Top local news stories of 2015

The editorial staff of Cache Valley Daily and KVNU voted on what they felt were the top stories of the past year. For their consideration, there were many stories of heartache and loss, surprising retirements and exits, ongoing disputes and an exciting national event making Logan, Utah its opening act.

<ol><li>ICON Health and Fitness shocked its employees when it announced on Tuesday, July 14 that <a href=”” target=”_blank”>they would be eliminating 400 production jobs</a> and sending more production overseas. Primary manufacturing for the company’s home treadmills will now be done, almost exclusively, in China. The company did say the space will likely be retrofitted to manufacture other product lines.</li><li><span>Roger Darrin Barker</span> was <a href=”” target=”_blank”>shot and killed by Logan City Police SWAT</a> officers on Wednesday, July 29 after a tense three hour stand-off in Logan. Neighbors were called and told to stay in their homes and the street near Barker’s home was closed off for several hours. Barker threatened the police with his own handgun, eventually firing at a patrol officer’s vehicle. It was then that officers returned fire and killed Barker.</li><li>Two of the three Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who passed away this past year had local ties to our community. <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Boyd K. Packer was a Brigham City native</a> and <a href=”” target=”_blank”>L. Tom Perry was a Logan native</a>. In replacing Packer, Perry and Richard G. Scott, the LDS church <a href=”” target=”_blank”>appointed former Cache Valley resident Gary E. Stevenson</a>, along with <span>Ronald A. Rasband and Dale G. Renlund at its General Conference in October.</span></li><li><span>Nibley resident Lesley Jensen pleaded guilty and was <a href=”” target=”_blank”>sentenced to serve one year in jail</a> for scamming local residents and charities, making them believe she had cancer. <span>Cafe Sabor and the Cache Valley for Hope Charity Cancer Foundation had raised over $27,000 for Jensen.</span></span></li><li><span><span>On January 9th legendary Utah State University men’s basketball coach <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Stew Morrill announced his retirement</a>. Morrill coached for 17 years at USU, compiling a 402-156 record in Logan and a 620-294 record overall. He lead the Aggies to seven conference titles. Tim Duryea, longtime assistant to Morrill, was <a href=”” target=”_blank”>named the new head coach</a> on March 30.</span></span></li><li><span><span>One of the largest bike races in the country held its opening stages in Cache Valley, Bear Lake and Box Elder County for the first time ever. The <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Tour of Utah</a> brought national and even international prestige to the area. The event took months of planning and, despite the rain on race day, was deemed a success.</span></span></li><li><span><span>North Logan resident Amanda Lee Hoyt was found dead and Smithfield resident Christian A. Emerson was found in critical condition on Saturday, February 7th. <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Emerson shot and killed Hoyt then turned the gun on himself</a> in a failed suicide attempt. </span></span></li><li><span><span>Another tragic story makes the top 10 list this year. On Wednesday, October 14 26-year-old transgender woman Ashley Hallstrom <a href=”” target=”_blank”>stepped into oncoming traffic</a> on US 89/91 south of Logan and was killed by a dump truck. Her tragic story caught national attention because of the suicide note she had left on her Facebook page, asking others to share her story.</span></span></li><li><span><span>Disputes between Logan City and surrounding communities over a new, very expensive wastewater treatment plant continued throughout the year. In August, <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Logan finalized plans to move forward on the project</a> while other communities, notably Providence and Nibley, have <a href=”” target=”_blank”>debated whether or not to continue on with Logan, or pursue other alternatives</a>.</span></span></li><li><span><span>On Tuesday, July 28 a man walked into the Wells Fargo bank in Hyrum and told clerks he had a bomb. He <a href=”” target=”_blank”>robbed the bank of an undisclosed amount</a> of money and walked away. Weeks later a <a href=”” target=”_blank”>reward was issued</a> for information leading to his arrest. The bank robber is at-large to this day.</span></span></li></ol>

<span><span>Other stories that were voted on but did not make the Top 10 include the naming of Ridgeline High School along with its new mascot and colors; the surprise, sudden shut down of Dunkin Donuts in Logan, in addition to other national chains shutting down unexpectedly; the death of 17-year-old Emily Wright after she jumped out of a moving truck; trouble with alcohol and rape at Utah State </span></span>fraternities; and the renaming and remodel of Maverik Stadium at Utah State University.

What do you think? How would you rank the year’s top stories? Let us know in the comment section below.

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