The Commerce Journal

Local News

January 5, 2013

2012 in review

Taking a look back at the ups and downs in the local news



Dr. John Ballotti, a senior lecturer for the Mass Media, Communication & Theatre Department at A&M-Commerce, defeated A&M-Commerce student Coby Marcum in the 2012 mayoral race after receiving 294 of the 417 votes cast.

“Certainly now the work begins,” he said shortly after being elected. “It wasn’t just me, it was we, all the people that supported me, and the friends and neighbors. They said ‘we don’t have any representative from this side of town’ and suggested I run. There was a lot of hard work getting to where we are, and now the real hard work begins, which is coming up with an agenda that will move the city forward.”

Ballotti replaced Quay Throgmorton.


Renowned journalist and television news anchor Dan Rather spoke before university students, faculty and staff in April.

His talk, which took place in the Ferguson Social Sciences Auditorium, focused on the topic of “Hard Times, Then and Now.” Rather discussed the problems the United States endured during the Great Depression and World War II and compared them to today’s economic recession. He touched on his childhood, college career at Sam Houston State and answered questions submitted beforehand by attendees. Rather accepted blame on the part of the press for the way they handle investigative journalism.


Twice Hunt Regional Community Hospital at Commerce was shutdown in 2012– the first time on Oct. 4 after an individual with a gun was spotted outside the building. The hospital and several school district campuses were placed on lockdown for several hours while the police department searched the suspect. On Oct. 10, Lisa Fowler was arrested and charged with deadly conduct in relation to the event. No motive for the incident was ever released.

The hospital was again shutdown in late October, this time for a week as an exterminator removed rats that had infested the hospital’s ceiling. Hospital officials blamed the source of the rodents on a nearby abandoned facility, although results from an independent investigation have not been reported to Commerce City Manager Marc Clayton.

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