Burgeoning efforts at downtown revitalization in Waterville, the closure of Madison’s landmark paper mill and the killing of a Fairfield woman, allegedly by her husband, top the list of local news stories for 2016.

Other top stories include an election in which Kennebec County voters opted to turn out a sitting sheriff for a deputy sheriff in neighboring Lincoln County.

In the Fairfield killing case, Valerie Tieman initially was reported missing Sept. 9 by her parents, who live in South Carolina; but her body was discovered Sept. 20 on property where she had been living with her husband, Luc Tieman. A day later, police charged Luc Tieman with murder in connection with the killing. He initially told police she had disappeared from his pickup truck outside Wal-Mart in Skowhegan but later said she had died of an overdose when her body was found buried in Luc Tieman’s parents’ backyard off Norridgewock Road in Fairfield.

In interviews with the Morning Sentinel, Tieman’s friends said he had been unfaithful to his wife and sought companionship with other women, telling them his marriage was ending around the time she disappeared.

An autopsy report from the state medical examiner’s office says Valerie Tieman died of two gunshot wounds in the head. The report also said a bag of potato chips, a bottle of perfume and a note that “reportedly has an apologetic tone” were found beneath her buried body. Luc Tieman pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and his case remains pending.

In Madison, about 214 employees were laid off after the Madison Paper Industries mill was closed in May. The mill’s parent company, UPM-Kymmene Inc. and Northern SC Paper Corp., announced the closure and cited as a main reason a decline in demand for supercalendered paper, the glossy magazine paper made at the Madison mill. On Friday, the company announced the sale of the mill to a joint venture of other firms.

Meanwhile, downtown revitalization efforts in Waterville began to take shape, with the Harold Alfond Foundation and Colby College announcing they will infuse $20 million into projects to launch what eventually will become “tens of millions of dollars more” in downtown investments.

Colby College bought five vacant, deteriorating buildings downtown as part of revitalization efforts, with plans to either tear them down or partner with investors to redevelop them — all in an effort to bring more people downtown to live, work, shop, eat, recreate — and boost the economy.

Those efforts have involved the demolition of the former Levine’s store on Main Street, where a hotel is planned to be under construction in the coming year; and the razing of the former Elks building on Appleton Street, which will be a parking lot. Colby also plans to start building a residential complex next year for students and staff members on the northeast corner of The Concourse.

On Election Day, voters went 33,387-31,644 for independent Ken Mason, of Readfield over the Democrat, Sheriff Ryan Reardon, of Oakland, for Kennebec County sheriff. Reardon, who has been sheriff since April, had succeeded Randall Liberty, who resigned to become warden at the Maine State Prison.

Mason had been with the Augusta Police Department before going to Lincoln County.

Reardon joined the Kennebec Sheriff’s Office as a patrol deputy in 2007 after more than a decade with the Waterville Police Department.

Prominent people who died during the year included Kennebec County Probate Judge James Mitchell, of Vassalboro. His widow, former Maine Senate President and Speaker of the House Elizabeth Mitchell, was elected in November to replace him.

In September, the VA Maine Healthcare Systems-Togus celebrated 150 years of serving veterans, making the occasion with a gathering that included Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald and Maine’s entire congressional delegation.

In other news, two parents, Christopher Norwood and Karen Lea, were charged endangering their young children in separate incidents.

A 2-year-old boy was rescued Sept. 17 as he was drowning in the Kennebec River, and an Amber Alert was issued for a 3-year-old Augusta girl on Oct. 4 when she disappeared after police and firefighters responded to a report of a medical emergency at a Sewall Street home. The girl was taken to the city police station later that evening.

The boy was revived and later released from the hospital to “a safe location” designated by the state Department of Health and Human Services, according to Augusta police at the time.

Staff writer Betty Adams contributed to this report.

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