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December 31, 2012

TOP 10: The biggest Southern Indiana news stories of 2012

Deadly tornado easily takes the No. 1 spot

1. March 2 tornadoes devastate Southern Indiana

The News and Tribune’s story of the year was an easy call, as the top news here also made national headlines for several days, as an EF-4 tornado destroyed parts of Northern Clark County and other areas of Southern Indiana on the afternoon of March 2.

The devastation was chilling. The stories of heroic acts and simple goodwill were inspiring. The fact that Henryville, Marysville and beyond are still recovering is humbling.

Hundreds of homes and other structures were destroyed or damaged and recovery costs stretched into the millions. The tornadoes killed 13 people in Indiana.

Henryville schools were severely damaged and students were forced to finish the school year at two facilities in New Albany and Scottsburg. Money poured in via donations from near and far, and country stars Lady Antebellum even played a special concert for students as well as raised funds.

A happy ending is beginning to form for residents, as students returned to a rebuilt school to begin the 2012 school year and residents have begun moving into the 100 or so homes that are being rebuilt.

There are huge news stories in Southern Indiana every year, but the E-F4 tornado that hit March 2 is sure to be a story of the decade and century.

2. William Clyde Gibson charged with three murders

William Clyde Gibson III, of New Albany, was charged in the murders of three area women in 2012.

He was first charged in April for the killings of 75-year-old Christine Whitis, of Clarksville, and 45-year-old Karen Hodella, of Jeffersonville.

Whitis was found strangled in Gibson’s home in the 800 block of Woodbourne Drive. Officials said her body was discovered in the garage of the home by a relative of Gibson’s.

Gibson was named as a person of interest early on in the investigation, was found driving Whitis’ van and was initially arrested in the Walmart parking lot along Grant Line Road for operating while intoxicated and resisting law enforcement.

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07_28_organ_player_w.jpg

Barbara Brewster has been the organ player at Faith Lutheran Church in Jeffersonville for the past 50 years. Brewster began playing organ with the church in August of 1964 at the age of 17.

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