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The Journal Gazette

Friday, December 30, 2016 10:01 pm

Yearly scorecard: 2016

Winners


Michael Matti: Striking photo of a Kosciusko County sunset by Warsaw native and graduate of Lakeland Christian Academy is selected as the U.S. Postal Services commemorative stamp for Indiana’s bicentennial.

Mastodons: IPFW’s men’s basketball team scores a win for the history books with upset of No. 3-ranked Indiana Hoosiers on Nov. 22.

Jerrod Tobias: Local artist’s work is featured prominently on murals around the city, and he is tapped to design artwork for the Clay Street railroad elevation in downtown Fort Wayne.

Fort Wayne United: Community initiative led by Iric Headley focuses on helping young black males succeed.  

Downtown Fort Wayne: City sees another year of improvements with opening of the Ash Skyline building, progress on Cityscape Flats and the unveiling of the riverfront development blueprint.

Hawkins Family Farm: Wabash County farmers, teaming up with restaurateur Pete Eshelman, win fight for legislation supporting small-scale farmers and the growing farm-to-fork movement.

Fort Wayne Rescue Mission: Board of Zoning Appeals approves rezoning request to allow for a new shelter at Lafayette Street and East Washington Boulevard. Following a fundraising campaign, the Rescue Mission will leave its Superior Street location for a new building at the site of a long-vacant auto dealership.

Water customers: About 4,000 Aqua Indiana customers connect to city water lines. The city bought Aqua Indiana’s infrastructure in southwest Fort Wayne more than a decade ago, with customers there expected to save about $1 million collectively on water bills.

Greg Zoeller: Two-term Indiana attorney general leaves a legacy of mostly worthwhile activism. Zoeller vigorously promoted open government and was a point person in the effort to reduce opioid addiction.  


Losers


Indiana Tech Law School: Just three years after opening, university President Art Snyder announces the program will close. He cited "a significant decline in law school applicants nationwide."

Masters of Cosmetology: Beauty school operator Kaydean Geist ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution and serve two years probation for violating federal student aid laws. She had earlier paid $300,000 to the federal education department. A civil lawsuit sought $11.6 million in repayment from Geist and the now-closed school.

Marlin Stutzman: Third District congressman passes up what would have been an easy re-election bid to run for Senate seat, losing to Todd Young and leaving office with unresolved questions about his use of campaign funds.

Annexation plan: Mayor Tom Henry’s recommendation to annex 23 square miles of land north of the city limits goes nowhere fast. City Council votes 7-2 to kill the plan, which would have added 22,000 new city residents.

ISTEP+: Another year, another frustrating exercise in accountability. Lawmakers start 2016 vowing to kill the much-maligned standardized test, but after months of work by a panel of their own appointees, the House education committee chairman suggests it will likely return next spring.

UTEC employees: About 700 workers at United Technologies Electronic Controls, the Huntington plant owned by Carrier’s parent company, are set to lose their jobs when operations are moved to Monterrey, Mexico, beginning next year.


Tossups


City Swim Meet: Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation informs local swim clubs it won’t operate the event after this year, but coaches and parents step up with efforts to preserve the 55-year-old tradition.

Opioid crisis: Painkiller and heroin addictions ruin and take record number of lives, but health and law enforcement communities mobilize to find solutions.  Among Fort Wayne leaders in the statewide battle are Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan, Judge Wendy Davis, Fort Wayne Police Capt. Kevin Hunter and pain-management specialist Dr. Daniel Roth.

General Electric: Company officials in late October confirm they’re negotiating with a potential developer for the 32-acre GE campus and its 1.2 million square feet of building space south of downtown.  But the landmark sign that marked the Broadway campus for decades went dark and was dismantled this year. Company officials said intruders were climbing an adjacent building and vandalizing the sign.


Quotable


"Samantha he was a HERO to a lot of people and now our Guardian Angel." – Tweet from Pacers legend Reggie Miller to Samantha Smith, widow of Andrew Smith, the former Butler basketball player who died of leukemia in January. Smith had tweeted a tribute to her late husband, noting that Miller was his hero.

"I’m thinking one more year, so I can one-up my brother." – Amy Recht, after winning her 10th women’s title at the City Tennis Tournament in August; Recht’s brother, Ryan, has won 10 men’s titles


Milestones


IPFW: Fort Wayne university’s second half-century begins with upheaval, as Purdue and Indiana university leaders approve a recommendation to sever the joint-campus arrangement and split academic programs between the two.

Mary Haupert: President and CEO of Neighborhood Health Clinics steps down after 21 years on the job. She oversaw the clinic’s approval as a federally qualified health center in 1997, the opening of its dental clinic in 1998 and its move in 2000 from the old Lutheran Hospital to its present location at 1717 S. Calhoun St. 

Rachel Tobin-Smith: Executive director of SCAN retires after 31 years at the child-abuse prevention program. SCAN grew from a staff of two and a budget of $28,000 to 230 and $16.5 million under her leadership. SCAN protects children through family programs in 30 Indiana counties.

Dan Coats: Former Fort Wayne businessman closes out a long career in public service with his second retirement from U.S. Senate.

Roy Buskirk: A three-term member of Allen County Council and former council president, Buskirk brought to public service unrivaled skills as a fiscal watchdog. He died of cancer at 72.

Hoosier Bear: The first black bear seen in Indiana in nearly 150 years is captured and euthanized in April. The bear was killed after attempting to break into two homes in Harbor County, Michigan.

Bob Chase: Legendary Fort Wayne Komets broadcaster dies at 90. Born Robert Wallenstein, he joined WOWO-AM radio in 1953.