Bobby A Reed Harold L Barger Ralph M Gaither Stranded students rescued by Brown County cooperation 4-H Teen Ambassador Dunning attends SHOT Show Veterans Service Commission invites veterans to seek help with benefits Unemployment rate rises in Brown County Pick a Lollipop, help a dog A season to remember G-Men hit the field for first baseball scrimmage Eastern’s Rigdon, Purdy earn AP SE District Div. III honors New blocking, kicking rules address risk minimization in high school football Judy A Schneider James M Darnell Lawanda R Truesdell Paul E Grisham Arrelous R Rowland Dennis E Stivers David M Daniels Fayetteville man is charged with child porn April 1st Grand Opening for Jacob’s Ladder Resale Boutique in Georgetown Talent Show auditions at Gaslight Theatre Nine indicted by county grand jury Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall visit coming next May to BC Fairgrounds In it to win it! Bronco wrestlers end season on successful note Eastern’s Hopkins finishes 5th in long jump at OATCCC State Indoor Track and Field Meet SBAAC awards academic all-stars, winning teams Marvin D Atkin Beverly S Flatt Jessie M Sanders Leroy Deck Sr Jody A Towler Sherman E Young Kenneth C Burton Varnau’s face second defamation suit Attorney General to visit Georgetown schools Clermont County GOP hosts Wenstrup, DeWine at dinner Fatal car crash in Adams County BC Chamber welcomes new Cricket Wireless store to Mt. Orab Aberdeen Council approves 2017 budget Royce K Zimmerman Lady Warriors advance to Elite 8 SBAAC awards boys basketball all-stars SBAAC girls basketball all-stars take home awards SHAC Winter Sports Awards Banquet set for March 12 Altman claims 170-pound district title Sirkka L Buller Arthur C Schneider Lowell G Neal Virginia M Schirmer Connie S Darling Harold L Purdin Terry E Frye Lucille Schumacher Lady Warriors roll to district finals Broncos take care of business to claim sectional crown G-Men upset MVCA to earn berth sectional finals WBHS JROTC Rifle Team competes at Camp Perry Lady Rockets finish 12-12 Season reaches end for Rockets Eugene D Ring Two indicted on major drug charges Two charged with home invasion Cincinnati airport expanding services, lowering prices in effort to compete Two sentenced in common pleas court Georgetown man hurt in car crash Robert G Miller Linda M Howland Robert E McKinney Mildred J Hodges Farrel L Amiott Patricia Brown Rick L Dye Mary E Nagel Betty Ratliff Broncos claim SBAAC wrestling title Broncos pull ahead for win over G-Men in SBAAC Tourney Ripley boys wrap up regular season with win at Lynchburg Eastern girls are sectional champs Anderson pleads not guilty to battery charge Some county offices to change locations Fayetteville prepares for Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall HealthSource hosts Chamber of Commerce meeting Five sentenced in Brown County Common Pleas Court June Howser Marguerite A Fender Timothy D Harris Jay R Purdy Robin S Godwin Marc A Wachter Chester W Eyre Warriors blast past the G-Men, 61-40 Rockets performing well heading into post-season tournament play Lady Warriors bring home the Gold with perfect 13-0 finish in SHAC Western Brown Junior High wrestling team wraps up successful season Rockets fall victim to ‘Pack’ attack Broncos suffer heartbreaking loss to Mentor Lake Catholic in state quarterfinals Adult Education Center coming to county ‘Senior Playground’ moving forward at Georgetown park

A quick recap of 2015

It’s the time of year when everyone can sit back, relax and think about all that has happened around here the past 365 days or wonder where 2015 went. Years now seem to come and go so quickly, but the news, always seems to be flowing through the county day in and day out.

Each year the staff of The News Democrat and Ripley Bee compile our list of the top stories of the year as we head into an interesting 2016. Much of what happened this year will play a pivotal role heading into next year.

In the past, excerpts from the top stories have ran as the ‘Year in Review,’ this year, however, we are running the top stories in their entirety as a way to remember 2015 for the good, the bad, and the hopeful.

