The calendar year 2018 proved to be a busy one for the Highland community. Here are the News Leader’s top 10 stories of the year, based on the number of views at highlandnl.com and social media shares.
10. Highland City council delivers votes to lure Jimmy Johns
On March 19, the Highland city council approved a tax increment financing (TIF) agreement with the property owner, a special use permit for the contractor, and a redevelopment with agreement with the franchise holder of what would become the newly opened Jimmy John’s restaurant in Northtown.
9. Solar farm planned for farm near Highland
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
In the last year, nine different companies approached Dr. William Drake about his land a half a mile west of Highland Road and Hemlock Street in hopes of leasing the land for a solar farm. Now, Chicago-based renewable energy company Summit Ridge Energy waits on a grant that would fund a “sun farm” on Drake’s 145 acres through a 25-year lease.
8. Highland re-discovered bulldog mural
During the Highland High School football stadium’s summer facelift, a bit of power washing revealed a surprise Bulldog mural hadn’t been seen for over 20 years.
7. He got a perfect act score on his second try
After getting his perfect score on the ACT, Father McGivney Catholic High School senior Aaron Boulanger spent months getting ready to take his SAT test, sticking to a weekly study regiment. All the work paid off when he got his test results. A perfect 1800.
6. Highland students walk out as part of a national protest about school violence
Highland High School students participated in a nationwide walkout protesting school violence after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead, and another 15 wounded. The tragedy spurred a national conversation on school safety, violence and gun control.
5. Highland police officer assaulted near downtown gas station
The Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Kaitlyn Thongdee of Greenville with aggravated battery and resisting arrest Wednesday. Thongdee remains in custody at Madison County Jail after beating an unidentified Highland Police officer near the Erwin Weder Museum. The woman was approached by an officer after a call for and individual “possible in need” was put out. As the officer continued to investigate, Thongdee became combative, striking and kicking the officer numerous times.
4. Two teens charged with home invasion in Highland
Two teens were charged this last April after they entered a man’s apartment in Highland on Easter Sunday. Police alleged Darren A. Howard, 19, of Collinsville and Joary A. Axley, 19, of Troy entered the man’s apartment through an unlocked door and began to hit him over the course of several minutes.
3. Caseyville bar owner wants to bring ‘good food’ and nightlife to Highland
Tom Yenne, owner of Huddle Bar & Grill in Caseyville, Illinois, one of the new owners of the old Highland Chamber of Commerce building, said he wants to help bring a “food district” to Highland’s city square.
2. Highland native says she beat cancer by consuming 90 pounds of fruits, veggies a week
Highland native Amy Johnson says she beat cancer by consuming more than 90 pounds of fruits and vegetables each week for two years. This year she shared her health tips with her hometown in seminar form.
1. Couple used fake cash to buy Girl Scout cookies, concessions at a church basketball game
In March Lena M. Peterson, 31, and Christopher C. Vanbibber, 33, were in Highland to attend a church basketball game before they headed to Walmart, police said. There, they used fake cash to buy cookies from a girl scout troupe and were later arrested. Police said the pair also had used fake money to buy snacks at the church.