1980-1989: DECADE OF ECONOMIC TURMOIL & TRANSITION


Timeline of the decade


1980

Challenger explodes
Photo by NASA

Challenger explodes
Solid rocket boosters form a Y shape as they separate from the exploding external fuel tank of the space shuttle Challenger shortly after launch on January 28, 1986. All seven crew members were killed in the accident, including teacher Christa McAuliffe.
A U.S. military operation to rescue 52 American hostages fails as two helicopters collide in the Iranian desert, killing eight servicemen.

Mount St. Helens erupts, killing 57 in Washington state.

Civil rights leader Vernon Jordan Jr. is critically wounded by a gunman outside the Fort Wayne Mariott Inn. He survives.

Polish electrician Lech Walesa leads strike at Gdansk shipyard in start of Solidarity movement.

Ronald Reagan is elected the nation's 40th president.

John Lennon is shot to death by a deranged fan.

Knight-Ridder purchases The News-Sentinel.

The Official Preppy Handbook is published.

The United States hockey team upsets the U.S.S.R in the Lake Placid 1980 Olympic games to win the gold metal.

Viewers find out "Who shot J.R.?" on "Dallas." The program is seen by nearly 80 percent of television viewers.

1981

The day of Reagan inauguration, American hostages are freed after 444 days of captivity in Iran.

Indiana University wins NCAA basketball championship.

President Reagan is seriously wounded in an assassination attempt.

Pope John Paul II is wounded by a gunman as he greets visitors in St. Peter's Square in Rome.

A midsummer strike by Major League Baseball players steals 50 days from season.

President Reagan fires 11,500 striking air-traffic controllers.

Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer.

A cable channel called MTV begins showing music videos 24 hours a day.

Sandra Day O'Connor is sworn in as the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is assassinated by Moslem extremists.

Poland declares martial law, banning Solidarity.

"Dynasty," one of the most successful prime-time soap operas, premieres.

1982

Heavy snows close schools for 9 days, contributing to a winter record of more than 80 inches. The March melting causes the worst flooding in 69 years.

Argentina invades Falkland Islands. More than 1,000 die before Britain recaptures the islands.

Mother Teresa visits Fort Wayne and speaks to a crowd of 3,000 at Bishop Dwenger High School.

The proposed Equal Rights Amendment dies.

Citizens for Decency through Law group begins picketing adult theaters in Fort Wayne.

International Harvester announces it will close its Fort Wayne plant.

Seven people in the Chicago area die of cyanide poisoning in Tylenol tampering.

Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev dies. He is succeeded by Yuri Andropov.

David Letterman's first talk-show broadcast airs.

"Cheers" telecasts its first show.

"Rubik's Cube" appears in the Oxford English Dictionary.

1983

The National Municipal League names Fort Wayne an All-America City.

In its 150th year, The News-Sentinel wins a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Flood of ‘82.

Naomi Judd and daughter Wynonna, right, release debut album, "The Judds," then go on to become the most successful duo in country music history.

A bomb at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut kills 63, including 17 Americans.

The News-Sentinel reports that at least 52 people died while they or their parents were involved in the Faith Assembly, a church that believed in faith healing.

International Harvester ceases truck production in Fort Wayne.

News-Sentinel Editorial Page Editor Dan Osborne, his wife, Jane, and their son, Benjamin, are found slain in their South Harrison Street home. Two-year-old Caroline Osborne survives.

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.

Truck-bomb explosions at U.S. and French compounds in Beirut kill 241 U.S. servicemen.

U.S. troops invade Grenada and oust leftist leadership.

Vanessa Williams is crowned the first black Miss America.

M*A*S*H airs its final episode, which becomes the highest-rated television show in history.

1984

Coming home
News-Sentinel photo by David Yoder

Coming home
Sen. Dan Quayle meets his public at a rally in Huntington after being named George Bush's Republican presidential running mate in 1988.
Soviet leader Yuri Andropov dies. Konstantin Chernenko replaces him.

Mary Lou Retton becomes the first American woman to win an individual event gymnastics medal at the '84 Olympic Games in Los Angles.

The U.S. Office of Civil Rights cites Fort Wayne for deliberately maintaining segregated schools and orders the problem corrected.

President Reagan orders withdrawal of American forces from Beirut.

A circuit judge orders the closure of two adult bookstores and an adult theater for violation of a state anti-racketeering law.

General Motors confirms that it will build a $500 million truck plant in southwest Allen County, employing 3,000 workers.

Famine kills more than a million people in drought-plagued Ethiopia.

Mayor Win Moses Jr. is indicted by a grand jury on charges of election report fraud.

Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards.