The list, while it might not be perfect, are the stories the staff felt had the greatest impact county wide for the year. In the digital age, sharing stories back and forth has become easier and easier – which is why everyone is encouraged to send their memories of 2015 to us via Facebook, Twitter, E-Mail, or ever the old fashioned way – a letter.

Looking back at the previous year, 2014, one of the top stories was the closing of the hospital, which was a huge event. A year later, another hospital story made the list, again at number three with the foreclosure of the properties, but there also came hope for people in the county searching for medical treatment. Both Mt. Orab Mercy and HealthSource of Ohio announced expansions this past year. While the stories ranked five and six, respectfully, they are as close to equal as you can get.

But, the top story of 2015 had to be the devastating floods that ravaged through Ripley and Stringtown. The night of July 18, shook the Brown County at it’s roots. The loss of the lives of Gabriel Barrios, Rose Barrios, and Victoria Kennard in the Ripley flood proved to everyone that Mother Nature knows no limit, but it also showed how a community hit with tragedy can come together and help a neighbor when they are most in need. In the wake of the flood the entire county joined together to help each other out as best they could in the time of need.

Not all the news of the year was a result of tragedy. The automall in Mt. Orab broke ground back in August in front of a crowd of politicians and those who made it possible. The automall will have Mt. Orab Ford, Peebles Chrysler Dodge Jeep, as well as other projects owner Mark Williams hopes to open. The automall comes with the promise of jobs and growth for the Mt. Orab area along State Route 32. Driving past the area today is night and day different from the groundbreaking in August.

The recent news that is the buzz of the county is the closure of the Brown County Adult Detention Center. While lots of things have changed since the closure, the initial shock the jail was being shut down came as a surprise to many residents in the area. With the project underway as the year approaches the Brown County Commissioners and Sheriff’s Department will have a lot of their plate as they hope to reopen the jail in April, but nevertheless, the initial shock of the closure ranks as the forth biggest story of 2015.

It is no longer a shock to anyone that Brown County is in the middle of a terrible heroin epidemic. Every day there are reports of overdoses and weekly indictments of 30-40 people from the Grand Jury for drug related offenses. The Brown County Prosecutor’s office stepped-up in the big way in dealing with drug related crimes. Kevin Blake Tucker, 22, became the first person tried and convicted of manslaughter by the Prosecutor’s office as a result of a drug related death. Tucker’s plea agreement puts him behind bars until 2019 for involuntary manslaughter as a result of death of Danny Smith.

“I don’t argue that Mr. Tucker wanted Danny Smith to die,” Assistant Prosecutor Zak Corbin said. “I don’t think he purposefully caused the death, but that’s not what involuntary manslaughter is. He brought the drug to Danny Smith, he furnished that drug that caused the death. We would just ask the court to sentence him accordingly.”

The Brown County Adult Detention Center is the center of yet another big story this year. On July 23, Jeremiah Hall was found hanged in his cell by the Brown County Sheriff’s Department. An all too familiar story from the jail as it was the second hanging at the jail since 2013. Hall was in jail on a drug related charge and the BCI took over the case from the Sheriff’s Department.

Property tax rate hikes rarely make the end of the year top story list, but this year in Brown County, those hikes double the previous year for farmers who take advantage of the CAUV program. The three year adjustment will hit the pocket books hard this year as a result of the CAUV calculation. According to Brown County Auditor Jill Hall, most in the program can expect their taxes to double this year. Hall also said it effects roughly 16 percent of all parcels county wide and those in the northern part could be hit harder.

Battling a blaze is never a good thing for any fire department to have to deal with, but one night in February, multiple fire departments had to respond to put out the Sardinia Mill fire. The blaze broke out on Feb. 15 around 9:30 P.M. according to reports. Along with the Village of Sardinia, Fayetteville, Georgetown, Southern Highland Joint Fire — Mowrystown, Mt. Orab, and Winchester departments all responded to the call to battle the blaze.

There you have it folks. Here is our condensed version of 2015 top stories. We are reprinting all of the top stories in their entirety to end 2015. The News Democrat and Ripley Bee wish everyone a happy new year. Send us your thoughts or suggestions on what you think the biggest story of 2015 was for Brown County.

By Brian Durham

bdurham@civitasmedia.com

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2016 News Democrat