Movie, wreck make news in 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010
Local activist Luci Taylor, right, spoke during a panel that followed a special screening of the documentary film "Welcome to Shelbyville." on Sunday. From left are the Rev. Kent Lewis of Christ Lutheran Church, Hawo Siyad, and an unidentified translator. (Photo by April Mosely)

A documentary about Shelbyville and a tragic traffic accident begin the Times-Gazette's annual countdown of the biggest news stories of 2010.

Our list was compiled by a poll of 10 T-G staff members, each of whom ranked his or her top 10 stories from a list of 26 possibilities; next week, we'll give you a chance to compare your own choices to ours.

Point totals and first-place votes, if any, are listed with item. A story which was top-ranked by all 10 voters would receive a perfect score of 100.

10) 'Welcome to Shelbyville' premieres

19 points

The documentary "Welcome to Shelbyville," about the reception to Somali immigrants in Shelbyville, was screened at various film festivals and discussion forums in Shelbyville and across the country. It is to be aired nationwide by the Public Broadcasting Service on May 24, 2011 as part of the series "Independent Lens."

The documentary was directed by Kim Snyder and most of the events in it take place in the period surrounding the 2008 presidential election.

Some of the more prominent screening locations included the Brookings Institution and Harvard University. In Shelbyville, the documentary had an invitation-only screening for local leaders in September and a public screening in October.

A number of Somali refugees, brought to the U.S. by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, moved to Bedford County to take jobs in poultry processing. There have been culture clashes and misunderstandings, and the documentary shows comments unfavorable to Somali immigration, but the documentary portrays Shelbyville as eventually accepting the immigrants. The documentary even portrays some specific residents changing their attitudes as they get to know the Somalis.

Members of a local committee working to raise awareness of the documentary said they believe it portrays the community in a positive light.

9) Head-on collision kills two

21 points

Both drivers were killed in a head-on collision in September south of Shelbyville on U.S. 231. Stephanie Cameron, a fifth grade teacher at Liberty School, and Samuel Prosser, of Temple Ford Lane, were dead at the scene after their vehicles collided. The accident occurred about a half-mile south of the Snell Road-New Center Church Road intersection. The location is less than two miles from the school.

Guidance counselors from other schools and from Centerstone converged on the school following the accident to provide support to grieving students. "Mrs. Cameron's teaching style was very hands on and in her classroom one would always find live animals and science experiments," said principal Mike Novak in September. "Every student at Liberty looked forward to being a fifth grader just to experience Mrs. Cameron.

"Her smiling face and always positive attitude will be missed in more ways than one can put into words ... Liberty School has suffered a great loss."

Prosser's truck was pulling a flatbed trailer carrying a large number of nails, and emergency response to the effort was affected by the need to clear the pavement of the nails before vehicles could approach.

TUESDAY: Traffic lights and detours