1: Causeway attack: In a random Memorial Day weekend encounter, Rudy Eugene exacted a growling, vicious, unimaginable attack on Ronald Poppo on the MacArthur Causeway, chewing off chunks of the homeless mans face in an 18-minute assault partially caught on video. As horrific details emerged including speculation that Eugene, 31, was high on bath salts or under a Vodou curse he came to be known as a face-eating zombie, serving as grisly pop cultural fodder worldwide. Eugene, who became one of the subjects of a documentary, was shot and killed by police during the attack. Poppo, 65, who had spent more than half of his life on Miamis streets, lost most of his facial features, is blind and must endure a lifetime of healing.
2: Trayvon Martin: The shooting of the black, unarmed Miami teen on a rainy February night by a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer escalated into a hairy national conversation about race, racial profiling, gun control and Floridas controversial Stand Your Ground law. The following months saw a social media-powered movement with coast-to-coast protests (some led by national civil rights leaders), a media frenzy and ultimately Zimmermans arrest. The story that has been simmering is now headed back to the front pages and airwaves as authorities prepare for Zimmermans murder trial, which will take place in the coming year.
3: Christian Aguilar: The Miami student headed to the campus of University of Florida in July with dreams of becoming a biomedical engineer. His body was returned in October, after a three-week search conducted by police and hundreds of volunteers from across the state. Police allege Aguilar, 18 who went missing Sept. 20 was poisoned by his close friend Pedro Bravo; they were both graduates of Doral Academy Preparatory. Aguilars story, powered by the universal fear of losing a child, drew national interest and a Facebook page with more than 13,000 followers. Bravos murder case is expected to go to trial next year.
4: Miami Heat wins a second NBA championship: They and by they we mean all of the sports media based north of West Palm Beach said it couldnt be done. Micky Arison and Pat Riley thought otherwise, and so LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade and the rest of the team, and the Three Kings were born. After a heartbreaking loss in last years Finals, the Miami Heat won its second NBA championship in June, punishing the young Oklahoma City Thunder 4 games to 1 in the series. James won the MVP award, his first championship and a formidable spot in that greatest ever conversation while serving up a heaping helping of pride to beleaguered South Florida sports fans.
5: Marlins Park opens: Miami built it and they came at least for opening day. After almost 20 years of playing in somebody elses ballpark, the Marlins rolled out a swanky new stadium on April 4 to great fanfare. But the rest of the season was a freefall into blame and bitter disappointment as the bats went quiet and the seats went empty. Management infuriated fans by trading players despite earlier assurances they wouldnt, and taxpayers suddenly remembered who was footing the bill for a big chunk of this disaster.