Ten interesting stories of the year 2012

Monday, December 31st, 2012 6:52:15 by

Ten interesting stories of the year 2012

1. Good Friday shootings

Three people died and two others were injured in a shooting spree that threatened to spark racial tensions.

2. American Airlines

One of Tulsa’s largest employers will end the year the way it began – in bankruptcy and facing a possible merger.

American Airlines originally planned to cut 2,700 jobs in Tulsa after a bankruptcy that was filed Nov. 29, 2011. But early retirements and union negotiations reduced the number dramatically.

When there were “only” 73 layoffs this month, city officials had to feel relieved.

3. Mannford fires

In early August, wildfires destroyed 376 houses near Mannford, west of Tulsa, and left hundreds of people homeless, including more than 100 schoolchildren.

Nearly 60,000 acres burned across a 56-mile perimeter, stopping just short of Mannford itself.

In September, 36-year-old Billy Cloud was charged with third-degree arson for allegedly starting the fire, possibly with a discarded cigarette.

At last report, however, authorities hadn’t been able to find Cloud to make an arrest.

4. School grades

In September and October, superintendents from across the state criticized a new evaluation system that would give each school a grade, A through F, much like students face.

The Oklahoma Board of Education delayed the release of the grades to reconsider, but ultimately went ahead. And in Tulsa, 45 out of 76 public schools received a D or F.

5. Trash system

Prices went up this year, but for most people trash service came less often, as Tulsa adopted a controversial once-a-week “cart-based” system.

Despite some glitches as the system kicked off in October, polls showed that most people were satisfied with it.

6. Vision2

Voters shot down a $748.8 million sales-tax package despite heavy campaigning by city leaders and the Tulsa Metro Chamber.

Vision2 would’ve raised $386.88 million for improvements at Tulsa International Airport, with another $361.9 million for “quality of life” projects, including low-water dams on the Arkansas River.

Opponents complained that the proposal was put together hastily. And some critics suggested that the city’s priorities might change long before the sales tax expired in 2029.

7. Bridenstine wins

In June, political newcomer Jim Bridenstine upset five-term incumbent John Sullivan in the 1st Congressional District’s Republican primary.

A 37-year-old lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve, Bridenstine went on to win the seat in November. And he was recently named to the Armed Services Committee.

8. Victory Christian

In September, five Victory Christian Center employees faced criminal charges for waiting more than two weeks to report an alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl at the church.

A janitor, 20-year-old Chris Denman, was sentenced to 55 years in prison after he admitted to attacking the girl in a church stairwell.

And another employee was charged with making lewd or indecent proposals to a child.

But the scandal focused on Victory leaders, including a son and daughter-in-law of Pastor Sharon Daugherty, who waited to report the alleged crimes.

Court proceedings will resume in January, and will surely be one of the big stories of 2013.

9. Brady development

Downtown’s newest park, the Guthrie Green, opened in September as the crown jewel of the Brady District’s ongoing revitalization.

Planning and construction of the park took six years, but Tulsa has been waiting for decades for Brady to live up to its potential.

With 2012 bringing a new hotel, new restaurants, new art centers and new lofts, the district finally became Tulsa’s answer to Oklahoma City’s Bricktown.

10. ‘August: Osage County’

Filming wrapped up just before Thanksgiving, after eight weeks of celebrity sightings across Bartlesville, Pawhuska and Tulsa.

An adaptation of Tulsa-native Tracy Lett’s prize-winning play, “August: Osage County” will include some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep, with George Clooney as producer.


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