Senior staff writer
Readers of The Southsider Voice voted the sentencing of the mastermind behind the fatal and devastating Richmond Hill explosion to double life terms in prison as the top story of 2015.
Mark Leonard had been described by prosecutors as the architect of the deliberate natural gas explosion (Nov. 10, 2012) in a plot to obtain insurance money. The blast caused the deaths of John “Dion” Longworth and his wife, Jennifer, and damaged 80 homes in the Southside subdivision east of South Sherman Drive.
Articles pertaining to Leonard’s trial and resulting guilty verdict on several counts received the most first-place votes among ballots submitted. He and stories on the completion of a 9-mile Southside expansion of Interstate-65, the No. 3 story, each were mentioned on 77.7 percent of the ballots.
The heartwarming story of Grace Buck auditioning and becoming a Pacemate following a tragic I-65 accident that killed her mother and two brothers was selected the No. 2 story.
Our thanks to readers who submitted a record number of ballots. We look forward to bringing our readers more and more positive community stories throughout 2016.
The top 10 stories:
1) Finding of guilt and sentencing of Leonard.
2) Buck named as an Indiana Pacemate.
3) Completion of widening I-65 on Southside.
4) Voters approve multimillion dollar projects to benefit Perry Township and Beech Grove schools.
5) Indiana Department of Transportation announces that State Road 37 footprint through Perry Township remains one of five alternatives for I-69.
6) Greenwood opens long-awaited Freedom Springs Aquatics Park.
7) Beech Grove declares Walmart a public nuisance after fight between two women goes viral.
8) First-time candidate Russ McClure elected as mayor of Southport; Beech Grove Mayor Dennis Buckley re-elected.
9) Renaissance Electronic Services relocates to vacated Gerdt Furniture building in the heart of Southport.
10) Vacated St. Francis Hospital buildings in Beech Grove to be demolished.
The winner of The Voice’s $25 top story entry contest was Kim Hubbard.