Stories of the Year: from bicycles to breaking ground

It's that time of year again when The Explorer rounds up the top stories of the year as chosen by you, our readers.

When sifting through the archives there were a lot of important stories to choose from: a ten-year-old city ordinance was repealed; a local woman was sentenced for abusing her own son; ground was broken on several major projects and that's just scratching the surface.

While we picked the candidates we let you make the selection in this week's poll and here are the top five stories.

De Soto City Council Repeals Bicycle Ban on 83rd Street

After months of debate, two votes and more public input than for any other issue this year, the De Soto City Council lifted the bicycle ban on 83rd Street that had been in effect for a decade.

After lifting the ban in September, the city council received petitions with more than 300 signatures calling for the ban to be reenacted due to safety concerns. Former council members, school bus drivers and concerned parents spoke before the council asking them to reconsider their decision at meetings in October and November.

Council members Ron McDaniel and Randy Johnson supported the citizens of De Soto and voted to put the ban back in place while council members Lori Murdock and Rick Walker maintained that the ban imposed upon the rights of citizens and projected a bad image for the city of De Soto. Councilman John Krudwig agreed with Walker and Murdock. The ban remains lifted.

DHS Scholar's Bowl team wins state, sweeps trifecta of tournaments

2011 was an outstanding year for the De Soto High School Scholar's Bowl Team as they won every tournament they competed in.

The team, comprised of three seniors and three juniors, won the state, regional and district titles, as well as 10 regular-season tournaments. It was the team's best record in the history of the school.

Rachel Perez sentenced in child abuse case

The Johnson County District Court handed down the maximum sentence to De Soto citizen Rachel Perez after she pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder, child abuse and aggravated child endangerment in May of this year.

Perez pleaded guilty to the charges in March of 2011 after months of hearings regarding her treatment of her son, who was found severely malnourished and hidden in her attic in August of 2010.

Tennessee-based contracting company breaks ground for new Dollar General store

While the doors won't open to customers until spring of 2012, ground was broken for a new Dollar General store in De Soto at the very end of 2011, earning it a spot in our top stories.

The new store at Lexington and Penner Avenues will be larger than the current location in downtown De Soto and will carry more grocery items. Tennessee-based GBT Realty Corp. is building the new store, which will then be leased by Dollar General. The city sold the 1.4 acre plot of land to GBT for $140,000.

New frame goes up at Kill Creek Farm

Kill Creek Farm made it into the top stories of the year for the second year in a row in 2011. When the original barn on the property was destroyed in a storm in May of 2010, farm owner Darrel Zimmerman promised to replace the community landmark.

Zimmerman and the newly founded Barn at Kill Creek Farm Association took the first step to completing that promise earlier this month when a frame for a new barn on the property went up in one week.

Crews have been working over the past three weeks to put a roof on the structure, which will likely be the end of construction until the organization can raise the remaining $400,000 needed to complete the barn.

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