Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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December 31, 2011

YEAR IN REVIEW: Annexation, Kokomo recovery top 2011 headlines

Kokomo and its surrounding areas had a lot of highs and lows in 2011.

Howard County reached a settlement for its property tax dispute with General Motors Components Holdings, and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce recognized the city as the “Community of the Year.”

On the other side, the community encountered stories of homicides, a man who had more than 100 dogs removed from his home, and a group of people who were serving for the greater good and were attacked in the middle of the night in a foreign country.

Amid all that, there were schools reforming, a major county facility has become the property of a college, members of the city’s largest unions signed historic four-year contracts and an annexation ensued to the chagrin of some of the future residents of the city.

The following is a list that reporters and editors at the Kokomo Tribune have compiled as the 10 biggest news stories of 2011.

Annexation makes kokomo 12th largest city

After three years of remonstrance and legal fights, Special Judge Thomas Lett ruled in December in favor of Kokomo’s East Side Annexation, paving the way for Kokomo to become Indiana’s 12th largest city.

Remonstrators to Kokomo’s east-side and west-side annexations had challenged the legality of the actions.

The West Side Annexation takes effect Jan. 1, but Kokomo Fire Department crews have been responding to the Indian Heights neighborhood since October, shortly after the new Fire Station 2 went into operation.

With more than 7 square miles of territory to the south and west of the city being added, city officials have been planning for years how to best extend city services.

The biggest expense was the $2 million fire station, which the city originally borrowed to build. But when the city received its share of the General Motors Components Holdings’ property tax settlement, the city paid off the station’s outstanding debt.

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