There were many events and news stories that filled the pages of the River Cities Gazette in 2012. Picking the top five stories of the year was not easy and subjective in many ways. The following are the Top 5 stories of 2012, chosen by Tom Curtis and Bill Daley of the River Cities Gazette:
COMES TO TOWN
It’s not every day that NBA Commissioner David Stern drops by the Miami Springs Community Center with the Larry O’Brien Trophy (given to the winner of the NBA championship) in tow along with a slew of Miami Heat players and other dignitaries.
That’s what happened on Monday, June 18 when, as part of the ongoing NBA Finals with the excitement of the hometown Heat taking on Oklahoma City for the title, the NBA and Miami Heat opened a new NBA Cares Learn & Play Center with a Heat-themed multi-purpose room.
The event was an invitation-only affair that was kept under wraps for more than a month by City Manager Ron Gorland. Heavy security from not only the Heat but the league served as a reminder of what an absolute Who’s Who kind of day it was. Wth the basketball gym all closed off and decked out in the Heat’s white-themed colors, stands were set up for all of the local Miami Springs “summer campers” who were escorted into the gym to enjoy the festivities.
Former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver and sports commentator Ahmad Rashad served as master of ceremonies, handling introductions which included Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez; District 12 Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz; former NBA stars Bob Lanier and Clyde Drexler; Heat players including Mario Chalmers, James Jones, Juwan Howard and Norris Cole; Heat Managing General Partner Micky Arison; and finally Stern himself, who took to the podium to welcome everyone.
Normally a 38-year-old missing mother of three from Miramar would not be a local story. That is unless she is a graduate of Miami Springs High School (Class of 1993) and her husband, Cid Torrez, suspected in her disappearance, is also a former Golden Hawk.
Such was the landscape laid out last April when the case of Vilet Blanco-Torrez made headlines all over South Florida after she went missing on March 30. Vilet’s family, Miramar police and many Golden Hawks alumni took to the streets to post up flyers and talk to as many people as they could about her disappearance.
When no clues turned up, the story hit the back burner for the next six months. But on Wednesday, Nov. 21, even though no body had been found, Cid Torrez was arrested and charged with first-degree murder at his parents’ home in Miami Lakes. In the warrant for his arrest, police said Cid killed Vilet on March 31 and he was held without bond.
There were no general elections in Miami Springs in April, but there were important issues decided in the August primaries and the November presidential election. Two Miami Springs referendums and the aftermath of Daniel Espino’s resignation from council were on the Aug. 14 ballot and Medley elected a new council on the same day President Obama was re-elected in November.
The results of the referendums to extend the Miami Springs council terms to four years and to stagger them went down in flames in August. Espino, who resigned in May and already had been replaced by Grace Bain, lost his bid for a seat on the Miami-Dade County School Board to Doral resident Susie Castillo.