The Seattle Times. Winner of Eight Pulitzer Prizes.


Wed, Apr 23, 2014

WEATHER | TRAFFIC

VIEW SECTIONS

Home


Updated Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 11:16 PM

A look back at 2012 in the news

By Richard Seven
Seattle Times staff reporter

It was a year of change. We don't bag our groceries or buy our liquor like before. Same-sex couples can legally marry. Adult marijuana smokers can legally light up.

It was a year of budding growth amid lingering recession. Amazon, the online behemoth, bulged at its South Lake Union seams. Boeing's latest generation soared off the assembly line. Microsoft jumped into the tablet wars and radically redid its signature operating system.

We said goodbye to the notable, from Nobel Laureate Dr. E. Donnall Thomas to anchorwoman Kathi Goertzen, among others.

Felix Hernandez pitched a perfect game. Ichiro left. Russell Wilson arrived. Chris Hansen pushed his arena plan.

And it was a year pocked with violence, the victims often random.

Here's a look at just a few of the more notable stories of 2012:

JANUARY

Mount Rainier park ranger killed

Benjamin Barnes fatally shot Mount Rainier park ranger Margaret Anderson, then died from exposure while hiding from pursuers.

Anderson, a mother of two, tried to stop Barnes' car near the park's entrance. He was being sought in connection with a shooting at a party in Skyway.

Madigan team on PTSD hot seat

The Army began reviewing the work of a Madigan Army Medical Center psychiatric team that reversed the diagnoses of more than a dozen soldiers previously found to have post-traumatic stress disorder. Much of the team's work was found faulty.

Barefoot Bandit says he's 'sorry'

Colton Harris-Moore, known as the Barefoot Bandit, was sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison. Despite mocking police earlier, the 20-year-old prolific burglar assured the federal court judge his remorse was "heartfelt."

FEBRUARY

Governor signs marriage law

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed landmark legislation legalizing same-sex marriage. Opponents promptly filed a legal challenge, putting it up for a November vote.

Powell, sons die in fire

Josh Powell, suspected in the 2009 disappearance of his wife, Susan Powell, died along with his two young sons, Charlie and Braden, in a fire he ignited at a Pierce County house. A caseworker brought the boys for a supervised visit but was promptly locked out. Minutes later the house erupted in fire.

4 snow deaths in Cascades

Three expert skiers died near Stevens Pass in the state's deadliest avalanche in years. Less than an hour earlier, an experienced snowboarder died in a slide that swept him off a cliff near The Summit at Snoqualmie.

Shootings shock Kitsap County

Joshua Jearl Blake killed state Trooper Tony Radulescu during a traffic stop along state Highway 16 in Gorst. Blake later died from a self-inflicted gunshot.

That same week, a 9-year-old boy brought a loaded gun to a Bremerton grade school. The gun accidentally discharged in his backpack, seriously wounding an 8-year-old classmate.

MARCH

Dicks decides to leave Congress

U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks announced his retirement. The Bremerton Democrat served for more than three decades and was the ranking Democrat on the powerful Appropriations Committee.

Allen gives big to brain science

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen announced $300 million in funding for the Seattle-based Allen Institute for Brain Science. The money helped increase staffing and pay for new study techniques.

Bales accused of massacre

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, was charged with 16 counts of murder in connection with a massacre of Afghan villagers. Bales said he cannot remember much of the tragedy.

APRIL

Work begins on streetcar line

Construction began on the $134 million First Hill Streetcar, which will run mainly on Broadway and South Jackson Street. Service is expected to start in early 2014.

North Bend killer dead

Peter Keller, accused of killing his wife and daughter in their North Bend home and then setting the house on fire, was found dead in an elaborate underground bunker. As authorities closed in on the bunker, he shot himself.

MAY

Banda new schools chief

Seattle Public Schools chose José Banda, 55, to become its new superintendent.

He was the superintendent of the Anaheim (Calif.) City School District before being chosen to replace Maria Goodloe-Johnson.

Bullet kills Seattle driver

Justin Ferrari, a Madrona software engineer, was fatally shot as he drove with his children and father through a Central Area intersection. Police say the suspect, now awaiting trial, was firing at someone else.

