Top Stories of 2012

Local News

Within a year, there are thousands of news stories reported but only a handful of these stories stand out.

Narrowed down to the local top three, the first of these takes us back to June 29th when severe weather blew through our quiet city. The storm brought hail, strong winds and even a reported tornado in Tuscarawas County.

The damages were extensive as the wind caused numerous downed trees, ripped off shingles and in severe cases entire roofs. Thousands of people lost power and some went more than ten days without electricity.

Gary Mbide, Guernsey-Muskingum Electric Cooperative said, "80% of our system was out. It was widespread damage, you could drive down a road where everything would look fine and go around the corner and it would look like a bomb went off."

Losing power was the least of worries for families who lost entire homes, W-H-I-Z spoke to one family who was struggling for weeks after.  

The head of that family, Robert French said, "We ended up with a 107 foot tree in our living room. It almost killed my daughter. She just got up out of the chair that the tree landed on."

Flip your calendar forward a few weeks to July 19th, when scandal landed in the lap of the City Law Director. Scott Hillis is used to being in a court room but this time he was the subject of the scandalous crime in question. It was reported by Country Prosecutor, Mike Haddox, that a prostitute admitted that Hillis paid her to perform sexual acts.

"I’m going to find you guilty of soliciting and criminal trespass," said Judge Timothy France.

Hillis was found guilty of all charges on August 9th and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, which was suspended, his drivers license was suspended, he was fined and had to complete community service. Hillis did not resign and remains his position as City Law Director.

"I’d simply like to say that I apologize to the court, my family and to the citizens of Zanesville for my mistake, " said Hillis.

One of Zanesville’s most infamous dates did not occur in 2012 but 2011. Are exotic animals being let loose on the town coming to mind? This year marked the one year anniversary and also the passing of legislation regarding private ownership of exotic animals.

At the end of November, Governor John Kasich signed an order for Ohio to enforce the temporary rules set by The Dangerous and Restricted Animals Advisory Board for the Caretaking of Exotic Animals.

"Hopefully that state plan will be distributed to the 88 counties. The counties can then take them and kind of tweak them to fit their personnel to fit their environments," said Sheriff Matt Lutz.

Its been one wild year for Zanesville and as always, more sensational news will continue into 2013.

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