A gas leak at a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, kills 3,400 people and injures 20,000.

Fort Wayne Community Schools releases a desegregation plan.

Madonna's song "Like a Virgin" is released. It becomes the first of her 10 U.S. No. 1 hits.

1985

Lutheran Hospital begins performing heart-transplant surgery.

The city wades through its second major flood in four years.

The Rev. John D'Arcy is named bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

Soviet leader Konstatin Chernenko dies. The era of "glasnost" and "perestroika" begins with the appointment of Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

Bruce Springsteen tops the charts and sells out stadiums in support of his "Born in the U.S.A." album.

NBC's "The Cosby Show" is the most popular television show, ending the long reign of CBS' "Dallas."

Homemaker and community activist Sharon Lapp, 43, is found murdered in a bedroom of her West Rudisill Boulevard home.

Mayor Win Moses Jr. resigns as part of a plea bargain in his campaign finance case. He is back in office two weeks later, winning a landslide vote in a special Democratic caucus.

Rock's royalty raise $85 million for African famine relief with simultaneous Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia.

Organizers Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp hold the first Farm Aid concert in Champaign, Ill.

The $12.2 million Fort Wayne Hilton checks in its first guests.

G.C. Murphy Co. announces it will close its department store on South Calhoun Street.

Actor Rock Hudson dies of AIDS at age 59.

1986

President Reagan reveals diversion of Iranian arms sales proceeds to the Nicara-guan Contras, and dismisses aides John Poindexter and Oliver North in the unfolding Iran-Contra scandal.

President Ferdinand Marcos flees the Philippines amid a popular uprising over rigged elections.

A bomb at a West Berlin disco kills two U.S. servicemen and injures 200. Ten days later, in retaliation for the bombing, President Reagan orders an airstrike against Libya.

An explosion rocks the Chernobyl nuclear power station, killing at least 31 in the Soviet Union.

In September, 3,000 residents and Glenbrook Square shoppers are evacuated after a sodium chloride leak at I.J. Recycling on North Clinton Street.

The space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after launch, killing all seven crew members, including teacher Christa McAuliffe.

1987

President Reagan presents the nation's first trillion-dollar federal budget.

Feb. 2, Fort Wayne Community Schools' 1,850 teachers vote to work just the minimum seven hours and 25 minutes each day to protest the longest teacher contract dispute in the history of the district.

In March, shamed by a sex-and-money scandal, televangelist Jim Bakker resigns as head of PTL.

Indiana University wins NCAA basketball championship.

Helene Foellinger, longtime philanthropist and former publisher of The News-Sentinel, dies at age 76.

A Congressional committee begins hearings in the Iran-Contra affair. A year later, Iran-Contra point man Oliver North is convicted on three counts, acquitted on nine.

Democratic front-runner Gary Hart abandons his bid for the presidency after The Miami Herald uncovers his affair with model Donna Rice.

An earthquake rumbles through Indiana. There are no serious injuries or damage.

Lutheran Hospital announces it will build a hospital on West Jefferson Boulevard near Interstate 69.

Black Monday on Wall Street: Oct. 19, the Dow Jones average plummets a record 508 points on the New York Stock Exchange, panicking world markets.

Hoosier movie legend James Dean's original gravestone, missing for almost four years from his Fairmount resting place, is found behind a Fort Wayne firehouse.

President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sign a treaty to destroy 2,611 medium-range missiles.

1988

Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart steps down from the pulpit in a sex scandal involving a prostitute.

The Midwest bakes during a summer plagued by record high temperatures. Indiana's corn and oat crops are nearly decimated.

Republican presidential nominee George Bush chooses Sen. Dan Quayle, a Huntington native, to be his running mate.

George Bush defeats Democrat Michael Dukakis to become the 41st president of the United States.

An earthquake kills 25,000 in Soviet Armenia.

A bomb explodes aboard Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 270 passengers.



1989

Notre Dame defeats West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl to win college football's 1988-89 national championship.

The state of Florida executes serial killer Ted Bundy, believed to have killed as many as 100 women.

After hitting a charted reef, the tanker Exxon Valdez spills 11 million gallons of oil in Alaska's Prince William Sound, coating 1,300 miles of shoreline and decimating wildlife.

Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini dies at age 86.

Chinese troops kill hundreds of student protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Baseball bans Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose for life after a gambling inquiry.

An earthquake rocks the San Francisco Bay area, killing 67.

Amtrak officials announce passenger train service in Fort Wayne will be diverted to routes north of the city.

East Germany opens its borders and begins tearing down the Berlin Wall.

President Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev effectively declare an end to the Cold War.

U.S. troops invade Panama and remove Gen. Manuel Noriega from power.
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