Wednesday, December 28, 2011
7 News Features: 7's top 7 - Local
From a rare tornado in Tamarac, to the whirlwind surrounding a Central Florida courtroom. A lot of big news came out of the Sunshine State in 2011. We saw officers get arrested, politicians ousted, and even a grand discovery in the middle of Biscayne Bay. Here now, a look back, in tonight's "7's top 7."
WSVN -- Rick Scott: "I, Rick Scott, do solemnly swear."
The new year began with a new governor for Florida.
Rick Scott: "So for me, job creation is an absolute mission."
But the honeymoon with Florida voters ended quickly.
"What these bills do is harm women."
Governor Scott pushed for a law that requires a woman to get an ultrasound before having an abortion.
And he told welfare recipients and state workers they would need to take drug tests.
Rick Scott: "We don't want to waste any dollars."
He also turned down $2.4 billion from the Feds for a high speed rail.
After just six months in office, more than half of Florida voters did not approve of the job he was doing.
In Miami-Dade County voters decided to take their vote back.
Norman Braman: "I just got disgusted as a citizen."
Billionaire car dealer Norman Braman led the charge to recall Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, after Alvarez approved raises for county workers, while at the same time raising property taxes.
Carlos Alvarez: "Before you vote a certain way just make sure you don't get caught up in the hype."
In the end, Alvarez was voted out. Carlos Gimenez was voted in.
Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence Jones was back on the job, after corruption charges against her were dropped.
A dark day for law enforcement, and all of South Florida. The hunt for a killer led to the murder of two Miami-Dade police officers.
James Loftus, Director of Miami-Dade Police: "We lost two officers- Roger Castillo and Amanda Haworth."
The officers were serving a warrant when murder suspect Johnnie Simms opened fire. Both officers left behind young children.
"I love you mom."
"Papi, I know you're in here. And I just wanted to let you know that we all love you."
Hundreds of officers attending an emotional memorial service.
James Loftus: "I am having a hard time processing that this is God's plan."
Much of the summer seemed dominated by the Casey Anthony trial. During the six week trial, the defense claimed Caylee drowned in the family swimming pool. The prosecution laid out a case that Casey suffocated her daughter. In the end...
Jury: "We the jury find the defendant not guilty. So say we all."
Closer to home, another child's death- blamed on her adoptive parents.
"He was stating that he placed his daughter in a plastic bag."
Jorge Barahona and his wife Carmen charged with first degree murder and child abuse after the body of ten year old Nubia was found in a barrel in the back of this truck. Her ten-year-old twin Victor found inside the truck- covered in chemicals and convulsing.
"It was a total systematic failure of the Child Welfare Program."
The state had been warned of the abuse three days before Nubia's body was found, but failed to follow through.
Miami Police saying they were forced to fire several times.
"My son name is Brandon Foster. He was the one who got shot by Allapattah 17 times."
Seven African American men were shot and killed by police in a six month period, which sparked a year long feud between Police Chief Miguel Exposito and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.
Tomas Regalado: "We have been looking closely at the events surrounding the police involved shootings."
Ultimately the chief lost his job.
Miami Beach Police also under fire for officer involved shootings. Two people were shot, one killed during Urban Weekend, leaving some calling for the end of the popular Memorial Day celebration.
Beach Police in trouble again after an officer hit two people with an ATV while giving a female tourist a joy ride.
Matti Herrera-Bower, Mayor of Miami Beach: "He was having some drinks."
Officer Derek Julian was later fired. Several other officers disciplined.
Controversy erupts after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper pulls over an off-duty Miami Police officer. The trooper claimed the officer was driving his squad car 120 miles per hour on the Florida Turnpike.
Hip hop star Sean Kingston rescued after crashing his jet ski into a bridge in Miami Beach.
Sean Kingston: "I had open heart surgery and I had two other surgeries so it was like a life or death situation."
An explosive situation at Miami International Airport.
"The most intense fire they have seen in their entire career."
Fuel tanks burning, forcing planes to be fueled manually by tanker trucks, stranding thousands of travelers.
A tornado strike in Tamarac. Dozens of homes damaged. The twister on the ground for over a mile. Broward County hit again during a real Halloween horror. Record rain leaving homes flooded and cars stranded.
And then there was this!
"Hey, there's a piano on that island."
The mystery piano that showed up on a sandbar in the middle of Biscayne Bay. Everybody asking- who put it there and how? Turns out it was the work of a couple of teens.
"We're going to have an epic music video with a bag piper and a burning piano with Miami in the background on the island."