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Top story in 2012, earthquake recovery

Posted on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 9:11 am

Mack McKinney, of Bumpass, points out structural damage in the attic of the historic Cuckoo House, which was severely damaged during the earthquake.

The biggest story of 2012 was a collection of stories which focused on Louisa’s road to recovery from the August 2011 earthquake.

It was a continuation of last year’s top story which was Louisa’s response to the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked the county and caused more than $70 million in damage to homes, businesses and county structures.

News and events about the county’s recovery process captured scores of headlines throughout the year, one of the most notable of which was a May concert by country music star Alan Jackson.

The town of Mineral won what started out as a free concert, sponsored by Capitol Records, for a small town to help celebrate Jackson’s newest studio album.

Falling on the heels of the earthquake, the online contest drew votes from across the country as many people mistakenly viewed the contest as an earthquake relief event, which it wasn’t — at least not at first.

Thousands of online votes propelled Mineral into the winners circle,  but the handling of the “free” event soon drew criticism on Facebook pages across the county and country after the record label announced that it would provide 500 free tickets for town residents, instead of the 1,000 to 3,000 free tickets as originally advertised.

By mid-April, the Capitol Records changed course and offered 3,000 free tickets online with an additional 3,000 tickets available for purchase.

On Sunday, May 20, approximately 6,000 people attended what had become an earthquake-relief fundraising concert where Alan Jackson presented a check to the Louisa Education Foundation for $152,500.

A majority of the 2012 headlines centered around news of the Louisa County Public School division’s earthquake recovery.

In late 2011, county and school officials worked feverishly to secure trailers for modular classrooms for Louisa County High School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, which were closed due to severe earthquake damage.

During mid-January, teachers moved into their new classrooms and prepared for what would become the new normal.

After a well-attended open house and press conference in late-January, students returned to school on February 2 and fundraising efforts, which began shortly after the earthquake, continued into 2012.

To read the entire story, see the Jan. 3 edition of The Central Virginian.