2012 is drawing to a close, and it's time to take a look back of some of the top news stories in Niles this year.
1. Niles politics got vigorous. Village board meetings were filled with debate, and sometimes arguments, as issues were hashed out.
2. In May, a majority of trustees voted not to approve the reappointment of village manager George Van Geem. When they offered Van Geem a buyout package, he asked to negotiate, saying past village managers had received substantial bonuses. That led to the village board discovering that former Mayor Nicholas Blase had apparently okayed $100,000 bonuses and autos given or awarded for nominal sums, to Van Geem's two predecessors. The cars and bonuses were apparently not approved by the board, which would be legally required. That called into question whether this was an unlawful action.
3. In July, citizen Joe Makula gathered more then 1,000 signatures on a petition to limit the length of Niles politicians' terms in office. The village of Niles fought him in court and won. Makula gathered nearly 1,000 more signatures to put the issue on the April 9, 2013 ballot. It would limit officials to 16 years in office. Niles trustees also passed their own term limits referendum, but for three terms as trustee and two as mayor.
4. In July, the village passed a sales tax increase of 0.25 percent (25 cents on $100), which will help fund stormwater improvements to prevent flooding of homes and businesses in the village.
5. Niles West, Maine South and Maine East High Schools ranked highly on U.S. News & World Report and Newsweek surveys.
7. Niles and Park Ridge park districts reacted after a four-year-old boy drowned at a pool in Glenview in July.
8. Students at Maine East and Maine South high schools had to sign pledges promising they would not participate in hazing after some Maine West High School parents brought lawsuits saying their sons had been sexually abused in hazing rituals.
9. The Niles village board did not approve a request by Golf Mill Shopping Center management to increase taxes 0.25 percent, at mall stores only, to fund infrastructure improvements.
What other news happened in Niles this year? Tell us in the comments!