The year that was: A look back at the stories that made headlines in the Star-Review in 2012


The town of Cicero abolished its director of planning and development position at the town’s organizational meeting Wednesday, Jan. 4 in an effort to save the town money.

“Unfortunately, development has been down within the town, and this is an area to look at for reducing costs and where we can find savings,” Supervisor Jim Corl said.

The position eliminated called for a salary of $56,000 plus benefits totaling approximately $15,000, along with the use of a town vehicle.

Mary Ellen Clausen stepped down as executive director of Ophelia’s Place, a Liverpool-based center for those struggling with eating disorders. Clausen, who was replaced by Jodie Wilson-Dougherty, moved into a role based in fund development.

Clausen started the center after watching her daughters struggle with anorexia. But she said it was time to move on to a new chapter in her life.

Clausen, 51, says she would like to see both Ophelia’s Place and Café at 407 (a coffee shop that benefits the organization) as two self-sufficient entities by 2014. Once that’s achieved, she will “be at peace,” Clausen said.

D.J. Villnave, then 8, held his second annual blanket drive for the homeless at Karl W. Saile Bear Road Elementary School.

D.J. said he staged the drive after the holidays because people seem to have given up on giving at that time.

“People don’t care about other people after the holiday season,” DJ said. “I wanted to do something so people are still caring about people that are cold and are poor.”


Salina Supervisor Mark Nicotra was this year’s candidate for the 93Q Five Dates in Five Days, something the station has done for the last five years around Valentine’s Day.

“Every Valentine’s Day, we get a different eligible bachelor in the community,” said Amy Robbins, who co-hosts the station’s morning show with Ted Long. “When you think about how popular dating shows are — ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette’ — that’s very similar to what we’re doing. The next morning, we do a recap of the date, and that can be great radio, whatever kind of date they had. It doesn’t always go well. Sometimes they just don’t click, and they have nothing to talk about. It doesn’t make for a very fun date, but it’s awesome for our audience to hear about it. That’s why we’ve continued doing it.”

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