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Tornado, wildfires top 2012 Norman news

A tornado that cut an eight-mile swath of damage through Norman and August wildfires that resulted in the death of a woman were among the top news events in Norman in 2012.
by Jane Glenn Cannon Modified: December 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm •  Published: January 1, 2013

A long-awaited underpass at the Robinson Street railroad crossing opened to traffic July 11. The opening was a major milestone in the project, which had been under construction since June 2010.

In August, voters approved a $42.6 million general obligation package to finance improvements to city streets, including a major widening project on W Lindsey Street, from Interstate 35 to Berry Road.

Money also will be used to correct flooding problems on W Lindsey, W Main Street and Franklin Road.

City council members in November voted to ease restrictions on backyard chickens. A new ordinance allows residents to keep up to four chickens or laying hens in fully enclosed coops, as long as the coops are at least 25 feet from a neighboring house.

Two people fell to their deaths in 2012. On June 3, University of Oklahoma student Casey Cooke, 22, died after falling from a fire escape at Evans Hall. Roofer Colby Shaw, 24, died June 18 after falling from OU's Headington Hall, which is under construction at Lindsey and Jenkins Avenue.

Two people died after being struck by trains in separate accidents, and eight others died as a result of fatality accidents in 2012, Norman police reported.

A Norman woman was shot to death Sept. 13 at her home at 1210 Stubbeman Ave. Mary Ellyn Benavidez, 57, was shot in the chest in the early morning hours. Dustin Dale Allen, 20, has been charged with first-degree murder in the woman's death.

by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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