, Corbin, KY

December 31, 2012

2012 in Rewind: Top 10 Tri-County Stories

The Times-Tribune

TRI-COUNTY — 10. Knox County 11-year-olds win state championship

On July 27, after helping steer the Knox County 11-year-old Little League team to a win the previous day from the mound, Pitcher Tucker Holland came through again.

During the state championship game played against Franklin Simpson, Holland nailed a two-run homer in the third inning, helping to clinch the state title, 7-2.

9. Man goes missing during storm on Laurel Lake

Clarence Holmes, of Berea, was boating on Laurel Lake July 5 when a severe thunderstorm swept through the region.

Winds from the storm caused 7- and 8-foot waves on the lake.

Witnesses on the lake during the intense storm reported seeing Holmes assisting other people in tying their boats.

It was the last time he was seen. His pontoon boat was discovered running, in idle, on a small island near the Marshes Branch area.

8. North Laurel wins first regional title

It was a phenomenal March for the North Laurel Jaguars basketball team and its new coach, Brad Sizemore.

And two points during overtime play decided it all.

The Jaguars went against all odds and pulled off a stunning come-from-behind win to knock off Clay County in the 13th Region Boys Tournament championship game, 54-52.

7. Lisa Gilliam murder trial

The long-awaited trial of Lisa Gilliam was finally held in September. After three days opening statements, testimony from witnesses and experts, and closing statements, the trial ended in a hung jury. In October, Gilliam was acquitted.

Lisa Gilliam was charged with the death of her husband of 44 days — attorney Larry Gilliam —  in his law office in London on Jan. 7, 2011. She was indicted on March of that year, after an investigation by the London Police Department. She surrendered to police four days later, and was taken to the Laurel Detention Center.

6. NIBROC Festival celebrates six decades

The 60th annual NIBROC Festival took place Aug. 9-11 all through downtown Corbin.

And the only problem encountered during the event was a rain storm that forced cancellation of the annual parade Aug. 9, but the parade was rescheduled for that Saturday, Aug. 11.

And it all went off without a hitch.

5. Alcohol sales put to the vote

To allow the sale of alcoholic beverages, or not to allow it? That was the question four Tri County cities put to the ballot in February and March of this year.

The results from the local option elections were mixed. The answer was “yes” in Corbin and Williamsburg, while it was “no” in Barbourville and London.

Barbourville was the first to vote, with their election held Feb. 7. The city has been dry for decades, and the question was to allow sales of beer, wine and liquor by the package, and by the drink in restaurants.

Voters in that city said “No.”

4. PFC Napier dies in Afghanistan

The death of Private First Class Dustin P. Napier stunned the region in January.

A London resident and 2010 graduate of South Laurel High School, Napier was serving in the U. S. Army in Afghanistan when he died Jan. 8 in Zabul province of injuries he suffered from enemy fire.

Napier was deployed to Afghanistan in April 2011 for a one-year tour of duty. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

3. Drugs remain a problem in region

As in years past, the scourge of drugs continued to blur the landscape of the Tri-County. But in 2012, one major problem knocked at the door. It was the use and sale of what was called “synthetic drugs,” such as synthetic marijuana, or being sold as “bath salts.”

2. Dewayne Bunch dies

On July 11, former State Rep. Dewayne Bunch (R-82nd), who suffered a serious head injury while breaking up a high school fight April 12, 2011, died at Oak Tree Hospital in Corbin. He was 50 years old, and was the husband of current 82nd District Rep. Regina Bunch. Together, they had three daughters.

Dewayne Bunch was also a math and science teacher for 17 years at Whitley County High School. He served with the Kentucky National Guard for 23 years and led the Mountain Warriors in Iraq, serving as First Sergeant.

1. Twister devastates Laurel County

March came in like a lion.

After several days of extreme weather which caused damage throughout the Tri-County area, on March 2, it became a very dark day.

That’s when an EF-2 tornado landed on Laurel County north of East Bernstadt, killing 7 and injuring scores of others in less than 10 minutes.


For complete recaps of the top 10 stories along with some full color photos, pick up today's edition of the Times-Tribune