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Meningitis voted biggest Tenn. story of 2012

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 23, 2012 at 10:22 am •  Published: December 23, 2012

Story No. 5 was the revelation that U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais had an affair with a patient and urged her to get an abortion, despite having a political platform that includes opposition to abortion.

The incumbent Republican won re-election anyway, but in court, Democrats won the right to view DesJarlais' divorce file. That included admission of other affairs with patients and the acknowledgment that his ex-wife had gotten two abortions while they were married.

Voters can expect to hear more about that in 2014. Several Republicans have expressed interest in challenging DesJarlais for the 4th District seat.

A triple digit heat wave in June that shattered records tied for the No. 6 spot with the August opening of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. The mosque faced a two-year, uphill battle as opponents first tried to prevent it from being built and then tried to keep it from opening. In the end, it took the intervention of the U.S. Justice Department and the federal courts for members to get an occupancy permit.

Mosque member Matt Miller, who attended the first worship service in the new building in August, said he thought the opposition would die down once people "see that there are no underground tunnels. We're not here to take over the world. We just don't want to worship in a shoebox anymore."

Voted No. 8 was the story of two young sisters from Whiteville who were rescued in May after being kidnapped by a family friend who killed their mother and older sister. Kidnapper Adam Mayes took his own life as authorities closed in on him in the northern Mississippi woods.

Mayes' wife and mother are accused of helping with the crimes. They told authorities that Mayes plotted the abduction for a year because he was infatuated with one of the sisters.

Back at UT, football coach Derek Dooley was let go after posting Tennessee's longest run of consecutive losing seasons in over a century. The coup de grace was a 41-18 loss to Vanderbilt on Nov. 17. Dooley was fired the following day. The story was voted No. 9 for the year.

And in the No. 10 slot was another tie.

In May, the Tennessee walking horse industry was rocked with scandal by an undercover video of trainers applying caustic chemicals to the legs of horses and then beating the horses to make them stand.

Well-known trainer Jackie McConnell and several stable hands pleaded guilty to violating the Horse Protection Act.

In June, the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention tried to widen its appeal during its annual meeting — electing an African-American as president for the first time in its 167-year history and adopting an optional alternative name, Great Commission Baptists.

In nominating the Rev. Fred Luter Jr. for the denomination's top post, Pastor David Crosby said Luter was a "fire-breathing, miracle-working pastor" who "would likely be a candidate for sainthood if he were Catholic."