As we begin to wind down the year 2012, Upper Michigan's Source is taking a look back at the stories that made headlines. Here are some of the top stories from January to June across the Upper Peninsula.
The new year of 2012 came in with big expectations, but hopes of a big winter fell way short. A lack of snow caused changes for the U.P. 200. The start of the race had to be moved to Chatham, and it ended in Grand Marais. The annual sled dog race typically starts and finishes in Marquette.
GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum was the only presidential candidate to make his way to the U.P. this election year. In February, he campaigned in Marquette before the state primary, holding a rally at the Holiday Inn.
A bizarre incident at the end of February, an armed robbery and home invasion in Munising Township. The victim was bound to a chair with tape, and beaten with a baseball bat. A utility worker servicing a meter at the home luckily saw what was happening and called police. Four suspects from Chicago and Milwaukee await trial this upcoming year.
Big news in March from Marquette General Hospital. A non-binding agreement was created for the sale of the hospital to Duke Lifepoint Healthcare. Marquette General officials say it was "the future" that inspired them to sell the facility.
Later in the month, we first learned of Eric Dompierre's battle with the MHSAA. At the time, rules stated students are not allowed to participate in any school sport if they are 19 or older. Eric's dad and the Ishpeming school district submitted two proposed revisions to the rule, but the association turned them down. That battle would continue in May, with the Dompierre family testifying before the State Senate Education Committee. Eric and the Ishpeming community would have to wait through the summer until a decision was made on the waiver.
In May, a three-year long neighbor dispute in Schoolcraft County ends with one of them going to jail. 64-year-old Larry Kouw was arrested on assault and property damage charges. At the beginning of the month, Kouw and his neighbor, 83-year old Richard Hughson, got into a physical altercation."I want him to be put in jail, where he belongs," Hughson said.
After eight years, Les Wong stepped down as President of NMU in May. Wong took a job as president in his hometown at San Francisco State University. His interim replacement is an NMU alumnus, David Haynes. Haynes was a professor and longtime advisor at NMU.
At the end of May, a wildfire burned for ten days in the Seney Wildlife Refuge. It raged through 3,400 acres and cost over $600,000. Most of the cost resulted from aircraft used to dump water on the flames.
Meantime, a 33 square mile fire ignited in Luce County. The Duck Lake Fire was contained three weeks after it was ignited by a lightning strike. The blaze destroyed 136 structures and cost at least $3.8 million to control.
In June, a Kingsford man convicted of murder was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. David Levack was found guilty of murdering Joyce Margaret johnson of Stambaugh Township. Johnson was found dead in her home the same day she was supposed to appear in court to testify against Levack in a stolen property trial.
June was also the first time that our cameras went underground at Rio Tinto's Eagle Mine. It takes a team of 83 people to operate the entire mine. Once mining in the ore body begins, officials say that number will rise to more than 230.