From the still-unsolved triple murder inside a Bossier City appliance store to a summer of drought and wildfire, through a string of unnerving domestic murder-suicides and the seemingly unstoppable LSU Tigers' quest for an undefeated season and BCS championship, 2011 has been an eventful year for the ArkLaTex.
Some of the biggest stories of the year simply drew a lot of attention, like the flap at an East Texas school over a teacher using a Sharpie to fix a student's grooming violation. That story was picked up by networks and web sites around the country [you can read more here, if you missed it].
Our story about the Shreveport Police car left up on blocks after someone stole the tires and rims also got a lot of mileage.
Some stories broke our hearts, like the news of two Shreveport natives and Navy SEALs lost in an insurgent attack that caused their CH-47 Chinook helicopter to go down in Afghanistan. Chief Petty Officer Robert Reeves and Lt. Cmdr. Jonas Kelsall were among the 30 U.S. military service members killed.
Other stories stole our hearts. We have followed the journey of little Charley Raye Furrh, the East Texas toddler who suffered complications with kidney removal surgery in February, survived the summer on dialysis, and received a kidney donated from a Marshall school teacher just last month.
Just recently, arrests were made in the theft of five horses from Southern Arkansas University, four of which were recovered alive. The discovery of the slaughtered remains of a fifth and the arrest of an SAU rodeo student shocked the rodeo community.
These are just a few of the stories that unfolded over the past year in the ArkLaTex. Your suggestions for other stories that belong in the top 12 included the removal of the Confederate flag from the Caddo Parish Courthouse in November, the debate over the extension of Highway 3132, and the murder of Bowie County Sheriff's Deputy Sherri Jones, shot in April with her own gun by an inmate that she was escorting from a hearing.