Top Niles stories of 2015: Nos. 4-2

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Crime, tragedy and new business dominated the headlines during a busy 2015 in the Niles and Buchanan communities.

Throughout the next several issues of the Niles Daily Star, staff will count down the top stories of the year, culminating with the No. 1 story in the New Year’s Eve edition of the paper.

Editorial staff created the list based on stories that were the most read, most talked about and most impactful in the community. Stories four through two are as follows:

4. Niles Councilman passes away

Friday, Nov. 27 was a sad day for many as longtime Niles City Councilman and business owner Scott Clark passed away at the age of 57 following diabetic complications.

Several thousand people attended funeral services for the Niles native and owner of Clark’s Service, a Niles auto-repair business.

Clark, who represented the Fourth Ward on the city council, was named 2012 Man of the Year by the Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce.

Friends and family of Clark said he would be remembered for his generous nature and his passion for Niles and its children.

He was well known for providing free auto repair for people who couldn’t afford it, purchasing sporting equipment for disadvantaged youth and promoting and supporting public safety.

3. Fire destroys Fernwood Railway Garden

An electrical fire destroyed the popular Railway Garden at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve Oct. 21, spurring countless people and organizations to donate toward rebuilding the feature.

The article covering the fire was by far the most viewed story of 2015 on

Fernwood reported that more than $15,000 had been raised toward rebuilding the railway garden as of mid-December.

The new and improved structure is expected to re-open this spring.

2. Voters approve Niles bond proposals, school board selects new supt.

School leaders rejoiced when voters narrowly approved a pair of bond proposals that will fund approximately $40 million worth of improvements to buildings throughout the Niles Community Schools district.

The first proposal — an increase of 2.89 mills — passed by 75 votes in the May 6 special election. The second proposal — an increase of 1 mill — passed by 129 votes.

Together, both proposals are expected to cost the average taxpayer approximately $15 per month.

Work is expected to begin this spring.

The district also experienced a change in leadership as former special education director Dan Applegate was named superintendent in January. He replaced interim Supt. Michael Lindley.