TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Here are the most talked about, and clicked on, local news stories on TucsonNewsNow.com from 2012.
1. Disappearance of Isabel Celis
Last seen on Friday, April 20, Isabel Celis is believed to have disappeared from her room sometime after 11 p.m. that evening. Her 7th birthday came and went with still no sign of the missing child. To see a full list of our Isabel Celis coverage click here: http://bit.ly/ZBopyC
2. Endeavour flies over Tucson
The space shuttle Endeavour made a special Tucson flyover in September at the request of former shuttle Commander Mark Kelly. He put in the request to NASA to honor his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. It flew over Tucson at an altitude of about 1,500 feet. Our viewers had their cameras ready and flooded our inbox with pictures. Click here to see the spectacular slideshow: http://bit.ly/S8whD0
3. Jared Loughner sentenced to 7 life terms plus 140 years
Convicted mass shooter Jared Loughner was sentenced to seven life terms in prison plus 140 years in early November. This came after he pleaded guilty to 19 counts including the attempted assassination of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Jan. 8, 2011. Six of the life sentences were for the six fatalities at the 2011 Congress on Your Corner event and the seventh was for the assassination attempt. Read more here: http://bit.ly/Uyfu8D
4. Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie shot and killed
Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie, 30, was killed October 2 in a remote location near Bisbee. Ivie was responding to the area after a sensor that detects movement in the area had been tripped. An investigation revealed the shooting was a result of friendly fire. His family lives in Sierra Vista, but he was a Utah native. Here is a link to a slideshow honoring Nicholas Ivie: http://bit.ly/TpQEKe
5. Death of Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever
Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever passed away in a rollover accident on Sept. 18. The accident happened south of Williams and an autopsy report showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.29, more than three times the legal limit. Hundreds attended his memorial service. Here is a slideshow of pictures from the service: http://bit.ly/Sn2wc7
6. Election: Two races too close to call
The year 2012 was not only an important election year on a national level, but also local. A special election was held in June to fill the seat left vacant by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from a gunshot wound to the head sustained during the Jan. 8, 2011 mass shooting. Democrat Ron Barber, also injured in the shooting and a former aide to Giffords, won the vacant spot for the U.S. House in the June special election. However, for the race during the November general election, due to redistricting, Barber was vying for the Congressional District 2 seat. It was a race too close to call until days after polls closed. Barber ultimately defeated Republican Martha McSally.
Another close race was the Proposition 409 presented to voters on the Tucson ballot. The race was not called until days after the polls closed and ultimately it passed. This proposition gives the city the green light to sell $100 million in bonds to fix and maintain hundreds of miles of Tucson roadway.
7. DPS K-9 Jeg euthanized
A Department of Public Safety K-9, Jeg, was put to sleep in August after accidentally being left in a patrol car by his handler. There are different accounts of what happened leading up to the death of Jeg (read more here: http://bit.ly/TFeYLL ), but Officer Korey Lankow was placed on administrative leave following the incident. He has since returned to duty, but the department launched an investigation into whether he correctly followed policy. It is an investigation which could take a few months.
8. TUSD School Closures
A few days before Christmas, the Tucson Unified School District governing board voted to close 11 schools. The decision aims to help make up an anticipated $17 million budget shortfall. The number of closures was down from the 14 that were originally on the chopping block. To read more click here: http://bit.ly/WX0vMi
9. Corrections officers terminated after bar fight
A brawl at the Buffet Bar in September resulted in the firings of numerous Pima County corrections officers. It happened on September 19 at the bar on Ninth Street. Seven corrections officers were charged in connection with the fight that left four people injured, including a teenager. To read more click here: http://bit.ly/UbIe7J
10. Teachers arrested for sexual misconduct
Numerous employees at schools in the Tucson area were arrested in 2012 for sexual misconduct with students. These cases include:
Charlie Luna worked as a dance teacher at Sahuaro High School. He allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old student.( http://bit.ly/U48Its)
Flowing Wells High School special education teacher Christina Carbone, allegedly had a relationship with a 16-year-old student. She was arrested in May. (http://bit.ly/UwIgLd)
Melissa Dalton worked as an art teacher at Ironwood Ridge High School. She was accused of engaging in sexual conduct with three students. (http://bit.ly/VkRcms)
Two Alter Valley coaches were arrested, Todd Hezlitt and Ricardo Moreno. Hezlitt was behind bars after allegedly running off to Mexico with 16-year-old Brooke White. (http://bit.ly/V80YpW)
(From left to right: Charlie Luna, Christina Carbone, Melissa Dalton, Todd Hezlitt, Ricardo Moreno)