WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 01, 2013, 08:16 PM

Top local stories of 2012: Part 2

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- We continue our look back at the top stories of 2012 that made headlines locally. And in some cases, nationally.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- We continue our look back at the top stories of 2012 that made headlines locally. And in some cases, nationally.

The second half of 2012 starts with tragedy. Four people are killed in a head on crash on i-94 near Jamestown. A drunk driver going the wrong way smashed into the deutscher family of west Fargo. Family is now lobbying for stricter drunk driving laws.

A Fargo couple is found dead in their home. The investigation shows Daniel Williams shot and killed his wife, Linda. Their daughter found the couple.

An about face. Forum communications changes its policy for same sex couples. This after feedback that brought national attention to two Fargo women planning to marry in New York. The forum denied their engagement announcement. It now publishes such announcements if the couple marries legally.

July closed with a conspiracy conviction. The mastermind who hired a hitman to kill his son-in-law, Fargo dentist Phillip Gattuso in 2009.

Gene Kirkpatrick was sentenced to life in prison. The state supreme court upheld that conviction, after an appeal.

In august, Fighting Sioux nickname supporters decided to wait to turn in petitions to put a measure on the November ballot. This after north Dakotans voted to retire the nickname. Supporters later missed a deadline for a 2014 vote.

September started with statewide controversy. Ten bison players and three former players were charged with voter fraud. They wrote fake signatures on petitions for two initiated measures. Most were sentenced to community service.

Famed flying legend, Bob Odergaard is killed in plane crash near Valley City. The 66 year old was practicing a trick for an air show. The cause remains a mystery.

Seven people died in a Minnesota’s deadliest workplace shooting. It happened at accent signage systems in Minneapolis. The shooter had just been fire for lateness and poor performance.

The month of October brought wildfire fights. The first near Karlstad, Minnesota. Nearly the entire town was forced to evacuate. The blaze scorched 44-hundred acres of land, destroyed 11 homes, and dozens of structures. The arsonist hasn’t' been arrested.

Just weeks later, another fire ripped through Bucyrus, North Dakota.

What’s left in the town of 30 people, are church and elevator. The 10 mile long blaze destroyed six homes.

Close campaigns kicked off November. Heidi Heidkamp made history, becoming the state's first female senator. She beat congressman Rick Berg, by three thousand votes. Heidkamp will take over Thursday for retiring Senator Kent Conrad.

Minnesota made history this election. It became only the 2nd state to vote down a ban of gay marriage in the state constitution. Supporters vow to file a bill to legalize gay marriage any day now.

Fargo doctor Jon Nordberg was found not guilty of drugging and raping his wife. He was accused of using protocol on her. Alone Nordberg has filed a civil lawsuit. Their divorce trial starts this month.

A Little Falls man admits to killing two teenage cousins on Thanksgiving.

Byron smith says the pair broke into his home. The murders have brought attention to state law allowing homeowners to protect their property.

Smith is out on bail.

The month ended tragically when cold spring police officer Tom Decker was shot to death. A man was arrested, but later released. There’s now a 100 thousand dollar reward leading to the killer.

Tragedy flowed into December. Two North Dakota soldiers were killed and another injured in Afghanistan. In the days to follow, the state honored Darren lined of Devils Lake and Tyler orgaard of Bismarck.

The month brought with it a ban on smoking in North Dakota workplaces.

Voters approved the law. That ban includes bars, motels, and within 20 feet of any entrance to a public building.

West Fargo mourned the deaths of three high school students in three days.

Tessa Miller died, Ian Alves lost his battle with cancer, and Levi Schulz was hit by a truck.

And the month ended, sadly, six men were killed in a crash on icy interstate near Jamestown the day after Christmas. It’s one of the state's deadliest crashes.

We will ring in 2013 as we did in 2012, cheering on the Bison at the national championship game in Frisco, Texas.