Tom Douglas wins Beard

Seattle's Tom Douglas was named "Outstanding Restaurateur" by the James Beard Foundation. The award is considered the Oscar of the food world. The award encompasses Douglas' body of work.

Gunman goes on rampage

Ian Stawicki opened fire in Seattle's Café Racer, killing four people: Kimberly Layfield, Drew Keriakedes, Donald Largen and Joseph Albanese. He then killed Gloria Leonidas in a carjacking several miles away, before killing himself.

JUNE

Liquor selling changes

Hundreds of supermarkets, drugstores and mass merchants in Washington began selling liquor, ending the state's long-held control over the sale of spirits. The change came after voters approved Initiative 1183.

Elite rescuer Hall dies

Mount Rainier climbing ranger Nick Hall slid 3,000 feet to his death while helping injured climbers. Gov. Chris Gregoire praised his selflessness. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called him heroic.

Boeing gets new leader

Jim Albaugh stepped down unexpectedly as CEO of Boeing's commercial-airplanes division. Ray Conner, a local fellow who has climbed through the ranks, took over.

Big wheel starts turning

The Seattle Great Wheel opened on Pier 57. The 280,300-pound wheel holds 42 climate-controlled gondolas, allowing for 252 passengers at full capacity. It extends 40 feet above Puget Sound during the 12-minute ride.

JULY

Ichiro traded to Yankees

Ichiro accepted a trade to the New York Yankees. He sought a shot at winning the World Series, while the M's needed to invest in younger players. His first game as a Yankee was at Safeco Field, where he received a warm ovation.

J.P. Patches player dies

Chris Wedes, known as TV clown J.P. Patches, died at age 84 after a long battle with multiple myeloma. On television from 1958 to 1981, and in many personal appearances since, he delighted generations of children and adults with his zany antics.

Plastic bags phased out

A citywide ban on carryout plastic bags took effect. The law, approved by the Seattle City Council, required retailers to charge 5 cents for each paper bag they give shoppers.

AUGUST

Wildfire inflicts damage

The Taylor Bridge wildfire scorched more than 23,000 acres between Cle Elum and Ellensburg, destroying more than 60 homes.

Mercer Mess reconfigured

The busy eastbound corridor long known as the "Mercer Mess" became a six-lane, two-way boulevard. And ... severe congestion continues to plague the area.

Adrian wins Olympic gold

Bremerton native Nathan Adrian won two gold medals and one silver medal in swimming at the 2012 London Olympics.

Felix throws perfect game

Mariners ace Felix Hernandez pitched a perfect game — no batters reaching base — against the Tampa Bay Rays on a sunny afternoon at Safeco Field.

SEPTEMBER

City law requires sick pay

Seattle became the third city in the nation to mandate paid leave for employees to care for themselves or a sick family member.

Metro: No more free rides

King County Metro Transit ended its downtown Seattle free-ride zone. The move came during the agency's biggest-ever service overhaul.

OCTOBER

Arena plan gets approval

The Metropolitan King County Council voted unanimously to proceed with a memorandum of understanding with investor Chris Hansen to build a $490 million sports and entertainment venue with $200 million in public money. The Seattle City Council approved the deal on a 7-2 vote.

Amazon buys its campus

Amazon.com announced that it would buy its 11-building South Lake Union headquarters complex from developer Vulcan Real Estate. The price tag: $1.16 billion.

Microsoft shows wares

Microsoft launched Windows 8, a radical overhaul of the company's flagship operating system. It also entered the tablet wars with the Surface.

Fugitive Mastro caught

Seattle real-estate magnate Michael R. Mastro and his wife, Linda, were arrested in France after 16 months on the lam. They fled after the judge in Mastro's massive bankruptcy case ordered them to turn over two diamond rings valued at $1.4 million.

NOVEMBER

Mariners score a huge screen

The Mariners announced the franchise will install the biggest video display in Major League Baseball and one of the largest in professional sports, at Safeco Field.

Windows president leaves

Steven Sinofsky, the Microsoft president of Windows and Windows Live, left the company just weeks after delivering the revamp of its flagship software product, Windows 8.

