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 year started with the City of Metropolis increasing the municipal telecommunications tax from 1 percent to 6 percent following the trend of Brookport and Vienna several years ago. The new tax would not go in effect until July 1, after it has been filed with the state’s Department of Revenue.
The Massac Theatre on Fifth Street, built in the 1930s and currently owned by the city, went up for sale. Larry Ward, manager of actress Noel Neill, purchased the theater after a 7-2 city council vote to approve the sale. Ward is planning a total renovation of the theater to include public restrooms, rentable office space and a workable stage. The marquee will be replaced with donations from Save The Massac, an organization dedicated to raising funds and saving the building.
The county voted to switch life insurance companies from Fort Dearborn to Symetra effective Feb. 1, saving them $272.63 per month. The new rate is locked into a three-year agreement.
The city passed its first noise ordinance. The ordinance includes vehicles as well as musical instruments and stereos. The penalty for violation of the ordinance is no less than $75 and no more than $750.
Chloe Corzine, 8 of Metropolis, presented Project Hope with over $600 in needed items such as dog food, kitty litter and cleaning supplies. Many of her donations came in after she was featured in the Metropolis Planet.
In an effort to help the 2012-13 budget, the City of Metropolis put its city scholarship program on hold. The scholarship program began in 1993 when the gambling boat came to town. The program will continue if money becomes available.
The Caesars Foundation and Harrah’s Metropolis donated $15,000 to Guardian Family Services to go toward housing, food, diapers, paper goods, cleaning supplies, personal care items and clothing. Harrah’s Code of Commitment is a public pledge to employees, guests and communities to honor their trust by being a responsible corporate citizen.
Franklin and Jefferson Elementary schools were two of 703 schools statewide to receive the honor of Academic Excellence Award. Massac Junior High School and Metropolis Elementary School were recognized as Illinois Spotlight Schools for 2011.
Chief of Police of the City of Metropolis Mike Worthen retired and was replaced by Harry Masse, who came to the department with 34 years of law enforcement, most recently with the Illinois State Police.
The county fully repaid the $350,000 it had borrowed in 2011 from City National Bank, but they still owed $150,000 to the tuberculosis fund. Before the month was over they had to borrow $250,000 against 2013 property tax revenue
Friends of Fort Massac, a group organized to promote, pursue improvements and financially support Fort Massac State Park, was granted an extension of its purchase contract from the city. The purchase contract for the former Laidlaw property is now through March 31, 2013.
An EF2 tornado grazed Massac County on Feb. 29 while an EF4 tornado touched down in Saline County leaving about 300 homes and 30 businesses damaged and claiming the lives of six people. Locally, several homes near Unity School and Metropolis Church of Christ on U.S. 45 had shingles blown off or buildings damaged.
Massac County Girl Scouts gathered at Fort Massac State Park to celebrate their 100th anniversary. They commemorated the occasion with an aerial shot of the scouts forming a 1-0-0.
The Metropolis City Council approved the nicknaming of Fifth Street and the area around Superman Square as “Truth, Justice and the American Way.” Signs were placed along the designated route from Interstate 24 to the Superman statue.
The first lay-offs of the year came on March 15 when Lafarge North America announced the shut down of the plant’s kiln two due to the continued challenging economic environment. Thirty-six employees were laid off immediately. They have continued operating kiln one and the quarry located in Cave-In-Rock.
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