As 2014 begins the Daily Iowegian invites our readers to take a look back at some of the changes that happened in our community during 2013 and some of the biggest stories from our website.

The Freedom Rock

A massive undertaking that began with the delivery of a 17,740 pound boulder onto the southeast corner of the Centerville Square’s lawn, the Appanoose County Freedom Rock was completed by artist Ray “Bubba” Sorenson on Aug. 29, 2013. Sorenson is traveling to each of Iowa’s 99 counties over the next several years to complete freedom rocks in each of them. Appanoose County was an early adopter, being just the 11th county to have a completed freedom rock. The Appanoose County Freedom Rock was dedicated on Pancake Day 2013 and features Gov. Francis Drake on one side and a soldier with his child on the other. It also features the U.S.S. Iowa among other symbols.

Fairground facilities

The Appanoose County fairgrounds held their first events in the brand new show arena in July of 2013. The new building was built after the original horse barn and show arena burned to the ground in September of 2012. Although the original building’s losses were felt, the new construction split the show arena and horse barn up, leaving the arena in the old location, while moving the horse barn closer to the horse arena.

Sweet sounds at CHS

Fundraising was successful in bringing a new sound system to Simon Estes Auditorium at Centerville High School in 2013. Community members, businesses, alumni and the school district came together to raise $30,000 in just a few months. The new sound system was first used during the 2013 Pep Chapel event at Homecoming and has since been used during the fall musical, “The Sound of Music,” as well.

Little League shines

It was a standout year for Appanoose County’s youth baseball program. Both the 10-year-old and 12-year-old All-Star teams finished second in their respective state tournaments. In 2013, Appanoose County also hosted the 10-year-old state tournament in Centerville, while the 12-year-olds competed in Boone. The 12-year-old team lost to Urbandale in the state tournament championship game by a 6-4 score. The 10-year-old team fell to Walnut Creek in their championship game by a 14-4 score to take second place in the state.

New faces in the city

The city of Centerville welcomed a new city administrator when Patrick Antonen joined the staff Aug. 5, 2013. Antonen was chosen after five people were interviewed. The city also saw a new mayor in 2013. Jan Spurgeon was appointed to fill out the rest of Mayor Jim Senior’s term after he sadly passed away in office on Aug. 1, 2013. Spurgeon was elected in November of 2013 to her first term as mayor. The Centerville Citizen of the Month Award was renamed in honor of Senior. It is now the Jim Senior Memorial Citizen of the Month Award.

We also looked at the most clicked on headlines of the year from the Daily Iowegian’s website:

Of the two stories with the most page views of the year, both happened within the final months of 2013, one in November and one just days before the close of December. Each racked up a large number of clicks on the Daily Iowegian’s website in a short period of time.

1. One arrested for gunshot in Walmart (Posted Nov. 18, 2013)

This story had received 17,943 page views as of Dec. 31, 2013. A gunshot going off inside the Centerville Walmart quickly became the talk of the community and the story even spread nationwide. No one was injured in the incident and police charged Christopher Strube with a municipal infraction the next day after combing over surveillance footage.

2. Dash cam: One life-flighted after high speed chase (Posted Dec. 27, 2013)

This story had received 14,926 page views as of Dec. 31, 2013. The story quickly became one of the Daily Iowegian’s most viewed of the year, as it is only a few days old. That is most likely due to the dash cam footage provided by the Appanoose County Sheriff’s Office of the chase that began in Centerville and ended in a crash just outside of Exline.

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