From the rise of a redneck family, to the lights going out during the biggest football game of the year and the proposed ban of Big Gulps, 2013 has seen it’s share of headlines that got the public talking. Here are CBS Local’s top talkers of 2013.
Seems like whenever Google does anything it gets big buzz. So imagine the hype over the Internet giant’s super-secret barges. The first appeared in the San Francisco Bay, just off Treasure Island. What could it be? A water-based data center? A hideaway for Google execs? A high-tech showroom for its Google Glass? Alas, Google said the mysterious barges would be used “as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology.”
Is the nanny state going too far? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn’t seem to think so. He already banned smoking in bars and restaurants and required restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus. But many New Yorkers were up in arms when the city tried to block the sale of sugary drinks in cups of 32 ounces or larger. Some say it’s a health matter as others call it an infringement on our rights. There’s still a court case pending.
Flying higher than eagles is the Robertson family of Louisiana as their story is told on A&E’s “Duck Dynasty.” The reality show features the family that has made millions selling equipment for hunters, including “Duck Commander,” one of the best duck calls around. The Season 4 premiere shattered records as it was watched by 11.8 million viewers, becoming the most-watched non-fiction series telecast in the history of cable television. It seems we just can’t get enough of Willie, Phil and Uncle Si. It’s one of the top rated shows of 2013, Jack!
THE ‘KNOCKOUT GAME’
Alarm bells rang when news of the “knockout game” hit. Reportedly part of a gang initiation rite, stories circulated of innocent pedestrians being walloped in the head and knocked to the ground. It’s not clear how widespread this violent phenomenon is, but it makes us keep looking over our shoulders as we walk down the street. The “knockout game” has claimed lives of those in St. Louis, Syracuse, N.Y., and Hoboken, N.J.
A New Hampshire man lost his entire life savings on a carnival game this past April. Henry Gribbohm spent his life savings of $2,600 trying to win an Xbox Kinect at a game of Tubs of Fun where contestants toss balls into a tub. After practicing to play the game he said it was easy, but fell short when he began to play the real deal with the prize at stake. In the end, he left with no money and a stuffed banana with dreadlocks.
The manhunt of former Los Angeles Police Department officer Christopher Dorner had Southern California, along with the nation, on high-alert. Dorner claimed he was wrongly terminated by the LAPD and that the organization was racist. He wrote a scathing online manifesto detailing how the LAPD ruined his life. Dorner took his frustration and anger out by killing four people and wounding three others in a shooting rampage before turning the gun on himself in February.
A nationwide computer glitch caused a shutdown for the EBT food system sending thousands of Americans across the country in a frenzy. People in 17 states were affected by the outage caused by a system failure during a test backup of the vendor’s system. A couple of Walmart stores in Louisiana were cleaned out of food because of the nationwide outage after people realized they had an unlimited spending limit. Some thought the EBT glitch was a part of the government shutdown since the federal EBT website was unavailable due to the nation’s lawmakers not compromising over a budget deal.
A teenage girl was upset that her school punished her for giving a ride home to a friend who was drunk. Eleanor Cox of North Andover, Mass., was demoted from captain of the volleyball team and also suspended from playing for five games because she helped her friend get home safely. North Andover High School claimed Cox was in violation of the district’s zero tolerance policy against alcohol and drug use, even though she was completely sober and cleared by the police to drive her friend home. The Cox family filed a lawsuit and her teammates at the time rallied to support her by starting a petition. Her mother argued that her daughter did what she thought was right and that she shouldn’t be punished for that.
It will forever be the Super Bowl remembered as the night the lights went out. Shortly after Baltimore Ravens’ Jacoby Jones returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown, a majority of the lights in the Superdome went out. For more than a half hour during the Super Bowl blackout, conspiracy theorists came out on social media, blaming Commissioner Roger Goodell for the blackout and others saying it was purposely done to stop the Ravens momentum since they were up 28-6 at the time. After 34 minutes, the lights came back on, as did the San Francisco 49ers offense, but the Ravens prevailed in the end, 34-31. An “abnormality” in the power system was blamed for the blackout.
The promising career of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez came to an abrupt halt in June after he was charged in the first-degree murder of Odin Lloyd. Prosecutors say Hernandez planned Lloyd’s murder because the Pro Bowler was upset with Lloyd over the people he was talking to at a nightclub a few days earlier. Hernandez is also connected to a double murder in 2012 near a Boston nightclub. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in Lloyd’s murder.
The Jodi Arias trial was a highly publicized court case across the country this year. She was found guilty of killing her boyfriend, Travis Alexander, who she said abused her. She initially denied killing him, but later admitted to the crime. After being found guilty, Arias wanted revenge and threatened to cut the prosecutor’s throat, just like she did to Alexander’s. Even her cellmates considered her a dangerous person.
“Fast and Furious” star Paul Walker died suddenly in a horrific car crash that shocked his family, friends, costars and thousands of fans. Social media accounts were flooded with tributes to the actor after his death. Walker’s death put the brakes on the famous movie franchise since he was a key character to the upcoming film. Many found it ironic how a man who became known for driving fast cars in movies actually died in the passenger seat of a sports car. Thousands of people, including his “Fast and Furious” co-stars, have paid tribute to his memory at the crash site in Santa Clarita, Calif..