A Look Back at 2012's Top Stateline Stories

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STATELINE (WIFR) -- 2012 was a very big year. We've had a lot of local stories get picked up by the national media.

Some were embarrassing, others let the world know manufacturing is making a comeback, at least in the Rockford area.

One of the most shocking stories to rock the Stateline: the Dixon comptroller scandal. Rita Crundwell was convicted of stealing more than $53 million from taxpayers.

The Belvidere Chrysler plant started making the Dodge Dart, which some call the region's biggest single economic event in half a century.

Woodward also broke ground on a new $200 million facility that's expected to help bring 600 new jobs over the next five years.

Soon to be laid off Freeport Sensata employees worked tirelessly to stop the closure of their plant, by setting up a tent city called Bainport. They got the attention of cable television hosts and civil rights leaders like Jesse Jackson, who willingly got arrested in the name of protest.

The community mourned for the three REACT crew members killed when their helicopter crashed near Rochelle.

And the two Belvidere North cheerleaders who died in a car crash on their way to a basketball game.

The debate over the use of deadly force re-emerged after rockford police officers were involved in three fatal shootings.

A change in law allowed us to bring you into the courtroom, so you can stay up to date on two high profile murder cases. Todd Smith is being tried for the murder of his wife Katrina, whose body was found in the Rock River after being missing for two weeks.

Cameras have also shown you Kody Walsh, the man accused of murdering a woman on I90 and then leading police on a week-long man-hunt.

A Roscoe recycling center turned into a crime scene when a baby was found with the trash. He was later called Baby Noah. His mother is still no where to be found.

A contract dispute in District 205 prompted the Rockford teacher's union to go on a two-day strike. Voters also approved a 139-million dollar bond referendum that allows the district to start making improvements to its aging schools.

We all became Huskies this month when Northern Illinois University beat Kent State, making them the first MAC school to ever play in a BCS bowl.

Congressman Don Manzullo's near 20-year reign ended, after he lost his bid for re-election to Congressman Adam Kinzinger. Due to redistricting, for the first time since 1850 the Stateline will be represented with two congressional seats. Republican Kinzinger and Democrat Cheri Bustos.

And it certainly was a crazy year weatherwise. 80's in March brought on a record setting spring, and the dry hot summer created quite the drought. And up until December 20th we went nearly 300 days without snow.

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