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Archive for Sunday, December 30, 2012

The top 10 local stories of 2012

Photos from some of the Lawrence Journal World's most-read stories of 2012

Photos from some of the Lawrence Journal World's most-read stories of 2012

December 30, 2012

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A squirrel-ignited brush fire and a multimillion dollar drug bust are among the top local stories of 2012. Here’s a look at the Journal-World’s top 10 most-read stories, based on the number of online page views.

Langston Hughes brush fire

Lawrence firefighters had their hands full and called for extra help in fighting a brush fire west of Langston Hughes Elementary School on Thursday morning. Enlarge video

1. Evacuation lifted for homes near Langston Hughes School in west Lawrence after large grass fire, July 5

Page views: 34,004

The combination of a squirrel caught in a power line and record drought conditions sparked a large brush fire near Langston Hughes School, 1101 George Williams Way. The fire forced the evacuation of the school as well a number of homes in the 6200 block of Palisade Drive. No homes were damaged, but smoke from the 20-foot tall flames could be seen for miles, and it took firefighters nearly three hours to get the blaze under control.

Officers search a vehicle pulled over on the north side of Sixth Street near the intersection of Sixth Street and Lawrence Avenue on Wednesday. Authorities were rounding up suspects connected to a four-year investigation into marijuana trafficking.

Officers search a vehicle pulled over on the north side of Sixth Street near the intersection of Sixth Street and Lawrence Avenue on Wednesday. Authorities were rounding up suspects connected to a four-year investigation into marijuana trafficking.

2. Federal officers make drug arrests in Douglas, Johnson counties; eight suspects are from Lawrence, June 13

Page views: 29,769

In the culmination of a four-year federal drug investigation, police arrested eight Lawrence residents accused of being involved in a conspiracy to distribute 1,000 or more kilos of high-grade marijuana. So far, 35 defendants from Lawrence, Kansas City, Johnson County and across the country have been indicted as part of a drug ring that had distributed an estimated $16.9 million in marijuana and cocaine in Johnson and Douglas counties since 2005.

3. Free State counselor killed in vehicle-train accident near Riverfront Park north of Lawrence, April 2

Page views: 29,382

On April 2, Free State counselor Aimee Ziegler died after a southbound Union Pacific train collided with her silver Honda car near North 1800 Road and East 1450 Road, west of the intersection of U.S. Highways 24-40 and 24-59.

“She had a great relationship with all of the kids,” Free State Principal Ed West said of Ziegler. “She was someone who could relate well with kids and was full of life.”

Police handcuff a man in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, Sixth and Congressional, on Wednesday, June 13, 2012.

Police handcuff a man in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, Sixth and Congressional, on Wednesday, June 13, 2012.

4. Police arrest two Illinois parents after surrounding vehicle in parking lot of westside Walmart, June 13

Page views: 26,847

Lawrence police arrested Adolfo Gomez Jr., 52, and Deborah Martha Gomez, 43, both of Northlake, Ill. after finding two of their children, ages 5 and 7, bound and blindfolded near their Chevrolet Suburban in the Walmart parking lot, 550 Congressional Drive. Police were tipped off about the bound children by a Walmart customer.

5. Speaker O’Neal apologizes for forwarding email that calls Michelle Obama “Mrs. YoMama”, Jan. 5

Page views: 26,555

Then-Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, ended up in some hot water last January after sending out an email that referred to Michelle Obama as Mrs. YoMama and compared her appearance to the Grinch. O’Neal issued an apology for the email.

6. Jayhawk fans storm downtown to bask in afterglow of Final Four victory, April 1

Page views: 19,075

Kansas University fans rushed to Massachusetts Street to celebrate the improbable victory of the Kansas University men’s basketball team over Ohio State, 64-62, in the Final Four. The basketball team eventually lost to Kentucky in the national championship.

7. Former KU student’s body found east of Lawrence; no foul play suspected, June 1

Page views: 18,490

Douglas County authorities identified the body of 23-year-old Lawrence man and former Kansas University student Yelekal Alemu, found east of Douglas County Road 1057. Alemu had been missing for nearly three weeks. Authorities said no foul play was suspected in the man’s death.

8. Prosecutors charge Illinois parents after children were found bound, blindfolded, June 14

Adolfo Gomez, 52, receives several court documents as he waits for a first appearance Thursday at the Douglas County Jail. Gomez and his wife, Deborah Gomez, 43, are each facing two counts of child abuse and five counts of aggravated endangerment of a child. Adolfo Gomez is also facing one count of felony obstruction. The couple are from Northlake, Ill.

Adolfo Gomez, 52, receives several court documents as he waits for a first appearance Thursday at the Douglas County Jail. Gomez and his wife, Deborah Gomez, 43, are each facing two counts of child abuse and five counts of aggravated endangerment of a child. Adolfo Gomez is also facing one count of felony obstruction. The couple are from Northlake, Ill.

Page views: 14,996

Adolfo Gomez Jr. and Deborah Martha Gomez were charged with aggravated child endangerment for inflicting “cruel or inhumane corporal punishment” after two of their children were found blindfolded and bound in the Walmart parking lot at 550 Congressional Drive.

“This is a very unusual and disturbing type of event. It’s certainly not something that many of us have seen,” Lawrence police spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said.

9. Forecasters say Saturday storm system could be ‘life threatening’; severe weather expected for Lawrence area, April 13

Page views: 13,797

The National Weather Service predicted that Kansas would have a high risk of tornadoes and severe weather on Saturday, April 14. The storm system eventually spawned more than 122 tornadoes in the Midwest, including one that damaged 100 mobile homes in Wichita.

10. State panel wants more information before ruling on Obama’s ballot eligibility

Page views: 12,801

Kansas entered national headlines after the State Objections Board convened to investigate whether President Obama was a U.S citizen and to discuss whether the president's name should be removed from the ballot for the Nov. 6 election. The objection to the president being on the ballot was brought to the board by Manhattan resident Joe Montgomery, who later withdrew his objection.

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