Editor’s note: This is the final installment of a series counting down the top 10 local stories from 2013.
MT. VERNON — Top local stories for 2013 cover the opening a new hospital, loss, and education.
Previous stories unveiled in the 10th through fourth spots in the countdown were the EAA VentureCup Race and first balloon glow; the dress code enforced at the Jefferson County Courthouse; the closing of Belle Rive Attendance Center and demolition of Horace Mann School; the Market Days at the former armory; courthouse renovations; Rams baseball fourth in the state; and interstate construction.
Coming in third place is the opening of Good Samaritan Regional Health Center.
The community celebrated a newly-completed hospital on Jan. 8, with the dedication and blessing of Good Samaritan Regional Health Center. The Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton, Bishop of the Belleville Catholic Diocese, conducted the blessing of the facility and foundation.
Patients were transferred from the former hospital to the new facility on Jan. 27, taking about seven hours to complete. The first baby born in the new hospital was announced — Harley Sledge, daughter of Paul Bond and Hillary Sledge.
The new hospital boasts 134 beds, eight observation beds, all-private rooms and patient safety features, an expanded emergency care department, a women’s center and medical building. The $237 million facility broke ground in 2010.
The story coming in second for 2013 is the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees loss for the entire year.
The federal ICE prisoners were taken out of the Jefferson County Justice Center in December 2012, due to missing medical documentation for some inmates.
The first step of the county was to hire Advanced Healthcare Corrections, an independent medical firm, to provide health care and deal with the medical issues which came to light at the center.
Jefferson County Sheriff Roger Mulch told board members each month he expected the ICE prisoners to return.