With 2018 behind us, the Lake Sun looks back at the stories that we believe had the biggest impact on the Lake of the Ozarks region.

9. Justice in horrific crimes

A horrific murder and assault on an infant finally saw justice in 2018. Martin Priest, A man many believed to be a serial killer was sentenced to life in prison for the 1984 murder of an Eldon teenager who disappeared on her way to school. Although the body of Tammy Rothganger has never been recovered, a witness who came forward in 2016 gave compelling testimony describing how she was murdered by  Priest, her mother's boyfriend. Priest is currently serving a life sentence in Kansas for murder and had previously been convicted of murdering a young girl in Newton County. That conviction was overturned. He was also suspected in several other cases.  More than eight years and two court cases later, a disturbing assault of an infant in Miller County was brought to a close. Aaron Michael Fisher entered a guilty plea to first degree assault of a special victim just after the New Year began. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Fisher was accused of  physically assaulting his infant daughter in October of 2009. The case had been in and out of court for years. At one time. Fisher was released from jail and a new charge was filed  by Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Winfrey. The sentence was separate from  jail time Fisher served in a previous case for allegedly sodomizing his daughter.

 

10. Camden County quiets down

To their disgruntlement, Camden County residents witnessed feuds among their government officials the last few years rather than much improvement in services. Those feuds intensified to the extent of investigations and a federal lawsuit. The lawsuit was dismissed this year with basically no one found in the right, and on each side of the suit, Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty and County Clerk Rowland Todd were both re-elected. The county also underwent a requested state performance audit. The results of that audit have not yet been released though county officials appear to be acting on a few things from state recommendations. In recent budget hearings, new County Auditor Jimmy Laughlin was lauded for bringing together elected officials and their departments in a new spirit of cooperation. Pay raises for county workers over the last couple of years probably helped too.

 

Honorable mentions:

•Bagnell Dam renovations completed

•New shelters proposed for victims of human trafficking and homeless youth

•Can-Am Games bring international competition to Lake of the Ozarks

•Funds budgeted for Lake area state park repairs and improvements

•New flood plain maps become official