Although many say they’re not sad to say goodbye to 2014, there were some noteworthy newsmakers, both within the Hoosier State and nationally, that seemed to provide that proverbial silver lining.
While Indiana and many other states got plowed under with the wrath of the Polar Vortex early in 2014, most Americans slapped on their woolies and shouldered on. In stark contrast, December 2014 appeared with the warmest temperatures and least snowfall in many years, as if Mother Nature were proffering an apology. At Recorder press time, meteorologists stated the long-term weather picture was hard to predict, but a possibility of a mild winter could not be ruled out.
Many Indianapolis residents were underemployed and unemployed in 2014, but hopes rebounded with reports of a strengthening national economy. Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi said 3 million jobs will be created in 2014. Less debt, lower energy costs, and stronger banks contributed to the feeling that good times could be right around the corner.
By the end of 2014, folks were blinking in disbelief at the pump, not because prices were so high, but because they were so low. Many enjoyed the unfamiliar luxury of gassing up at under $2 a gallon.
In Indianapolis, Judge Sheryl Lynch became the first African-American, and the first woman, to win election to the Marion County Circuit Court judgeship. Myla Eldridge, the former deputy director and director of elections, became the first African-American to be voted Marion County Clerk. And Kimberly Bacon took her oath of Office for Judge of the Lawrence Township. Small Claims Court.
Meanwhile, in July 2014, Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) veteran Ernest Malone made history as only the second African-American to hold IFD’s top job. (The first was Joe Kimbrow, in 1987.) Meanwhile, on Dec. 6, 2014, Richard A.J. “Rick” Hite marked his second anniversary as police chief of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. He is the first African-American to be named Indy’s top cop.
Education gains for some
Indianapolis Public Schools’ (IPS) most underperforming schools were placed on a watchlist, and reportedly, more than half gained some ground on ISTEP last year. The big winner: School 51 with a big jump of 12.1 points to 44.1 percent passing.
Others made progress, especially three that made gains of five points or more: School 58 (up 5.1 points), School 44 (up 5.6 points), School 93 (up 5.8 points).
Normalization with Cuba
With President Barack Obama’s announcement that the USA is moving toward more normal relations with Cuba, the hearts of many Americans soared imagining a trendy trip on this island neighbor just 90 miles from Florida. Sooner than you know, you too, might be able to take a ride in one of Cuban’s lovingly restored classic cars, or indulge in some of the world’s best coffee while listening to some of the globe’s liveliest music. And don’t forget taking in the island’s nine UNESCO world heritage sites, or lounging on its white sand beaches.
‘12 Years A Slave’ wins Oscar
At theaters, Americans were moved and inspired by “12 Years A Slave,” a film based upon the real life ordeal of Solomon Northup, a free African-American man who was kidnapped and enslaved. In 2014, the film claimed the coveted Oscar for Best Picture. Nigerian-born Chiwetelu Umeadi Ejiofor won Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role; Lupita Nyong’o who was born in Mexico to Kenyan parents, took Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. The film also won in the categories of Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay and Best Achievement in Costume Design.
Beyoncé sets record
The “Drunk in Love” singer was tied with country music legend Dolly Parton for a whopping Grammy 46 nominations each. When her self-titled, surprise album was nominated for best urban contemporary album, she became the most Grammy-nominated woman. Beyoncé currently has 17 Grammys. She needs 10 more to catch up with Alison Krauss, who has won more Grammys than any other woman in history, with 27 under her belt.