MOUNT VERNON — 2018 was out of this world, literally, in Knox County.
The year was full of big events, but none that captivated the population quite like the possible sighting of an alien on Ohio 13 between Fredericktown and Mount Vernon.
In July, a motorist reported seeing a tall, brown-skinned creature run across the road while traveling between the towns. The sighting was investigated by the Mutual UFO Network, but no corroborating evidence was found. It still created quite the buzz after the man’s drawing was featured in the Mount Vernon News, as alien cakes were offered at local businesses and many signs and other drawings popped up around town.
Two schools also celebrated the year. Twin Oak Elementary School was honored with a Blue Ribbon Award of Excellence from the U.S. Department of Education, while East Elementary celebrated its 110th year of operation.
Three local institutions reached milestones. Mount Vernon Nazarene University, the Knox County Career Center and Interchurch Social Services all celebrated their 50th year.
There was plenty of sad news to report, as well.
Siemens announced early in the year that it would be shuttering operations. Most of its work force has been transferred to operations in other cities or been laid off by December.
A Newark man committed suicide June 20 by jumping from the Rastin Tower at Ariel-Foundation Park. Rick D. Snyder, 35, jumped to his death from a rung ladder running up the side of the 280 foot tower. Snyder, who arrived at the tower in a truck he had stolen just minutes earlier, left behind a cryptic suicide note that read, in part, “I saved your world from this cell phone tour But know I live in another Dimension I have to jump hire Since i m from the sky To the land.”
A Gambier man was sentenced to 21 years to life Aug. 24 for the murder of his cousin.
Kevin Remillard, 49, was found guilty of murder and other charges by a jury trial in the shooting death of his cousin, Nick Remillard, 20. At trial, Kevin claimed the shooting was an accident. Kevin shot Nick at a family-owned residence they shared on Gaskin Road June 10, 2017.
Two elected officials stepped down from their positions, less than one year into their terms.
A Knox County Judge retired after spending more than five months away from the bench and a July 29 OVI arrest. Juvenile and Probate Judge Jennifer Springer retired from the bench Oct. 1 and was replaced by juvenile court magistrate Jay Nixon. Nixon was one of three candidates chosen by the Republican Executive Committee, who were forwarded for appointment to the Ohio governor’s office. Springer took a plea deal in the OVI case, pleading guilty to reckless operation, a minor misdemeanor, and was fined.
Mount Vernon City Treasurer Felicia Rhodes resigned Aug. 17, less than eight months after taking office. Rhodes submitted her resignation following concerns regarding her job performance. The Republican Central Committee appointed David Stuller was Rhodes’s replacement.
In the world of sports, 2018 brought the Mount Vernon News area some big-time performances, as well as some well deserved honorees.
The spring was a very good season for Centerburg athletes, as the baseball team won its first-ever district title. The Trojans (18-9) beat Harvest Prep, Fairfield Christian, Grove City Christian and Fisher Catholic to advance to the regional tournament for the first time. The run ended there, though, with a loss to Reedsville Eastern.
Just a few days later, Tyler Boales put his name at the top of the board for track stars at Centerburg, nearly winning a state championship. The senior sprinter finished third in the 100-meter dash, then was clipped by a hair for the title in the 200.
Fredericktown’s track team also saw a lot of success, as three relay teams made it to the podium at the state meet. Chance Campbell, Cole Davis, Alex Hamilton, Colton Riel, Paden Spencer and Zayde Zolman will all have their names in the books after record-setting performances in the 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400.
The spring also saw quite an individual performance, as well as team, from Mount Vernon’s Hope Straight. The junior belted 22 home runs on the season, just one off the state record, to help lead the Yellow Jackets to the district championship game.
Two coaches were honored during the year. Former Mount Vernon wrestling coach John Brown, who passed away in 2016, was inducted into the Ohio Wrestling Hall of Fame, while Highland volleyball coach Rob Terrill won his 200th match with the Scots.
City Editor Nick Sabo contributed to this story.