Year in Review: Corsicana Daily Sun's Top 10 Stories of 2022

Dec. 31—Editor's Note: We took a look at the stories that made the news in 2022 and narrowed down our picks for the Top 10 to include stories that captured the most attention or affected the most readers throughout the year.

We invite you to follow along with the news of the day in 2023 through our print and digital outlets: The printed edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun; our web presence at; our Facebook page at; and our Twitter feed, found @TheDailySun.

Best wishes for a happy and successful 2023 from the staff and management of the Daily Sun.

Now, our picks for the Top 10 Local Stories of 2022:

Corsicana breaks ground on Jackson Legacy Park

Over two decades of combined efforts of a dedicated group of Corsicana residents came to fruition in March as the community gathered to break ground on GW Jackson Legacy Park, honoring the first African American principal of Fred Douglas School, later renamed GW Jackson High School.

The park is on a plot of land on which his home once stood and will feature a sculpture of Jackson to be included in Corsicana's Bronze Tour. It will have an audio story as well as a dedicated plaque to tell the story of Principal Jackson and those he influenced during his life.

The location is an entry into Corsicana on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Fifth Street, to be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

Community bands together in wake of Navarro County shootings

Friends, families and neighbors pulled together in the wake of a shooting spree that killed six people and left two others wounded in February in Navarro County.

Residents of Corsicana spent much of the week trying to make sense of a series of shootings after a man opened fire on members of his family at two homes, about 20 miles apart, before police said he killed himself as officers approached his disabled vehicle on a rural highway.

Those who knew the victims and survivors showed their support in the days since either by donating their money or time to help the families with medical and burial expenses.

'Mr. Corsicana,' Haynie passes away at 75

Corsicana lost a great man in December when Brad Haynie passed away at the age of 75.

He was often referred to as Mr. Corsicana or Mr. Derrick Days because of his involvement in and love for his hometown.

Haynie's impact on the community was evident as the people whose lives he touched commented on his passing.

"Brad loved Corsicana and the people in it," his wife Lori said. "He always had a big hug, kiss on the cheek, and a funny story or joke to share with everyone to make them smile. Brad always tried to stay positive and lead others to better our community by making it something to be proud of."

Navarro College Cheer reclaims National and Grand National titles

The Navarro College Cheerleaders reclaimed the NCA National Title at the NCA & NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship in April in Daytona Beach, FL., marking the team's 15th National Title. The team was also awarded Grand National Champion for having the highest score of all the teams competing with a 99.213. It was the sixth time the team has earned Grand National Champion.

Athletic Director Michael Landers said, "Our cheer team put on an unbelievable performance in Daytona. The amount of time, effort, sacrifice and commitment leading to the title is a testament to the championship culture in the program. Each of them represented Navarro College and Bulldog Athletics in GRAND style."

The hit Netflix docuseries "Cheer" — arguably the biggest thing to happen to Corsicana since oil and fruitcake — returned Jan. 12 for its highly anticipated second season, once again putting the Navarro College Bulldog cheerleading team in the white-hot national spotlight.

Community mourns longtime deputy

Kris Matthews, 46, of Dawson, was tragically killed in a tractor accident in October at his home. He worked as a Navarro College police officer and retired in January after 23 years with the Navarro County Sheriff's Office. Friends and family fondly remembered Matthews as a caring law enforcement officer, coach, school board member, husband, father and grandfather.

Members of local healthcare agencies and church groups worked to provide around 700 spaghetti lunches to area residents as a fundraiser to benefit the Matthews family. His wife Kami works at Guardian Home Healthcare in Corsicana.

Event co-organizer and Senior Hospice Care Consultant at New Century Hospice Kelly Lovett said the fundraiser was a success, due to the generosity of those who ordered food, donated or volunteered.

Corsicana Fire Chief takes the helm

Corsicana's new Fire Chief Michael Ryan came to town in April, bringing years of firefighting and leadership experience.

He started his career in the fire service at the Duncanville Fire Department in January of 1995. He attended Dallas Fire Academy and EMT-Basic then Paramedic school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School Dallas campus.

