If 2013 is anything like 2012, Yorkers can expect to see just about every type of weather imaginable.
The first three months of the year were unusually warm. The total of 12.4 inches of snowfall recorded at the York Airport in Thomasville for the winter of 2011-12 was well below the average of 25 to 30 inches of snow that York usually receives. And much of that fell in a rare October snowstorm.
The trend of above-average temperatures continued through much of the year. March was the second-warmest on record with an average temperature of
50.7 degrees, nine degrees above normal. The only warmer March in York County came in 1945, when the average temperature was 52 degrees.
And July was the fifth-warmest on record, even though the temperature topped the 100-degree mark just once.
In between, a tornado touched down in North Hopewell Township on June 1 as storms moved through southeastern York County. No injuries were reported, but it took the metal roof off a single-story home and did damage along a patch 25 yards wide and 75 yards long.
But the biggest weather news of the year was Hurricane Sandy. The worst of the "superstorm" was expected to pass directly over the area in late October. News of the impending storm prompted a run on generators at local stores.
While Sandy caused more than 14,000 customers to lose power during the peak of the storm and prompted about 100 people to use emergency shelters set up by the American Red Cross, most emergency officials expressed relief over the minimal amount of damage in York County.
Areas where flooding is often a major problem, like Glen Rock and Seven Valleys, said they expected worse from Sandy. And a mid-November damage tally showed two mobile homes destroyed and 48 properties damaged, mostly by flooding.
Hurricane Sandy did cause several municipalities to cancel trick-or-treat nights, causing quite an uproar, including in West Manchester Township where some moms reacted by organizing their own event.
With York County mostly spared, residents turned their attention to helping the less fortunate in New Jersey and New York. One donation drive in West York filled multiple trailers with goods destined for Sandy's victims, an outpouring of support that caught even veteran firefighters off guard.
"People have been using the word 'awesome,' but it's beyond that," said deputy chief Doug Eash.
Platts steps down; Perry elected
A January 2012 retirement announcement from Rep. Todd Platts, R-York County, set the local political community abuzz with talk of potential candidates for a seat that had been firmly held by the incumbent for more than a decade.
Multiple names surfaced as possible contenders after Platts announced he was stepping down to adhere to a self-imposed 12-year term limit, with the field growing to nine candidates before the April primary.
The Republican primary ticket swelled to seven, with early polls showing York County Commissioner Chris Reilly, whom Platts defeated in 2000, as the apparent frontrunner, closely followed by state Rep. Scott Perry, R-Dillsburg.
Redistricting had changed the 19th Congressional District to the 4th Congressional District, and the new boundaries included Harrisburg, giving Democrats what they described as their best chance in decades to win the seat.
Perry handily defeated Reilly in the Republican primary; engineer Harry Perkinson defeated attorney Ken Lee on the Democratic ticket.
And despite Democratic optimism, the general election wasn't close. Perry took 155,339 votes to Perkinson's 92,239 and became a congressman-elect.
Platts has said he'll continue to serve diligently until Perry is sworn in Jan. 3. Platts said he knows his last day in office will be difficult, but he believes he's making the right decision by retiring.
He has not announced plans for post-Congress employment, but said he's considering running for county judge, leading a university, or working in education or with the military in Washington D.C.
A statewide win for DePasquale
When he moves into his
In November, DePasquale was elected the state's next auditor general, defeating Republican John Maher. On the same day, DePasquale won re-election to the 95th state House District in a landslide.
DePasquale is expected to resign from the 95th, an office he's held since 2007, next month when he's sworn in as the state's fiscal watchdog.
The auditor general is an independent auditor responsible for ensuring that public funds are spent properly and state programs are operated efficiently and effectively.
DePasquale will replace Jack Wagner, a Democrat who's stepping down after serving the maximum two consecutive terms allowed by law.
DePasquale said his priorities will be finding savings by running audits to identify wasteful and inefficient spending that can be eliminated, auditing economic development programs to identify those that don't work, and protecting the environment by ordering an immediate performance audit of the Department of Environmental Protection to make sure water has not been compromised by natural gas drilling.
A special election will be scheduled to find a replacement for DePasquale in the 95th.
Charter disputes in York
The York City School District and its charter schools engaged in another contentious year of hearings and legal action in 2012.
Over the course of the year, York City denied charters, tried to shut down one school as officials continued to argue that charter schools are bleeding them dry financially.
Among the developments:
---New Hope Academy had its charter renewal denied by the board after a lengthy, contentious hearing. Now New Hope and the district are battling at the state level; the Pennsylvania Charter Appeals Board has ruled it will hear the case.
---Helen Thackston Middle charter school had its application to create a charter high school denied. That decision is also before the state appeals board.
---Championship Academy of Distinction applied for a second time after the sports-themed elementary charter got turned down a year ago. York City School Board heard the presentation in December and will decide early next year whether to approve the charter.
The struggle for control of York City students at times turned combative. In October, New Hope and York City officials aired their issues in public.
The animosity was spurred by a letter from the York City School District to New Hope officials saying the charter school should "immediately discontinue its operations." New Hope said it could remain open as long as it was appealing the non-renewal decision; York City said New Hope missed the deadline to appeal and should shut down.
The state appeals board has since decided it will hear New Hope's case, as York City lost its motion to quash the appeal.