The top local news stories of 2012 as usual were mostly a combination of a series of events.
The Jordan Miles trials were a series of stories of protests by the community as well as the actual court trials and hearings where Miles sued the three police officers who attacked him.
The Voter ID Law was passed by Pennsylvania lawmakers but people throughout the state fought this law with several marches to Harrisburg and in their communities in protest as well as challenging it in the courts. They eventually won out when the State Supreme Court kicked it back to a lower court for reconsideration.
The grocery store in the Hill District has been an ongoing series of stories, mostly negative telling of the delays. But the final story, we hope, was that the funding had been approved and there will be a grocery store in the Hill District in 2013. There was another huge story in the Hill District with the Thelma Lovette YMCA grand opening.
The following are some of the top stories of 2012.
Hill District grocery…finally
There have been some changes in Jeff Ross’ life since he first agreed to operate the planned Hill District SHOP ‘n SAVE three years ago—he’s remarried, one of his daughters married and he has a new grandchild—but still no store, until now. “To a degree you become frustrated. It took a while to get everyone on the same page to get the project completed,” he said. “I am sure the money is there this time and I anticipate starting construction the Monday after Thanksgiving and opening in July. We’re excited to get this finished and I want to thank everyone for their tireless efforts, especially the people of the Hill District. I’ll see you at the opening.” Ross joined city, county and state officials, and community stakeholders for a Nov. 9 announcement at the Hill House Association’s Kaufmann Auditorium that three years and two groundbreaking ceremonies later, the grocery store project was finally ready to begin.
Thelma Lovette YMCA opens
For an hour before the scheduled opening, they came, and for an hour afterward they stayed—all to stand in line so they could say hello to Thelma Lovette, who at 96 had retuned to the Hill District for the grand opening of a new state-of-the-art YMCA named in her honor. The April 18 ribbon-cutting ceremony was an event old friends and young people, who didn’t know her, will say years from now they were there. It was like meeting the queen.
Miles fight continues
On Aug. 8, the jury in the Jordan Miles civil rights case reached a partial verdict in finding the three officers accused of beating Miles, not guilty of malicious prosecution. On the other two claims of false arrest and excessive force, the jury could not reach a verdict. Since then Miles’ lawyers have said they plan to file a motion for a new trial on the malicious prosecution claim and pursue a second trial on the other two claims. And while Miles’ supporters have been voicing their outrage over the past week, they’re already moving on to their next plan of attack.