The year 2007 was hopefully not a snoozer for our readers as the year was seemingly packed with historical events, including the opening of the new county fairgrounds in January, historical flooding in July, some high-profile crimes in Robstown and perpetual turmoil with the Robstown school board.
Local crime news was topped with two Robstown shopkeepers being brutally beaten in late September, a local restaurant being robbed during the afternoon rush in February, and even a man dropping his dead wife off at the Robstown Police Department in late July.
The most eventful story may be the torrential rainfall and flooding locally in July or the agreement to build a $50 to $65 million outlet mall in Robstown.
The most entertaining news may have been when a Robstown native filed a $100 million lawsuit against Telemundo in July.
You tell us which was the top story for 2007 in the comment section of this story online. The top selections will be presented in next week's edition. The following are the highlights, our top stories as we saw them, and the editions they appeared in.
The Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds opened Jan. 13, hosting the 72nd annual Nueces County Junior Livestock Show for its first official event. The show netted about $1.8 million in sales with more than 1,100 exhibitors and 3,200 entries.
Nueces County officials admitted bidding mistakes in the awarding of contracts for fairgrounds construction to Zachry Construction Corp. and all construction halted for three months. The county settled a lawsuit with Corpus Christi businessman Dusty Durrill in connection with the proposed Heritage Center in March after four months of various litigation.
The Robstown school board called for a $15.5 million bond to build new San Pedro and Lotspeich elementary schools. Robstown ISD voters approved the bond May 12, with 85.7 percent voter approval. Banquete ISD voters approved a $5.3 million bond May 12, while London ISD voters approved a $7 million bond package.
The Taqueria Jalisco Mexican restaurant in Robstown was robbed during lunchtime Feb. 21, when a Robstown man brandished a knife at the drive-thru window, resulting in a car-jacking and high-speed police chase. Raul Flores tried commandeering vehicles by attacking random bystanders before stealing a woman's car. Two men fought with Flores before pulling the woman out of her car. Flores drove away in the woman's car and led police on a high-speed chase that ended in Bishop. Flores was sentenced to 30 years in prison in July.
A large afternoon fire in Robstown March 2 sparked a dangerous situation in the Casa Blanca neighborhood as several homes in the 900 block of Illinois Street burned to the ground and several nearby homes were damaged by the high heat and blowing embers. Firefighters hustled about with water hoses and neighbors also pitched in, using garden hoses and buckets of water to contain the growing blaze. The fire spread quickly throughout the Casa Blanca neighborhood due to winds, the proximity of the homes and extensive underbrush. One disabled elderly man living at the corner of South Flores and Illinois streets was rescued from his home by a police officer and civilian as the high heat melted the plastic blinds inside his home. No injuries were reported.
Four people were arrested and up to 100 people were issued written warnings after the Nueces County Sheriff's Department raided the 624 Gameroom just outside Calallen on March 3. Sheriff's deputies confiscated $40,000 and 74 gambling machines.
A Nueces Electric Cooperate meter reader was fired after giving faulty meter readings from his home. The false readings affected an estimated 1,400 customers who were re-billed.
The new $15 million Seale Junior High School opened to a large public tour April 19.
Former Robstown High School science teacher Jesse Hastey was indicted by a grand jury for allegedly having inappropriate relationships with two students, six months after he resigned and was arrested in November of 2006. He remains charged with five counts of sexual assault of a child and seven counts of having an improper relations between an educator and student as his trial continues to be postponed.
Incumbent Robstown school board members Raul Molano and Oscar Lopez, the longest serving board member, were defeated by challengers Richard Gonzalez and Eva Orona, respectively, in the May 12 elections. Roberto Tapia was elected to a vacant seat. Robstown Mayor Rodrigo Ramon Jr. and all six city council members were re-elected.
Local and state dignitaries and hundreds of others celebrated Robstown's 100th anniversary June 2 at the Centennial Cotton Ball at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds.
The family of Robstown native and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Anselmo "BJ" Martinez III, who was killed in Iraq May 18 when his armored vehicle was struck by an improved explosive device, was honored at the June 11 Robstown City Council meeting.
The family of Agua Dulce teenager Katie Wernecke filed a federal lawsuit against Nueces County and others after the Department of Family and Protective Services removed Katie from her parents' home for five months during a dispute about the treatment of Katie's Hodgkin's lymphoma. Robert Robertson, 26, of Beeville was shot to death June 11 or 12 while working the night shift at the Adult Video Store along Interstate 37. The case remains unsolved.
Radio and television host Johnny Canales announced June 28 that he had filed a $100 million breach of contract lawsuit against Telemundo, alleging the Spanish-language network interfered with Canales's career and disparaged the Robstown native's name. Telemundo said it wanted Canalas back and the two sides remain in negotiations. Widespread flooding, numerous roads closures, cresting of the Nueces River in Calallen and crop devastation were reported as about 10 inches of rain soaked Nueces County July 2. Record-setting rainfall throughout July contributed to several flash flood warnings and also weeks of delays in construction at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds and the new Keach Family Library. A shelter for evacuees opened in Annaville July 4, particularly for residents living near County Road 73. The American Red Cross said it was the worst flooding in Texas in 50 years. President George W. Bush declared Nueces County a disaster area Aug. 7.