He spent 27 years there rising to the rank of Division Chief of EMS, which he held for over seven years, up to his retirement from Duncanville. He also worked as an instructor at Navarro College Fire/EMS Academy. He began working there in 1999 and took over the EMS program in 2000, then eventually took over the fire academy, fire technology, and the fire science programs around 2004.

The programs grew so large, I left there in 2006 and they hired full time staff to run the programs," he said. "I have an Associate's Degree in Fire Science, Bachelors of Science in Fire Administration, and a Bachelor's of Science in EMS Administration. I hold many state and national certifications and licensures in fire and EMS."

Bitcoin mining company expands to Navarro County

The Nancy Roberts Room at the Corsicana Public Library was filled to capacity one April morning as city, county and school leaders announced a partnership with Riot Blockchain, a Bitcoin mining company that promises to bring hundreds of jobs to the area.

The first phase of the Expansion is anticipated to create approximately 270 direct jobs and drive significant positive economic change in Navarro County.

The company broke ground in October, where a small crowd gathered to protest the Riot Blockchain ground-breaking ceremony, attended by local officials and company representatives.

Concerned Citizens of Navarro County, a group formed in opposition to the bitcoin mining operation on FM 709 in Corsicana, alleges the project is destructive to the community and that local government entities are operating without transparency or public input.

Corsicana kicks off 175th celebration

The City of Corsicana's 175th Birthday Celebration kicked off at the Nov. 17 Tree Lighting, with the Dec. 3 Festival of Lights Parade, also serving as the 175th Celebration parade.

On Feb. 25, the Steering Committee will commemorate the birthday of our city with a Birthday Celebration Gala at the Cook Center. On March 30, the Navarro Council of the Arts will unveil an Art Alley mural celebrating the 175th birthday with a collaboration with local artists. In April, the excitement of the 175th Celebration will continue during Derrick Days weekend. On May 4, there will be an opening reception for the 25th Annual Youth Art Show, Celebrating Corsicana, at the Warehouse Living Arts Center. Brought by the Navarro Council of the Arts, the show will feature the students of Navarro County. In Summer of 2023, an art reception and sale of the Juried Art Show: Celebrating Corsicana, featuring artists from around the country, will be scheduled.

To close the year in October 2023, the Steering Committee will wrap up the 175th Celebration with a time capsule ceremony. This event will conclude the festivities celebrating the legacy and history of Corsicana.

Texas Veterans Parade continues area's patriotic legacy

Afghanistan Medal of Honor holder William Swenson was the Grand Marshal of the Texas Veterans Parade on Armed Forces Day, in May in Corsicana. The parade honored current and past Military Veterans from all wars and conflicts.

Swenson was the guest of honor at the Medal of Honor Event and Show Friday at the Palace Theatre in Corsicana. The youngest Medal of Honor recipient, and native of Seattle, Washington, served as the Grand Marshal of the 2022 Texas Veterans Parade, the first held in Corsicana in 77 years.

Navarro County Veterans Service Coordinator Tim Easley said there are approximately 3,000 area veterans are now using VA services including healthcare and educational opportunities.

Penguin Project sparks joy for students

Corsicana ISD invited students from across the district to witness the Penguin Project magic happen before their own eyes. Students were in awe as they stepped into the Corsicana High School Performing Arts Center, transforming into a frozen world. Penguins made their debut on stage Thursday, Jan. 13 for the matinee performance of "Frozen Jr. The Musical."

The program empowers students with special needs by providing each student with the chance to step out of their comfort zone. The roles are filled with students with special needs, and they are joined on stage with student "mentors" to help encourage them throughout their journey. Students of all abilities have flourished from being a part of The Penguin Project.

"As a district, Corsicana ISD has worked to create an equitable learning environment for our students," said Dr. Diane Frost, CISD Superintendent. "Penguin Project has allowed us to positively develop our students by creating a unique experience through arts."

In February, CISD announced it received a prestigious Magna award for the Penguin Project.

"The success of the Penguin Project is a byproduct of our caring community, our fantastic staff, and our dedicated students' efforts toward building an inclusive environment," said Dr. Elmer Avellaneda, CISD Associate Superintendent.