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Coastal Bend “Year in Review:” a look back at 2018

Posted at 5:27 PM, Dec 31, 2018
and last updated 2019-01-01 10:56:32-05

As 2018 comes to a close, KRIS 6 News takes a look back at some of the Coastal Bend’s top stories of the year.

2018 began with the Coastal Bend still recovering from the big event of 2017: Hurricane Harvey.

Vice President Mike Pence visited the Rockport area in August on the first anniversary of the storm.

Hundreds flock to airport, Rockport to see Vice President

“I know I speak for the President and I know I speak for your Governor when I say we are more proud than any other aspect of this, by the volunteer effort of the good and caring and faith-filled people of Texas,” Pence said.

It was a big year economically, with extensive growth at the Port of Corpus Christi and the first real look at construction on the New Harbor Bridge Project.

Special Report: What’s on tap for Harbor Bridge project?

However, there were also financial woes. In May, residents started to see their utility bills skyrocket. Faulty billing software purchased by the city of Corpus Christi was to blame.

Thousands of accounts affected by city water bill glitches

“We’ve got a lot of folks down here that are not happy, and for the money we’ve spent, we think we ought to have a system that works,” Mayor Joe McComb said.

That problem still hasn’t been resolved.

In January, Schlitterbahn found itself on a financial roller coaster. The water park went into foreclosure early this year and was later told at auction. The park reopened in May under new ownership.

Schlitterbahn Riverpark and Resort to be sold at public auction

In July, 382 of the world’s best young sailors came here to compete in the 48th annual Youth World Sailing Championships, the top youth sailing event in the world.

Corpus Christi hosts 2018 international Youth Sailing Championship

Arguably one of the most talked about stories this year was the infestation of field mice at the AMC Theater on Greenwood.

City-County Health Dept. shuts down AMC Theater after mice infestation

The infestation led to the temporary closure of the movie theater and several county health inspections at the facility.

Corpus Christi gained negative national attention earlier in the year after surveillance video of former Hooks player Danry Vasquez was released.

The shocking video showed Vasquez assaulting his girlfriend in a stairwell at Whataburger Field. That incident prompted a new “Domestic Violence Court” created by the Nueces County District Attorney’s Office.

District Attorney Mark Gonzalez, formerly a criminal defense attorney, prosecuted his first murder case this fall. That case resulted in a mistrial and no justice for the family of 13-year-old Alex Torres.

Family of 13-year old Alex Torres angry after mistrial declared

He was gunned down at his home at the Treyway Apartments in January of 2015.

Also at the courthouse, District Court Judge Guy Williams was arrested multiple times this year and charged with various crimes including public intoxication, resisting arrest, driving while intoxicated and unlawful carry of a weapon.

Arrest Report: Guy Williams kicked at, pinned down officers during most recent arrest

It was a busy year at the ballot box for voters, with unanticipated special elections, midterm elections and runoff elections.

Congressman Blake Farenthold announced his resignation in April amid allegations of sexual assault from a former staffer.

Congressman Farenthold resigns from Congress

Michael Cloud then won a special election in June to replace Farenthold.

In November, longtime Sheriff Jim Kaelin retired. County Commissioners appointed his replacement, former Corpus Christi police Lt. John Chris Hooper.

John Chris Hooper named as Nueces County’s incoming sheriff

The November election brought a huge voter turnout, but the mayor’s race and four city council races had to be decided in December a runoff election.

Barbara Canales made history as she was elected the first Hispanic and first female as Nueces County Judge.

Newly elected County Judge discusses future plans

Voters also said “yes” to CCISD’s 210-million dollar bond project. A series of Six Investigates reports revealed the site of the new Mary Carroll High School will be in an “accident potential zone” for Navy pilots in training. The Navy advised strongly against the location, near Saratoga Boulevard and Weber Road near Most Precious Blood Catholic Church.

6 Investigates: Military committee plans to discuss concerns with new Carroll High School

We would love to hear from you about which stories you remember most from 2018. Head to our KRIS 6 News Facebook page and let us know.