Top Stories of the Year, Part 1

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In late January 2012, tragedy struck a Neshoba County family when a double-wide home burned to the ground with three small children inside. Investigators later determined a kitchen fire was to blame at the residence of Josh and Leslie Tubby.

Also in Neshoba County, Chief Phyliss Anderson was joined by family members of the late chief, Phillip Martin, as the restaurant Phillip M's was officially given its old name back. Anderson said she had been pushing for that for quite a while. Former chief, Beasley Denson, had named the restaurant Miko's.

February started with the opening of the newly renovated Meridian City Hall. The project took years to complete and was millions of dollars over budget. That was soon followed by news that construction on the city's new police station would be delayed until the summer because of a tax credit that developer David Watkins needed in order to continue the project.

In April, controversy surrounded efforts to change Meridian's historical districts. Essentially, residents and businesses in those districts would have to comply with city guidelines when altering or building property in those historic districts.

Then came the grand opening of Choctaw General Hospital in Butler. The hospital opened as a 25-bed critical access facility. The addition was expected to bring economic development as well as medical care.

In May, $333,000 dollars was raised during the annual Lauderdale County Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society.

Fred Luter became the president of the Southern Baptist Convention in June. He preached several times in the Meridian area prior to his election.

One of the most talked about stories of the year came in late June when Clarke County utility worker Nathan Baker was murdered. Authorities say it happened after Baker disconnected power to the home of Joe Ann and Keith Allen Davis for their failure to pay their bill.

June ended with the retirement of Meridian Police Chief Lee Shelbourn. He served as chief for three years before being replaced by current chief, James Reed, the following month.