Year in Review: January 2013

The month of January began with Wichita County officials taking the oath of office in a ceremony at the courthouse.

There was only one new face in the group, Republican Tommy Smyth was sworn in New Year's Day as the new tax assessor collector after unseating the incumbent and taking the last county-wide seat held by a democrat.

A few days later, a tragic death rocked the community of Scotland. 54-year-old Lois Luig was jogging when she was hit by a truck on FM 172. Nine months after her death, her loved ones organized a 5-k run to honor her life and legacy.

The month of January ushered in the beginning of severe water woes and Wichita Falls city councilors were preparing to enter stage 3 water restrictions.

At the beginning of the month, combined lake levels were sitting at just above the 40 percent mark and city officials started their campaign to remind residents that every drop counts.

For the first time in many years, Texoma had two freshman lawmakers sworn in as the 83rd Texas Legislative Session was gabled in to session.

Representative James Frank of Wichita Falls and Representative Drew Springer of Muenster took the oath of office in the Texas House.

It was the beginning of what would turn out to be a very exciting session in Austin.

By mid month, residents of Henrietta were able to raise a glass to the end of 80 years of living in a dry community. It was a big day because everyone wanted to be here and be the first in line. Customers made a run on the first store in town to sell beer after the largest turnout ever for a city election.

Tragedy ended the month of January. Wichita Falls had it's first homicide of the year.

Police were called to the 1000 block of Woods Street for a shooting. Officers found 35-year-old David Mays laying on the floor. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Three teens were later charged with his death.

And more sad news from Italy. Crews began the search for a former Sheppard Air Force Base Pilot Trainer. Captain Lucas Gruenther's F-16 disappeared after taking off from Aviano Air Force Base for a nighttime training flight.

Gruenther, originally from California, was a T-37 instructor with the 80th Flying Training Wing before being assigned to Italy.

His body was found 3 days later off the Italian coast in the Adriatic Sea.

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