Skip to Content

2011 Gave Us Plenty To Look Forward To In New Year

As 2011 draws to a close, there’s plenty to look back on locally and elsewhere. Yet some of the stories that dominated the airwaves will follow us straight into the new year.

An ongoing investigation into public corruption brought several high-profile arrests as recently as days before Christmas. Former County Judge Anthony Cobos and three other prominent businessmen were picked up from their homes the morning of Dec. 16. Other former public officials, including former County Judge Luther Jones and District Clerk Gilbert Sanchez are currently serving prison terms after being convicted of public corruption charges. And so, the years-old corruption case continues.

The year, though, will also be remembered for bringing cold spell that paralyzed the city for several days in February. The mind-numbing temperatures fell to record lows, causing water pipes to freeze and burst and they were accompanied by rolling blackouts that put the city in a standstill. The utilities, well after the city thawed and to this day, faced criticism for how the cold snap was handled.

The effort to recall the mayor and two city representatives for reversing a voter-approved ordinance that would take away benefits of the domestic partners of gay and unmarried city employees also intensified in 2011. The group spearheading the recall garnered enough signatures to initiate a recall election. The mayor sued in an effort to stop the recall election, but a judge ruled that the recall election can resume. The recall election is slated for April of 2012. Mayor John Cook has indicated that he will appeal.

The city has experienced several other high-profile cases this year, including the indictment of the superintendent of the city’s largest school district — also part of the ongoing corruption investigation — a battle between the city El Paso Electric over rate hikes and an overtime grant scandal with the El Paso Police Department.

But it was what transpired on a quiet spring morning that also sent the city into a frenzy. A large mountain lion made its way onto the streets of Downtown El Paso and roamed for several hours before it became trapped in the garage of the renowned H&H Car Wash and Coffee Shop.

The mountain lion jumped through backyards and ran through through dozens of blocks terrorizing everything in its path. TV crews captured the moment when children at a private school were told that a lion was coming and that they had to hurry inside.

When the lion made it to the car wash on Yandell Drive, cameras captured the beast poking around a water hose before a veterinarian arrived and shot it with tranquilizers. The lion, however, was not knocked out with the tranquilizer. That’s when a Texas Alcoholic and Beverage Commission officer shot and killed the animal in front of witnesses and as cameras were rolling.

The lion’s death sparked an outrage by people who were upset with how the situation was handled. ABC-7 received emails and phone calls by people decrying the killing of the cougar.

Elsewhere, the stories made 2011 a year to remember.

On May 1, the world waited for a special announcement from President Barack Obama. For hours, the world stared at an empty podium inside the White House. And when the president finally came out, he notified the world of unexpected news some waited years to hear: U.S. Navy Seals killed Al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, who was believed to be the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The year almost ended without the death of Cold War-era dictator Kim Jong Il and U.S. troops pulling out of a decade-old war in Iraq, with both occurrences happening recently. 2011 started, however, started with the near-death of a U.S. congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head during gathering for constituents in January in Tucson. She survived the attack, but several others were killed, including a young girl who was born Sept. 11, 2001.

Somewhere along the line, a civil war in Libya culminated with the death of its longtime leader, Moammar Ghadhafi, and technological pioneer Steve Jobs, who give the world the iPod and iPhone died.

Political and entertainment figures had their share of headlines. Actor Charlie Sheen’s meltdown was widely covered, even more than Prince William’s marriage to Catherine Middleton. The year 2011 also brought an end to the “Oprah Show.” California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he had a son with a maid and that his marriage was over. And U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress after a sex scandal in which he was accused of tweeting pictures of his …

Mother Nature also created a stir with an epic earthquake in Japan that killed thousands of people and spread fears of radiation. Closer to home, there were deadly tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., and historic snow storm in the Midwest, of all places.

There’s still a few of hours left in 2011, and there’s no telling what will happen.

KVIA Poll:What were the top stories of 2011?.Link:New Year’s closures.Slideshow:Biggest Stories of 2011.Holidays:5 New Year’s Resolutions You Will Break.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content