Top local stories of 2012 voted on by you
Here are the top local stories of 2012 that you voted on:
1. JENNIFER LIVINGSTON/BULLYING
In response to an email criticizing her weight, News 8’s Jennifer Livingston addressed the problem of bullying on News 8 This Morning. The video was posted on News8000.com and quickly went viral, getting millions of views in just a few hours. Jennifer was interviewed by every major news outlet across the country, and received words of support from all over the world. She was named to several ‘most influential’ lists for 2012, and is still getting interview requests.
2. MAY'S PHOTO DOUBLE HOMICIDE
The City of La Crosse was shocked as a business owner and his son were shot dead in their downtown Main Street photo store in the middle of the afternoon. Paul Petras and his son A.J. were found dead in their store after they didn't return home. After weeks of investigations, police arrested Jeffrey Lepsch from Dakota, MN. Police say Lepsch stole several thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment before shooting Paul and A.J. He is currently awaiting trial.
3. A TIE: GOVERNOR WALKER RECALL & SARA HOUGOM MURDER
Governor Walker Recall--Governor Scott Walker was recalled in the wake of the collective bargaining debate. More than 900,000 people signed recall petitions. Gov. Walker again faced Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who he defeated in 2010. Just like the first election, Gov. Walker won easily. Unlike the first time, the Governor earned more votes and won by a larger margin. Walker became the first Governor in history to survive a recall.
Sara Hougom Murder--20-year-old Sara Hougom was killed after being shot inside her apartment in the middle of the day. Kong Vue and Pao Choua Vue were arrested and charged in her murder. Police say Kong Vue entered her apartment and tried to steal her purse, when Hougom startled Vue, he shot her twice and ran. They were both convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison.
5. HEROIN PROBLEM
Heroin emerged in 2012 as a growing problem in the City of La Crosse. Police say it's leading to more crime, more arrest and more overdose deaths. Incoming Police Chief Ron Tischer says it's one of his top priorities.
6. KOULA TRIAL/SENTENCING
The West Salem man accused of killing his parent went on trial. Eric Koula was arrested not long after his parents, Dennis and Merna, were found shot to death in their Town of Barre home. After 14 days of testimony, it took a jury three days convict Koula. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
After a near snowless winter and scorching summer, farmers were hammered by drought.
8. RECORD WARMTH
It was a scorching season that broke temperature records from start to finish. There were several days in the 90s and 100s. 2012 will end up being the hottest year in Wisconsin history.
9. ESCAPED INMATES
Two Wisconsin inmates sparked a manhunt after walking away from the Black River Correctional Center. The pair went on an alleged crimes spree that included car and weapon theft, kidnapping and assault. They eventually turned up in Florida after being accused in the vicious beating of a store clerk there.
10. ONALASKA BASKETBALL TITLE
The Onalaska boys basketball team torched Kaukauna on their way to a state championship. It was the third title for the Hilltoppers, but their first since 1992. Onalaska's Matt Thomas lead the way with 30 points, 21 in the first half alone.
11. A TIE: CALEDONIA FOOTBALL TITLE & LA CROSSE LOGGERS TITLE
Caledonia Football Title--Dynasty? The Caledonia football team won their third consecutive state championship, the first time a Class AA team has won three in a row in state history. They did it in exciting fashion, kicking a 24-yard field goal as time expired to beat Moose Lake/Willow River.
La Crosse Loggers Title--The La Crosse Loggers won the Northwoods League Championship with a sweep of the Mankato Moon Dogs. It was the first championship in the 10 year history of the franchise.
13. OKTOBERFEST FEES/PARADE THREATENED
In response to tightening budgets, the City of La Crosse informed the Oktoberfest committee that they would start charging a fee for police security and city clean up. Oktoberfest said they couldn’t afford the fees, and threatened to cancel the popular Maple Leaf parade. The city and the committee eventually came to an agreement, and the parade went on.
14. KRISTEN TABBERT MURDER
35-year-old Kristen Tabbert's body was found in a La Crosse parking lot on the city's north side. She was strangled to death and left face down in the dirt lot behind Jeff's Auto and Cycle Repair. Izelia Golatt, 44, was arrested, charged and convicted in her murder. He was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.
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