president pro tem of the Indiana Senate.

Milestones

Kenneth Scheibenberger: Former Allen County judge was a leader in creating one of the state's first drug courts. A founding member of the German Heritage Society, Scheibenberger was instrumental in creating a sister city relationship with Gera, Germany, and was president of Germanfest when he died at 69 on April 18.

David Bobilya: President of Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne and community leader died April 9 at 65.

Leonard Goldstein: Businessman and former president of the Fort Wayne Community Schools board was a passionate supporter of civil rights and social justice. He died April 20 at 97.

Leland Etzler: As Woodlan High School football coach, he saw 45 former players go on to play in the college ranks, 52 become coaches themselves and 38 named academic all-state selections. He died Sept. 2 at 78.

Hana Stith: Longtime educator and a founder of Fort Wayne's African/African-American Historical Museum was The Journal Gazette's Citizen of the Year in 2006. She died at 90 on Sept. 4.

David A. Tinsley: Sixteen-year veteran of the Fort Wayne Police Department collapsed and died after chasing a suspect on the city's southeast side Sept. 10. He was 50.

Quotable 

“We're children. You guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role. Work together. Come over your politics and get something done.”

 – David Hogg, a senior at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, after a lone gunman killed 17 people at his school on Feb. 14.  He and several classmates went on to lead a growing movement in support of stronger gun regulations.

“For too long, so-called Christians have used their religion to justify injustice in our communities. Recently, our attorney general of the United States stood at a podium right here in Fort Wayne and used the Bible to justify separating families at the border. As people of faith who are deeply concerned about justice, we say, 'Enough.' ... It's time to regain our collective voice. It's time to claim our ground as the true moral majority.”

 – The Rev. Angelo Mante, pastor of Simpson United Methodist Church, in remarks at a Families First Town Hall at St. Joseph Catholic Church in July.