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2012 Year In Review: Part 1

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MEDFORD, Ore. — As the year comes to a close, we take a look at some of the top stories and events that shaped Southern Oregon and Northern California in 2012.

2012 started on a deadly note. In January, two officer-involved shootings took two lives. Five days into the new year, U.S. Marshals opened fire in a parking lot, killing Jimmy Georgeson. Two and a half weeks later, Medford Police responded to a domestic dispute. Police say when Elias Ruiz threatened them with a knife. Police opened fire, killing the 18-year-old. In both cases, a grand jury ruled the deadly shooting was justified.

In March, it was called the battle of David versus Goliath: OIT Men’s Basketball Coach Danny Miles says his team would need a miracle to claim the NAIA National Championship. The team got much more than a miracle: a 63 to 46 win to claim the title for the third time in eight years.

Also in March, a 16-year-old case was put to rest when William Simmons was convicted of kidnapping and murdering Kaelin Glazier, sentenced to a decade behind bars. The defense was later denied a request for a re-trial.

More closure was handed out that month. Years after one of the deadliest aviation accidents in firefighting history, a jury ruled general electric responsible for the Iron 44 crash that killed nine people in 2008, ruling GE must pay nearly 70 million dollars to the pilot who survived and the other pilot who was killed.

The same headline repeated day after day in late March as Southern Oregon saw seven shootings in seven days. Each shooting surrounded by different circumstances, from assault to murder. Bourne Huddleston was arrested for the murder of his wife Kristy; a murder-suicide left Liesa Werner and Eugene Koch dead in an Eagle Point home; and Dylan Ashmun was arrested for shooting and killing his roommate.

Just weeks before school ended in early May, Eagle Point teachers left the classroom for the picket line. The issue of subcontracting bus service, insurance for part time employees and instructional time, led teachers and employees to stand outside of the district office and schools for nearly two weeks.