Top 10 local stories of 2012

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Coty (left) and Shane May at their home on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The couple, who were married in Washington, D.C., was told by the Cuyahoga Falls law director that Ohio does not recognized gay marriage so they couldn't get a married couple's pass at the Falls natatorium. (Ed Suba Jr./Akron Beacon Journal)

1. Craigslist killings. A jury in October convicted Brogan Rafferty, 17, in the killing of three men who had responded to a bogus Craigslist ad. The Stow-Munroe Falls High School teen was sentenced to life in prison. Richard Beasley, his mentor, will go on trial in February.

2. Campaign stops. President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney made several stops in the area. A July visit by Obama grabbed headlines when he ate at Ann’s Place in Akron. Owner Josephine “Ann” Harris passed away shortly after meeting the president.

3. Gambling. The Horseshoe Casino Cleveland opened its doors May 14. The Hard Rock Cafe announced a $275 million partnership with Northfield Park harness racing track in northern Summit County. Horseshoe Casino operators received state permission to move Thistledown within a 12-mile radius of Akron-Canton Airport. Green residents voted in November to block a racino there.

4. Toddler’s death. The death of an Akron toddler in a rat-infested meth house created headlines for months. Patrick Nicholas Lerch was found unresponsive in his crib in Goodyear Heights on Feb. 26. The 17-month-old’s mother, Heather Lerch, her boyfriend, the boyfriend’s brother and another man were sent to prison.

5. Jim Tressel. The University of Akron hired the former Ohio State football coach as vice president of strategic engagement in February. Tressel, who makes $200,000, provided a public face for the university.

6. Mercy shooting: A Massillon man walked into Akron General Medical Center on Aug. 4 and fatally shot his wife of 45 years. Friends said the man did not want his wife, who had a cerebral aneurysm, to suffer. An undisclosed number of hospital workers later were fired for violating hospital policy and accessing the woman’s medical records.

7. Akron Public Schools shortfalls. Akron schools eliminate 202 jobs, including 139 teachers, in May in an effort to make up for a large budget deficit. Voters in November passed a 7.9-mill levy, but school officials warned that budget shortfalls still loom.

8. Joy Malek Oldfield. Copley police found Akron Municipal Judge Joy Malek Oldfield in a parked car during the early morning of Feb. 5. Officers said she and Catherine Loya, an assistant public defender in Akron, were drunk and in a state of undress.

9. Jail policy. Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander announced in February that the county jail no longer would accept violent mentally ill and mentally disabled people. The Board of Developmental Disabilities and Oriana House partner to take the inmates.

10. Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium. A gay couple married in another state questioned whether Cuyahoga Falls’ marriage discount should apply to all. The city’s Park and Recreation Board ultimately declined to change its policy, but not before the issue generated online protests and petitions.


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