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As 2013 comes to a close, it’s time to take a look back at the year and see what the ten biggest stories were here in Paris. eParisExtra.com covered them all and kept you up to date on all the details. These are the most talked about stories of the year:
#10 Paris City Manager John Godwin receives a heart transplant. After a near-fatal heart episode on June 14th, City Manager John Godwin, received a new heart on July 2, 2013 and returned to work on Aug. 19th. In a 10-part series for eParisExtra readers, he shared a series of short stories/character sketches about his transplant experiences.
#9 Paramedic Joe Howard killed in a motorcycle accident. On October 13th, eparisextra.com reported that Joe Howard, a well-known paramedic with Emergency Medical Services in Paris, was fatally injured that Sunday morning when a van pulled in front of him on Loop 286 as he rode on his motorcycle to attend a WWII motorcycle event. Police Chief Bob Hundley stated, “Officers first on the scene found that a motorcycle had been in collision with a passenger van and found the motorcycle operator not breathing,” Hundley said.
#8 Body Found Under a Bridge. In June, a severely decomposed body was found under a bridge near Roxton. The body was later identified as a Paris man, Tramaine Jarrod Kellum, 27, who had been reported missing to the Paris Police Department by his wife.
#7 Red River Business Incubator Dissolved – After much debate this summer among the PEDC board and the city council about whether or not the Red River Business Incubator was being properly funded by the PEDC, a decision was made to dissolve the organization under its former structure, leaving multiple start up businesses in the lurch. A new business incubator is currently being formed under the umbrella of the Paris Junior College.
#6 Federal Investigators accuse former Crosswire owner of dealing in firearms. In November, Local law enforcement officers from the Paris Police Department and the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office, in collaboration with a federal agency, raided the home of Harry Lee Crawford Jr., 44, who was the previous owner of the Crosswire Club. Crawford was taken into custody during the raid and arrested on a federal charge of unlawful possession of a firearm.
#5 Lamar County Schools put on Lockdown. On the morning May 1st, parents all over Lamar County were extremely concerned as schools went into what is known as a “soft lockdown” as officials searched for a suspect who was believed to be armed and dangerous and had allegedly threatened local schools. The Lamar County Sheriff’s Office took the suspect, James Lance Boulware into custody later that morning.
#4 New Leadership at PISD. After the retirement of longtime superintendent, Paul Trull, the PISD school board hired a new superintendent, Paul Jones in March. Then in April, PISD Athletic Director, Barry Bowman, resigned after he was offered the job of defensive coordinator at Pine Tree High School in Longview. In May, the PISD board voted to hire Steven Hohenberger, 39, as head football coach and athletic director for the Paris Wildcats, who had an outstanding fall season.
#3 Investigation of PEDC Director Steve Gilbert. PEDC Board President Rebecca Clifford, former councilman, Bill Strathern and current Mayor AJ Hashmi led an inquiry into the alleged inappropriate spending practices of Steve Gilbert, Executive Director of the Paris Economic Development Corporation. Gilbert denied any wrong doing and despite several presentations at both PEDC Board meetings and City Council meetings no action was taken.
#2 Quadruple Homicide in Paris. In October, citizens of Paris were shocked to learn that a heinous quadruple homicide occurred at a residence on Northeast 6th Street. According to police, a female called 911 around 11:23 p.m. on October 9th to report someone bleeding at the home. Upon arrival, officers found four men slain in a front room of the house. Those individuals are 18-year-old Romello Dewain Steward, 21-year-old Devante Larry Akins, 24-year-old Brijonne Rashad Woods, and 32-year-old Billy Charles Carey. The investigation is ongoing.
#1 The Ice Storm. The number one story in Paris, Texas of 2013 is certainly the ice storm that hit Lamar County during the early morning hours of Friday, December 6th. Residents were left for days without power and some without heat or water. The storm cancelled or postponed many planned holiday activities and hurt local retailers. The clean-up is ongoing and some fear that the tree debris may not be fully cleaned up until well into 2014.
To read about any of these past stories you missed, use our search box in the top right corner of the eParisExtra.com homepage.