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Year in Review: November-December 2012
The month of November began with what many say was one of the most talked about elections in history. Voters turned to cast their ballots in record numbers both locally and nationally. President Barack Obama was elected to the White House for a second term.
Here in Texoma, Democratic incumbent Barry Mahler was re-elected to a second term on the Wichita County Commission. And after 16 years as Wichita County Tax Collector, Lou Murdock was unseated by former Democrat turned Republican Tommy Smyth. Murdock said she was happy to serve the county for as many years as she did.
"I can't thank them enough. The support was overwhelming, the people that contributed to my campaign, some contributed money. A lot of people put signs out. They made phone calls. They did everything they could think of to help," she said.
Early November brought some closure to a family whose loved one had been missing almost three years. Wichita Falls Police announced the death investigation of Danielle Hill Alvarado came to a close on November 5th. They say she was killed by her husband, Jonathan Alvarado who committed suicide in September of last year.
Danielle's body was found buried at a remote roadside park on October 19th following an anonymous tip. Danielle's father-in-law, Robert Alvarado, was arrested in connection with the case. Police say Jonathan stabbed Danielle to death and he and his father hid the body for two days, then buried it at the park off FM 368.
November also had many residents of Wichita Falls and city officials talking trash. The debate of the Wichita Falls alley dumpsters versus curbside rollouts survey finally came to an end and the winner was the dumpsters.
In December a case that went on for nearly two years came to an end when a jury recommended a three-year prison sentence for a Wichita Falls woman, who pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter for a car accident that killed her brother.
Elizabeth Duerson took the stand December 12th giving tearful testimony saying she wishes more than anything she'd been the one who lost her life during the January 21st, 2010 accident. Authorities say her blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit.
A shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults spreads throughout the nation raising questions about how to prevent more shootings in schools. And some Texoma schools voiced their concerns.
Following December 14th's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, Harrold ISD's superintendent stood behind his policy of allowing teachers to bring guns, enacted in 2008. Superintendent David Thweatt says the 2006 shooting at West Mines Amish School sparked the idea and he started thinking about the consequences if something like that were to happen at Harrold.
"Virginia Tech was nine minutes. Fort Hood was three minutes. This one the other day, I think, was under four minutes. Police can't respond during that time. You have to do something to protect you at the source," Thweatt said.
Thweatt didn't release the number of teachers who carry guns or the identity of those teachers. Teachers do go through an extensive process before they are able to carry.