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Editors Picks: Biggest Local News Event of 2012

Your team of editors weighs in on the top local news events from the past year.

Editor's Note: The following is part of a special "end-of-the-year" series in which local editors from your nearby Patch towns highlight their favorites in various topics.  

What do you think was the biggest local news event in the area in 2012? 

Tamara Starr - Editor, Dedham Patch

I think the brush fire in Dedham was the top story of 2012 in the Dedham area. There were reports of 20 acres of burning and the smoke can be seen as far north as Lynnfield.

Jeff Sullivan - Editor, Mansfield Patch

Unfortunately, the biggest story in Mansfield this year was the death of two individuals during a concert at the Comcast Center. We saw the damage that drugs can do, and the impact it can have on a community, even if those involved were not from Mansfield.

Dan Libon - Editor, Wrentham Patch

I think the Foxborough casino proposal was the biggest story in the area but specifically for Wrentham, it had to be the flag controversy at the housing complex at Garden Lane. The easiest way to infuriate people is to tell them they can't hang the American flag outside their home because of the complaints of one person and that is exactly what the Department of Housing and Community Development did.

While it was probably one person in the department with poor judgement who made the letter explaining the flag ban, the logic of the decision was questioned by many if not everyone in Wrentham and the surrounding towns. The good news is that the ban was quickly reversed and those who wanted to hang Americans flags were free to do so.

Kelly Mello - Editor, Norton Patch

The biggest news in Norton was perhaps the death of 12-year-old Angel Pina on July 12. Pina was pronounced dead at the scene of a rollover on Rte. 24. Her mother, Sandra Ouellette, was the driver. However, the crash induced the labor of passenger Stephanie Rogers and resulted in the birth of a healthy baby girl named Jasmine.

Kelly Glista - Editor, Norwood Patch

I think from a regional standpoint one of this year’s biggest stories was the failed Foxborough casino project. All over our area people were rising up on both sides of the argument, and the idea garnered a lot of interest from local residents.

Jeremie Smith - Editor, Foxborough Patch

The casino was the biggest issue to hit Foxborough in quite some time, mainly because of the tumultuous line it drew in town between those supporting the casino and those opposing it. At the height of the controversy a Foxborough selectman was threatened by a resident for his position on the casino issue. That resident remains in jail on charges related to that incident. And while this past May’s Town Election effectively ended speculation of a Kraft/Wynn casino coming to Foxborough, the issue between pro and anti casino residents remains a hot topic in town. 

Pat Maguire - Editor, Easton Patch

Mount Pleasant Police Officer Says Hess was 'Aggressor' in DJ Henry Case

The death of Easton native DJ Henry while he was attending college in New York has been an ongoing news story for the past two years, but few events have carried as much clout as the deposition of Mount Pleasant, New York Police Officer Ronald Beckley during a civil suit filed by the Henry family of Easton.

Beckley, who fired his weapon but did not strike Henry, outlined a very different version of the events that took place on Oct. 17, 2010 than that of Pleasantville Police Officer Aaron Hess, who fired the fatal shots. Hess has depicted Henry as the aggressor, saying his actions were in self defense (he was not indicted by a Westchester, NY County Grand Jury). Beckley, however, said said his shots were directed at Hess, who he describes as the aggressor.

Ben Paulin - Editor, Walpole Patch

I think the biggest local story of the year was the casino debate in Massachusetts. The law passing at the end of 2011 cleared the way for casinos to come to the Bay State. However, it seems no one actually wanted the casinos in their town and nothing has been done thus far. No new jobs. No new casinos. I was particularly interested in the proposal by Steve Wynn to put a casino across from Gillette Stadium since I cover Walpole and live close by.

Jeff Pickette - Editor, Stoughton Patch

The Stoughton community was shaken by two tragic events in September. Shayla Lutz, a 3-year-old Stoughton girl, died Friday, Sept. 14 shortly after she was struck by a box truck in front of the Hansen Elementary School. And, just two weeks later, Sept. 29, Stoughton High Senior David Wade, 17, was killed in an accidental shooting at his Turnpike Street home. In the wake of both incidents, the Stoughton community rallied around the Lutz and Wade families offering support. The Stoughton High School football team dedicated its season to Wade, a lineman on the team. The emotional scene the evening of Oct. 5, when the SHS football team took the field against Foxborough, just hours after Wade's funeral, was one of the more memorable events of the year. Stoughton captains carried Wade's jersey out to midfield for the opening coin toss and his helmet and jersey were placed on the team's bench, where it remained for the rest of the season. Many in attendance were wearing #56 t-shirts (Wade's number), watching Stoughton come away with an inspiring 20-0 win.

Jonathan Friedman - Editor, Attleboro-Seekonk Patch

Grist Mill Fire - When people visit Seekonk, they make sure to have a meal at the Old Grist Mill Tavern. The restaurant, which has been around since the 1930s in a building that includes portions that date back to the 18th century, is also a local favorite. So when an early Sunday morning truck crash in June triggered a fire that burned down the building, many people were heartbroken as if a member of the family had died.

"This is a major part of Seekonk's history," state Rep. Steven Howitt told Attleboro-Seekonk Patch as he stared helplessly at the crumbling restaurant. The fire also raised various issues, about the safety of the strangely designed intersection and about Columbia Gas' weekend timeliness (it took nearly two hours to turn off the gas to the building). Although it felt like a death, it appears Grist Mill will rise from the ashes. Nearly a month after the fire, the town's Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously for permits to allow the restaurant to be rebuilt, using 70 percent of the structure that survived as a base for the reconstruction. 

Want to weigh in? Let us know what you think the biggest local news event of the year was. Tell us in the comments section below!

deb of see-attleboro December 27, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Great pick, Jonathan! Even with the destruction, those of us who dined frequently at the Old Grist Mill know this accident had a silver lining. It happened after hours and no one got hurt!!
Gretchen Robinson December 27, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Thanks for a good, year end story. I would add that the abduction and rape of a young woman near Bank Street was pretty horrifying, too. Your choice, Jonathan is the right general interest choice but let's not forget the rape. The fear and the loss of a sense of personal safety that many in the public feel is enduring after something like this.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) December 27, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Deb and Gretchen, I agree with both your posts. Thanks for your comments.

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