Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Cecil N Graham Sawyers charged in sex for heroin plot Group demands changes at ELSD Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann Kids enjoy a ‘Touch-a-Truck’ event in Mt. Orab New police chief takes over in Fayetteville BC Chamber moving forward on 2017 SummerFest Two killed in wrong way crash in Mt. Orab Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Corbin testifies before Ohio Senate Five arrested in Hamersville drug bust Neil Diamond tribute band coming Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors OHSAA announces 2017 football regions and playoffs format Western Brown volleyball camps a success with over 100 in attendance Rigdon finishes high school running career with 10th place finish at state track and field championship meet Grace E Fite Women return to county jail as funds start to run low Georgetown Council takes action on vacant structures Veterans honored in Mt. Orab John McGee Timmy Burson Patricia A London Mary J Hall Kenneth R Behymer Western Brown’s Joe Sams commits to Marietta College WBHS to hold girls youth basketball camp Huseman signs with UC Clermont Day to continue baseball career on collegiate level at UC Clermont Western’s Pack signs with NKU WBHS to host youth boys basketball camp Eastern’s Rigdon, Hopkins are STATE BOUND James Ratliff Robert P Lesko Armstrong sentenced to twenty years on child porn possession charges Russellville hires new Village Clerk Russellville Council approves purchase of two ambulances

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