From the Hantavirus that plagued Yosemite Park enthusiasts to the San Francisco Giants second World Series win, quite a number of events in the Bay Area more than peaked our interests. Take a look at the some of the biggest stories that made headlines in the Bay Area in 2012:
Mass shootings in the U.S. have been a recurring theme this year with incidents at Oikos University in Oakland, a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., at a mall in Oregon, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. But it was the Dec. 14 shooting in which 26 people — 20 of them children between the ages of 6 and 7– at a school in Newtown, Conn., that truly broke the hearts of a community and a nation, and forced debate over gun control back into the national conversation.
San Francisco Giants
Smart pitching. Clutch hitting. Sharp fielding. Plus an MVP Panda. All the right elements for a sweet World Series sweep for the San Francisco Giants. Nearly knocked out in the playoffs time and time again, and finally pressed by the Detroit Tigers in Game 4, Pablo Sandoval and the Giants clinched their second title in three seasons. Marco Scutaro delivered one more key hit in October 2012, a go-ahead single with two outs in the 10th inning that lifted the Giants to a 4-3 win.
Superstorm Sandy Wreaks Havoc On The East Coast
A late-October confluence of a tropical storm and two other weather fronts, this “superstorm” left behind a massive trail of damage that few could have imagined — it was blamed for the deaths of at least 125 people, among them 60 in New York, 34 in New Jersey, and 16 in Pennsylvania. The storm flooded large swaths of the East Coast and left millions of residents in several states without power and heat for weeks. Sandy also destroyed over 72,000 homes and businesses in New Jersey, and damaged or destroyed 305,000 housing units in New York.
Early 2012, SFPD began investigating allegations that San Francisco’s sheriff-elect and his wife were involved in a domestic violence incident. Prosecutors announced Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was charged with three misdemeanor crimes, including battery, stemming from a New Year’s Eve domestic dispute with his wife, Eliana Lopez.
Mitt Romney outcampaigned an eclectic field of Republican rivals, and bested Obama in their opening head-to-head debate. But on Election Day, thanks in part to a vigorous get-out-the-vote operation, Obama won a second term with a large lead in electoral votes and a solid advantage in popular votes. The GOP hung on to its majority in the House, but lost two seats to remain a minority in the Senate despite early-campaign projections of gains there.
In March 2012, Morgan Hill teen, Sierra Lamar went missing after being last seen leaving for school on a Friday morning. In May, Antolin Garcia-Torres was formally charged with kidnap and murder in connection with the disappearance of LaMar. DNA evidence believed to be Sierra’s was found in his car. Since her disappearance, the LaMar family has teamed up with KlaasKids to organize searches for Sierra. Marc Klaas’ 12-year-old daughter Polly was kidnapped from her mother’s Petaluma home and was missing for two months before she was found murdered in December 1993.
“The Bullet Button”
Before the shootings at a theater in Aurora, Colorado and Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, gun control has been the first word uttered to either regulate or ban guns off the streets. Early in 2012, the debate over strict gun control laws heated up in Sacramento when CBS 5 reported a “loophole” in California Law. A simple modification that enables the magazine of a semi-automatic rifle to be removed quickly, with the tip of a bullet. Removable magazines in combination with other features like a pistol grip and telescoping stock are banned under California law. But the bullet button is legal because it doesn’t work with your finger, so the magazine is considered “fixed.” The modification has allowed military style rifles like the AR-15 to proliferate in the state, something Senator Leland Yee said has got to stop.
Public Nudity Ban Passes In San Francisco
San Francisco has shed its image as a city where anything goes, including clothing. City lawmakers voted 6-5 on an ordinance that would prohibit nudity in most public places. The ban represents an escalation of a two-year fight between a devoted group of nudists in the city’s famously gay Castro District and the supervisor who represents the area. The ordinance is scheduled to take effect on Feb. 1, 2013.
A Fallen Officer Remembered
California Highway Patrol officer, Kenyon Youngstrom was killed during a shoot out on Interstate 680 that also left 36 year-old shooter, Christopher Boone Lacy of Corning in Tehama County dead on a September morning in 2012. CHP officers in patrol cars pulled over a Jeep Wrangler just north of Livorna Road when Lacy shot at the officer. A second officer then fired at Lacy, hitting him. The incident and investigation resulted with traffic at a standstill on 680 in Walnut Creek and on surrounding city streets. All ending with a few thousand law enforcement officers, government officials and community members gathering at a memorial service in Vacaville to say goodbye to slain California Highway Patrol Officer Kenyon Youngstrom.
Bay Area Gas Prices Rise
The price at the pump around the Bay Area is increased almost everyday as the price of a gallon of regular unleaded has jumped statewide all throughout 2012. Analysts said that the tensions with Iran sent oil prices up and a number of refineries on the West Coast have shut down. Wholesale gas prices spiked in August throughout California in the aftermath of a fire that shut down Chevron’s Richmond refinery, which is one of the top crude production facilities for the West Coast.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)