State has historic election

State voters made history by legalizing gay marriage and possession of small amounts of marijuana. Both laws went into effect Dec. 6. Voters also approved charter schools, made Jay Inslee governor and overwhelmingly backed President Obama.

DECEMBER

Paine Field gets FAA nod

The Federal Aviation Administration approved commercial passenger flights from Paine Field near Everett, potentially transforming the general-aviation airport into a small Sea-Tac competitor.

Marijuana law takes effect

The state's historic legalization of marijuana went into effect. Adults 21 and older can possess as much as an ounce of pot for recreational use. About a week later, President Obama said federal authorities would not go after users protected by the state law.

Seahawks earn playoffs

The Seahawks smashed the San Francisco 49ers 42-13 at CenturyLink Field to clinch a spot in the playoffs. The Hawks ended the regular season as the hottest team in the NFL with the offense, defense and special teams clicking on all cylinders.


ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES
January: Rep. Jamie Pedersen, Sen. Ed Murray and Rep. Laurie Jinkins raise their hands after being asked who would soon get married if same-sex marriage were legalized in the state.





October: Just before leaving Microsoft, Steven Sinofsky, then president of the company's Windows and Windows Live division, promotes the launches of the new operating system Windows 8 and the tablet Surface.




ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
November: Sisters Jennifer and Katharina Grosman hug while mom Monica Grosman reacts to CNN calling the election for President Obama. State voters overwhelmingly supported the president for a second term.




BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES
December: Mary Davidson, 27, left, and Monica Rozgay, 29, smile after saying "I do" at their wedding at The Seattle Yacht Club. Rozgay and Davidson, of Seattle, were among the first couples to wed after the passage of Referendum 74, which legalized same-sex marriage in the state.




ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES
February: Twilight falls at a Stevens Pass ski resort in the Cascades. Earlier in the day, three skiers were killed in an avalanche in an out-of-bounds area just outside the resort.




MIKE SIEGEL / THE SEATTLE TIMES
March: The first 787 with a GE engine is introduced to representatives from Japan Airlines and Boeing at the Future of Flight in Everett. The jet was designed to fill a key travel niche.




STEVE RINGMAN / THE SEATTLE TIMES
April: Amina Kocer-Bowman, 8, holds the hand of her mother, Teri Bowman, and walks out of Harborview Medical Center. Kocer-Bowman was admitted in critical condition and treated for a gunshot wound after being accidentally shot. A 9-year-old boy brought a gun to school.





May: Security footage inside the Café Racer coffee shop shows gunman Ian Stawicki. Police say he opened fire, killing four people: Kimberly Layfield, Drew Keriakedes, Donald Largen and Joseph Albanese. He then killed Gloria Leonidas several miles away, before killing himself.




BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES
June: The Seattle Great Wheel opened on Pier 57. The wheel holds 42 climate-controlled gondolas, allowing for 252 passengers at full capacity. The attraction extends 40 feet above the water and offers 12-minute rides.




BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES
July: Jose Diaz, of Seattle, a busser at The Rusty Pelican restaurant in Wallingford, loads cardboard into the recycling bin in the back parking lot. Trash piled up at businesses and homes as Waste Management drivers went on strike. The work stoppage ended after about eight days.




BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES
August: Fire almost surrounds a house in Horse Canyon off Bettas Road as the Taylor Bridge wildfire burns. The fast-moving Central Washington blaze charred vast acreage, destroyed houses and killed livestock.





September: Supporters of the new arena plan, from left, Kris Brannon, Jason Billingsley, Joseph Chong, Dawn Welch and Kenneth Knutsen, celebrate after the Seattle City Council voted to accept Chris Hansen's plan.




SECTIONS

Top News arrow

Latest News arrow

Local arrow

Nation & World arrow

Business & Technology arrow

Editorial & Opinion arrow

Sports arrow

Entertainment arrow

Living arrow

Travel & Outdoors arrow

Obituaries arrow


CLASSIFIEDS

Jobs arrow

Autos arrow

Homes & Rentals arrow

More Classifieds arrow