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Looking Back: Binghamton Stories in 2012

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There are many retrospectives of 2012, but none that truly outline the year in the Greater Binghamton area. We are about to fix that.

It was a busy year, politically, community-wide and in entertainment.

In August, we saw a record crowd at Otsiningo Park for Spiedie Fest. .38 Special wowed the crowd to open the concert series. The Binghamton Philharmonic began a wonderful concert season, Country singer Alan Jackson performed at the Arena, as did the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The Forum was hopping with operas and musicals too!

In the community, neighbors came together to help continue the flood recovery with benefits and hard work. I was amazed at the number of fundraisers for individuals there were. Cut-a-thons, toy drives, dinners. The biggest, and most special, event was the October start of construction on the ACA Memorial. It became nearly complete and will be officially dedicated this coming April on the 4th anniversary of the shootings. The memorial is a beautiful tribute to the 13 victims who are so missed.

Politically, we saw our US Representative Maurice Hinchey battle cancer and announce his retirement after serving our area since the 70′s. His decision was, in part, due to the redistricting of the State which left the 22nd district eliminated.

And there was the Thomas Libous “non-scandal” which came about due to his name coming up in a court case in the NYC area. Our State Representative was the subject of an ethics inquiry, which so far has not resulted in anything. Libous was easily re-elected in November.

And,finally,, Debra Preston, who had been appointed Broome County Executive, being elected in November to continue her role.

To wrap up the look at 2012, some sad occurrences. On New Years Day 2012, 21 year old Dickinson resident, David Fillers,was found murdered behind a local hotel. Charged and convicted was his former classmate Alan Outman of Johnson City. This was a particularly “hot” story because Fillers was so young, was by all accounts becoming a good man in the community, and the circumstances of his death. He was remembered by many at a touching benefit in January.

And two stories that will not go away resurfaced in 2012. The first, Peter Wlasiuk being convicted for a third time in the death of his wife Patricia back in 2002. Ten years and three trials later, the victim’s family may be at the end of this long, difficult journey. Wlasiuk faces 25 years to life in prison.

Then there is the Calvin Harris saga. Owego businessman Harris’ estranged wife Michelle disappeared in 2001. With no body or murder weapon, this case has been in and out of court. Many people are divided about it. In 2012, the murder conviction of Harris was overturned for a second time and a third trial ordered.

Other notable events in 2012:

The start of the massive Prospect Mountain construction project.

The start and completion of the “Gateway to Binghamton” circle at Court and Chenanago Streets downtown.

The request by National Pipe and Plastic to move from Vestal Ave. to an Endicott site. Community members are severely divided over this, as they are the fracking issue, which the State did not decide upon in 2012.

Chobani, the local makers of greek yogurt, became an official Olympic sponsor for the American team at London games. And local resident and UFC champ, Jon “Bones” Jones was arrested for DUI after wrecking his car in Binghamton. The press had a field day with that one! He admitted guilt.

There are many stories I missed, so feel free to add your own to our comment section.

Happy New Year Binghamton!

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