Looking back at 2002 in Madison
Record Managing Editor
Madison resident's fight for a full-service hospital, pornography defaces local police department, building boom continues and limiting sex shops in the city.
Those – along with a new plan to revitalize downtown Madison, a new stadium for the city's schools and redistricting efforts under way – were among the year's top stories:
* Madison residents ring in 2002.
* Madison City Schools have been ranked among the top schools in Alabama in academic performance, safety, discipline, technology and teachers who hold degrees in higher education.
* Several road projects are planned for 2002 in Madison. Engineering plans have been completed, property appraised and right-of-way acquired for the widening of County Line Road from the railroad overpass south to Madison Boulevard.
* Traffic concerns addressed at new Rainbow Elementary School off U.S. Highway 72 and the new Nance Road extension.
* Banners hung along Hughes Road to identify local businesses and patriotic colors.
* Groundbreaking ceremonies held for Advanced Federal Services Corporation in the Phoenix Center business complex in Madison.
* Are speed humps the answer to speeding woes in Madison? Madison residents want speed limits enforced and citations issued. Madison City Engineer Jo Somers said that a recent speed study conducted on existing speed humps on Leathertree Lane shows little or no reduction in speeding violations.
* Additional parking spaces paved at Palmer Park.
* Jim Sturdivant to fill Seat 5 on the Madison City Schools Board of Education. Sturdivant will fill the seat left by the late Col. Ed Zompa.
* Revitalization plan is one step closer to reality in downtown Madison.
* Huntsville Emergency Medical Service Inc. (HEMSI) opens a north Madison station on U.S. Highway 72. The station will serve Madison, along with portions of the Harvest and Monrovia areas.
* Madison native Rebecca Hill began rousing from an accident induced coma on Valentine's Day. Doctors say she may be walking in as little as three weeks. On Nov. 30, 2001, an accident left Hill comatose and possibly facing the rest of her life in a vegetative state.
* Jobless rate in Madison County stays steady at 3.7 percent. Madison County is among the top 5 counties in Alabama with the lowest unemployment rate.
* The National Arbor Day Foundation has named the city of Madison a "Tree City USA".
* The Bob Jones Competition Squad has been ranked 11th in the nation after competing in the Universal Cheerleader Association National Competition in Orlando, Fla.
* Madison Police Officer Adam Vaughn, 33, was arrested on April 2 for engaging in activities related to material constituting or containing child pornography.
* The Tommy Overcash family was named Madison's First Family.
* Liberty Middle School cheerleaders win national championship in Orlando, Fla. The team competed in the Americheer National Competition.
* Madison residents ask the city council to ban adult-oriented businesses from operating in the city. A 120-day moratorium on issuing business licenses to adult-oriented businesses is set.
* The Madison City School Board and Superintendent Dr. Henry Clark approved a resolution on April 25 naming the Bob Jones High School auditorium the "Colonel Edward A. Zompa Auditorium" in honor of the late founding board member.
* Wetlands in Madison may dampen plans to extend Gillespie Road to County Line Road.
* Remodeling of the old Clay House on Main Street in downtown Madison begins. The home will be converted into a museum featuring a collection of china from its owner, Robin Brewer. The home stood vacant for several years.
* Three tornado-warning sirens have been installed in the Harvest/Monrovia area – bringing the total number of sirens in District 4 up to 16 and putting more than 51,000 residents within range of the siren's blast.
* Area household income ranks among the state's top. Following the 2000 Census, information collected by Bob Atallo, director of the Community Development Department, shows the median household income in Madison at $63,849.
* Construction of a $3 million addition at Bob Jones begins.
* A downtown overlay district for portions of downtown has been approved by the city council as part of an overall plan to turn the center of town back into a place of activity and business. The special district allows Madison to waive portions of its zoning laws making it easier for developers to build and for existing structures to be renovated.
* The city of Madison has to dig a little deeper into its pockets to find additional funding to meet the lowest bid for the city's proposed third fire station on County Line Road.
* Madison County residents are asked to conserve water while water officials put a new water treatment facility on line.
* The Madison City Council holds a public hearing to consider limiting places where adult-oriented businesses could be located in the city. Under consideration for their location – industrial zoned areas.
* Crestwood Hospital announces plans to build a 120-bed full-service hospital in Madison.
* Huntsville Hospital announces plans to build a full-service hospital in Madison on its property located at the intersection of Balch Road and U.S. Highway 72.
* City Council redistricting efforts begin as required by law every 10 years.
* Madison police get computer software to help find lost children.
* Construction begins for new fire station on County Line Road. Its opening is set for spring 2003.
* Liberty Middle School mourns the loss of its assistant principal, Stevan Farris. Farris died of an apparent heart attack.
* Madison residents recognize the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with special memorial services.
* Madison Police Department given $357,240 grant to hire three new full-time officers to work in the city's schools. The officers will be placed in the schools in 2003.
* Madison Mayor Jan Wells seeks questions from the community regarding hospital proposals.
* Japanese gardens proposed for Dublin Memorial Park.
* Full-scale, community-wide campaign underway to get hospital in Madison. City faces uphill battle to get 120 beds in Madison County.
* Parkway Place shopping mall in Huntsville opens.
* Vintage Huey helicopter flies into Madison. Local veterans take tour/ride helicopter.
* Monrovia Volunteer Fire Department gets lifesaving equipment. Madison County's largest VFD gets a Bullard Thermal Imager to find victims trapped inside burning structures.
* A one-of-a-kind recreation complex in Madison is taking shape. Construction of Madison's "Extreme Skate Park" located on Hughes Road is under way. The park will be ready for use by spring 2003.
* Mississippi firm hired to redraw the district council lines for the city.
* Madison prepares for holiday activities. Numerous holiday plans announced.
* Hospital hearing in Montgomery set to get additional beds in Madison County.
* Madison delegation goes to Montgomery to discuss additional hospital beds in Madison County with Statewide Health Coordinating Council members.
* Hospital bed issue tabled at Montgomery meeting. Next meeting set for 2003.
* Residential construction boom continues in area. More than $35.3 million in construction permits issued for new homes. Commercial construction steady.
* Madison residents celebrate the end of 2002 and prepare to ring in 2003.