Changes for Anderson schools were not the only thing making headlines around the county this year. The following round out The Herald Bulletin’s Top 10 of 2009:

2. Economy’s plight was felt all over

Unemployment in Madison County went over 10 percent before the state and national averages did. Coping with double-digit job loss was one of the factors leading to a steep fall in tax revenue that crippled the county, city of Anderson and area schools.

The Hoosier Park casino also felt the crunch. Though attendance fell off only slightly, the casino was in financial trouble because, it said, the high rate of taxation.

Businesses closed, some opened, but overall 2009 was a year of lowered economic expectations in Madison County.

3. Employee theft rocks Chesterfield

In early 2009 Chesterfield’s clerk-treasurer, Chris Parrish, abruptly stepped down. Eventually, town marshal Jamie Kimm followed in his footsteps.

In October, town residents found out why when a state audit report revealed that $259,000 had been stolen from town accounts over two years.

In December, Parrish, Kimm and two others were indicted on federal theft charges and face prison time if convicted. Their trial begins on Feb. 1.

4. Officials make wrong kind of headlines

Public officials in Madison County made headlines in 2009 because they were on the wrong side of the law.

In March, Anderson City Councilman Ollie Dixon was videotaped having a gun inside the Madison County Jail, where he was taken after being suspected of driving while intoxicated. Madison County Commissioner Jeff Hardin was arrested after an altercation with his daughter in April.

Some Anderson Police Department officers were arrested under suspicion of driving while intoxicated and one, Lincoln Brooks, was accused of home invasion and beating the homeowner.

5. They saved the Alexandria pool

Three Alexandria women were upset when the city of Alexandria decided the pool in Beulah Park wouldn’t open in the summer. So they worked out a deal with Mayor Jack Woods to raise money for a new liner. The city agreed to pick up the rest of the expense. It worked.

The women not only raised the money but gained national recognition in the process.

6. Anderson gets Ivy Tech campus

Anderson scored a coup over Pendleton when the city was chosen as the location for a new Ivy Tech Community College campus, which will be built near Interstate 69.

The current Anderson campus was getting crowded to the point that Ivy Tech looked for some space relief from Anderson Community Schools by moving into the former Ebbertt Education Center.

Plans for the new campus will go through the city board of zoning appeals early in 2010, and construction could also begin next year.

7. Foley has medical license revoked

Dr. Phillip Foley, Middletown, had his medical license taken away by the state because a state investigation concluded that Foley gave out too many prescriptions.

When it came time for the hearing on Foley, he was in the hall with supporters, who have been vocal about Foley’s innocence.

The initial revocation was for 90 days but late in the year, the state extended it.

8. County courts

saw changes

In February, Judge David Hopper passed away after 29 years on the bench. He was replaced by David Happe. Later in the year, Judge Fredrick Spencer stepped down after an investigation by the state into his rulings. Rudy Pyle was named by Gov. Mitch Daniels to replace Spencer, and Pyle became the county’s first black judge.

The county courts all became superior courts in 2009. The lone holdout was the circuit court.

9. Children die in fire, spurs rescue house

A New Year’s Eve fire ripped through the home of Jeff and Amanda Bouslog at the beginning of 2009, taking the lives of their daughters.

Inspired by the Bouslogs’ story, Anderson firefighter Skip Ockomon and other firefighters began raising money to build a fire-rescue house for the county that would provide a temporary residence for families burned out of their homes.

The house opened in October and has given shelter to three families displaced by fire in the past three months.

10. February pileup claims two lives

Snow fell fast and thick on a February morning and turned Interstate 69 into a slating rink. By the time traffic got south of Exit 10 in Hamilton County, the accidents started piling up. When it was over two Anderson men were dead.

More than 30 cars were involved in the southbound pile-up as snow reduced visibility and coated the highway. The snow fell too fast for highway crews to make any headway.

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