To say it's been a busy year is an understatement.
Southington in 2012 was a bit of a news factory, if you don't mind my saying. There was the murder of a woman, discovered only by a welfare check, the passage of a motion that could bring an arts center downtown and more.
To make it a bit easier, we are bringing you the 12 biggest and most read stories of 2012, broken down by month. Take a look back at what happened and how it may have changed Southington, for better or worse.
'Inability to Adapt' Cited as Reason Behind Tranquillo's Termination
Former Southington Town Engineer Anthony Tranquillo was fired in December 2011, but it wasn't until January that the reasoning behind it came out. The decision made some happy, following controversial problems including Sewer Assessment #34, while others were outraged at the treatment of a long-time public employee. See the complete details in the story above.
Son Charged With Murder in Southington Woman's Death
James D'Aquila allegedly kicked his mom to death woth workboots and left her lying in a pool of her own blood under the kitchen table in her Jensen's trailer park home for nearly a week. He was taken into custody in New Britain after she was discovered when Southington police, acting on concerns of her neighbors, did a welfare check on her. Take a look back to see complete details of this heartwrenching story.
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Carl Pavano Targeted in Extortion Attempts
After a search at the home of Christian Bedard, police failed to obtain a warrant for Bedard's arrest when Pavano's family refused to give a statement. Police said Pavano was the target of extortion attempts after Bedard made demands that, if left unfulfilled, would lead to his publishing a book exposing Pavano as gay. Bedard later said these comments were made in jest. For a complete look back at the story, just click the link above.
Four Schools Get New Principals
There was sweeping change in the school system as retirements led to the introduction of three new prinipals and the relocation of a fourth for the 2012-13 school year. Take a look at the hiring process and why each were selected with out complete story.
For the first time in town history, the Board of Finance was unable to come to a mill rate by the chartered date, the result of a protest by Democrats who felt they had no voice in the process. The story caused some stir, but in the end the motion was approved before it had any impact on the community. What were there biggest concerns? Read the story to find out.
Police Confirm Investigation Into Fire Chief
Editor's Note: Southington Fire Chief Harold "Buddy" Clark was cleared of all accusations after police could not find enough evidence to substantiate the claim.
A heated fire scene. A verbal confrontation - possibly more - between the fire chief and a volunteer firefighter. The stage was set for an investigation into claims that he had grabbed and injured the firefighter before suspending him for an undetermined amount of time. It was the start of a month long investigation, but in the end, nothing came of it. That didn't stop the community from talking when it all began. Take a look back at what happened.
It was a busy month for the Southington Fire Department, starting with the fire that closed Mack's on West in early July and finishing with a blaze that saw flames jump as much as 500 feet high at the site of Rex Forge on Atwater Street following an accident. Click the links provided to learn more about each incident or to take a look back at what happened.
Recognizing a True Hero of 'America's Greatest Generation'
This was one of those months where it was hard to choose, but let's go with an uplifting story here. After years of keeping his story silent, family and government officials and members of the , came forward to recognize Leon Cornwell Doolittle as a hero. The veteran was recognized for surviving an attack during World War II that nearly killed him when he fought at the battle of the bulge. Over 65 years later, he returned to Europe thank the woman he said saved him.
Council Gives Go Ahead on Gura Building Arts Center Project
It took nine months of planning, government review and a strong push from the entire community, but after posturing for a chance to build something big downtown, the Southington Town Council moved forward with a motion that could lead to the development of a community arts center in Southington at the site of the Gura Building. Take a look at the complete details of the project and what was passed - as well as what is expected.
Town Survives Hurricane Sandy Virtually Unscaved
This was a hard selection to make as it was a month filled with crimes that drew considerable interest. But the big news of the month, something that drew heavy attention from the community, was the super storm that at one point looked to have an eye on Southington and the heart of Connecticut. Fortunately, less than half of the total readership for these stories were actually affected by the storm. Unfortunately, I never got to go out in the insane weather, padded with a wet suit, to traverse the Quinnipiac River. Oh, I never told you about that plan? Well, for my safety, it's probably best that it didn't happen.
Approval Gives Buffalo Wild Wings a Location in Southington
The biggest story of the month wasn't crime, or government or anything related to schools. Instead, the story that led to nearly 100 Facebook shares and several tweets was news of a new development in town - and the rumors are true. Buffalo Wild Wings will open in 2013. It was news that excited a lot of people, despite concerns from others that there are already several sports oriented bar and grills in town.
This wasn't a local story, per se, but it was the only thing on many people's minds this holiday season. One of the worst school shootings in U.S. history, the horrific tragedy touched everyone's life. We would be remissed if we didn't include this as one of the biggest stories of the year, though we aren't proud to have to post this. Our hearts still go out and our minds are still on all the victims.
A lot of these could be interchangable with other stories in the same month. Now that we've run down our selections, we'd like to hear from you. What are your top stories in Southington in 2012? Give us your take in the comments section below.
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