7. Downtown shooting spree
In a year which will sadly be remembered for the horrific shootings in Newtown, Conn., we have to remember Kokomo’s own mass shooting, which happened on the near east side of downtown in January.
The two-day shooting spree left two people dead and two others injured. After the gunfire had settled, Kokomo police arrested 36-year-old Turama Stitts and charged him with two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Police believe the two-day shooting rampage near downtown was a random act of violence, and the charging information against Stitts indicated family members were concerned about his mental health. Shockingly, one of the shootings occurred as police combed the neighborhood, looking for a killer. The killings were two of the five murders reported in Kokomo this year.
8. Wind farm draws a crowd
The largest public meeting of the year occurred in northern Tipton County, where plans to install wind turbines over the 10 square miles between Sharpsville and the Clinton County line created turmoil.
Many county residents had no idea the wind farm would extend to the east side of U.S. 31 until a Kokomo Tribune story which came out just two weeks before a final vote on a key tax incentive package.
An estimated 400 people showed up at Tri-Central High School, where project supporters and opponents squared off. In the end, the Tipton County Council voted 4-1 to pass a tax abatement on the project, moving it closer to reality.
9. Selling the hospital
The trustees of the former Howard Community Hospital racked up about $50 million in debt expanding the formerly taxpayer-owned hospital, then cited the looming Affordable Care Act as one of the main reasons they needed to sell the facility to the Indianapolis-based Community Hospital network.
Community took over ownership of Howard in return for assuming all of the hospital’s debt. The acquisition came after talks to turn the hospital over to the IU Health network fell apart.
10. UCT youth baseball league’s success
First, UCT squad H.P. McPike won its second straight David A. Kasey Memorial Tournament, a Kokomo Tribune-sponsored tournament for the 40-plus major league teams in Howard County for ages 9 through 12. And then, UCT’s 12-year-old all-star team reached the Cal Ripken World Series where it placed third. This was the first local team to make the World Series since the mid-90s.