News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Dec. 31, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It was a year filled with tears of joy and tears of sadness, a year for change and a year full of firsts.
Let's take one last look at the top 10 stories in our area from 2012.
10. Trouble at the Augusta Youth Development Campus
Five inmates escaped in October and suspensions, hirings and firings continued at the facility.
9. Operation Smoke Screen
More than 100 people in Augusta were arrested for stolen goods after a seven-month long investigation. The undercover sting rounded up more than half a million dollars in stolen goods from lawn equipment to TVs.
8. Shooting at University hospital
A domestic dispute in October led to a fatal shooting inside the hospital, raising questions of safety at our local facilities.
7. Augusta National invites female members
In August, the Augusta National Golf Club admits Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore, ending 10 years of controversy over admitting female members.
6. Tornadoes in Wagener
Back in February, tornadoes rip through Aiken County and destroy several homes in Wagener, leaving families to clean up the pieces and start over.
5. Aimee Copeland
A graduate student fought for her life in an Augusta hospital against a rare flesh-eating bacteria. Aimee made it, despite the odds, after recovering at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center for more than three months.
4. Shootings in downtown Augusta
Six people, mostly teens, were shot in July in downtown Augusta after First Friday. The shooting raised questions of safety downtown -- and started dialogue between business owners and city leaders. The event continues -- with more security now -- paid for by the Arts Council.
3. The rise of the "New U"
This year was huge for two schools in our area. In January, the Board of Regents voted to consolidate Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University -- but most of Augusta disagreed, citing a huge downside ... the name Georgia Regents University. There was a campaign to "Save the A," even huge protests and rallies with students and alumni responding to Dr. Richardo Azziz's request to just embrace the new name. In the end, leaders eventually agreed to add "Augusta" to the end of GRU for branding.
2. Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers dies
Tragedy struck early in 2012 when Aiken public safety lost one of its finest gunned down in the line of duty. Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers was transported to the Aiken Medical Regional Center where she died from her injuries. From the service to the cemetery, it was an emotional day for Aiken -- as they laid another officer to rest.
Rogers' accused killer, Joshua Jones, shocked the country later that month with his behavior in court. Jones sits in jail awaiting his trial.
1. Sheriff Strength retires
A teary-eyed Sheriff Ronnie Strength announced he would not run for re-election, setting the stage for a heated race. After all was said and done, seven people threw their hats into the ring for the office, but Richard Roundtree came out on top. It was a historic win as Roundtree took his oath of office just a week ago and officially became the county's first African-American sheriff.