Plainfield Patch's Top News Stories of 2011

Shootings, beatings, teacher-teen sex, snow and population growth are the subjects of our top stories of the year.

It's hard to imagine just how many things happen over the course of a year until it's time to take a look at every story published and boil them down to a Top 5 list for the year that was 2011.

These are our choices. If you don't agree with them, feel free to add your selections in the comment box below.

1 . Ashley Blumenshine, then 27, lost her job as physical education teacher/coach after Plainfield police found her in a car with a 16-year-old student in January. The pair admitted to having just had sex before being discovered, police said. The case made international headlines. She was charged with felony criminal sexual assault and is awaiting trial.

2. . In July, Albert Jonas, 75, shot his wife and accidentally shot his stepdaughter in the home they shared in the Liberty Grove subdivision. After his arrest, he told police that he had concealed the gun and planned to shoot his wife because he had grown tired of her beating him, an allegation that family members denied. He was charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery with a handgun and is awaiting trial.

3. . On Dec. 6, Joseph Conrad, 20, allegedly got into a fight with his mother and attacked her with a baseball bat, police say. He left her for dead for six hours before calling the police, breaking a window in the family home and pulling down his mother's pants to make it appear like a break-in, police said. He was charged with attempted murder and is awaiting trial.

4. . Snow began falling on the afternoon of Feb. 2, and when it was done by the morning of Feb. 3, 18 inches had been left in its wake. Mayor Michael Collins declared a "state of emergency" as road crews and police attempted to clear streets impeded by more than 80 abandoned cars. At the height of the storm, 25 motorists were rescued and given shelter at the police station. School was cancelled for two days when below-zero temperatures followed the storm.

5. . When the 2010 U.S. Census numbers were released in mid-February, it confirmed what many in the area already knew: the village's population had skyrocketed over the last decade -- from 13,000 in 2000 to nearly 40,000 in 2010. The largest demographic change was in the African-American population, which tallied just 110 in 2000 and 2,200 in 2010, making up 5.5 percent of the community.

Honorable mentions:

  • ;
  • ;
  • wins Emmy, appears on Saturday Night Live, gets big break in Bridesmaids, makes the cover of Entertainment Weekly and other national magazines.
Mary C December 30, 2011 at 04:51 PM
I don't have anything to add to your list, but I do feel that your #3 isn't an appropriate event since it just happened a few weeks ago and the family is still dealing with the severity of the event as we speak! Come on, I'm sure you could have come up with some other kind of fascinating Plainfield event! That is unless you're looking to have people start LOTS of rumors again about what happened! Especially the one who claimed that she died a few days after it happened and had the WHOLE family and all her friends on an emotional roller coaster for an entire afternoon!
John Public January 03, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I find it hard to believe that the story, about the Wheatland township residents voting down the new township building did not make this list. This story received nationwide recognition through the Wall Street Journal article. It was also covered by Fox News.


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