SIDNEY — From weather to COVID to honoring local residents and tragedies, the Sidney Daily News is taking a final look at the year 2022.
Stories which made the news, in no particular order include:
• The year started and ended with weather making the news. In February, a snow storm hit the county and state, causing residents to plow and shovel themselves out of their homes. As the year came to an end, those wanting a white Christmas received their wish as ice, snow and frigid temperatures arrived in full force.
• COVID-19 remained in the news as number of cases rose, fell and rose again as various variants of the virus kept infecting citizens.
• A Christmas Eve crash on Interstate 75 resulted in the deaths of four Michigan residents. Killed were Lauren Hahn, 32, Kimberly A. Siegrist, 63, Jeremy Boehn, 32, and Karen M. Boehne, 33. Dayren Rocubert, 29, Hialeah, Florida, has been charged with five counts of vehicular homicide as one of the victims was pregnant.
• Two people lost their lives in fires in 2022. In January, Timothy Belt, 61, died when his home on Elm Street caught fire. Three other occupants of the home were able to get out of the house. In August, Kimberly Fogt, 61, died after her home caught fire.
• A Sidney man, Todd Jordan, 53, was killed in an officer-involved critical incident at Sidney Foodtown in December. Jordan allegedly entered the business with a gun and fired several shots. Officers arrived at the scene and ordered Jordan to keep his hand up and get down on the ground. He allegedly raised a gun and pointed it at the officers, who then fired at the suspect. Officers Jason Viapiano, Andrew Shappie, Aaron Wesbecher and Sergeant Chris Burmeister have all been placed on administrative leave pending review of the incident. The investigation is being conducted by the Ohio BCI.
• Russia Boys Basketball Coach Dave Borchers passed away of injuries he received in a car crash in October.
• Mercy Mission House opened its doors to the county’s homeless. Amanda Hilgefort was hired as its first director. MMH is also used as a warming center when needed.
• James Rayl, 22, of Sidney, was killed in July when he allegedly tried to gain access into the residence of his ex-girlfriend. Property owner Mitch Duckro shot Rayl three times. The Shelby County grand jury declined to indict Duckro. Ohio has a “Stand Your Ground” law which allows citizens the right to use deadly force in self-defense.
• Brandon Steele, of Sidney, was sentenced to up to 28 years in prison after shooting two Sidney Police officers. He entered guilty pleas to first-degree felony charges of attempted murder and felonious assault with a gun specification. On Oct. 6, 2021, two Sidney Police officers — Sgt. Tim Kennedy and Patrol Officer Brandon M. Heindle — attempted to serve a warrant on Steele. Steele fled, fired at and shot Kennedy, and after an ensuing county-wide police manhunt and SWAT team standoff, was apprehended. Kennedy underwent emergency surgery at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton and was released six days later.
• Two longtime police chiefs retired in 2022. Sidney Police Chief Will Balling announced his retirement earlier in the year. Mark McDonough has been hired as the new police chief. Botkins Police Chief Tom Glass retired in May. Mark Jordan is the new police chief for the village.
• SEMCORP announced it will build a new factor in Sidney which will employ 1,200 people. The company will have a $916 million capital investment in the project, and will see $73 million a year in payroll.
• Mike Lochard was the winner of the Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce’s Zenith Award. Sidney Police Officer Ethan Brown was named Officer of the Year. Sidney Firefighter Tony Marchal was named Firefighter of the Year. Shelby County Deputy David Egbert was named 2021 Deputy of the Year, Deputy Robert Boyd was named 2021 Corrections Officer of the Year and Dispatcher Noah Pleiman was named 2021 Dispatcher of the Year.Tom Clark was named the Outstanding Senior Citizen. Light Ohio Blue presented retired Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart the Lifetime Achievement Award and Anne Niemeyer the Citizen of the Year Award. The Shelby County Veterans Service Commission named Bob Shoffner its Veteran of the Year and Tilda Phlipot as its Civilian of the Year. Shelby County Jail Administrator Karla Pleiman received a national award from the National Institute for Jail Operations.
• A grant to rehabilitate the land where the Wagner Building sits in Sidney has been received by the Shelby County Reutilization Corp (Landbank). The state will give the group $2.8 million for the project.
• The Ohio Civil Rights Commission ratified the conciliation agreement and consent order for the cases filed by former Sidney City Schools District employees ShaRhonda Johnson, Erika Foster-Wheeler, Tiffani Foy and Jayne Evans. Johnson, Foster-Wheeler and Foy were all aides with the school district. Evans was the district’s psychologist. According to the settlement, each of the aides will receive $5,000 for non-economic damage awards and attorney fees. Each person will receive one check for the amount of $3,334 and one check per case will go to attorney Jason P. Matthews in the amount of $1,666 from the school district. In the settlement of Evans’ age discrimination case, the school district will pay her a lump sum of $35,520 for nonwage and noneconomic damaged. The district will also pay her attorney Jason Matthews a lump sum of $17,760.
The Burr Oak Subdivision officially opened with new homes being constructed and sold. A new land development was announced and will be located off St. Marys Avenue/state Route 29.