Of course, what was big news here may not seem to important now, but this is what made the news in Massac County in 2012.
The primary election was held March 20 with Rick Santorum, Republican nominee for president of the United States, carrying Massac County. Contested primary race winners were Jeff Weber, Republican candidate for county commissioner, against Tim White, and incumbent Billy Hillebrand beating challenger Roy Cooper on the Democratic ticket.
First Baptist Church held its final service at its Sixth and Girard streets location and concluded the service with Pastor Emeritus Louis Brinker locking the doors. After 141 years and two buildings on that corner, the congregation will now worship in its new sanctuary on Massac Creek Road.
School board member Tracie Berry resigned from the school board citing medical reasons. Mike Blasdel was later approved to replace her.
The city council drafted a resolution objecting the placement of a coal terminal on the Kentucky banks of the Ohio River, directly across from the City of Metropolis. Four Rivers Coal Terminal has been trying to place a facility there since 1992. While the councilman stated “pro-coal, pro-business and pro-industrial,” they were concerned with the quality of air the employees of Harrah’s Metropolis would be breathing.
The coal terminal continued to be a hot topic throughout the month as Michael Fitz, CFA with SCH Services LLC, addressed the county board during a weekly meeting. He announced the coal transfer would take place in a covered building and use a PEBCO coal chute manufactured in Paducah to reduce the level of coal dust.
He announced it would take a few months or longer before the company received its permits from the Army Corps of Engineers before it could proceed. The Corps took public comment on the terminal via letters, email and phone calls.
The U.S. District Court in Benton ruled in favor of the City of Metropolis in the Metro Pony LLC versus City of Metropolis lawsuit and the city can now enforce its sexually oriented business ordinance, which was passed on Feb. 14, 2011. The ordinance amended the code, adding "Chapter 117: Sexually Oriented Business, Establishing Licensing Requirements and Regulations for Sexually Oriented Businesses within Metropolis."
The ordinance also amended the code's Chapter 110, adding a prohibited conduct code to the chapter regarding alcohol. Going on record with the ordinance are over 1200 pages of legislative record and other information in support of the ordinance. The ordinance went into effect 10 days later and businesses of that nature had 90 days to comply with it.
Keeping with the river topics of April, Ingram Barge Co., headquartered in Tampa, Fla., announced it was acquiring U.S. United Barge Line LLC. The acquisition added 17 towboats and almost 650 barges to Ingam’s fleet.
Topping the news in May was the shutdown of operations at Honeywell, shutting out union and non-union employees immediately. Peter Dalpe, a Honeywell spokesperson, said it was decided to temporarily suspend production operations after discovering damage to certain equipment in the plant. They would not speak on what the damage was, but a representative from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was on site to inspect the damage.
Fourteen scholarships were awarded to Massac County high and Joppa high school seniors during the 27th annual Massac County Academic Awards Ceremony. The funds came from local businesses, service clubs, churches, teachers, groups and individuals.
Gary Towler, of Normal, pleaded guilty to seven felony counts for violation of the Pre-Need Cemetery Sales Act and the Cemetery Care Act relating to the operation of the Metropolis Memorial Gardens, which he was the former president and sole shareholder of. His sentencing was scheduled for June 27.
John Glover and Gerard Christopher were announced as the headliners for the 2013 Superman Celebration. Glover played Lionel Luther on Smallville and Christopher was most known for his role as Superboy in the Adventures of Superboy from 1988 to 2000.
In a weekly county board meeting, the commissioners received a $15,000 grant check to be used strictly for courthouse renovations. Projects will include the installation of a wheelchair ramp at the east entrance of the courthouse and a handicap accessible bathroom. There had been complaints that it was difficult for people in wheelchairs to get into the building.
Cassidy Freeman, co-star to John Glover in Smallville, was announced to join him and Gerard Christopher at the Superman Celebration. Freeman and Glover would take part in autograph sessions throughout the Celebration as well as a Q&A session.
The City of Metropolis and the Massac Metropolis Port District (MMPD) officially entered into an intergovernmental agreement. This agreement allowed for two properties owned by the city to be leased to the MMPD for 25 years with the goal of economic development and developing property for multiple uses.
After 39 years of service, Pat Shelby retired from driving a bus for Franklin Elementary School. She was recognized with a plaque of appreciation from Franklin principal Randall McDearmon.
The Massac Theatre began its journey to restoration with a new roof. The next phase will be the restrooms and office spaces. An art piece, named Beginning the Journey, was placed on exhibit at the Metropolis Library. Save The Massac planns to sell the piece at a later time as a fundraiser for the organization. The piece was donated by Pam Munter, the writer of a book that featured Lois Lane actress Noel Neill.
The Massac Unit One School District took action to move ahead with the allowance of random drug testing for IHSA sanctioned extra curricular activities. Any student participating in one of those events must sign a consent form acknowledging he/she could be drug tested at random.
Denese R. Peebles was awarded the 30th Lois Lane Award at the 2012 Superman Celebration and presented by the Metropolis Planet. Peebles is involved in Zeta Zeta sorority, A Community of Women and Guardian Family Services.
The United Way’s 2012 Helping Hands award was presented to Vicki Boren, a volunteer for the American Cancer Society, Friends of Fort Massac and the Metropolis Tourism Commission.
The county was hit with more lay-offs when Electric Energy Inc. announced a staff reduction of 25 contract and 19 managerial positions by mid-August. Wholesale power prices being 60 percent lower than in 2008 was a large contributor to the reduction.
The Massac County Sheriff’s Department welcomed a new edition to its force. Balak, a Belgian Malinois pup, began training at Extreme K-9 in Carbondale to become the department’s new K-9 officer.
United Steelworkers Local 7-669 received news they would return to work at Honeywell on July 1. Before that date arrived, Honeywell officials moved the date back at least another two weeks. Honeywell stated it needed more time to evaluate additional work that might happen after NRC inspections.
—Continued next week—