Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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December 31, 2013

Natural disasters dominate news '13

While plenty of businesses and political figures made waves in Kokomo in 2013, Mother Nature was arguably the city’s biggest headline grabber.

The year saw Kokomo sustain two of its most significant natural disasters in recent memory within seven months of each other, with record flooding in April, followed by a pair of tornadoes that swept through the heart of the city in November. The disasters tested the skills of first responders and the resolve of residents, but those within the city made it clear they would remain Kokomo Strong heading into 2014.

Here’s a look at the Kokomo Tribune’s most popular stories on www.kokomotribune.com, according to the readers, from 2013:

1 It was the most violent natural disaster to hit Kokomo since the infamous Palm Sunday tornadoes of 1965 — two tornadoes struck through the heart of the city Nov. 17. Remarkably, no lives were lost and no major injuries were suffered in the tornadoes that destroyed 47 homes, caused major damage to another 150 and $22 million in commercial property loss. A state of disaster was declared by Gov. Mike Pence in Howard County, although it was denied federal funding in December by the Federal Emergency Management Association. The state has appealed as it continues to rebuild into the new year.

2 Richard Schwartz, an investment adviser who built his business in Kokomo, took his own life Aug. 21 after firing a total of seven rounds at his wife, Brielle, who managed to escape through a bathroom window without being hurt at their Kentucky home. Six other individuals, all family members, were in the house when the shooting occurred, and all were able to flee without being struck. Schwartz, who ran RAS Associates, was well-known from his billboards around Kokomo. In October, state officials said they were “confident” Schwartz was running a Ponzi scheme, identifying between $5 million and $10 million in possible victims’ losses in the case.

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