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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

(Continued)

6. New mayors take over in Jeffersonville, New Albany

Two new mayors took office Jan. 1 in the two largest municipalities in Floyd and Clark counties, as Jeff Gahan moved into office in New Albany and Mike Moore took the oath in Jeffersonville.

It has been an eventful year for both new mayors, and one not without controversy.

Gahan’s biggest decision so far was to devise a plan to separate the long-joined New Albany-Floyd County Parks Department (read more about that in story of the year No. 4). He also announced the city would retain operational management of the city’s sewer system, which had previously been privatized.

The city ended the year with a successful gun buyback program, which netted 249 weapons from New Albany residents.

Moore’s first big move was to announce — as promised during his campaign — the end of the downtown canal plan promoted by previous Mayor Tom Galligan. That was to be replaced by an underground pipe to combat combined sewer overflows and flooding, with a linear park on top.

Parks were often a topic of discussion in Jeffersonville, as work at Vissing Park neared a close and other new parks got started.

Late in the year, Moore squabbled with the city council about the communications position for the city, leading to the mayor suing the council on that and other matters.

In December, the mayor called a press conference to discuss a domestic incident which happened with his estranged wife at City Hall. Moore apologized to residents for the incident and not charges were sought.

In better news, Moore and the city celebrated the opening of a huge Amazon.com distribution center in the fall. (Read more about Amazon at No. 5 in this list).

7. Rash of murders in Clark County as year ends

Clark County saw a trio of murders late in the year, and area courts also handed down sentences in several murder cases. Here’s a rundown:

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Amy Harpenau is the new director of theater arts at New Albany High School. Harpenau is a 2007 graduate of Floyd Central High School, has appeared on stage at both high schools and worked in theaters since she graduated college.

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