CLAYTON — A lot can happen in 12 months. Here’s a look back at some of the biggest news of 2012.
There were two teachers involved in sex scandals with students this year. Paul Canally, a seventh-grade science teacher at Archer Lodge Middle School was arrested and charged with more than 38 counts of child sex crimes involving seven victims – three of whom say the incidents occurred during Canally’s tenure at Archer Lodge Middle School.
Corinth Holders High School wrestling coach James McNamara was arrested in March and charged with taking indecent liberties with a 16-year-old female student.
A local attorney was charged with embezzling at least $800,000 from her clients. According to the N.C. State Bar, Jennifer Lynne Green-Lee, 39, of Minnie Drive in Raleigh, surrendered her law license and was disbarred by the Wake County Superior Court.
The town hosted the North Carolina Main Street Conference in January. The conference brought 350 to 400 town planners and business owners to Clayton from across the state. Development directors and boutique owners alike couldn’t stop talking about what Clayton-born ideas they should take home with them, from the wide sidewalks, to the neatly pruned Holly trees.
As a new green space for families, dog walkers, and bike riders, the town opened its 5-mile portion of the Mountains to Sea Trail and Sam’s Creek Greenways.
Another green space, East Clayton Community Park is just putting the finishing touches on the buildings and fields at its location off of Glen Laurel Road. Visitors can enjoy the mile-long walking trail around the park on the weekends when crews are not at work. It should be fully completed in the beginning of the year.
In just a few years, all the health care needs you can imagine could be met along one strip of N.C. 42 West. The Town approved the expansion of Johnston County Medical Center, bringing Clayton residents even more local health care resources. Spring Branch Medical Center project began construction on its second two-story, 30,000 square-foot medical office building right next to Johnston County Medical Center. Surrounding Johnston Medical Center Clayton will be numerous medical commercial offices, an assisted living facility, a nursing home, and apartments and retail to serve the employees working in the area.
Town government plans
Construction is underway on the East Front Street extension project to connect East Front Street to N.C. 42. The project will be ultimately linking up east Clayton’s suburban neighborhoods and the historic downtown area where East Front Street currently ends after Mill Street. East Front Street will serve as the main connector for East Village, a new development between East Main Street and N.C. Highway 42.
A long-awaited project to replace the residential sewer line and repave John Street is coming to a close. The $4.3 million John Street project is in its last phase. During the project, streets in downtown Clayton have seen the replacement of water and sewer mains, curbs, sidewalks and pavement. This third and final phase includes portions of five streets, including the extensive rebuilding of John Street, and work on East Joyner, Durham, Parrish and Hobbs Street. The entire project involves more than two dozen streets and more than 30 blocks.
Hundreds of community members gathered at the Clayton Center in December at an anniversary gala. The town celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Clayton Center, which is where Town Hall is located, as well as the auditorium and public arts space where artists can perform and exhibit their art.
The number of Johnston County votes for Republican Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were nearly double the number of votes for winning candidates Democrat Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Competing for N.C. House District 26, which represents Clayton, incumbent Republican Leo Daughtry won the seat against democratic challenger Jenifer Bubenik.
Another project which has been approved by the town, and that will soon be able to be enjoyed is Deep River Brewing Company’s microbrewery. The microbrewery will be Johnston County’s first and it will be located on West Main Street. It has just finished building its tasting room. It has not announced an opening date yet.
One organization that closed this year is the county’s animal shelter. The Johnston County SPCA closed its doors June 1. The animal shelter was surrounded by controversy over complaints of neglect, and misconduct. Community members were concerned about a lack of water and food, kennel space, animal socialization, veterinary care, cleanliness, adoption efforts and lost/found efforts, as well as the shelter’s alleged failure to act in its legal capacity as a rescue shelter for the town of Clayton.
The Mosaic Community Garden was established at 439 East Main Street. The garden uses reused and recycled local materials landscaped into a mosaic of vegetables, flowers, and outdoor art, and everything is donated to people in need.