The Robstown school board voted 4-3 at a 6-hour-plus special meeting July 3 to create a school district police force, with an annual $125,000 budget. Several students soon complained of security abuses, resulting in the termination of a security officer for conducting a strip search, the resignation of the new school police chief, and the suspension of two other school system employees for allegedly releasing confidential information to the public about the strip search of a 12-year-old junior high school girl.
Robert Arroyo, 51, of Ingleside, dropped off the body of his newlywed wife, Courtney Arroyo, 28, at the Robstown police station July 17 and allegedly confessed that he had strangled her "to put her of out her misery." Arroyo reportedly killed his wife between Victoria and Telferner, after picking her up from jail in Victoria. Police said he came to Robstown because he could not find the police station in Orange Grove. A developer pulled plans for a commercial project on Up River Road after Tuloso-Midway school officials raised objections to a restaurant in a strip mall near Tuloso-Midway Primary School that would have served alcohol.
Louis Wayne Teeter, of Robstown, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after he was found guilty by a Nueces County jury of attempted capital murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after a Feb. 25 incident when he ran over a sheriff's deputy with a pickup truck. Two Nueces County sheriff's deputies were injured after Teeter allegedly tried to drive away in his pickup truck, dragging two deputies who had responded to a domestic disturbance on County Road 42. The incident resulted in one deputy breaking his leg when Teeter's truck ran over the deputy'. The deputies shot Teeter seven times after the truck came to a stop and the deputies said he pointed a gun at them. The deputies were later cleared of any wrongdoing.
The Texas Farm Bureau committed at the Aug. 13 meeting of the Robstown City Council to building a $2 million catastrophe center in Robstown along Highway 77. The Farm Bureau asked the city to contribute 10 to 15 percent of the construction costs as a financial incentive package. Two instructors with a San Antonio-based church boot camp were arrested Aug. 10 for allegedly dragging a 15-year-old girl behind a van at the Christian Boot Camp in Banquete on June 12.
Robstown's Seale Junior High School was rated "academically unacceptable" by state officials when just 44 percent of students met the state standard in math testing. Both the high school and junior high failed to meet federal standards in student math performance.
The Nueces County Commissioners on Aug. 29 approved the lone bid to buy 45.135 acres at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds. A private partnership submitted the bid to buy the land for a $50 million-plus outlet mall, with 65 to 80 stores, including restaurants and a hotel. The Record Star broke the story first online Aug. 31 soon after talking with the developer. County leaders approved the $2,279,318 purchase agreement Oct. 31, paving the way for an influx of up to 1,000 full- and part-time jobs. The commissioners on Nov. 27 approved selling 4.26 acres of fairgrounds property adjacent to the original 45 acres, and the mall developers are expected to bid on it.
Two Robstown women were brutally battered during two daylight store robberies in Robstown Sept. 26 and 27. The robberies at Town & Country Community Store and Trash and Treasure left one shopkeeper blind and hospitalized the other shopkeeper with a broken nose and cheek.
Ramiro Silva Flores, of Robstown, was arrested Oct. 25 in connection to the Trash and Treasure robbery, in which police said he made off with about $50.
Robstown Police Chief Carlos Pena was replaced by patrolman Johnny Brown Sept. 27 after city leaders cited performance and low morale concerns with the police department.
Ivan Herrero, the father of state Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Robstown, was killed after an altercation Oct. 5 at a Corpus Christi restaurant. Manuel Chapa Garcia was charged with first-degree murder. The Northwest Public Library in Corpus Christi re-opened Oct. 6 to crowds of about 1,200 after $2 million of renovations and relocating the library for 14 months.
The Nueces County Commissioners voted to terminate the county's lease and licensing agreements with the Coastal Bend Aviators at Fairground Field after a season of low attendance. County attorney Laura Garza Jimenez has said the county plans to file a lawsuit to recoup about $20,000 in fees the team owes. Robstown ISD superintendent Roberto Garcia filed a police complaint Oct. 10, alleging that board member Adolfo Lopez threatened him during an Oct. 9 executive session. Lopez, who apologized in the newspaper, faces trial next year.
Eighteen-year-old Ashley Jurica, a 2007 Tuloso-Midway High School graduate, was killed Oct. 23 when she was hit by a train while walking with her boyfriend and two other teenagers along railroad tracks on the Nueces River Bridge near Labonte Park.
Calallen school district voters overwhelmingly approved two bonds Nov. 6, totaling $44,115,000, for district-wide improvements in athletic and academic areas, including a new Magee Intermediate School and renovating Wildcat Stadium. Bishop Consolidated Independent School District voters narrowly approved a $24 million bond for district-wide improvements, including a new high school and security controls at each campus.
The Calallen Wildcat football team was defeated, 45-14, on Nov. 30 while playing Lake Travis in the Regional Quarterfinal in San Antonio. The team was ranked No. 2 in 4A and had a perfect 12-0 record heading into the playoff game.
The Calallen school board adopted a policy change Dec. 10 imposing stricter guidelines on sex offenders visiting the schools.
The ban effectively bars all registered sex offenders who are not the parent or legal guardian of children enrolled in the district from attending any school activity.
Parents or legal guardians who are sex offenders also may not be able to participate in everyday school programs and are to be supervised at all times while at school functions.