The time has come for readers to decide which are the top local stories of 2019.
Below are 20 of the top stories in no particular order chosen by Tribune staff members. Rank them in order from most important to least important and submit them to the Tribune to be included in the Tribune’s countdown at the end of December.
To submit your entry, print this out and number the stories from 1 (most important) through 15 (least important). The Tribune only will count entries that number stories from 1 to 15.
Mail this form to The Meadville Tribune, 947 Federal Court, Meadville, PA 16335; drop it off at that address; or email your top 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “2019 Year in Review.”
The deadline for responses is Dec. 10.
TOP STORIES OF 2019 MAIL-IN BALLOT
____ Meadville boys volleyball state title — The Meadville boys volleyball team captured the PIAA Class 2A championship in June, beating York Suburban in five sets. The Bulldogs captured the school’s first PIAA team title since 1964 with a thrilling 25-17, 25-19, 16-25, 25-27, 15-13 win.
____ New county, city leaders after election — Newcomer Eric Henry will join incumbent commissioners Francis Weiderspahn Jr. and Chris Soff, who each received enough votes in November for another four-year term. Autumn Vogel and Larry McKnight ran a successful cooperative campaign to capture Meadville City Council seats, while Dave Powers topped Neil Fratus in a contentious county sheriff race.
____ New Allegheny College, Edinboro University presidents — Hilary L. Link was named successor to James H. Mullen Jr. in January and became Allegheny College's first female president. After a nationwide presidential search that narrowed down 60 candidates over months, Guiyou Huang was chosen in May as Edinboro University's 19th president.
____ Bradley Seay charged with homicide — Earl G. Scroger Jr. of Titusville was shot by Bradley M. Seay of Florida in Oil Creek Township in March, according to Pennsylvania State Police. Seay was ordered held for trial following an almost 90-minute preliminary hearing in July.
____ Tamarack Lake refill begins — About seven years after engineers discovered voids in both dams and seepage areas around the outlet conduit at Tamarack Lake’s northern end and water was drained from the lake, the lake's refill began in June. Officials hope the lake is at "full pool" by the end of this year and able to be used in 2020.
____ Charges for 20 in cocaine bust — A joint task force crackdown on a cocaine trafficking operation in Crawford and Erie counties led to the arrest of 20 people in the two counties in May. The arrests were the result of a 16-month wiretap investigation that began in January 2018. It will be summer 2020 before any trials are scheduled for the 20 defendants.
____ Jack Turner charged with double homicide — Jack Turner of Cochranton is headed to trial on charges he killed Shannon Whitman, his step-mother, and Darrin Whitman, his half-brother, in August in Randolph Township. Turner was apprehended in West Virginia, ending a police search that lasted nearly a week after the bodies were found.
____ All about the roundabout — After many years of preparation and more than six months of continuous construction, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation opened all lanes of the multi-lane, hybrid roundabout at the intersection of routes 6, 19, 322 and 98 in late October.
____ Poulson sentenced — David Poulson, who served as a Roman Catholic parish priest in Crawford County until February 2018, was sentenced in January to 2 1/2 to 14 years in state prison for sexually abusing two boys while in active ministry.
____ Fluoride comes to Meadville area — The addition of fluoride to water supplied by Meadville Area Water Authority began in August. This comes more than two years after vocal constituents both in favor and against and a 3-2 MAWA board vote that determined the outcome.
____ Fair queen pageant controversy — There was no Crawford County Fair queen this year. The first runner-up, who was named queen after the original queen lost the title days prior to the start of the eight-day fair in August because of a rules violation, resigned the night before the fair began.
____ Second place finishes at states — Three Crawford County athletes finished second best in the state this year. Cambridge Springs’ Tye Varndell and Saegertown’s Kenny Kiser earned silver medals at the state Class 2A wrestling championships in March, while Meadville’s Ryan Ferry shot a 5-under par 66 in October to finish second at the state Class 3A golf championships.
____ Truck crash damages, closes bridge — A bridge over French Creek on routes 6 and 19 between Meadville and Saegertown was closed for nearly three months after it was damaged by a truck in January. The driver of the truck was found guilty of two traffic violations issued by Pennsylvania State Police and was ordered to pay about $800 in fines, costs and fees.
____ Corrections officer incident with inmate — Bryan Minman, a former guard at the Crawford County jail, was sentenced in October to serve four to 24 months less one day in jail for punching county jail inmate Carl Gibson in the face in 2018. An out-of-court settlement following a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by Gibson against Minman and another corrections officer cost $210,000.
____ LORD Corp. sold — LORD Corp., one of Crawford County's largest employers, was announced in April as being sold to Parker Hannifin Corp. The acquisition was completed in October for approximately $3.675 billion in cash.
____ Journey starts for Penn State — Meadville High graduate Journey Brown has seen his role increase this season for the Penn State University football team in his redshirt sophomore season. Brown had more than 800 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns through Nov. 30.
____ Free meals at county schools — There is such a thing as free lunch — at least for many Crawford County students. Conneaut School District approved a free breakfast and lunch program and is considering a dinner program; and Crawford Central School District approved free breakfast and lunch at all district elementary schools this year.
____ Crawford Gives $208K — The Crawford Heritage Community Foundation presented gift checks in November to the local charitable organizations that participated in Crawford Gives, an inaugural event that resulted in nearly $208,000 being given to 90 Crawford County nonprofit organizations in October.
____ State pot tour — Gov. Tom Wolf said in September he thinks Pennsylvanians are ready for the state to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana based on the responses from the public prompted by Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s statewide listening tour on the issue, which included a stop in Meadville in February. Of 200 responses at the Crawford County tour stop, 67 percent were in favor of recreational marijuana.
____ Titusville officer fired at vehicle after police pursuit — A Titusville-area man will serve up to six years in state prison for leading police in three separate high-speed car chases in January and March. In the January chase, a Titusville police officer involved in that pursuit fired twice at the SUV that Birchard was driving. An investigation found the officer was justified in firing on Birchard, but the officer resigned in March after another investigation found he violated department procedures and protocols.